The Miami Marlins are parting ways with right-hander David Phelps, a crucial cog in their bullpen, and the Seattle Mariners will pay a steep price to facilitate the trade. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the package headed back to Miami includes prospects Brayan Hernandez, Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez and Lukas Schiraldi. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo confirms that the five-player deal is now official.
Phelps was in his third season with the Fish, working to 3.45 ERA and 3.69 FIP with 51 K in 47.0 IP. He had spent most of 2015 in the starting rotation before emerging as an outstanding setup man last year. The 30-year-old originally joined the organization as part of the same offseason acquisition that brought in Martin Prado.
Phelps is earning $4.6 million in 2017. The Mariners will take on the remainder of that salary, according to Sherman. He also has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining, which surely enhanced his trade value relative to the rental relievers on the market.
Hernandez, a center fielder, was considered Seattle’s sixth-ranked prospect, per MLB.com. He turns 20 in September and has played most of the season at Low-A Everett in the Northwest League. Although performance early in his professional career has been underwhelming, his various tools—both offensively and defensively—give him a relatively high ceiling.
Miller (Seattle’s No. 16 prospect) and Lopez (No. 22) are right-handed pitchers. The Marlins see both as potential major league starters, Sherman tweets. Drafted only a year ago in the sixth round, the 22-year-old Miller had been at Single-A Clinton. Lopez was a level above him (High-A Modesto) and posting some sparkling peripherals—100.0 IP, 6 HR, 89/13 K/BB—despite a bloated earned run average.
Right-hander Lukas Schiraldi turns 24 later this month and pitched alongside Lopez in Modesto. He hasn’t been highly regarded as a prospect and struggles with command (16.1 BB% in 2017), but at least comes with MLB pedigree. Schiraldi’s father, Calvin, pitched for the Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres and Rangers from 1984-1991.
None of these players are particularly close to gaining major league experience, but that was Miami’s preference, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has learned. The front office initially agreed to a deal involving Max Povse, a rookie right-hander who debuted on June 22. Two prospects were inserted into the transaction instead.
Phelps was far from the only trade candidate on the Marlins roster. The club should at the very least gauge interest in other veteran members of the pitching staff as the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches. Sherman reports that negotiations for AJ Ramos could heat up as about 10 buyers remaining interested.
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