As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
Miami Marlins: , 42-51, 4th in the NL East
Oh, the Marlins. While their record may not be something all too inspiring, they certainly have kept baseball interesting with the circus of potential new owners. I’m personally rooting for a Derek Jeter/Pitbull duo. Let a girl dream. It’s also a wonder how a team with a lot of promising young young talent can be so...lackluster. With that being said, there’s one way the Marlins can keep their performing players, well, performing: pitching.
The starting rotation is currently averaging a 5.46 ERA. It’s not as simple as, “buy a big name pitcher and everything will end happily ever after.” The Marlins need to invest in pitching prospects that the team can capitalize on for a longer period. It also doesn’t hurt to bring more staples to the team instead of a bunch of transient players who could change uniforms very soon.
“Rebuilding” is a sexy word. It elicits anxiousness, excitement, and hope when spoken in the vicinity of a baseball franchise. It causes a ruckus and can fake or inflate the probability of change. But to think Miami needs a rebuild is jumping the shark (er, rather, the Marlin), because the team isn’t destitute on quality players. They need to be focused on acquiring the right players. So a rebuild? Not plausible. Maybe just some drywall.
What moves have they made so far?
What was potentially the most important move for the Marlins before the season was made in the cold air of the offseason. Miami acquired right-handed pitcher Dan Straily in a deal with Cincinnati for RHPs Luis Castillo and Austin Brice as well as outfielder Isaiah White. His 3.49 ERA and 1.129 WHIP have been consistent forces for the defense.
In late June, the Fish dealt their defense-minded shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to Tampa Bay for two minor leaguers, right-handed pitcher Ethan Clark and outfielder Braxton Lee. Though the return wasn’t awe-inspiring, Miami was able to save some cash in making it.
The club traded reliever David Phelps to the Mariners for four minor leaguers on Thursday, with outfielder Brayan Hernandez headlining the package. It’s an easy, safe move, and it gets the ball rolling for a more impactfuls deal closer to the deadline.
Are they buyers or sellers?
Jeffrey Loria is still steering the ship, so they’re probably gonna try to you if you’re not a giant neon statue of a loosely perceived marlin. The Marlins are going to be active sellers, especially closer to the deadline. They’ve already started with reliever
The Cubs have already established themselves as the big spenders this deadline and could be a good trade partner with the Marlins, moving on someone like Christian Yelich to keep their outfield young. The Marlins have one of the worst farm systems in the league, so if they want the future to be less abysmal they need to start there.
Who could they trade?
There’s the obvious thought of Giancarlo Stanton. And they’re been rumors to back that theory up, but moving his gigantic contract is an undertaking only a few of teams will be able to afford. He’s unlikely to go before the deadline.
Loria has already gone public in saying that the team will not deal it’s big franchise players, so it’s more likely those guys will be dealt this winter when a new owner has control. Still, interested teams will reach out and try to snag big-time fish, pun intended.
Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna have been the latest candidates to draw trade attention. Yelich’s performance in the World Baseball Classic drew a lot of eyes on him early in the season from the likes of the Yankees and Cardinals.
There were whispers early of the Yankees being interested in acquiring Justin Bour, but those seemed to have fizzled out. The Yankees aren’t looking for another first baseman right now and Bour doesn’t have free agent eligibility until 2021.
Now that the Yankees have swooped up Todd Frazier to fill the real estate at their hot corner, they’re out of the running for Martin Prado. However, the Red Sox, having just released Pablo Sandoval, could now pursue the veteran third baseman more than ever. Boston’s farm system is strong, so the Marlins would be able to swap Prado for some value pieces, especially young arms.
Relievers will be key to this deadline for the Marlins, who, after trading Phelps, will likely move closer A.J. Ramos. Kyle Barraclough, Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler could all theoretically find new homes too.
The loss of Jose Fernandez last season was devastating on a multitude of levels that will never become easier to process in the conceivable future. If there’s anything the Marlins have ever been consistent at, it’s being painfully below average and difficult to watch. The Marlins moving Stanton, no matter how tantalizing the offer, seems far-fetched. The perfect storm of such a high contract, such a huge name to Miami, and the Marlins not having an official new owner yet makes this deal seem unlikely to go down.
However Gordon and Prado relocating is a bit more realistic. Teams such as the Yankees and Phillies are coming out of the woodwork for Gordon. He could garner a fair prospect return from the Yankees, because Philadelphia would probably be reluctant to deal the type of talent it would take to get Gordon. To really gut the Yankees’ farm system, the deal would have to include Yelich as well. If a blockbuster move is made, my guess is it’ll be done hours before the deadline.
While I’m not counting anything out, if the Marlins deal Stanton or Yelich they may have to face the real possibility of a mass exodus of fans. Not a good look for a franchise already struggling to get baseball lovers in stadium seats. The franchise is at a very pivotal, very uncertain place right now, and no one is being transparent on what’s going on behind the curtain.
A reliever or two more will move, with maybe Prado, Bour or Gordon seeing the exit as well. Miami is one of the few aggressive sellers out there right now, so things could happen at any time.