The list of potential trade partners for Christian Yelich is expanding, seemingly daily. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the White Sox are among three teams interested in acquiring Christian Yelich.
Such a trade would make sense for Chicago, as the Sox started their rebuild last year and are in need of an established young player to be a face of their franchise. Yelich would also be peaking as White Sox prospects such as Yoan Moncada should be hitting their stride. The timing works.
The South-Siders could be an ideal trading partner from the Marlins perspective as well. They have one of the top 3 farm systems in baseball thanks in part to the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades last year. The Sox also have the ability take on a salary dump such as Junichi Tazawa or Brad Ziegler, and thereby fit the cost-cutting goals of the Marlins’ already infamous “Project Wolverine”.
Despite several high profile trades that have improved the farm system’s depth, the Marlins still rank in the lower third in baseball primarily since after the dust cleared, the Fish still do not have any of the Top 100 MLB prospects.
A trade with the White Sox could change this.
Chicago’s farm system has a glut of high end outfield talent, which the Fish most certainly need after their recent sell-off.
According to MLB Pipeline, the Sox have three of the top 50 outfield prospects in the game in Eloy Jiminez (Top 100 Prospects (#5), Top 10 OF Prospects (#2)), Luis Robert Top 100 Prospects (#23), Top 10 OF Prospects (#8), and Blake Rutherford Top 100 Prospects (#40).
It is commonly thought that Jiminez, the 5th highest ranking prospect in baseball, is untouchable, but one would think that either Robert or Rutherford would most certainly be included in a Yelich trade. In fact, either of them would immediately become the Marlins’ top overall prospect.
The White Sox do have a highly rated catching project in University of Miami product Zack Collins (Top 10 C Prospects (#6)). He would be very appealing to the Marlins could very soon be another area of need for the Marlins given the Realmuto situation and Collins’ history in the Miami area. However, Chicago does not have deep organizational catching depth, which might make them hesitant.
Another position of strength for Chicago is young right-handed arms. They have 3 of the Top 100 RHP prospects in all of baseball. Michael Kopech Top 100 Prospects (#10), Top 10 RHP Prospects (#2) has one of the highest ranked fastballs in the game (80 on the scouting scale) that has hit 105 mph. He has been well known for his goal to be the hardest thrower of all-time, and reached Triple-A last year and continued to impress.
Other top arms include Dylan Cease Top 100 Prospects (#58), Alec Hanson Top 100 Prospects (#91), and recent first-round picks Carson Fulmer and Dane Dunning.
The Marlins have certainly bolstered their minor league pitching depth this offseason with such acquisitions as Sandy Alcantara from the Cardinals, Jorge Guzman from the Yankees, and Nick Neidart from the Mariners. These are high-end prospects in the Marlins farm system, but are not considered top prospects in baseball as a whole.
One could easily see a trade involving Yelich and a salary dump for at least 3 of these prospects. If the Marlins are looking for an “overpay”, as some sources have said, you would expect no less, and along with moving Realmuto (a story for another day), this could truly move the needle for the Marlins future.