With the MLB Trade deadline rapidly approaching on August 2nd, it’s time to focus on specific players who would make the best targets for the Miami Marlins.
The Marlins enter Monday with a record of 41-43 (4th in the NL and 6th in the NL Wild Card race). They are close enough to dream of a postseason berth and should look to bolster their roster by buying proven veterans from the less competitive teams.
First, we need to define the needs of the team, meaning the positions and roles on the roster that have been deficiencies so far in 2022.
Although the likes of Anthony Bass, Steven Okert, and Tanner Scott have held up well, the Marlins still need more help when it comes to middle relief. Richard Bleier (1-1, 4.84 ERA, 22.1 IP, 3.69 FIP, 1.522 WHIP) hasn’t been his reliable self this season after being given a contract extension. The injuries of Anthony Bender and Cody Poteet have also been huge hits as they were holding their own in the ‘pen.
The current Marlins lineup is lacking offensive players who provide the right balance of contact hitting and power hitting, and the few that do aren’t particularly athletic. This offense has produced less than the sum of their parts in 2022. They would be in much better shape by adding somebody like this.
The Marlins’ most glaring need is at center field. The Jesús Sánchez experiment got off to the good start to the year as he was hitting and fielding at a high level. Since late April, he has performed around replacement level while continuing to start almost every day. Miami’s front office tried hard to address CF last offseason, but never pulled the trigger on a move and it is fair to say they are regretting that now. Fortunately, it’s not too late to do something about it.
Special thanks to John Rodriguez of All Marlins for contributing to this article. With his help, we came up with these names and why they make sense for the Marlins.
RHP David Robertson (Chicago Cubs)
The Chicago Cubs currently find themselves with a record of 34-52, far removed from postseason contention. Robertson signed with the Cubs this offseason on a 1-year, $3.5M deal. He is a 3 pitch-guy (cutter, curveball and slider) who has a long history of high strikeout rates and that has continued into 2022. In the month of June, Robertson posted a low 1.69 ERA along with 3 saves. He is the current closer for the Cubs and would provide a high-leverage arm for the Fish.
The type of return the Cubs would ask for isn’t much as Robertson is a 37-year-old pending free agent. Getting him would allow Miami to shift Tanner Scott into a more appropriate setup role, or perhaps they could share save opportunities depending on matchups.
RHP David Bednar (Pittsburgh Pirates)
The Pirates are in a similar seller’s position at 36-50 this season. They have some valuable pieces to consider dealing and Bednar is definitely one of them. Bednar this season hasn’t missed a beat from his success last season as he is posting a lower FIP while being used in the highest leverage situations, sometimes for multiple innings. Bednar uses a four-seam fastball, curveball and splitter, throwing a good amount of strikes compared to typical relievers.
Bednar has more long-term club control than anybody else in this piece—he won’t become a free agent until after the 2026 season. The Marlins and Pirates recently collaborated on the Jacob Stallings trade. The package required to get Bednar in the prime of his career could be similar to that.
RHP Michael Fulmer (Detroit Tigers)
Michael Fulmer has played six big league seasons with the Detroit Tigers. Originally successful as a starter, he completed his transition to the bullpen in early 2021. This season, Fulmer had a rough patch in May, but has allowed only one earned run in all of his other appearances combined. His pitch mix is deeper than most bullpen options (5 pitches total), though he goes to his slider 63.3% of the time.
Because Fulmer is a free agent at season's end who’s making a salary of $4.95 million, the Marlins could bring him to Miami without losing any elite prospects.
SS José Iglesias (Colorado Rockies)
I haven’t seen José Iglesias mentioned elsewhere as a target for the Marlins, but he is having one of his most productive seasons yet at the age of 32. Iglesias would provide a good amount of contact—10.3% strikeout rate—and drive in runs in crucial situations.
One of the biggest issues this season for the Marlins has been their struggles in high-leverage situations. They strand too many runners in scoring position. The addition of Iglesias helps in that department.
Iglesias is known to be a clutch hitter throughout his career, but 2022 has been a whole different beast. You can make the counterpoint that he is benefiting from the Coors Field effect, but he has a track record of doing this on the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers too.
The Cuban-born Iglesias is currently on a 1-year, $5M deal. He is slightly younger and slightly better offensively than current Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas. They have the defensive versatility to play together when necessary.
Iglesias should be comfortable playing in Miami, representing the team he rooted for as a kid.
OF Michael A. Taylor (Kansas City Royals)
Michael A. Taylor is having arguably the best season of his career, hitting .265 BA, .342 OBP, .382 SLG. He is walking more than ever (10.3 BB%) and striking out less than ever (24.1 SO%). The speedy Taylor would provide much-needed defensive help—he won a well-deserved AL Gold Glove in 2021 as Kansas City’s starting center fielder.
Also, Taylor has been putting the ball in play when there are runners in scoring position (RISP). Aside from limited home run power, he is a clear upgrade over what the Marlins have been getting from Jesús Sánchez in all aspects.
Taylor is in the middle of a 2-year, $9M extension which has turned out to be very team-friendly. The Marlins may have to send multiple decent prospects in return.
OF/INF Ian Happ (Chicago Cubs)
All-Star Ian Happ is having himself an amazing 2022 MLB season, slashing .276/.370/.448. Although his isolated power this season is at a career low (.172 ISO), his on-base percentage is higher than ever. A former utility player, he has found a home as the Cubs’ left fielder and emergency center fielder.
Happ is another player who has the poise to succeed under pressure. The Marlins lead the majors with 18 one-run losses. When hitting with his team within one run this season, Happ slashes .286/.364/.490/.854 with 23 RBI’s.
Happ is currently on a 1-year deal, $6.85M deal with another year of arbitration eligibility coming in 2023. When the Marlins pursued catcher Willson Contreras during the 2020-21 offseason, the Cubs reportedly showed interest in outfielder Peyton Burdick. Would that be the price for them to complete a possible Ian Happ deal? That would be a fair 1-for-1 trade.
OF Ramón Laureano (Oakland Athletics)
One of the biggest names on the trade market this season will be Ramón Laureano of the Oakland Athletics. After being suspended for the first 26 games of the season, he is back to performing like a solid player.
The last-place Athletics will look to deal away any veteran player if they can get fair value for them (most notably Laureano and Frankie Montas). Laureano is mostly known as a center fielder, but Oakland has made him their main right fielder this season. For the Marlins, he would move back to CF. He has the above-average bat to fit in either spot.
Laureano has 3 more arbitration-eligible years beyond 2022. Because of that, the Marlins need to be prepared to part with several good prospects to out-bid other contending teams.
OF Bryan Reynolds (Pittsburgh Pirates)
The Pirates star center fielder got off to a slow start in 2022, hitting .194 in April. That average has climbed steadily since then (.224 in May and .333 in June). He’s proving that he remains at the peak of his abilities.
Reynolds is an experienced center fielder who even during an inconsistent season has slashed .261/.343/.465. He has not been especially clutch in 2022, but he has the potential to turn that around.
Reynolds has reportedly been a target for the Marlins throughout the past year. The asking price should have dropped since these teams engaged in negotiations over the winter, but he’d still cost more than any other player in this article. Like Laureano, his club control will last through 2025.
These options all look very realistic, but the trade I believe will come to fruition is Ramón Laureano to the Marlins. He’s a great fit who is attainable for a fair prospect package. The Marlins have a considerable amount of talented prospects who they’re at risk of losing in the Rule 5 Draft, so this is an opportunity to make tough decisions and include the non-essential guys in a trade that improves the current roster.
Many decisions will be made this upcoming month. Stay tuned to all of our upcoming Fish stripes content and streams regarding the Miami Marlins and the MLB trade deadline. Once again, a huge thank you to John Rodriguez for the help on this article.