MLB trade rumors: Trade prospects of Justin Ruggiano

USA TODAY Sports

With Ricky Nolasco out of town, the trade winds roll towards Justin Ruggiano who has been linked to a few potential playoff teams.

As mentioned in a recent piece in the Sun Sentinel, power-hitting outfielder Justin Ruggiano could possibly be the next name to move on from South Beach in a potential deal. While the team reportedly isn't keen on the idea of dealing their power-hitting righty (leads the team with 12 home runs) despite multiple opportunities with teams like the Yankees, Rangers, Giants, and Pirates who are all seeking outfield depth as they make their postseason push.

Since arriving in Miami during the 2012 season, Ruggiano has been inconsistent in terms of overall efficency at the plate but has always had the knack for the long-ball. After being acquired from the Astros in May of that year, Ruggiano was probably one of the more efficient power bats in the Marlins lineup with a solid line of .313/.374/.532 while also hitting 13 home runs.

The power has kind of stayed with the right handed outfielder throughout the 2013 season but the efficiency that fans loved in 2012 has decreased immensely. The 12 home runs stack up rather nicely compared to the previous season but the rest of his offense has crumbled up quite a bit when you look at the following split ( .220/.286/.402). A big reason for that downfall can be mainly blamed on the fact that he's hitting into a lot more ground balls (47.3 percent ground ball rate in 2013 compared to 41.2 percent in 2012). Now that may seem like a simple explanation for this sudden drop-off but that's the only real statistic that changed dramatically between the two seasons.

While his offensive production has decreased during the season, Ruggiano is still one of the better defensive outfielders with the ability and range to play all three positions. That defensive expertise will make teams more intrigued with Ruggiano as an overall trade possibility. With that said, Miami is hesitant towards dealing Ruggiano because of the uncertainty surrounding Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich. The team could decide to bring up either or both of those two prospects as we get closer to September but it would be tricky because neither of them are currently on Miami's 40 man roster.

Personally, I would prefer to keep Ruggiano around because of his solid defensive production and because of the simple fact that nobody's really sure what kind of value the team could get out of dealing Ruggiano after the Nolasco deal. While it's possible that a solid prospect could return to Miami in a pending deal, it's basically impossible to predict the future of a team that's run by Jeffrey Loria.

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