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Marlins willing to trade Andrew Heaney

The organization's top pitching prospect struggled in his first few major league starts, and the Marlins are willing to trade the lefty if the offer is right.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Last July Andrew Heaney was untouchable, but according to's Joe Frisaro, the Marlins will listen to offers on Heaney if they feel the return is right. The organization is still looking for a veteran starting pitcher and first and second base options, which can all likely be added to the roster in a trade that involves Heaney.

Nathan Eovaldi, Hand and Andrew Heaney, the team's No. 1 prospect, could be available for the right offer. The progression of lefty Justin Nicolino has the club willing to listen on offers for Heaney.

Miami took Heaney with the ninth overall pick in 2012, and has been confident he will be a front of the rotation arm at some point in the future. Having already lost Jose Fernandez last May, the Marlins elected to give Heaney an opportunity. In five major league starts, Heaney posted a 5.83 ERA and 5.45 FIP in 29.1 innings. He did not appear to fall behind in counts consistently, however he was criticized for being unable to keep the ball in park (1.84 HR/9).

Heaney is just 23-years old, and when he gets another major league opportunity, should find more success. Much more promising was the 3.87 and 3.89 ERA and FIP he posted in 83.2 Triple-A innings, respectively. Heaney appeared to have deserved a promotion after posting a 2.35 ERA and 2.46 FIP in eight Double-A starts, and if he isn't traded, could have a chance to win a rotation spot this spring.

Although Justin Nicolino has progressed nicely, the Marlins might be in a better position moving forward if they hold onto both. Nicolino spent 2014 in Double-A, posting a 2.85 ERA and 3.44 FIP in 170.1 innings. He is the same age as Heaney, and similarly quickly moved throughout the minor league systems of Toronto and Miami. Holding onto both lefties would give the Marlins, who are looking for a balance of right and left-handed starters, rotation options in the seasons to come.

While Heaney is closer to becoming a major league starter, both would likely benefit from more time in the minor leagues. Miami wants to add a veteran arm this offseason, and by doing so, could give both Heaney and Nicolino more time to develop. The Marlins do have a notable amount of starting pitching depth, although trading even one of the organization's top two arms may not be beneficial.

After losing out on Adam LaRoche, the Marlins find themselves in a position where trading for a first baseman might be the most logical. Michael Morse returning to South Florida is a possibility, but Allen Craig and Evan Gattis are among realistic trade options. If Miami traded Heaney for offense, the return could be significant. But trading away a top pitching prospect might not be worth it.