MIAMI -- Uncertainty followed Carlos Lee into the Marlins' clubhouse on Friday afternoon.
The subject of trade speculation, Lee saw he was in the lineup, playing first base and batting cleanup. But that was a few hours before the first pitch against the Mets at Marlins Park, and about seven hours from the waiver-claim Trade Deadline.
"There's always going to be a lot of rumors out there, about who's available, who's not available," Lee said.
Lee has a no-trade clause, so he would have been contacted to approve or deny a potential trade. Teams like the Giants are searching for a right-handed hitter. Earlier this year, Lee blocked proposed deals to the Dodgers and Yankees.
The veteran, who is a free agent after the season, says he enjoys playing in Miami. And he is open to signing for 2013.
"This is a really nice team," Lee said. "We have a great clubhouse, a great bunch of guys. I don't know what the plans are for the organization. But they can put together a really nice team next year."
Lee has been a steady run producer for the Marlins since he was obtained from the Astros on July 4 for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen.
In 50 games with Miami, he has 33 RBIs, after he drove in 29 in 66 games with Houston.
"I like it here," Lee said. "Let's put it that way. I like it here."
Marlins likely to wait a day for callups
MIAMI -- The September callup period begins on Saturday, but don't expect any immediate moves by the Marlins.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said Sunday is the likely day the club will bring a couple of players up.
A strong possibility is third baseman Zack Cox, who has been playing at Double-A Jacksonville since being acquired from the Cardinals' organization on July 31 for reliever Edward Mujica.
In 23 games for the Suns, Cox is batting .256 with six doubles, one triple, one home run and 13 RBIs.
A first-round pick out by the Cardinals out of the University of Arkansas in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Cox is a left-handed-hitting third baseman who could factor into the mix at the hot corner for Miami in 2013.
The team also is expected to bring up a Triple-A reliever. Evan Reed and Alex Sanabia are possibilities.
"It's not going to be that many," Guillen said. "They're going to find the names who should be here, who earned it."
Guillen feels too many times players are promoted because of reputation, rather than earning the callup.
"I'm very against that; you're here because we like you," Guillen said. "I think kids in the Minor Leagues should deserve and earn being in the big leagues. It's not easy to come here."
Marlins showing signs of improvement
MIAMI -- Wins aren't coming as regularly as the Marlins would like, but there have been signs of improvement.
The Marlins enter their weekend series with the Mets having won two of their last three. Manager Ozzie Guillen is seeing a more relaxed Miami club.
"Right now, I think they're playing loose," Guillen said. "It's always fun when you know you're playing good and when your team performs better, no matter if you win or lose. You know you're going to compete."
The final month offers more opportunity for players to show they belong. And shortly after the season, the front office will meet and decide who will be part of the plans for 2013.
The organization has to be able to sit back after the season to accurately evaluate, rather than make hasty decisions.
"Right now, if you are going to evaluate players, I don't think that's a nice way to do it," Guillen said. "If you have a meeting about players right now, after the way we've played all year long, with all the expectations ... you're not going to make the right decision, because you'll be making it with your heart and not with your brains. Because you're going to hate everyone."
Right now, the club is a mixture of veterans and younger players. John Buck is splitting the catching duties with Rob Brantly, a 23-year-old just now getting a taste of the big leagues. The starting rotation has two rookies -- Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Turner.
"We've got to be patient and we've got to be very realistic about what kind of ballclub we're going to have in the future," Guillen said.
Eovaldi, 22, has impressive stuff. His fastball regularly reaches the upper 90s. But he struggles with command, which has led to trouble and short outings. And Turner, 21, has just two starts since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans.
Guillen noted that both still have to earn a spot in the 2013 rotation.
"We're not saying we're going with them next season," the manager said. "We're looking at them this season to see if they can help us next season. What I'm looking for is strikes.
"They're going to compete for a job next year. This year, we want them to get their feet wet."
Loria taking wait-and-see approach with Marlins
MIAMI -- Shortly after the season ends, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will sit down with his baseball people and figure out which direction the club will go in 2013.
For now, he is taking a wait-and-see approach. Clearly the team has disappointed, and a new direction will be mapped out.
"I want to see what comes from the team that's underperformed," Loria said.
The owner also will be observing the energy level of the players.
Loria said on Friday that he has some ideas about what to do to move forward, but he doesn't plan on making any hard decisions before the season ends.
"I have in my mind some thoughts," the owner said. "We have some very good pieces here, very good elements and very good parts to this team. There are some guys who have performed very well. Others haven't, and we have to look at it. Maybe there were aberrations. You've got to be very careful. You don't want to say, 'Well, this guy doesn't work,' and then he goes elsewhere and he does work.
"I have to tell you honestly, I haven't assessed blame. I'm not looking at it that way."
There is speculation that president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest's job is in jeopardy, and Loria was asked directly about it.
"That is not a fair question," the owner said. "That's not a fair question about anybody's jobs."
Marlins Notebook, Aug. 31, 2012 This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.