MIAMI -- Coming out of the All-Star break, the Marlins will continue to focus on improving on the field while exploring ways to strengthen the organization for the future.
The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is the next significant date, because it is another opportunity to acquire players that may fit into Miami's long-term plans.
Since the ownership group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter took over, the Marlins have been firmly committed to building a first-class organization from the bottom up. And in the first half, a revamped roster showed plenty of resiliency and improvement. They entered the break at 41-57, percentage points ahead of the Mets for fourth place in the National League East.
Moving forward, the organization will continue to assess which players match what they are building, and which are more likely trade targets. Here's a look at where the Marlins stand at the season's halfway point.
Current status: Seller
Looking to stock the organization with as much talent as possible, the Marlins are open to making as many moves as possible. What they are wrestling with internally, however, is which players under club control make the most sense to retain or move. So while the front office will listen to offers for all their players, those that are either viewed as rentals or that don't fit into the long-term plan appear to be the most expendable.
What they are seeking
If the 2018 MLB Draft and the early stages of the international free agent signing period are indicators, the Marlins are seeking athletic players who play in the middle of the field. As for pitchers, they're eyeing those with clean deliveries and have a track record of throwing strikes. Through trades, the Draft and international free agents, Miami has improved its Minor League system. Still, the focus is to be as deep as possible.
What they have to offer
Miami is sitting in a nice position, because it has what most contenders covet -- relievers. Clubs are already inquiring about closer Kyle Barraclough, right-hander Drew Steckenrider, veteran right-hander Brad Ziegler and lefty Adam Conley. Ziegler is a free agent after the season. Barraclough and Conley have yet to reach arbitration. The asking prices on both are extremely high, and the same is true for Steckenrider, who is a rookie.
All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto (.310/.365/.536) has been the subject of plenty of rumors, most recently connected to the Nationals, but the organization views him as a building block whom it would ideally like to sign long-term in the offseason. It would take a significant overpay to lure Realmuto away from Miami. Right-hander Dan Straily, second baseman Starlin Castro, first baseman Justin Bour, left fielder Derek Dietrich and shortstop Miguel Rojas have all attracted various levels of interest.
Ziegler, 38, has impressed since moving out of the closer role and into a setup situation. Teams like the Red Sox and Astros could use him as an option to help neutralize power-hitting, right-handed hitters in ground-ball situations.
If the Marlins can get a high return on Barraclough, the Indians and Astros would be among the frontrunners. And the Brewers are among the clubs with at least some level of interest in Dietrich, who can play left, third, second and first.