The Indians are in Miami this weekend to take on the Marlins. Since this is an interleague matchup against a team we rarely ever see or pay attention to, I figured that it would probably be a good idea to get some insights from someone who covers the them on a regular basis. Enter, Ehsan Kassim. He is the editor over at the Miami Marlins Fansided site, Marlin Maniac. We decided to exchange questions via email to get an idea of where exactly each team stands and what we should expect of the course of the next three days. Ehsan definitely had some good things to say about the Marlins. You can follow him on Twitter @ehsank24.
Wahoo’s on First: A lot is made out of how the team is run and the constant fire sales. Do you feel like the Marlins are finally headed in a good direction?
Ehsan Kassim: Are the Marlins better positioned now than they were last season? Yes. Are the Marlins headed in the right direction? That all depends on owner Jeffery Loria. He has proven over and over again to be an impatient, meddling owner that make too many decisions on an impulse. As long as Loria keeps interfering in the day-to-day Marlins affairs he has no business in, I don’t trust the Marlins ever going in the right direction under him. But if he allows his players and front office to do what they are paid to do, I have a great deal of confidence that the Marlins can become perennial contenders down the road.
Wahoo’s on First: It seems like Giancarlo Stanton is a forgotten man down in Miami. Are you at all concerned about the team’s ability to keep him long-term?
Ehsan Kassim: Yes and no. Stanton may not want to sign in Miami longterm right now, but I am a huge believer in the saying “money talks.” The Marlins are expected to offer Giancarlo a longterm extension after the season, and as long as it is a fair deal with a large chunk of change, I have a hard time believing Stanton would turn it down. Even a contract extension does not insure Stanton staying longterm, given the past of Loria and company. Overall. I’d peg it as less than a 15% chance Stanton is in Miami in 5 years.
Wahoo’s on First: Are you surprised the Marlins didn’t make any moves at the deadline? Do you think there was a move they should have made that didn’t come together?
Ehsan Kassim: I was a bit surprised, but not really. The Fish had mentioned numerous times they wanted to stay the course. I felt they overvalued relievers like Chad Qualls, Steve Cishek, and Mike Dunn. I wished the Marlins were more open to listening to offers on those three and taking the right deal. I believe they went into the deadline with the mindset that they didn’t really want to make any moves and followed through with that. As for any deals that never came to fruition, I believe they tried to shop Polanco, but came up unsuccessful in the end.
Wahoo’s on First: Who is pitching for the Marlins this weekend and what can we expect out of them?
Ehsan Kassim: Jose Fernandez has pitched really well in his rookie season, despite never pitching above High-A coming into the season. He has struck out over 9 a start, including a career high 13 his last time out against the Pirates. He has an above average fastball and curveball and his changeup is developing nicely as well. The only thing better than Fernandez’s pitching in 2013 has been his amazing story on how he got to where he is now. His 5 year ride from escaping Cuba to pitching in the big leagues is something every baseball fan needs to read about.
Jacob Turner has turned things around after having an abysmal spring training, one that got him demoted to Triple-A to start the season. Turner is striking out the most hitters he has in the big leagues and has impressed with his 2.65 ERA and 3.31 FIP since his callup. Turner is not the same pitcher he was coming out of high school, but he has proven to still be a pretty damn good one.
Nathan Eovaldi has an impressive fastball, one that has sat around 96-97 since his return from the DL. Although his ERA is a respectable 3.47, there are many questions surrounding his stuff, as he has struggled with striking out hitters and walked too many hitters in 2013. Eovaldi needs to do a better job with his command and he will be a fine pitcher down the road.
Wahoo’s on First: What’s your prediction for the series?
Ehsan Kassim: Like the Indians, the Marlins are playing well right now. While the offense continues to lag behind, their pitching has carried them to a 28-24 record since June 1st. I think the Marlins take two out of three, which sounds like a strong biased pick, but the Marlins did recently just take two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates.