Marlins Mailbag: International players, trade opportunities, Bour vs. lefties

Justin Bour has 11 career home runs, all against right-handed pitchers.

Steve Mitchell/Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

For all your burning Marlins questions,‘s Christina De Nicola is here to answer anything and everything regarding the team.

You can follow De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at

@Ep3na: Any news on the Marlins signing any big international players?

The Marlins have yet to sign a big-name international player, but I think it’s only a matter of time. Then again, bidding gets really high on the free market. See Yasiel Puig ($42 million), Jose Abreu ($68 million) and Hector Olivera ($62.5 million). It’s tough to hang with the organizations with large pockets. I always find it interesting to see visiting players come to Marlins Park and legions of family members and friends waiting for them after the game. No doubt in my mind they would love to play in South Florida for them. Most would feel at home in the area. But what about guys at the beginning of their careers? Last week, Miami announced the signing of not-yet-known players from Venezuela: outfielders Jose Vilera and Wilkerman Ruskin as well as catcher Luis Alcaya. Six from the Dominican Republic also agreed to contracts: outfielder Mario Prensa, left-hander Edison Suriel, shortstops Juan Urena and Emanuel Rodriguez as well as right-handers Rainer Rodriguez and Edward Cabrera.

@Bschillter_02: Are there any players the Marlins may look to acquire?

At 13 games under .500 with the second-worst winning percentage in the majors, don’t expect the Marlins to be buyers. But when they sell, they’ll likely be shipping off players that won’t be back next season anyways. Right-hander Dan Haren and Mat Latos will both be free agents come October. With rookies Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino waiting in the wings, it makes sense to get something back for Haren and Latos. Perhaps a nearly big-league ready bat in return. It’ll be interesting to see if right-handed reliever Steve Cishek becomes valuable if he continues to bounce back as he has so far. Arbitration eligible again, he isn’t a free agent until 2018. The closer it gets to the deadline the more desperate teams will be for help. Don’t expect to see key cogs of the club on the trade block because the foundation is still there to compete next year. I’m sure everyone in the Marlins organization would love to restart this season. Close the roof on Opening Day and try to avoid injuries to four starting pitchers, Giancarlo Stanton, Michael Morse and Martin Prado.

@CLIFFMOSKOWITZ: Why won’t they let Justin Bour start against lefties?

I’ve seen this question on various forms of social media. The simple answer is this: splits. While Bour is a .284 hitter against righties, he has just a .167 clip against southpaws in his career. All 11 of his homers have come off right-handers. Lefty-lefty matchups can be very, very difficult on left-handed batters, especially when the pitcher has a tricky delivery — as well as pitches — to pick up. Even if a batter is on a hot streak, the odds aren’t likely in his favor. With Michael Morse back but possibly headed to the outfield with Marcell Ozuna in the minors, expect to see Jeff Baker start at first with a lefty on the mound. Over 11 big-league seasons, Baker is a proven commodity. He is a .296 hitter against southpaws.

@paatkinson: When are the Marlins getting ball girls?

Very funny that you should ask this! When I was younger, I remember wanting so badly to be a ball girl. I played softball and religiously followed Major League Baseball. Naturally, in my opinion, my next move was to be on the field and play catch with the outfielders in between innings and retrieve foul balls. I remember seeing certain clubs utilize girls in that capacity. Since there was such a quick turnaround between this question and the publication of this Q&A, I didn’t get a chance to email the Marlins about this. I will say, however, that Marlins president David Samson would be a great person to reach out to and find out whether this could be a possibility!