Marlins rumors: Miami willing to trade pitching depth for third base

Mike Olt has come up as a trade target for the Marlins. - USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins are still looking for a third baseman for the 2014 season and potentially beyond. The team would not mind finding one via trade, and they would trade their prospect pitching depth to get an option. But who is available?

The Miami Marlins are letting it be known everyday that they are interested in acquiring a third baseman for the 2014 season, and the Fish may be willing to trade from their significant prospect pitching depth to acquire it. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the details.

"We are looking at third basemen via trades, and we are still talking to free agents," Hill said. "Until we find the right fit for us, that search will be ongoing."

"We are not reluctant [to trade pitching]," Hill said. "It depends on who it is, but we are not reluctant. This is why you build and try to create depth, to allow you to do what you need to do to win games at the Major League level."

The Fish could trade a pitching prospect for the right player, and president of baseball operations Michael Hill has an excellent point. You build up organizational depth for two reasons:

1) To ensure the franchise will have five quality homegrown starters for their future seasons, even if a number of prospects fail

2) To utilize some of those players in a potential trade

Failing to capitalize on June team's copious starting pitching would be something of a waste. The club would not be willing to trade Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, or the impressive Andrew Heaney, but the rest of the team's starters would probably be available, including current starters Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner and topped prospect Justin Nicolino.

The problem right now is that there are few options available who would be worth of the Marlins' top assets. Even without considering the team's elite pitching, Miami could not settle for inferior options like Tampa Bay Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez. The club wants someone under significant, cheap team control to trade a prospect like Nicolino, for example.

Frisaro makes mention of a few names.

If the Marlins look at trade possibilities, candidates could include Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox,Danny Valencia of the Orioles and Mike Olt of the Cubs. Sean Rodriguez of the Rays also would fit the mold as a versatile player who could fill several roles.

Of the options listed, the most realistic may be Valencia, but the best option may be Mike Olt of the Chicago Cubs. Olt came over in the Matt Garza trade from last season and, while he has worked throug his fair share of troubles in the minors, he remains a strong bat and a capable defender at third base. The Cubs are rife with position player prospects, including top draft pick Kris Bryant, so it seems reasonable that Olt's time as apart of the Cubs' plans is short.

Miami has discussed Will Middlebrooks in theist, and while he is an excellent fit on the roster, the Boston Red Sox have no need to trade him for the sort of return e Fish are offering. A contending club like Boston would not likely be interested in a platter of prospects who are not ready yet, and their Major League rotation is stocked with talent and in no need of bonus depth. Miami and Boston simply do not line up as good trade partners.

We already mentioned earlier that Miami may not need a replacement option at third base in 2014 given the status of soon-to-be-ready prospect Colin Moran. A signing of a free agent would spend money, but trading for a player requires using harder-to-renew assets like pitching prospects. Indeed, the Marlins would need a player who will stick around for the long haul and could move to first base in a year row two once Moran is ready. Again, the best fits are Middlebrooks and Olt, but Olt looks like the easier trade at is point. We will have to keep an eye on Miami's interests as the offseason rolls on.

What do you Fish Stripers think? Are these players good targets for Miami for their vacant third base spot? What should the Fish send back in return?

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