On Tuesday afternoon, the Marlins announced their third—and possibly, final—international bonus pool-related trade this month. As initially reported by Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, they’re sending outfielder Adonis Giron and left-hander Brayan De Paula to the Astros for an undisclosed amount of 2018-19 pool space. MLB.com colleague Mark Feinsand hears that it’s a $500,000 addition.
The Marlins and Orioles are the leading contenders for Cuban free agents Víctor Víctor Mesa, Víctor Mesa Jr. and Sandy Gastón. But this move should allow the Fish to out-spend them, based on reported pool space estimates, bumping up their total to approximately $6,569,500, while Baltimore remains in the $6 million neighborhood.
(MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez still characterizes the race as “neck-and-neck,” for what it’s worth.)
Giron just played his age-17 season with the Dominican Summer League Marlins, batting .255/.331/.362 in 67 games while attempting 20 stolen bases (12-for-20 success rate). He signed with the organization the previous year for $350,000.
De Paula, 19, had very strong results in the DSL (44.1 IP, 2.23 ERA, 1.29 WHIP in 2018). However, take those with a grain of salt considering that he was older than most of the league’s competition.
As a refresher, the Marlins made two similar trades involving more mature assets: right-hander Ryan Lillie to the Reds for $750,000 in pool space and Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals for $1 million. Giron and De Paula yielded a weaker return, as they are several years away from an MLB debut (if they even make it that far). Meanwhile, Baltimore has been completely idle on this front after seemingly emerging as the frontrunner for Víctor Víctor last summer.
In recent years, the Astros have repeatedly found ways to maximize the ability of players who were overlooked by other teams. The fact that they picked Giron and De Paula—neither of whom received mention on Marlins top prospect lists—should make you a bit nervous.
Additional deals are still possible, especially if the Marlins aim to acquire both Mesas and Gastón. After thinning the depth from their major league, High-A and rookie-level rosters, it’s critical to actually convert the pool space into impact talent.