Wednesday’s trade with the Washington Nationals involving reliever Kyle Barraclough is the latest development in the Marlins’ pursuit of three Cuban international free agents. Like Barraclough, right-handed pitching prospect Ryan Lillie was dealt to the Reds last Saturday for international bonus pool money.
Heading into his first year of arbitration eligibility at age 29, Barraclough was due to earn approximately $1.9 million next season, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
His “platform” season was...inconsistent. Barraclough got an extended opportunity to close games for the Marlins beginning in June during a remarkable scoreless streak. He allowed only 18 hits in 42 1⁄3 innings prior to the All-Star break. But Claw was the beneficiary of some good luck, which that caught up with him in the second half.
Ultimately, 2018 goes down as Barraclough’s worst major league campaign (55.2 IP, 4.20 ERA, 4.98 FIP, 24.5 K%). Since arriving in Miami at the 2015 trade deadline, his overall body of work was solid, though: 218.2 IP, 3.21 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 29.8 K%.
During a disappointing year when they expected to rule the NL East, the Nats gradually flipped their veteran relievers for younger assets. Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley all got sent to contenders. That leaves a void for Barraclough to step into an important role for them moving forward.
The Marlins announced both the Barraclough and Lillie trades, but not how much they’ve increased their 2018-19 international bonus pool. SiriusXM’s Craig Mish hears that the additions bring them “very close” to the Baltimore Orioles in terms of spending ability. Jerry Crasnick echoes that sentiment. The Athletic estimates the new pool size at $6 million.
It was believed that Baltimore had $6.5-6.7 million of their own at the end of the regular season.
Outfielders Víctor Víctor Mesa and Víctor Mesa Jr. and right-hander Sandy Gastón are international targets for both rebuilding organizations. They held a joint workout at Marlins Park last week in front of representatives for all 30 MLB teams, but have since flown back to the Dominican Republic. During his appearance on the Fish Bites podcast, Mish said that the older Mesa—baseball’s No. 1 available amateur player—is eager to sign in the next week.
If the Marlins feel the need to strengthen their negotiating position even further, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro sees the longest-tenured team member as a trade piece:
To me, the most logical player to deal strictly for international bonus pool money is Derek Dietrich. Is in arbitration, and would think there would be a market for him based on international dollars. #Marlins— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) October 10, 2018
Derek Dietrich, like Barraclough, is due a raise next season via arbitration. The Marlins might not tender him a contract considering all the young position players they would like to evaluate in the majors, so why not get something in return for him while you can?
Stay tuned for updates...