SweetSpot: Rich Vandenhurk

Are Marlins trying to win?

July, 21, 2009
7/21/09
2:04
PM ET
From SunSentinel.com's Juan C. Rodriguez, breaking news about the Marlins:
    After Monday's 3-2 win over the Padres, the Marlins optioned left-hander Andrew Miller to Triple-A New Orleans.

    Albeit with the All-Star break in between, Miller put together back-to-back starts of 2 2/3 innings, allowing 10 runs (six earned) on 11 hits, seven walks and no strikeouts over the two games.

    Rick VandenHurk, who on Monday earned his first major league win since last July 22 after allowing two runs over six innings, will assume Miller's rotation spot. The Marlins don't need a fifth starter until July 31 at the earliest.

    --snip--

    Miller becomes the second member of the Marlins' ballyhooed season-opening rotation to require a trip to the minors because of performance issues. Ricky Nolasco spent two weeks in New Orleans starting in late May and made two starts before retuning and regaining his form.

    No word yet on who will replace Miller on the roster. Manager Fredi Gonzalez wouldn't specific whether it would be a pitcher or position player, but it's likely the latter considering the Marlins are down a bench guy. Ideally, they need a reserve infielder but they can't bring back Andy Gonzalez for 10 days.

Now we do have word on Miller's roster replacement: according to the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer, infield prospect Gaby Sanchez has gotten the call. More on him in a moment. First I want to discuss the Marlins' rotation, which essentially has been two different squads this season.

The first squad -- composed of Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, and Ricky Nolasco -- has issued 2.4 walks per nine innings, with each member posting solid (or better) strikeout numbers.

The second squad -- Miller, Sean West, and Anibal Sanchez -- has issued 4.5 walks per nine innings, with all the corresponding struggles that you might expect.

So it's a good thing they don't need five starters until July 31 (at the earliest), because right now they've got only three reliable starters. Fortunately, VandenHurk's got a chance to become a fourth, at least if his Triple-A career (8-2, 2.99 ERA) is any guide.

It's all moot, I fear. I just don't think the Marlins are serious about winning. I won't think they're serious until they get Emilio Bonifacio out of the lineup; I suspect Sanchez will not be givin Boni's job. And I won't think they're serious until they get bring Cameron Maybin back to the majors and give him an every-day job in the outfield. He's been in New Orleans for more than two months, he's hitting .343/.425/.500 while the big club's corner outfielders are struggling, and you leave him down there ... why, exactly?

Like I said, talk to me when you're serious about winning.

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