With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Miami Marlins are reportedly willing to consider moves involving their best relievers. Names that have been repeatedly mentioned by industry insiders include Adam Conley, Kyle Barraclough, Brad Ziegler, and even Drew Steckenrider.
In the midst of his first full major league season, Steckenrider contains five years of team control beyond 2018. He isn’t arbitration eligible until the year 2021, earning salaries near the league minimum in the meantime. The 27-year-old has appeared in 48 games on the season, registering a 3.48 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 51/20 K/BB through 44 innings pitched. Taking into account Steck’s strong 2017 debut, he’s posting a career ERA of 2.97 and 105 strikeouts in 78 2⁄3 innings. That makes him a great trade asset.
Steckenrider averages roughly 95 mph on his four-seam fastball. He easily overpowers the opposition, reflected by the fact that opponents are slugging .319 with a .634 OPS this season. The only two home runs against him came in the same contest (May 10), nearly two-and-a-half months ago.
Omit Steckenrider’s outings against the Braves—42.1 IP, 7 ER versus all other teams—and the right-hander could have possibly notched a selection on the National League All-Star team roster.
Because of his combination of performance and value, the asking price for the heavily sought-after Georgia native won’t be low. The Marlins would be within their rights to expect a consensus top 100 prospect in exchange for Steck’s services, and that’s just the centerpiece of the package.
Ultimately, expect Mike Hill and the front office to stand pat on Steckenrider unless a desperate team in search of a high-quality reliever overwhelms them.
Steckenrider’s emergence into a potent setup man has been incredibly encouraging. The controllable righty has gained the trust of Don Mattingly and Juan Nieves, so they certainly wouldn’t mind keeping him in the bullpen for the rest of 2018 and beyond.
With veteran relievers like Ziegler and Barraclough more likely to depart at the deadline, Steck doesn’t need to be viewed as a trade chip, but rather a building block in the Marlins’ quest to engineer a consistent contender.