Stanton, Morrison off limits

MIAMI — With Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison regarded as “off limits,” the Marlins are finding it difficult to trade for frontline starting pitching.

Miami pursued Gio Gonzalez for more than a month, but Oakland’s asking price always included either Stanton or Morrison.

Becauses the Marlins are not willing to part with either, they are finding it difficult to lure in a legitimate All-Star pitcher.

If the Marlins had more high-end prospects, perhaps they would have been able to swing a deal for Gonzalez. They don’t, and the A’s on Thursday dealt their All-Star left-hander to the Nationals.

Miami’s search for a frontline starter continues.

For Gonzalez, the Marlins were willing to part with any number of their top Minor Leaguers. They just weren’t willing to do it at the expense of their every day lineup.

So what’s next?

Javier Vazquez, who had a remarkable second half, maintains he is retiring. The Marlins aren’t expecting him back, and they’re looking in other directions.

Left-hander Joe Saunders has been mentioned, but don’t count on it.

The Marlins already signed Mark Buehrle, who is not overpowering. They aren’t looking to have two soft-tossing southpaws, especially for the $7 million that Saunders commands.

Keep in mind, Miami seeks a top of the rotation pitcher, not just an innings eater.

James Shields is in the mix, but not at the price of Stanton or Morrison.

Wandy Rodriguez and Roy Oswalt may be more realistic options.

As of now, the Marlins’ rotation is Josh Johnson, Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Chris Volstad. Lefty Wade LeBlanc was obtained by the Padres to add experienced depth.

Clearly, the Marlins would like to add another established arm, but they won’t force the issue. If need be, they may continue their search into Spring Training, ideally finding someone before Opening  Day.

Joe Frisaro

 

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