Marlins' Hill: 'We believe in this core'

Despite rough 1st half, front office remains confident in position players

Marlins' Hill: 'We believe in this core'

PHILADELPHIA -- A disappointing first half hasn't changed the Marlins' opinion about the roster. The front office has the same outlook about the nucleus as it did entering the season.

"We believe in this core," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "I think we're still positioned to take another step this year, and continue to build with [our] talented players."

The Marlins open the second half on Friday at Philadelphia sporting a 38-51 record. They're 11 games behind the Nationals in the N.L. East, and 10 out from the second Wild Card spot.

With the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching, there is an urgency to make a push during their 10-game, three-city road trip.

Hill has made it clear the Marlins aren't actively shopping players under club control past this season. But if something makes sense, the team will consider making trades.

"In my position, you're always working dual paths," Hill said. "We speak with our peers. You always have an understanding of what their needs may be in the marketplace. That's something I don't think we ever stop doing. We always work those dual paths.

"Our goal is to be competitive, year in, year out, and play into October. That will continue to be the goal. But as we work towards the 31st, if there is deal that makes sense for us, moving forward, we'll obviously entertain it. If it's something that works for us, we'll pursue it."

It appears the Marlins aren't close on any deal, but that can change depending on how this 10-game road trip shapes up.

The team is considering dealing right-hander Mat Latos, a free agent after the season. Several teams were in Miami last weekend to scout Latos, but he was scratched from starting on Saturday against the Reds due to a right foot ailment.

Dan Haren, also in the final year of his contract, has been attracting interest as well.

The core of regular positions, however, appears to be in place for next year. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is currently on the disabled list with a broken left hand. Left fielder Christian Yelich is picking things up at the plate after a slow start. Center fielder Marcell Ozuna struggled and was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.

Second baseman Dee Gordon (dislocated left thumb), like Stanton, was voted in as an All-Star starter. Despite his injury, Gordon may be able to avoid a disabled list stint and return soon.

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has played at a high level, and rookie catcher J.T. Realmuto is steadily improving. Third baseman Martin Prado (right shoulder) is close to returning from the disabled list.

"We have controllable pieces that are talented," Hill said. "Those are everyday pieces we're still excited about. Our thought process has not changed, and our evaluation has not changed with any of those players -- still supreme belief in their ability and talent."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.