Hill: Biggest adds will be return of IL Marlins

August 23rd, 2020

As the Aug. 31 MLB Trade Deadline approaches, the Marlins are in the enviable position of knowing that they don’t have to part with their high-end prospects to address their needs.

That’s because the organization anticipates adding three proven big league starters and at least one reliever off its injury list in the upcoming week.

Miami’s top three starters to open the season -- , and – and reliever are close to being reinstated.

The four went on the IL the first week of the season after the Marlins were afflicted by a COVID-19 outbreak. In all, 18 players tested positive for the virus.

Knowing reinforcements are close to being back lessens the Marlins' need to be desperate at the Trade Deadline.

“Our biggest acquisitions are going to be the return of Sandy Alcantara, José Ureña, Caleb Smith, Yimi García, among others,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said on Sunday morning. “I think that’s going to be a huge injection of starting pitching. A huge injection of talent that we’ve been without since that first series of the year.”

The Marlins last had a winning season in 2009, and they haven't been to the playoffs since '03, when they won the World Series.

With the Trade Deadline approaching, the Marlins anticipate being buyers. But by that, they also aren’t willing to mortgage the future by trading their top prospects for rentals.

Alcantara, Smith, Ureña and García are throwing and facing hitters at the club’s alternate training site in Jupiter, Fla.

“As we sit here today, there are a number of clubs that don’t know which direction that they want to go,” Hill said. “So we continue to stay in touch with our peers.”

The revised postseason format has eight of the 15 teams in each league making it.

The Marlins, like so many other clubs, are targeting bullpen help. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported Saturday that Miami is monitoring the Royals’ bullpen depth.

“Our goal is always to be opportunistic,” Hill said. “If there is a chance, an opportunity for us to improve this roster, then we’ll explore it. That’s always our focus, that’s always our goal.”

A backup catcher also could be a target, especially since (concussion) was placed on the seven-day concussion list. was called up from the taxi squad to replace Cervelli.

FOX Sports Florida replays showed that in the first inning during Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton’s at-bat, Cervelli took a foul tip off the mask. Cervelli stayed in the game, taking an at-bat in the second but experiencing discomfort. He was replaced by in the top of the third inning.

“Cervy was a target for us this offseason, because of his experience, and the makeup that he brings,” Hill said. “We saw it on display before the injury last night.

“He is a big part of this club, a big part of this clubhouse, in terms of what he brings to the table every day. We will definitely miss him for however long that he is down.”

The Marlins on Sunday also returned right-handed reliever to the alternate training site.

, currently on the injured list, is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster.

appeared in five games for Miami before being designated for assignment on Friday. There is a chance that he could return. Making a trade is another option.

“If we think we need to add some depth there, then I think it’s something we will pursue,” Hill said.