The Miami Marlins just completed a deal to send Edward Mujica to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for third baseman prospect Zack Cox, but the team quickly turned around and dealt another piece to another NL Central team. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Marlins have traded 2012 Opening Day first baseman Gaby Sanchez to the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for outfield prospect Gorkys Hernandez and the Pirates's competitive balance draft pick.
Official: Sanchez deal to— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2012
#Pirates is done.
Gaby Sanchez started the season expected to be around a league average first baseman. He then hit .202/.250/.306 (.244 wOBA) in 196 PA to start the year and the Marlins quickly demoted him twice to Triple-A due to his struggles. He has hit .302/.431/.491 (.405 wOBA) in 144 PA in Triple-A New Orleans.
The Fish had to be concerned that Sanchez had lost all value and ability, but the team had a conundrum in that, were he to reach and stay at the major league level for a small amount of time for the remainder of the year, he would likely reach Super Two status and be eligible for arbitration next season. Given his poor performance, the Marlins were unlikely to tender a contract to him and were looking to trade him for any value.
UPDATE (3:30 PM EST): According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports, the Marlins will also send minor league pitcher Kyle Kaminska in the Pittsburgh deal.
going w. gaby to pitt is minor league pitcher kyle kaminska— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2012
Gorkys Hernandez arrived in Pittsburgh as part of the trade that sent Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves a few years ago. Once upon a time, Hernandez had prospect value, as he had reached a ranking of 62nd on Baseball America's top 100 prospects list before 2009. Since then, he has lingered in Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis for the Pirates and hit at about the same level at each level. Hernandez is a career .276/.332/.346 hitter in Double-A and a .274/.350/.375 hitter in Triple-A, but he was always better known as a strong glove in the outfield. Hernandez has spent the majority of his minor league career in center field.
The competitive balance pick the Pirates are sending is the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 MLB First Player draft, so this selection is just outside of the first round. Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that the slot recommendation for that selection is around $1.5 million.
The draft pick has not apparently been fully agreed upon, but if the Marlins do pick it up, such a selection should hold value akin to the compensation sandwich picks of the old collective bargaining agreement. Such selections were worth around $2 million in surplus value, so that is where most of the return lies for the Fish, as Hernandez himself holds little value as a former top prospect.
Ultimately, this trade just accomplishes the task of dumping Sanchez for any value without playing him further in the majors and risking him reaching Super Two status. Let the Pirates figure out how they will manage that dilemma, as the Marlins are only interested in picking up anything they can from a player who fell so hard from good standing in just under 200 PA.