Logan Morrison is the Miami Marlins' only Major League first baseman, but that has not stopped him from being a part of numerous trade rumors.
The Marlins initially received a lot of interest in Morrison during the GM meetings, and the team is considering trading him this offseason. Then again, Miami has no ready replacement for him, and while rumors abound about them pursuing a free agent first baseman like Mike Napoli, the most likely Marlins first baseman to open up the 2014 season is almost certainly Morrison. Should Miami look to trade him when they have no one else to turn to right now?
Well, if they do, they apparently have suitors. Now the Milwaukee Brewers are among those suitors, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
The source noted that there is a slight chance that the Marlins non-tender Morrison on Monday, but a trade involving the 26-year old is considered the more likely scenario. The Milwaukee Brewers are among the teams who are expected to pursue Morrison in trade talks, and the Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays could also jump in to fill their first base needs, according to the source.
The list is not surprising, as these are the teams that have been on the hunt for a first baseman all offseason. Morrison and the Marlins would have to compete with a number of free agents for those suitors, as Napoli, James Loney, Justin Morneau, and Corey Hart are still available in the free agent market. Considering that Morrison, coming off an injury-shortened .242/.333/.375 (.312 wOBA) season at the plate, is going to cost an acquiring team assets, it may be best for the Fish to wait out the free agent market and see where those chips fall before seriously pursuing a trade. In that case, the Marlins would absolutely have to tender Morrison a contract and probably negotiate or settle on an arbitration number by that point.
But if they allow those free agents to sign elsewhere, what do the Fish then do with their first base situation? They did not protect Mark Canha, the team's most ready first base prospect, from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, and he may not be ready to take on a full-time Major League position anyway. Joe Mahoney is coming off injury but still on the Triple-A roster. The Marlins could move a lesser defensive outfielder like Kyle Jensen to first base. The Major League level only has Greg Dobbs, and the Marlins already know what happens when he plays too much as a miscast starter.
If the Fish consider a Morrison trade, the return from Morrison may not be as important as how the club will acquire a replacement at first base. Teams that acquire Morrison probably do not have a first baseman to give back, and Morrison's trade value is tanking at an all-time low right now anyway. It is difficult to imagine any teams offering much more than low-level, C-ranked prospects for Morrison in return given his injury history and struggles.
The remnants of Miami's first base screw-up continue to haunt the franchise. The team has no depth at first base and has busted two prospects at the position up to this point. If the Fish trade Morrison, they will likely receive scrap parts, but it may be worthwhile given his numerous problems and his known issue with Marlins Park. The franchise would then be left to rebuild yet another position in the infield. Meanwhile, clubs like the Brewers, who got no production from first base and were running Yuniesky Betancourt and Alex Gonzalez at times at the position, will get to switch places with the Marlins in the first base hierarchy.
What do you guys think? Should the Marlins look to trade Morrison? How will they replace him? What could they get for him? Let us know in the comments.
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