The Miami Marlins want to upgrade on their roster in 2015 in order to be better around Giancarlo Stanton. But that means that the Fish do not feel it necessary to trade any of their Major League pieces unless a significant upgrade is coming back in return, at least according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Specifically, closer Steve Cishek and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia have been mentioned as possible candidates for trade, but the Marlins internally feel like there are no replacement options for these players.
In Cishek's case, the Fish do not feel they have a closer internally who is ready to replace him. However, the Fish do have a number of decent relievers on a squad that ranked sixth in FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement last season. Among the relievers featured last season, Miami got good performances out of Mike Dunn, Carter Capps, Chris Hatcher, and to a lesser extent A.J. Ramos and Bryan Morris. Any one of these guys could be asked to move up a slot in what an increasingly packed bullpen picture for the Fish.
The catcher situation is a little murkier. Saltalamacchai struggled last season and is slated to make $15 million over the next two years, but he also is currently the best option available. Jeff Mathis is a career backup, and J.T. Realmuto may be the team's catcher of the future, but he should also be given time to prove that his breakout repeat Double-A season was not a fluke.
The Marlins feel that neither player is tradeable without causing a subsequent downgrade on the roster. They do still, however, recognize that there are things that need fixing. Miami is in line for a front-line starting pitcher to complement Jose Fernandez once he returns from Tommy John surgery and a power bat, preferably one at first base. The team does seem intrigued about possibly acquiring a third baseman and moving Casey McGehee to first, which is why the talk about Chase Headley has come up. The team is also interested in Jed Lowrie to possibly play a position other than shortstop, which could open up second or third base for the team. The club is also considering trading its starting pitching prospects or back-end rotation guys, and that includes Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi. There has been talk about a possible trade to the Texas Rangers involving either Heaney or Eovaldi.
But Miami does not want to open up another hole in their Major League roster by making a move. They can avoid doing that by trading from depth and using their starting pitchers as bait. Heaney is Major League ready, though the Marlins are still afraid of giving him the opportunity despite a stellar minor league season. Eovaldi could be replaced by any number of minor league depth guys until the rotation is at full strength. But the Fish should still consider trading at their other positions, particularly out of the bullpen, if it means upgrading critical areas like in the infield, where the team has no depth. Miami has to be more creative with its efforts to improve on such a small budget.