As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the question is, will the Marlins ultimately become buyers or sellers? The team is currently 10.5 games out of first place in the National League East Division with the Braves, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.

Also, they are seven games back in the National League wild card race. My prediction is that they are going to be sellers at the deadline, which will be to the chagrin of many Marlins fans. The season is pretty much over and it would take some kind of cataclysmic disaster and a miraculous downfall by the teams ahead of the Marlins, in order for the Marlins to get back in the conversation.

The fact is,they need to acknowledge the cold hard facts. The team looked listless and uninspired. Most importantly, they need to give their talented young players the necessary amount of Major League experience. The Marlins should take advantage of the opportunity to analyze and scout some of the young prospects the team currently has in its system.

For example, I think it would be a good idea to give Logan Morrison an opportunity to prove himself as the Major League level. Therefore, it’s time for some of our young players to face the music. 

The Marlins have been extremely disappointing and frustrating to watch this season. The biggest reason why the team has struggled this season is because of the terrible bullpen in which the front office put together over the offseason. The bullpen has caused cardiac arrests and the increase of Pepto Bismol.

The bottom line is, they failed miserably in putting together a legitimate bullpen. They have the second worst bullpen in baseball, right behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. Believe it or not, only Arizona has more blown saves this season than the Marlins. As a result, the Marlins have blown 13 save opportunities, while Arizona has blown 14 saves.

In addition, the team has committed the second most errors in baseball, with 71 on the season. Another aspect the Marlins have struggled mightily in this year is the situational hitting department. For example, with runners on second and third with two outs, the Marlins have failed to come through in this type of situation.

Also, the clutch hitting factor has been absolutely nonexistent.  All of these glaring weaknesses summarize why the Marlins are sitting in fourth place in the National League four games under .500 with a record of 42-46.  Despite the team’s struggles in certain offensive categories and despite the team’s erratic defense, the biggest problem has been the bullpen. 

Don’t be shocked if the Marlins ultimately decide to deal Jorge Cantu, Cody Ross, Ricky Nolasco, Nate Robertson, and even slugger Dan Uggla.

I think the Marlins should hang on to Uggla because of his tremendous power.  He leads all National League second basemen in home runs with 16 and he has done a nice job driving in runs. I still believe you need to have a legitimate power source in your lineup. I strongly believe Dan Uggla’s value is irreplaceable.

There is no way you are going to be able to replace his power at second base.  However, if they were to hypothetically move Uggla to another team, then they would have last year’s NL rookie of the year, Chris Coghlan, move to second base. Coghlan has bounced back from a rough start to the season. He is currently hitting .270 with 87 hits, five home runs and 28 runs batted in.

I’m completely against the idea of moving Coghlan from the outfield to second base, especially because his infield defense is basically just as mediocre as Uggla’s. I don’t see how this potential position move would improve the team.

Interestingly, what has become very apparent is the fact that Marlins are starting to change their offensive philosophy. The focus is beginning to shift toward situational hitting and moving runners over. As a result,their goal is to develop  more consistent and productive hitters such as rookie sensation Gaby Sanchez, who is batting an impressive .302 on the year.

Except for Dan Uggla, the Marlins should be opened to trading Cantu, Ross, and Nolasco as long as they can receive sufficient value in return. I don’t want to see any salary dump deals. 

As we approach the deadline, the Marlins have some very tough decisions to make. It will be very interesting to see which prospects the Marlins decide to promote as the season moves on. Will Logan Morrison get called up? Will Cameron Maybin get another shot to prove himself?

The Marlins will be open to making deals with the goal in mind toward building and planning for the future. You can take that to the bank. At this point, it is all about 2012.

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