Miami, as most other teams are, is reluctant to trade within the division. But that did not stop the club from dealing Dan Uggla to Atlanta, and an interdivision trade could become possible for the Marlins moving forward. After officially signing Max Scherzer to a seven-year contract, the Nationals have a crowded rotation. And according to John Perrotto of Baseball America, the Nationals are open to dealing Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg, 26, posted a 3.14 ERA and 2.94 FIP in 215.0 innings pitched with the Nationals last season. He made 34 starts, and despite having to overcome Tommy John surgery, has been a durable option throughout the course of his career. Strasburg's fastball velocity is notable, and he may very well have a solid major league career and end up pitching better than he did before the injury, as is the case with many Tommy John situations.
Although they have not been linked to him, and Washington may be reluctant to deal any member of its starting rotation, Strasburg could make sense for the Marlins. He is still young and is not too expensive, and he could anchor a rotation that is expected to receive a healthy Jose Fernandez in June or July. Miami may need to counter the Nationals' moves if they are chasing a National League East title, and adding Strasburg might be the next necessary move.
Strasburg's health and durability should not be a concern. If any major league club, including the Marlins, is reluctant, it will likely the result of determining if there is a need. Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart, and Tom Koehler are all expected to be in the rotation, with Dan Haren, if he reports, earning the final spot. Brad Hand and David Phelps will also likely be in the mix for a starting job.Contractually, acquiring Strasburg would make sense for the Marlins because Latos will be a free agent at the end of the season, and may not remain in Miami. And the Marlins would most likely benefit from adding Strasburg, as such a move would improve the back end of the rotation. In such a scenario, Koehler could be moved to the bullpen.
Since they have not publicly mentioned the idea of trading a starter, it is unclear the Nationals would request in exchange for Strasburg. A pair of prospects would likely be a starting point, and the Marlins did lose some pitching depth this offseason by dealing Andrew Heaney, Brian Flynn, and Anthony DeSclafani. Justin Nicolino is likely not going to be dealt, and the Marlins are in a position to keep their major league roster in tact in order to compete moving forward.
Washington had one of baseball's best rotations in 2014, and it only got better on Sunday when Scherzer was signed. It is not likely, but if the Marlins want to compete consistently, adding Strasburg may make sense.