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Phillies interim manager manager Pete Mackanin said that he sees closer Jonathan Papelbon as the most worthy candidate to represent his team in the All-Star Game, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
“The save numbers aren’t there, but when you look at the other numbers, he’s been very efficient,” Mackanin said of Papelbon, who owns a 1.71 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. “He’s the first guy that comes to mind. I don’t know if there’s anyone else. He would be a guy that I would have to believe is under consideration.”
Here’s more out of the NL East..
- Cameron Maybin was not viewed as a potential difference maker when the Braves acquired him via the April trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to the Padres. However, over the past couple of months, Maybin is doing just that, as Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes. In 281 plate appearances for the Braves, Maybin has hit .295/.364/.418 with seven homers. The Braves have him under contract through the 2016 season with a club option for 2017.
- As the Phillies‘ starting pitchers continue to struggle, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com if we’ll see prized prospect Aaron Nola sooner rather than later. Of course, the Phillies’ starting five will be even weaker if ace Cole Hamels is traded in the next month. In four starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, Nola has pitched to a 2.28 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. Nola, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 draft, was ranked as the No. 39 prospect in the country by Baseball America heading into the 2015 season.
- Dan O’Dowd of MLB.com listed Marlins pitcher Mat Latos as one of the most likely players to get dealt between now and July 31st. With Jose Fernandez back in the fold, O’Dowd believes that the Marlins will look to recoup the type of quality talent that they gave up to land the impending free agent in the first place. Late last week, MLBTR’s Steve Adams looked at Latos as a trade candidate.
Stephen Strasburg left the mound during the fourth inning of today’s Giants/Nationals game with an injury in his left side. The Nats ace wanted to keep pitching but “given his season, so far, I don’t want to take a chance there,” manager Matt Williams told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Strasburg has already had one extended DL stint to recover from a strained left trapezius and he’s been dealing with neck and back soreness all year, which has undoubtedly contributed to his 5.16 ERA over 61 innings (though an ungainly .365 BABIP also hasn’t helped). Here’s the latest from around the senior circuit…
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak tells Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he’s targeting starting pitching depth and a left-handed bench bat. While the Cards’ rotation has been one of the best in the game this season, it’s also a pretty young staff with some pitchers who have had checkered injury histories, so Mozeliak said he has to “be aware of the potential hazards” and that “my job is to make sure if it doesn’t last, then how do you answer it?”
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks the July 2 prospects already signed by the Cardinals (righty Alvaro Seijas and shortstop Raffy Ozuna, both 16 years old) and how the team has evolved its forays into the international market.
- Scott Boras tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that he sees no reason why the Marlins couldn’t afford to keep Jose Fernandez, even with Giancarlo Stanton already locked up on a historically large deal. “With TV rights and the general fund contribution and everything — every club, before they sell a ticket, they’re making $120 million,” Boras said. “There’s a lot of revenue in this game to pay a lot of players and keep players at home.” The Marlins believes that Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna both declined to pursue extensions last winter under Boras’ advice, but the agent said that his players make those decisions.
- Cubs president Theo Epstein cautioned that his team may not make any huge moves at the trade deadline, telling reporters (including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune) that “if you look at the history of teams that go on and play in the World Series, very rarely is it (because of a) deadline deal. We know what we’d like to do, but we’re realistic about what we might be able to do.” Epstein also noted that some teams who are solely in the wild card hunt may not favor making a big push just to get into a one-game playoff; while he was “just speaking generally,” Epstein’s comments could relate to the Cubs themselves, who are 8.5 games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.
An offseason trade that sent Mat Latos from Cincinnati to Miami in exchange for young righty Anthony DeSclafani and catching prospect Chad Wallach was supposed to be one of the key moves for a Marlins team that was making a push to contend in 2015 on the heels of a record-setting Giancarlo Stanton extension. Things have not gone according to plan in Miami, however.
The Marlins currently sit at 34-46, a disappointing 9.5 games back from both the division lead and a Wild Card playoff berth. Mike Redmond has been fired and replaced as the on-field manager by former GM Dan Jennings. Stanton is on the disabled list with a broken hand, where he’s joined by Opening Day starter Henderson Alvarez as well Opening Day starters Mike Morse and Martin Prado. Miami has yet to throw in the towel according to multiple reports, but their starters are drawing interest from pitching-hungry teams. All of this brings us back to Latos, whose own 2015 shortcomings have contributed to the Marlins’ sub-par start.
Latos, 27, entered the season with a career 3.34 ERA at the Major League level despite spending three seasons with the Reds, whose home park is among the most hitter-friendly environments in the game. However, as of this writing, Latos is sporting a 5.27 ERA with the highest BB/9 rate he’s posted since debuting with the Padres in 2009. He’s earning $9.4MM after losing an arbitration hearing to the Marlins this winter and is slated to hit free agency at the end of the year. Of that $9.4MM, about $4.83MM remains, and Latos has already missed time this season due to inflammation in his left knee.
None of this paints Latos as a very flattering trade candidate, but there’s still a compelling case to be made that says he can help a team in need of pitching. Latos opened the 2014 season on the DL as he recovered from spring surgery on his left knee — the same knee that sidelined him in 2015. From the time of his activation in 2014 to the time he was placed on the DL in 2015, Latos averaged about 90.7 mph on his fastball — two full miles below the 92.7 mph he averaged from 2011-13.
However, since he’s come off the disabled list, Latos’ missing velocity has suddenly returned. A look at his velocity stats on BrooksBaseball.net indicates that his four-seamer is averaging 93.66 mph over his past four starts, and his sinker is averaging 92.95 mph. Both marks are two miles per hour faster than he averaged prior to hitting the DL. In fact, if you break down his average velocity on a game-by-game basis, his slowest average fastball in a start since coming off the DL is 92.42 mph. That mark is still better than even his best pre-DL days, in terms of radar readings.
Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be surprising to see that Latos has worked to a much more palatable 3.86 ERA in his small sample of work since being activated. He’s whiffed 24 hitters against just six walks in 25 2/3 innings — each a significant improvement over his K/9 and BB/9 rates earlier in the year when working with diminished velocity. Latos has seen significant jumps in his whiff rate on both pitches since adding velocity, and the same holds true for his splitter as well.
It’s not known for certain whether Latos’ knee will hold up, nor can we definitively say that his velocity increase is sustainable. However, interested clubs will be able to watch another four weeks’ worth of his starts in order to make that determination for themselves. If Latos is back to the form that most came to expect of him from 2010-14, then suddenly, committing $4-5MM to him over the remainder of the season no longer looks to be an unreasonable undertaking.
The Marlins, in fact, could have good reason deal Latos even if they don’t otherwise act as sellers on the upcoming market. Aside from the obvious up-front financial savings that hold more value to a tight-budgeted team like Miami than a larger-payroll club, the Marlins may be reluctant to extend a qualifying offer to Latos following the season. The value of last year’s QO was a hefty $15.3MM, and that number figures to increase in 2015. A payroll-conscious team such as Miami could be reluctant to roll the dice on Latos remaining healthy for the rest of the season. If he re-injures the knee, the Fish would likely be too apprehensive to make a QO to an injured pitcher. Even if Latos remains healthy and looks like a good bet to reject the QO, Miami might find the small chance that he accepts somewhat risky. Trading him now, especially in a market that is currently tilted in favor of teams willing to sell assets, would be one way to ensure that they receive some long-term value in exchange for their relatively significant offseason investment in Latos.
The Marlins have the depth to replace Latos, as Jose Fernandez is now healthy and joined in the rotation by Dan Haren, Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart and Latos. Even if Latos is dealt, David Phelps and Brad Hand both have experience starting in the Majors, and Alvarez is expected off the DL later this season. Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino represent rotation options in the upper minors.
The Tigers are said to have scouted Miami’s starters recently, though no interest in specific pitchers was mentioned, so it’s probably best not to read too much into that bit of info. (Multiple teams, after all, figure to be scouting Miami’s starters.) In addition to Detroit, though, plenty of other clubs are interested in adding to their rotation. The Blue Jays, Dodgers, Astros, Royals, Rangers, Yankees and Pirates are among teams that have been connected to pitching upgrades or speculated to eventually be in the market for rotation help.
Though he admitted that he’s not privy to the front office’s discussions, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he expects ace Cole Hamels to be traded. “We’re not involved on the field,” said Mackanin. “But the whole point of this year basically is to see young guys, help us get ready for next year and beyond. If we can get good deals for Hamels and good deals for whomever else there might be out there, (Jonathan) Papelbon.” Hamels recently told Salisbury that he’s open to a trade to any club, including the Blue Jays and Astros. Previous reports had indicated that Hamels would block a deal to either club.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- The Tigers are scouting the Marlins‘ starting pitchers, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). There could be very little to read into here, as multiple teams are likely scouting the Marlins, and the Tigers of course are scouting other clubs. Nonetheless, a pitching matchup, at least on paper, does seem to exist between the two sides. The Tigers have seen Shane Greene lose his spot in the rotation and received little from Justin Verlander to this point. A solid addition to the rotation would make some sense, and the Marlins have a surplus now that Jose Fernandez is healthy. Fernandez joins Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Tom Koehler and Jarred Cosart in the rotation. Latos and Haren, though, are free agents at season’s end, and the team has internal replacements capable of slotting into the rotation in the event of a trade.
- Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears that the Marlins are indeed willing to listen to offers on Latos and Haren. He adds Steve Cishek to that list as well and unsurprisingly says that the fallen closer likely will be non-tendered this offseason. Jackson, like other reporters, hears that the team isn’t entertaining the idea of moving Martin Prado at this point.
- Mets captain David Wright is “extremely optimistic” that he can begin baseball activities next week, tweets ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. Wright won’t begin hitting in that time, however. Previously, the Mets have expressed hope to have the third baseman back by the All-Star break, though that timeline is fast approaching and Wright is still quite a ways from a rehab assignment.
The Marlins have traded an international bonus slot that is valued at about $500K to the Rays in exchange for minor league right-hander Enderson Franco, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). The decision is somewhat curious on Tampa’s part, as the Rays exceeded their international spending pool by quite a wide margin in 2014-15, which prevents them from signing an international amateur for more than $300K in the current signing period.
Franco, 22, is a Venezuelan right-hander that was originally signed by the Astros. The Rays selected him in the minor league portion of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft, and he’s pitched reasonably well for Tampa since being acquired. Franco has shown impeccable control throughout his minor league tenure, averaging just 1.8 walks per nine innings in part of six seasons — including a stellar 1.0 BB/9 rate in both 2014 and 2015. Thus far, in 71 2/3 innings as a starter in the Class-A Midwest League, he’s posted a 3.89 ERA with 5.9 K/9 against that 1.0 BB/9 mark.
The Marlins have received multiple trade inquiries on free-agents-to-be Mat Latos and Dan Haren, as well as controllable young pitchers Tom Koehler and Brad Hand, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). As Morosi notes, with the return of Jose Fernandez looming, the team could potentially afford to part with a starting pitcher. (Hand, a lefty, is currently in the bullpen but has started at the Major League level previously.)
Fernandez will join Latos, Haren, Koehler and one of Justin Nicolino or Jose Urena in the current rotation, though the team also has other options. As noted, Hand is capable of starting, and the Marlins currently have Opening Day rotation member Jarred Cosart in the bullpen. Henderson Alvarez, projected to be one of Miami’s best starters, is on the mend from inflammation in his shoulder, and swingman David Phelps could step into the rotation if needed as well.
A previous report from MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro indicated that the Marlins have at least discussed both Koehler and Hand with an unknown team. Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, has previously heard that Haren is very unlikely to be traded, although that certainly doesn’t preclude teams from calling and inquiring on the veteran right-hander.
Latos, in my eyes, makes some sense as a trade candidate. He’s looked better since returning from his most recent start on the disabled list. While his 4.12 ERA in three pot-DL starts isn’t particularly exciting, his increase in velocity since activation certainly is. Latos dealt with diminished velocity in 2014 and early in 2015, but since coming off the DL, he’s averaged 92-93 mph on his heater as opposed the the 90-91 he showed when his velocity was down. In 19 2/3 innings since his return, Latos has struck out 20 hitters — a significantly better rate than the 7.6 K/9 he averaged prior to his most recent DL stint. It’s a small sample, to be sure, but it’s a source of optimism in what’s been a difficult season for Latos.
From the Marlins’ point of view, if they hang onto Latos for the season and he performs reasonably well, they’ll be in a tough spot in deciding whether or not to make a qualifying offer. The value of a QO could jump to more than $17MM this winter, in which case Latos would be far too pricey an asset for the club. As such, trading Latos and the remaining $5.03MM (as of today) on his salary likely holds some appeal. With another few weeks of improved velocity and results, Latos could become a desirable enough trade chip to outweigh the potential value that Miami would receive from a QO anyhow.
Koehler, 29, is controllable through the 2018 season and will be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter. He sports a lifetime 4.03 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 44.6 percent ground-ball rate. His 3.66 ERA is better than in recent seasons, but xFIP and SIERA view him as more or less the same pitcher, pegging him in the low-4.00 range. Koehler’s proven himself to be a durable arm, never having spent time on the DL and pitching 191 innings in 2014.
The 25-year-old Hand is struggling more in 2015 with a 5.95 ERA, but he’s controllable through the 2019 season. Hand is having somewhat of the opposite season that Koehler is, from a statistical standpoint. Despite the high ERA, xFIP and SIERA peg him at 3.77 and 3.85, respectively, thanks in large part to a rebound in his strikeout rate and improved control. As a controllable lefty with velocity that sits around 93 mph, it’s not hard to see why some clubs would have interest.
Haren, of course, has had a nice season for Miami after quite a bit of seemingly overblown talk surrounding his possible retirement this offseason. He’s notched a 3.38 ERA with his typically stellar command (1.7 BB/9), and he’ll be a free agent season’s end. The Dodgers are paying the entirety of Haren’s $10MM salary this season, making him a very appealing chip, though as previously noted, reports have said he won’t be moved. That line of thinking may change as the trade deadline nears, of course. Interestingly, his former team (who is already picking up the tab on Haren anyway) is on the hunt for reliable rotation arms.
Whether or not the Marlins become serious sellers isn’t known, as GM-turned-manager Dan Jennnings has told reporters recently that the team still plans to try to content. Of course, the loss of Giancarlo Stanton for four to six weeks due to a broken hamate bone in his hand further dampen’s Miami’s chances to climb out of a substantial hole in the NL East.
The Marlins, of course, have possible trade chips beyond just the pitchers listed here. MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth recently examined the club’s trade chips at greater length.
Josh Hamilton could return from the DL as early as Monday, and he could be coming back to the Rangers as a center fielder. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes, Hamilton played center in each of his last two minor league rehab games and he could displace the struggling Leonys Martin from the starting CF job. Hamilton has only played 13 games in center since the start of the 2013 season, and while his advanced defensive metrics have varied from year to year, Hamilton has below-average numbers (-8.4 UZR/150 and -16 defensive runs saved) over his career as a center fielder. Here’s more from around the AL West…
- Several clubs have been scouting Athletics pitcher Scott Kazmir recently but, for his part, the veteran doesn’t want to leave Oakland, as John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group writes. “I would love to stay here. This is a group of guys I love being around. When you go up and down the team, the organizational staff, there’s a lot to like. I’d like to stay here,” Kazmir said. Hickey notes that scouts from the Astros and Blue Jays were on hand Saturday as the 31-year-old pitched against the Royals.
- Also from Hickey, he questions why the A’s have kept Max Muncy on the MLB roster when there’s no obvious route for him to find any playing time, a situation that doesn’t help the team or the player. Muncy has only played in two of Oakland’s last 11 games, and Hickey wonders if this rustiness might’ve contributed to a key throwing error Muncy made during today’s 5-3 loss to the Royals.
- Could the Mariners look to reunite with Ichiro Suzuki? Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times opines that Ichiro could be a good fit for the team, as he would add some defensive help to the outfield and also add a contact bat with a bit of on-base ability to the struggling M’s lineup. Baker doesn’t suggest the club should give up anything too valuable for Ichiro, as the Mariners are already on the fringes of the playoff race.
Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post. All moves were announced by the teams themselves unless otherwise cited.
- Vin Mazzaro has elected to become a free agent, according to MLB.com’s official transactions page. The veteran righty was designated for assignment by the Marlins earlier this week and then outrighted, giving him the option of accepting the assignment or choosing free agency. Mazzaro has a 3.75 ERA, six strikeouts and six walks over 12 relief innings for Miami this season.
- The Rays selected the contract of Grady Sizemore prior to today’s game, and the veteran outfielder delivered three hits in his Tampa debut. Sizemore was released by the Phillies and signed to a minor league deal by the Rays earlier this month. In corresponding roster moves, righty Matt Andriese was sent to Triple-A and outfielder Desmond Jennings was moved to the 60-day DL.
- The Indians purchased the contract of right-hander Toru Murata, who is making his MLB debut in a start tonight against the Orioles. Murata was signed as a free agent out of Japan in 2010 and he owns a 3.88 ERA, 3.01 K/BB rate and 6.8 K/9 over 489 2/3 minor league innings. In a corresponding move, the Tribe released right-hander Scott Atchison.
- The Yankees selected the contract of righty Esmil Rogers, who was just outrighted off the roster two weeks ago. Rogers has a 6.27 ERA over 33 bullpen innings for New York this season, though he has been hamstrung by a .356 BABIP and a very low 56% strand rate.
- The Pirates selected the contract of utilityman Gorkys Hernandez. Once a top-100 prospect, Hernandez appeared in 70 MLB games with the Pirates and Marlins in 2012 and hasn’t since been back to the Show. Hernandez has a .278/.342/.376 slash line, 33 homers and 213 steals (out of 285 chances) over 4055 career minor league plate appearances.
- The Braves selected the contract of right-hander Ryan Kelly, who is getting his first taste of the majors after nine pro seasons. Kelly was a 26th-round draft pick for the Pirates in 2006 and he’s compiled a 3.99 ERA, 3.10 K/BB rate and 8.2 K/9 over 462 2/3 innings (mostly as a reliever).
TODAY: Stanton underwent surgery today and is indeed expected to miss 4-6 weeks of action, the Marlins told reporters (including MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro).
SATURDAY, 1:00pm: Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group, tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that no decision on a specific course of action will be made on his client prior to being re-evaluated later today (Twitter link).
9:25am: Stanton will be out four to six weeks, according to ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian (via Twitter). Frisaro reports (also via Twitter) that Stanton will have surgery and that the injury is to Stanton’s hamate bone.
9:07am: Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has a broken bone in his hand, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (all Twitter links). Stanton’s injury occurred while swinging in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game against the Dodgers. The severity of the injury is unknown, although hand injuries can often be troublesome for hitters, affecting their power in particular. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that Stanton is experiencing lots of swelling and will likely miss significant time. The injury comes in the midst of a banner season for Stanton, who led the National League in homers with 27 and RBIs with 67. He’s currently hitting .265/.346/.606.
As Rosenthal notes, Stanton’s injury could affect the Marlins’ approach to this summer’s trade market, possibly making them sellers. Rosenthal suggests that, given their huge contract with Stanton, the Marlins are unlikely to trade players who appear set to contribute over the long haul. They could, however, trade more short-term assets, like Mat Latos and Dan Haren, who are both eligible for free agency after the season. Neither of those pitchers are likely to have much trade value, although Haren is in the midst of a decent season.
After a busy offseason that included the acquisitions of Latos, Haren, Dee Gordon, Martin Prado, Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki as well as extensions for Stanton and Christian Yelich, the Marlins have been a significant disappointment. They’re in the midst of a five-game losing streak and are currently 30-45, ahead of only the Phillies in the NL East.
As others have noted today, the news that Giancarlo Stanton will miss four to six weeks with a broken hamate bone increases the likelihood that the Marlins will reach a conclusion that they might have reached anyway: 2015 doesn’t appear to be their year. Under owner Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins have never been shy about change — they’ve traded players, replaced managers and changed organizational directions far more rapidly than other franchises might. Their 31-45 start already seemed likely to lead them to sell, even before Stanton’s injury.
In fact, this year’s Marlins team bears certain similarities to their 2012 club. The 2012 team headed into the offseason intending to make a splash. Instead, they flopped, and in July, they dealt Carlos Lee, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica and Gaby Sanchez.
What do the 2015 Marlins have to sell, though? This year’s team doesn’t appear to be primed for a complete rebuild, and thus it doesn’t have many top-quality trade chips like Ramirez or Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins still have Stanton and Christian Yelich signed to long-term deals, and Jose Fernandez is cost-controlled and is clearly an elite pitcher when healthy. The Marlins seem highly likely to keep those players, even though Yelich is having a disappointing season and Fernandez is only on the verge of returning from Tommy John surgery. Here’s a look at who the Marlins could consider trading.
- Dan Haren and Mat Latos are eligible for free agency after the season, so they seem like obvious trade candidates. The question is what the Marlins will be able to get back. Haren is having a solid season, but he seemed mostly unwanted as of last winter, and his age (34) and stuff (Haren’s admirably self-effacing “Ithrow88″ Twitter handle isn’t even accurate anymore, since his fastball has averaged 86 MPH this season) suggest he won’t fetch much now, either. Still, useful starting pitching is useful starting pitching, and the Marlins might try convincing a team in a homer-suppressing ballpark to give up a prospect or two for Haren. The Phillies got two fairly good lottery tickets in Victor Arano and Jesmuel Valentin for Roberto Hernandez last year — that might provide a good template, even though the stock of both players has slipped in 2015. The Marlins might also have to convince Haren to play for the team they trade him to if it’s not a West Coast team, given that he considered retiring last offseason rather than heading to Miami.
- Latos currently has a 5.49 ERA and missed time due to a knee injury, so his trade value would appear very limited. Since he would only be a rental, there would be little point in a contending team taking him on as a project, even though his peripherals suggest he should be somewhat better than that ERA. The curse of struggling teams trying to become deadline sellers is that they typically mostly have disappointing players to sell, and Latos is a case in point. It’s not impossible, though, that Latos could raise his trade value by pitching well over the next month.
- As the New York Post’s Joel Sherman pointed out today, Martin Prado‘s versatility could make him an interesting trade chip next month, since he can play third base, second base and both outfield corners. First, though, he’ll have to show he’s healthy — he’s currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. He’s owed $11MM both this year and next, although the Yankees are paying $3MM in each of those years.
- Pitchers Tom Koehler and Brad Hand were both recently the subject of rumors. Koehler missed a start last week with neck and back pain, but his successful return today should help the Marlins’ cause if they choose to trade him. The problem is that neither Koehler nor Hand are the kinds of difference-makers most appealing to contenders — a contending team likely wouldn’t want either one of them starting a playoff game. And since they’re also cheap and capable of eating innings, they could have value to the Marlins as they retool. David Phelps, who has been solid but not outstanding in his first season in Miami, falls into the same category.
- Mike Dunn isn’t having a good season by traditional measures, with a 4.68 ERA, but his strikeout rate (9.0 K/9 in 2015) and velocity remain intact, so a contender might view him as a sneaky way to upgrade the left side of its bullpen, especially since his contract is reasonable. He’s signed through next season, though, so the Marlins could also decide the better route might be to keep him around for another year and hope he rebounds.
- Like Dunn, Steve Cishek has a poor ERA this year. Unlike Dunn, though, Cishek isn’t cheap, at $6.65MM, and his control issues are a key reason for his downturn in performance. It would likely be hard for the Marlins to deal Cishek without taking on salary, despite his closer pedigree.
- Infielder Jeff Baker is a career .297/.352/.513 hitter against lefties, so he could conceivably help a contender in need of a right-handed bat. He’s mostly limited to first base at this point, however, so his utility is limited.
Other Marlins veterans, like Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki, probably have even less trade value than most of the players mentioned above. The Marlins could, of course, make outside-the-box trades involving some of their better, younger players (Dee Gordon, Adeiny Hechavarria, Marcell Ozuna), and given the Marlins’ history, it would be unwise to discount that possibility. (Relievers A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps would make very interesting trade pieces if the Marlins were to make them available.) Unlike the 2012 team, though, the 2015 Marlins don’t have many veteran trade candidates who appear likely to command a significant return.