The Miami Marlins want to appear as contenders, but they are far behind the NL East race at this stage of the game and would require a hefty winning streak to even climb back into the contention conversation. Naturally, that has led to discussion of the Fish becoming a seller in this year's trade deadline market. Among the few assets the Miami Marlins do have is their starting third baseman, Casey McGehee, who is both old enough to be of questionable need for a team still on the upswing and good enough to warrant a trade return of interest.
Seattle has been seeking a right-handed bat and struggling to find the right fit. The M's have been looking mostly at outfielders, such as Alex Rios, Josh Willingham, Marlon Byrd and others, and also have been talking to the Rays about Ben Zobrist. McGehee is mostly a first baseman/third baseman but can play the outfield.
The Mariners are in a race for the last AL Wild Card spot and play in a ridiculously difficult division with the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics in the mix. The team needs bats, and McGehee has certainly provided one this season; he was hitting an impressive .318/.387/.395 (.348 wOBA) this year before last night's game. McGehee's bat has not produced a lot of power, but it has not had to thus far thanks to his absurd BABIP (.365 and counting) and his excellent approach at the plate.
The Mariners' interest in McGehee is understandable, but considering a move to the corner outfield for him may be difficult. He is not the most nimble on his feet, and he has played just one inning of corner outfield in the majors thus far in his career. It might be difficult to ask him to man that position, but the Mariners are already loaded with first basemen and Kyle Seager has a stranglehold at third base.
There is some value in Miami shopping McGehee. He is arbitration eligible next season, meaning he is under team control at a cheap price. Last time he was in arbitration, he earned just $1.5 million, and this year he is earning $1.1 million. That means his salary is not likely to climb much higher than $4 million next year, and he is expected to be about a league-average player. In our trade asset article, we noted that McGehee would be worth around $12 million in trade value.
Would that be enough to pick up a good player from the Mariners? Miami would obviously want to target Nick Franklin, who is playing well in Triple-A but is blocked in the majors. But the Mariners value Franklin highly and could easily give up on Brad Miller, who is not the paragon of excellence at shortstop right now. Franklin would fill Miami's middle infield need, but Seattle is asking for a lot for him; the Oakland A's are said to be in on Franklin but may not have the young talent to make a trade happen. Could Miami be in the same boat?
Prior to working in the majors, Franklin was a mid-to-late top 100 prospect according to most lists. He did not do anything to help his cause in 412 plate appearances last season in the bigs, so you can suspect his trade value should remain the same as his old prospect value at best. The Mariners thus have an asset worth around $11 million according to the seminal Pirates Prospects article updating the prospect valuation work. McGehee is supposedly worth around $12 million in trade value for this year and next, so theoretically, this is a fit for both teams.
However, it seems unlikely that the Mariners will trade Franklin for a player half a season into a career year, and it appears just as unlikely that the Marlins will trade McGehee fo try and fill another spot on the roster. In fact, rumor has it Miami actually wants to extend McGehee beyond the 2015 season.
Stay tuned for all the trade rumors before the deadline, right here on Fish Stripes!