Even including their recent slump, the Marlins are off to one of the more promising starts since Bruce Sherman bought the franchise (in a full-length 162-game season). With that being said, there are some glaring needs on the Marlins roster that should be addressed. They have up until the August 2 trade deadline to pursue upgrades from outside the organization.
The areas that I think they should be most focused on:
- Closer—The need for a closer is the biggest one as Don Mattingly hasn’t been able to find a lockdown option for the 9th inning. It has been more of a closer by committee this season, and it has not been pretty.
- Shortstop—The need for a shortstop is also significant as Miguel Rojas is no longer an everyday starter and is getting up there in age (33).
- Catcher—Mentioning the catcher position may surprise many of you, but although Stallings has been a huge upgrade, it might be unreasonable to rely on him on an everyday basis. The Marlins should hold onto him for the 2022 season and beyond, just in a supporting role if there’s a better bat available.
Diego Castillo (Seattle Mariners)
The Seattle Mariners acquired Diego Castillo from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021 expecting to bolster their bullpen. Castillo was the Rays closer earning 14 saves that season but didn’t have much action in Seattle when it came to closing.
2021 with Tampa Bay: 2-4, 2.72 ERA, 14 SV, 36.1 IP, 49 SO, 3.17 FIP
2022 Season: 1-0, 8.36 ERA, 2 SV, 14.0 IP, 15 SO, 3.61 FIP
Don’t be scared away by Castillo’s high ERA because the underlying stats suggest he has had some bad luck. He has a long enough track record to be trusted in the closer's role for Miami and provide much-needed continuity there.
Although the Mariners are underperforming this season, they will look to acquire pieces to improve their own major league roster. Finding a fit to satisfy both teams would be complicated, but that hasn’t stopped GM Jerry Dipoto in the past.
Tyler Kinley (Colorado Rockies)
An old friend! Tyler Kinley was a Miami Marlin in 2018 and 2019.
Ever since arriving to the Mile High City, Kinley has been a solid reliever. In 2020, he posted a 0-2 record and 5.32 ERA, but a 3.99 FIP. In 2021, Kinley had a 3-2 record, 4.73 ERA, 68 SO, 4.65 FIP, and 1.209 WHIP.
The 2022 season has been even better for the former Marlin. Kinley is posting a 0.59 ERA in 15.1 IP. That includes allowing no runs in 12 appearances at hitter-friendly Coors Field (10.2 IP).
Kinley would be able to come into high-leverage spots for the Marlins. In addition to this season, he would remain under club control for 2023 and 2024 through arbitration.
Miami would need to deal with just one or two lower-level prospects for Kinley, depending on how much his performance holds up between now and trading season.
Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
Probably one of the top shortstops in the game can be on the move as soon as this season. Xander Bogaerts is off to one of the best starts of his career (.323 BA, .385 OBP, .458 SLG, .843 OPS, 4 HR, 17 RBI, and 50 H).
The Red Sox were looking like a team that should sell at the trade deadline or sooner, but now they’re in the middle of a 6-game winning streak (20-22 record overall). Still too early to tell which direction their season will go. Regardless, Bogaerts is worth mentioning due to his contract situation. He is able to opt out and become a free agent at the end of the year, which he will do if he stays on his current pace.
The Marlins are in need of a shortstop and Bogaerts can be the perfect rental for them. You may lose some defense in the infield by playing him over Rojas or Joey Wendle, but the offense is what will be provided in a big way.
Are the Marlins willing to deal top minor league prospects for Bogaerts?
Royce Lewis (Minnesota Twins)
The former 2017 top draft selection is in an awkward spot with the Twins. Lewis is blocked from playing shortstop right now because of Carlos Correa. When called up briefly early in the season, Lewis did not disappoint (.308 BA, .325 OBP, .564 SLG, .889 OPS, 2 HR, 5 RBI, and 12 H). But he might not return to the majors unless another injury creates playing time for him.
Lewis is ranked as the 41st overall MLB prospect on MLB Pipeline and 72nd on Baseball America.
Lewis is an exciting target because of the amount of control that an acquiring team has over him (through at least the 2028 season). The Twins value him for the same reason, so they won’t rush into a trade without getting a haul of good players in return.
William Contreras (Atlanta Braves)
This is mostly wishful thinking from me rather than a realistic target. The Braves probably won’t be putting William Contreras on the trading block due to the injury of Manny Piña and how well Contreras has played this season.
William is the younger brother of Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. In 2022, he is having his most productive season in the bigs (.262 BA, .340 OBP, .714 SLG, 1.055 OPS, 6 HR, 10 RBI, and 11 H). When he isn’t catching, the Braves are experimenting with him in the outfield.
As much as Miami likes Jacob Stallings, he is 32 years old, around the age when many players begin to decline. The Marlins have a plethora of catchers in their minor league system, but not an obvious one who is capable of being an everyday starter. Paul McIntosh (Double-A) has stood out the most this season and has come along way from being undrafted in 2021.
McIntosh is a good internal candidate if he keeps up his impressive season (.260 BA, .371 OBP, .813 OPS, 3 HR, 27 H, 17 RBI) and goes up to AAA Jacksonville by the middle of the year. Otherwise, the Marlins may need to shop for help at that position.