ATLANTA -- All month the Marlins were active on the trade front, so it was only fitting that they completed two separate deals less than an hour before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Dealing frantically near the Deadline, reliever Edward Mujica was sent to the Cardinals for Minor League third baseman Zack Cox, who will be assigned to Double-A Jacksonville.
The first trade was announced at 3:07 p.m., and at 3:32 p.m., Miami announced Gaby Sanchez was moved to the Pirates for Gorkys Hernandez, who will join the club on Wednesday to play center field. As part of the deal, the Marlins also sent Minor League pitcher Kyle Kaminska to Pittsburgh, and the Marlins received a competitive balance Draft pick, which will be the 33rd overall selection.
"Again, our disappointment with the team continues," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "As part of the restructuring that began last week in earnest with the Detroit and Los Angeles trades, we've been on the phone exploring a number of different things that really brought us right to the Deadline.
"We were able to get two separate deals done today that we've been working on for the better part of a week once we exited it out of the two deals last week."
Prospect acquired by Marlins
Zack Cox, 3B: Cox came out of the 2010 Draft as the best pure hitter, at least of the college set, in that class. He had a solid first full season, hitting for average and a little bit of pop while reaching Double-A. Pushed to Triple-A this year, Cox hasn't produced with the bat like he did in 2011. There was always a question about how much power he'd have at that level, leaving some to wonder where he profiled defensively. He's been playing third base exclusively and he's been OK there defensively, even if his bat doesn't necessarily profile there. He missed some time earlier this year with a concussion, came back and hit well for a spell before recently going on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.
On July 25, the Marlins dealt Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Dodgers for Nathan Eovaldi, who is in the rotation, and Scott McGough.
The flurry started on July 23 when Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez were traded to the Tigers for prospects Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn. That deal included Miami receiving a competitive balance pick in 2013.
In all, Miami will have four of the first 75 choices in next year's Draft.
"A big part of this is the competitive balance pick," Beinfest said. "It is the second pick following the first round. We've been involved now in a couple of these things. These are very valuable assets. To have access to the 33rd pick in the country is a very big deal."
The Marlins also were working on some other possible deals, but they didn't get done by the Deadline.
"That's how we finished things up," Beinfest said. "Now we'll go through the post-waiver deadline and hopefully start to improve on the field and win some games, and take a look at some of the assets we've accumulated in the last 10 days."
Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded to anyone but that team. The club that placed the player on waivers can either work out a deal with the claiming team, withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
There is a chance additional moves could be made in the waiver period. And a couple of players who could be impacted are catcher John Buck and first baseman Carlos Lee.
The Marlins have been one of the biggest disappointments in the league, entering Tuesday in fourth place in the National League East with a 47-55 record.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said players should be on notice to perform.
"If my players think they were going to get traded, they should look themselves in the mirror -- who [would] want you?" Guillen said matter-of-factly. "Ozzie being Ozzie. If you think in my clubhouse you might get traded, they're not going to be in baseball too long. Because nobody performed the way they should perform to be traded. You get traded when somebody thinks they can use you. If they think that, they was wrong. Trades are not over yet. They're going to continue to trade."
One player comforted to be staying is Josh Johnson.
The Marlins listened to offers for their ace, who has had an inconsistent season. Miami's asking price was very high, at least a top prospect or two in a package of about four players.
A fourth-round pick of the Marlins in 2002, Johnson made it clear he wanted to stay with the organization in which he was developed.
Johnson is signed through 2013, and he will make $13.75 million next year.
Asked if he wanted to be with the organization through the extent of his contract, Johnson said: "The rest of my career would be great. It's the only thing I've ever known. I'd love to stay here, be part of it, and be part of a World Series here."
The 28-year-old right-hander tried to ignore the rumors the best he could. When his name was mentioned on television, he tended to walk away.
"The only time I really thought about it was with my wife, and with my family," he said. "If something happened and we had to pick up and move right away, we had to kind of be prepared for it. Other than that, at the field and everything else, it was nothing but jokes."
Johnson is next scheduled to start on Friday in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Washington. On Tuesday, he threw a bullpen session at Turner Field. Even then, he was joking with pitching coach Randy St. Claire that he might be throwing off the mound for the last time as a Marlin.
Instead, it was another pitcher was was moved, Mujica.
Mujica appeared in 41 games as a setup reliever. He was 0-3 with a 4.38 ERA.
The Marlins acquired Mujica along with Ryan Webb from the Padres for Cameron Maybin after the 2010 season.
"Very surprised," Mujica said. "I didn't know what time the Trade Deadline is. I told my wife today at noon I not going to be traded. I thought the Deadline was 11. I'm going to be fine. I got here and Ozzie told me, 'St. Louis wants you, they're talking right now.' Ten minutes after he told me it was official."
Sanchez, a Miami native who attended the University of Miami, was an All-Star in 2011. But he struggled in 55 games in the big leagues this season, batting .202 with three home runs and 17 RBIs. Actually, his final at-bat with the Marlins was a game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth inning at Milwaukee on July 4.
After that game, he was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Sanchez was moved to make room for Lee, who was obtained the same day from the Astros for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen.
Lee, a free agent, is not expected back next year.
The Marlins are expected to switch Logan Morrison from left field to first base. Morrison went on the disabled list on July 29 with right-knee inflammation. He faces the possibility of season-ending surgery.
"We've always known LoMo can play first," Beinfest said. "He's very good at first. That's where he came up. We had Gaby and subsequently Lee over at first base. Let's get LoMo healthy. I think first base is a reasonable outlook for 2013, but we'll see. Things can change."
As for making an immediate impact with the Marlins, Hernandez will join the Marlins on Wednesday, and he will get playing time in center field. Justin Ruggiano will move into a corner-outfield spot.
"We're going to get Gorkys Hernandez, a fleet-footed outfielder, who can play center field," Beinfest said. "We're going to take a look at him out in center field. Defensively, we have him well above average. This is a guy again that has upside, does not have a lot of experience in the Major Leagues. We're looking to provide that opportunity for him to show us what he can do."