The Miami Marlins are looking for help in the infield and particularly at first base and the middle infield. The Texas Rangers are apparently looking for starting pitching. There seems to be something of a match there, and T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported that the Rangers have initiated a discussion.
Rangers expected to talk to Mets about P Jon Niese and Dillion Gee and Marlins: Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi. Mets need SS Marlins 1B— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) December 9, 2014
The Marlins do have a need or a first baseman, and the Rangers have an eternally extra first baseman in Mitch Moreland, but Moreland is of no interest to anyone after three bad seasons. In 1744 plate appearances, he has hit just .252/.316/.430, good for a .323 wOBA that is just three percent below league average. It's a stretch to call him a Major Leaguer at this point.
The more interesting part of a potential Rangers-Marlins deal is the glut of middle infield players the Rangers are currently fielding. Texas has a locked-up shortstop in Elvis Andrus who is struggling to reach his All-Star levels of play from two years ago and is coming off an injury-plagued season. They also have a former top prospect in Jurickson Profar whose value has dropped after a year of struggles. Then they have two other guys in Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas who got cups of coffee and are at varying levels of Major League-ready.
Miami has a clear and evident need to fill depth at second base. The Rangers will eventually try and trade one of their infielders away, and Miami could capitalize by dealing from depth to acquire a near-ready contributor. The Rangers would want to discuss Andrus, who is still locked in for eight more years at $120 million but has question marks going forward. Miami may be more likely to target Odor or Profar, who are team-controlled at cheaper prices but both struggled in their first big-league seasons.
There's a fit somewhere here if both teams want it. A swap of top prospects like Heaney for either Profar or Odor would be interesting and perhaps amenable to all parties. Eovaldi could probably pass off as a one-for-one offer for Odor as well. Sardinas is a lesser player, but a package including him may be worthwhile for Eovaldi as well. The Rangers would, in either scenario, get a ready-made starter, though in Heaney they would get one that's cheaper and controlled for more time. Eovaldi is by no means a sure product right now, but he's pitched 460 Major League innings and has been worth between 1.7 and 2.2 wins per 180 innings. That is a valubale commodity through arbitration.
Should the Marlins make a move for a guy like Jurickson Profar or Rougned Odor, and should it cost Heaney or Eovaldi? Stay tuned here at Fish Stripes for more Winter Meetings coverage!