Trading veteran players to contending teams in exchange for young talent is something the Miami Marlins have taken pride in. With the July 31 trading deadline over a month away, the front office once again has some decisions to make.
Prior to the start of the season, manager Mike Redmond was confident with the bullpen that he was given. Miami's bullpen rarely has featured big names, however the 'pen has kept the team in close games for the past several seasons.
Heading into 2013, the plan was clear: Surround closer Steve Cishek with both veteran arms and young and talented prospects who are seeking experience. Miami did just that by signing both Jon Rauch and Chad Qualls during Spring Training.
"When you have a lot of young guys on your staff that is a luxury, having a couple of veteran guys you can punch in there more than one night in a row and know they've been through that already," manager Mike Redmond said in May. "With so many young guys we might need that."
Rauch began the year as the squad's setup man, though he was eventually designated for assignment after posting an earned run average over seven (7.56). Qualls, on the contrary, has posted an ERA of 2.52 and was expected to see time as the Marlins' closer while Steve Cishek was struggling.
Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn, and Cishek are among the relievers whose names have appeared on lists of players who could potentially be traded. According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, however, it seems the Fish are open to trading Webb, but not Cishek or Dunn.
Webb, despite the fact that he has cooled off of late, put together a scoreless innings streak several weeks ago. Acquired in the deal that sent outfielder Cameron Maybin to San Diego, Webb has an ERA of 3.62 after appearing in 28 games. Webb's 16 walks in 32 and a third innings have hurt him, however as a sinker ball pitcher, he could be successful in a spacious ballpark.
Among all of the names mentioned, Dunn's has been the one discussed the most. Miami already has two left-handed pitchers in it's bullpen in Dan Jennings and Edgar Olmos, and Dunn could possibly bring back a Zack Cox-like prospect. Cox was acquired from the Cardinals in a trade that sent Edward Mujica, now the Cardinals' closer, to St. Louis. Dunn has a miniscule ERA (2.86) and has shown that he is capable of retiring both left and right-handed hitters, something he previously struggled with.
Although his name has been mentioned, Cishek is most likely going to remain with the team. Cishek's value was said to decrease when he struggled against lefties and blew several saves. Cishek has saved seven games but has an ERA of four.
Before the season began, the Marlins were reportedly seeking cheap, veteran relief pitchers. As the deadline approaches,as has been the case in recent years, Miami could look to deal some of their veteran bullpen pitchers to contending teams.