Fish Bites: Trade Talk and Payroll Concerns

MIAMI, FL - JULY 27: Josh Johnson #55 and Mark Buehrle #56 iof the Miami Marlins watch the action from the dugout in the ninth inning during a game against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on July 27, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Padres defeated the Marlins 7-2. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

The Miami Marlins have been quiet for the past four days with regards to trade talk, as the team could very well be done dealing for now. But the Fish have still been the target of many rumors, and the concerns of trades have now spilled over into payroll discussion once more.

- You cannot be surprised that, of all people, Yahoo's Jeff Passan was the one who brought up the idea that the Marlins are planning to cut payroll in the future.

While the Marlins aren't in full-on dump mode, they're also far more concerned about beyond the 2013 season than next year, according to executives who have inquired about Johnson. Because they plan to cut payroll next year, the executives said, the Marlins are focusing on young, cheap players rather than major-league talent.

Excuse if Passan's history of biased, spiteful views towards owner Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins organization leave me a bit skeptical about the accuracy of this statement. Sure, we as Marlins fans are prepared for payroll to eventually drop, as long as it does not fall to pre-2010 or 2011 levels. But as Strip Club With Stanton points out, Passan jumped on the fire sale narrative head-first at the first sign of trouble. If that doesn't tell you that he is more interested in blasting a team he doesn't like (due to the ownership), I don't know what does.

- Meanwhile, it is looking less and less likely that the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, especially after the righty's start from yesterday in which he threw a career high six walks. The most logical trade candidate was the Texas Rangers, but according to Scott Miller of CBSSports, they seem more interested in Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields now. Similarly, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported via Twitter that neither the Rangers nor the Boston Red Sox are interested in Johnson at the price the Marlins want. Both of these reports mean that it is likely the Fish will keep Johnson through the 2013 season, as it makes no sense for the team to trade him in the offseason and waste his 2012 value. Once again, this makes sense because, if the Marlins are looking to remain competitive next season, they will need a pitcher like Johnson.

- For his part, Johnson has been mostly unconcerned about the trade rumors, which is good.

- Logan Morrison was placed on the DL with a knee injury, essentially a re-aggravation of his old knee injury that kept him out of Spring Training. For the moment, the plan is to sit out a few weeks and see how well he feels after some rest, but if the knee does not improve, surgery could become an option and thus keep Morrison off the field for the rest of the season. That is another major blow to an already crippled Marlins starting lineup.

- The good news is with one knee going bad, another knee may be healing up nicely. Giancarlo Stanton is set to start a rehab assignment in the minors this Wednesday, with a target goal of August 10 for his return. If that is the case, then Stanton will have missed a little more than a month following knee surgery to remove "loose bodies."

- Nathan Eovaldi had a nice start over the weekend for the Fish, but he has yet to become acclimated with south Florida. He's still living in a hotel and only has his travel gear with him. Typical rookie.

Around the League

- Over the weekend, a number of trades were made, and (surprise surprise!) none of them involved Marlins players. Take that, fire sale narrative! Among the things that happened, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired third baseman Chris Johnson even though he is not any good. It took the guy a .360 BABIP to hit .279/.329/.428 (.329 wOBA). Not a good sign.

- Also, the Chicago White Sox picked up Francisco Liriano from the Minnesota Twins. Liriano has been off-and-on for about five seasons now, but the White Sox decided to take a gamble on him.

- Of course, the big deal was the Zack Greinke trade to the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels gave up top 100 prospect middle infielder Jean Seguera and two other minor leaguers, displaying the sort of return less than one year of a pitcher can yield. Still, it was probably the right amount for the Brewers, as it gives them someone to play at shortstop for a change.

- If you're a fan of a little schadenfreude, or if you just want to watch something funny, here is a clip of all nine Colorado Rockies defenders forgetting the out count and continuing to play after the third out.

At Fish Stripes

- On Friday, we wondered whether it was time for Larry Beinfest and company to be replaced. To answer that question, we went over some of his old trades and signings to see if the team was at a clear win or loss in these deals.

- Another week, and another Weekly Ichthyomancy Champion was crowned. Check out the latest weekly update.

- I debuted a new potential shirt design for the Fish Stripes T-Shirt store. Tell me what you guys think; if you like it, it will go up at the store for purchase soon!

- Let's recognize some FanPosts from this past weekend. My old partner in crime from my days at Marlin Maniac, nny, wrote up a piece regarding the Marlins' four-year payroll breakdown.

- Meanwhile, just recently, Fish Stripes regular Jigokusabre said that the Marlins should try and acquire disgruntled starter Josh Beckett from the Boston Red Sox.

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