It’s not a matter of if but when the Marlins will flip several of their productive veterans for promising prospects. Every Friday between now and the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline, Fish Stripes will share and analyze the most significant moves/rumors affecting their selling process.
Boston-Toronto trade sets important precedent
You probably haven’t thought about Steve Pearce in years (if ever). He was just traded from the Blue Jays to the Red Sox, and before that, played for the other three AL East teams. The versatile veteran last had a National League employer in 2012 and he’s never held down an everyday job over the course of a full MLB campaign.
That being said, this development is very relevant to the Marlins. Consider these two performances from the 2018 season:
- Player A: .291/.349/.519
- Player B: .294./347/.477
Pearce is Player A; Derek Dietrich is Player B.
Both are above-average bats with defensive versatility, but Dietrich is six years younger, much less expensive and under club control for two additional seasons via arbitration. Not to mention that a left-handed batter like Deets—who specializes in facing right-handers—gets the lion’s share of playing time in a platoon situation. Regardless of who the better player is, Dietrich is unquestionably the more valuable trade chip.
Boston got its man by parting with shortstop Santiago Espinal, a former 10th-round draft pick unranked in their own farm system. Dietrich suitors like the Brewers (h/t Jon Paul Morosi, MLB.com) should be charged a steeper price than that.
Marlins listening on top relievers
Fancred’s Jon Heyman includes both Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider on his list of trade chips whose value is rising. Well, duh: neither guy has allowed a run in the entire month of June. Veteran Brad Ziegler is featured as well, but with the disclaimer that his $9 million salary would require the Marlins to “pay it down” in order to receive real assets in return.
Barraclough and Steckenrider are several seasons away from free agency, so there should be no urgency to accept anything less than a blockbuster haul. That hasn’t stopped the team from “getting calls,” Heyman reports.
Starting pitching market heating up?
It’s going to be a weak market for buyers pursuing starting pitchers, which works to the Marlins’ advantage. Cole Hamels ranks among the top available rotation options and even he was not dramatically better than Dan Straily in 2017 (though an oblique injury may have affected those results).
The sooner a Hamels trade gets done, the sooner top teams can engage in a literal arms race to deepen their respective rosters.
Miscellaneous Marlins player updates
- J.T. Realmuto (sore wrist) expects to rejoin the starting lineup on Friday after being sidelined most of the week. He’s the best catcher in baseball, FYI.
- Starlin Castro homered in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday to break out of an extended slump. He’s been durable and better than advertised defensively, but still slugging only .387. That would be the third-lowest percentage of his career.
- Martín Prado (hamstring) could return to the active roster by the end of the current homestand as he continues a rehab assignment with High-A Jupiter. More realistically an August trade candidate, considering his bloated contract should easily pass through waivers.