Has there been any talk of a Martin Prado contract extension? Maybe two to three years?
At this point, there are no talks. I spoke to Prado in Spring Training about next year, and he said once the season started, his focus would be entirely on 2016, not negotiating. So it's doubtful any talks would start until either late in the season or in the offseason. The Marlins also appear willing to let the season play out, and they are in no rush. At this stage of his career, I sense Prado wants to be on a contender, with a real shot at winning a World Series.
Obviously, Prado is a big part of this team, and he is very comfortable playing in Miami. The Marlins also don't have an obvious replacement at third. Derek Dietrich is a possibility, but right now, he is playing mostly second with Dee Gordon serving his suspension.
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If this Marlins core shows it can contend, I think the chances are strong Prado could sign with Miami in the offseason -- probably a two-year deal. But if the club falls off the pace and looks like it will go in a different direction, then perhaps the veteran third baseman will sign elsewhere.
With Jarred Cosart struggling and the farm system drained, would the Marlins be hesitant to deal prospects in midseason trades?
If the Marlins stay in it, the front office is prepared to make moves before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Already, the club is doing homework on pitchers who may be available.
I know various rankings of farm systems have Miami at or near the bottom in prospect talent, but the reality is there are attractive players in the organization who could be used in potential trades. At every level, there are pitchers throwing 95 mph or above. There may be more power arms right now than any other season in team history.
The focus is on winning as quickly as possible. I fully expect the Marlins will do their best to add.
Cosart, meanwhile, simply needs to get back on track. That's what he's working on at Triple-A New Orleans.
If the Marlins are winning without Gordon, will they insert him back into the lineup right away upon his reinstatement?
Gordon is eligible to be reinstated on July 29, which will conclude his 80-game suspension for violating MLB's banned substance policy. The fact that he isn't eligible for the postseason also makes things interesting for his playing status.
It's hard to say right now how the playing time will sort itself out. Usually, it takes care of itself. But Dietrich has done a good job at second, and if the team is performing and winning, then it will be tricky for manager Don Mattingly to get Gordon back into the mix. Certainly, Gordon offers a speed dynamic the team is missing in his absence. And he's a Gold Glove Award winner, so his defense also is missed. We also don't know how quickly Gordon will be able to find his game stride. My guess is he will be back starting and leading off, because the team is deeper that way. Even if Dietrich isn't regularly playing at second base, I'm sure he will still get his share of at-bats, especially since he can also play third.
More pressing need: Inning-eating starting pitcher or late-inning relief pitcher?
Bullpen depth is at the top of the list. The more depth that can be acquired, the better, as Mattingly likes to mix and match. Keep in mind, the Marlins have not had a complete game since 2014, which means at least one reliever is being used every night. The club can't keep relying on closer A.J. Ramos and setup right-handers David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough to pitch five times a week.
How's Carter Capps' rehab going?
During home games, fans may see Capps sitting in the dugout, rooting on the club. Otherwise, he is going through the long process of recovering from Tommy John surgery. Capps had the procedure early in Spring Training, and he will miss roughly 12 months. He's basically only two months removed from the surgery, so there isn't much rehab going on right now.