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Off Day Prospect Talk: What's Next?

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The Marlins are off today, for the first time since the All-Star break - and it's a welcomed break. Rumors continue to surround this team. A trade seems imminent, although the rumored trade including A.J. Burnett is sure taking awhile to come to be.

What happens when A.J. leaves? If Lowell and/or Encarnacion depart too, who's going to be left to play?

With regards to Burnett and the starting rotation, not much is likely to change once he goes. They may receive a starter in return, but it's more likely that Olsen and Vargas (who were very recently minor league prospects) will stick and that Ismael Valdez will return from injury. If not, Josh Johnson and Yorman Bazardo are probably ready to be thrown into the fire. Well, maybe they're not quite ready, but there may be no other choice.

One player who likely is ready, and may see his opportunity come earlier than next spring, is outfielder Jeremy Hermida. Baseball America recently named Hermida the Marlins best minor leaguer. This isn't exactly new, as he held the same title coming into the season - but it's nice to see that he's maintained that lofty standing throughout the year. If Lowell or Encarnacion is traded, Hermida will likely be called up as the replacement (to replace Encarnacion directly and to fill in for Cabrera in left field - as Cabrera would likely move back ot the infield if Lowell leaves).

With Hermida, it's just a matter of time. If he's not called up to play a significant role this month, he likely will be by September, or at the latest by the start of next season. All that remains to be seen is if he'll be able to start off his big league career like Miguel Cabrera has. Farily or not, Hermida comes up with similarly high expectations.