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Offishial news, 2/17/21: Inside the trade talks; FanGraphs projections

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Marlins pitchers and catchers report todaaaaaaaay!

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Photo by Fish On The Farm

Inside the trade talks

MLB: Boston Red Sox-Workouts David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Herald’s Craig Mish and Barry Jackson report on several offseason deals that didn’t happen for Marlins, most notably their pursuits of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and Red Sox (now Royals) outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Of the two, the latter came much closer to joining the Fish:

According to a source, the Marlins could have had Benintendi as part of a three-team deal that would have involved the Marlins trading a position player, a veteran who isn’t assured of a starting spot.

Very vague phrasing. What qualifies as a “veteran” on this Marlins roster? Starling Marte, Miguel Rojas, Corey Dickerson and Jesús Aguilar certainly do. Unlike those others, Aguilar’s role is in flux when combining Garrett Cooper’s emergence with the current DH-less rules in place for the National League. Has Cooper reached vet status yet? He’s nearly as old as Aguilar. Maybe Jon Berti? Regardless, the Marlins would have needed to add some sort of prospect capital to the trade as well.

Instead of acquiring Benintendi, they pivoted to Adam Duvall on the free agent market. The Herald hints at what I had already been assuming: right-hander Zach Pop could be placed on the COVID list or 60-day injured list this week as a corresponding move to officially get Duvall onto the 40-man roster.

As for Contreras, the Cubs sought “more than one of the Marlins’ top 20 prospects” while the Orioles asked for a “highly touted” prospect in negotiations for outfielder Anthony Santander. Mish’s comments on the Fish Bytes roundtable podcast imply that power-hitting outfielder Peyton Burdick was involved in both of these scenarios.

If the Marlins, hypothetically, had the opportunity to land Contreras for a three-prospect package with Burdick as the centerpiece, they will regret not pulling the trigger.

FanGraphs projections

Future Marlin Oscar Colás? Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs has added Miami as the projected landing spot for the Cuban 22-year-old.

A curvaceous Cuban two-way player, Colas was released from his NPB contract in early-December after he and the SoftBank Hawks fought about the deal’s validity for most of 2020. He’s up to 95 on the mound but hasn’t pitched very much and is probably a more stable prospect as a lefty 1B/DH/RF type. Tipping the scales at over 250 pounds during his time in Japan, he’s purported to have slimmed down and looks more svelte during recent workouts.

Exciting...though likely 11 months away from becoming official, once the next MLB international signing period begins. Based on the reported bonuses of the other players they’ve inked since Jan. 15, the Marlins have less $500,000 to offer and no flexibility to acquire extra pool money from other teams.

Also on Tuesday, FanGraphs released their 2021 MLB playoff odds and win-loss projections. They have the Marlins at 70-92. So does PECOTA (tweaking their original 68-94 figure). SuperBook sportsbook has made a bold zag from the rest of the industry by offering an over/under 74.5 wins prop for the Fish.

Walk-off links

  • Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium has an update on the availability of Marlins spring training tickets. The 2020 season ticket holders get first dibs beginning Friday at 10 a.m. ET, then the sale opens up to the general public on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. The Marlins’ Grapefruit League home opener will be Mar. 1 against the Mets.
  • Keith Law’s Marlins top 20 prospects list is live. Among his many unique takes: slotting right-hander Kyle Nicolas at No. 11—“they might have found a top-end starter if his control sticks around”—and dropping right-hander Jordan Holloway to No. 19 despite ranking him ninth only a year ago. See below for a side-by-side comparison between Law’s 2020 and 2021 lists.
Keith Law’s Marlins top prospects
  • His colleague Andy McCullough penalizes the Marlins for their lack of spending in The Athletic’s offseason MLB power rankings.
  • One more plug for our Zach McCambley interview. The youngest pitcher to get an invite to Marlins major league spring training, McCambley guides us through the development of his changeup, the “investments” he has made so far with his MLB Draft signing bonus and much more.