clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Journo Suggests Marlins Could Be Looking To Trade Elieser Hernandez For A Bat

It’s no secret that the Miami Marlins aren’t averse to dealing from their starting pitch depth this offseason. They have already moved right-hander Zach Thompson to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a deal that got them a catcher in Jacob Stallings and it’s believed that they will continue to look towards getting more offensive players from the trade market or free agency.

The Fish possess multiple pitchers as part of a group that should have most MLB teams pretty jealous. As such, there’s been lots of talk as to who else could leave. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson has named Elieser Hernandez as a possible departure. Jackson has also reported that the Marlins aren’t looking to move any of their top three starters in Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, and Pablo Lopez.

“Marlins pitcher Sixto Sanchez, who had shoulder surgery last July, isn’t expected back until around midseason, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. That could leave the Marlins’ rotation needing to fill two spots if they trade one of their starters (potentially Elieser Hernandez) for a bat after the lockout ends. Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers and Pablo Lopez headline the rotation, and the Marlins aren’t looking to trade any of them,” Jackson wrote.

“If Hernandez is traded (a possibility but hardly a certainty) and Sanchez misses the first few months, other in-house options to fill the last two spots of the rotation are Jesus Luzardo, Edward Cabrera, Paul Campbell, Braxton Garrett, Nick Neidert, Cody Poteet and Daniel Castano.”

Where it pertains to Alcantara and Rogers, this comes as little surprise. The Fish signed the former to a five-year, $56 million extension just before the lockout so there’s little chance of him getting traded.

As for Rogers, the 24-year-old might have been a contender for National League Rookie of the Year if he didn’t excuse himself from the game for what was a challenging month of August, during which his mother was placed on a ventilator due to COVID-19 and both of his grandfathers made their terrestrial exits.

He still made the All-Star team and was second in Rookie of the Year voting on the back of his 133 innings of 2.64 ERA performance. It will be interesting to see how Rogers performs after the lockout, which has seen five games canceled, including Sunday’s against the Mets, which the major sportsbooks would have been pretty active for. Fans could still find plenty of odds on futures such as the World Series prospects and other outrights while the delay continues.

Lopez, meanwhile, seems like he could be a trade candidate as he’s now into the arbitration term and Miami has plenty of players who could step in as replacements should he get moved. He’s more established than the pitchers behind him yet still below Alcantara and Rogers. That makes him valuable enough to get the Marlins a formidable player at bat but not so valuable that the team isn’t able to replace him.

The 26-year-old missed over two months with a strained rotator cuff during the season but the Marlins likely wouldn’t be minded to sell low. He has registered an ERA of 3.26 with a strikeout rate of 26.4 and a 6.7 percent walk rate, as well as a 49 percent ground ball rate.

Meanwhile, Hernandez is also in his arbitration years and under control for another three seasons. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz reckons he will earn just $1.4 million in the coming season, which means he will be a very affordable prospect for a team looking for a starting pitcher.

The Venezuela native has had his own struggles with injury, which have affected his innings totals. It’s why the projection has him priced that low. He’s missed the last two seasons with a lat strain, a quad strain and inflammation of the biceps.

Hernandez also struggled through his first two seasons after being drafted by the Houston Astros in 2017, only coming into form in 2020. Injuries have limited him to just 77 1/3 innings over the course of the past two seasons, though he has posted a respectable 3.84 ERA plus a 23 percent strikeout rate and a rather impressive 5.7 walk rate.

His problems staying on the field, coupled with his proclivity for serving up the long ball, have been detrimental to his career. Hernandez has given up an average of 2.09 home runs per nine frames despite the Marlins’ home setting, which is great for pitchers. He averages 91.2 mph on a four-seam fastball, which opponents love receiving, having smashed at .350/.394/.690 pace last season.

He does have the fact that he’s bewildered batters elsewhere going for him. They batted .188/.241/.400 with a strikeout rate of 30.6 percent in plate appearances that ended in his slider. They registered .167/.211/.333 slash against his changeup, going down in 18.2 percent of those appearances.