The Miami Marlins have already sent their most available "big name" trade chip in Ricky Nolasco. The team also has relievers like Chad Qualls and Ryan Webb available for acquisition before this year's MLB trade deadline. But the biggest names on the roster among teams interested in trading are still not available, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest made it clear the organization remains open for business on the trade front, but that they also aren’t necessarily to unload any of their core players.
The two "core players" discussed in the article are Giancarlo Stanton and Steve Cishek, who both remain mostly unavailable this season. We have discussed Stanton's situation before, and the Marlins have repeated claims that they are uninterested in sending the slugger away this year. But Frisaro opens up the possibility of this offseason being crucial for the Marlins in the long-term future of Stanton in Miami.
This is intriguing for a number of reasons. On the one hand, the mention of a multi-year offer makes it more likely tat the Fish will at least offer Stanton a long-term contract that buys out free agent seasons. Many franchises signed their superstars before the first year of arbitration, and most of those contracts buy out three free agent seasons as six-year deals. Of course, even a six-year contract will not keep rumors of Stanton's departure away, and the Marlins' policy of no no-trade clauses in their contracts will become a special point of contention in possible negotiations with Stanton, but this type of move would at least be encouraging for the franchise.
It is worth noting that Hanley Ramirez's six-year contract with the Fish began in his first arbitration season and was a major discount when compared to his value, at least until the end of his Marlins career.
As for the other name, Frisaro drops an interesting tidbit regarding the Marlins' desired return on Steve Cishek.
Frisaro agrees with the contention I laid out in Cishek's trade profile that the reliever holds good trade value because of his team-controlled seasons. But in my article, I said that Cishek held about $8 million in trade value, which would be good for a fringe top-100 prospect in a trade. An example of such players includes guys like Jesse Biddle of the Phillies (88), Leonys Martin of the Rangers (95), or Bruce Rondon of the Tigers (97).
But Frisaro said that the Marlins would chase an acquiring team's best prospect, and he lists the example of Tigers third base prospect Nick Castellanos. Castellanos has been trade bait for some time because he is blocked at third base by Miguel Cabrera, but he was also the 21st best prospect in baseball by Baseball America heading into this season. In the midseason update, he climbed up to 15th, That is an asset with a value closer to $25 million rather than $8 million.
Part of the disparity is the potential that closers are overvalued by front offices (or undervalued by sabermetric evaluations). Were Cishek considered a two-win pitcher each season rather than a one-win pitcher, he would be worth the kind of value Frisaro points out here. Thus, it is a matter of how much opposing teams value a potential young closer, and that leaves only clubs who are currently looking at a closer in the market for CIshek's high price.
The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox would be the two major suitors. For the Tigers, it seems like Castellanos would be the price, which would be a steep one for Detroit. For the Red Sox, the best similar fit would be Jackie Bradley, who ranked 21st in this season's Baseball America midseason update.
Would either team offer such a high payday? Stay tuned to all of your Miami Marlins trade rumor needs here and find out!