Miami Marlins Rumors

Miami Marlins trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Latest On Yankees’ Pursuit Of Elite Relief Arms

The Yankees have already been connected to Craig Kimbrel this morning, and it’s becoming apparent that they’re in the mix for most of the top relief arms on the market at this point. We’ll keep track of that pursuit in this post…

  • The Yankees are waiting on the Padres in regards to Kimbrel but could turn to the MarlinsCarter Capps, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Jayson Stark of ESPN takes it a step further, saying that the Yankees are tiring of waiting on San Diego and are already talking to Miami (Twitter link).

Earlier Updates

  • The Yankees are one of five teams that are “aggressively pursuing” a trade for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). Adding Chapman to the back of a bullpen that already includes Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances would give the Yankees perhaps the best late-inning relief trio in all of baseball. Adding a premium bullpen arm appears to be the focus for the Yankees now that a number of starting pitchers have already landed with other teams. New York, though, has been said to be unwilling to part with top prospects Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Jorge Mateo in talks for Kimbrel, so it would stand to reason that they’re reluctant to do with Chapman as well, who comes with far less control. He can be a free agent after the 2016 season.

Henderson Alvarez Undergoes Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder, manager Dan Jennings told reporters today. As MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes, Dr. James Andrews performed the operation, and there’s no timetable for his recovery at this juncture. It’s possible, though, that Alvarez’s readiness for the 2016 season could be impacted, according to Frisaro.

As was reported last week, Alvarez experienced a setback in his most recent attempt to rehab the shoulder, which brought his season into question. The 25-year-old was Miami’s Opening Day starter, but he’ll finish the 2015 season with just 22 1/3 innings, four starts and a dismal 6.45 ERA under his belt.

Originally acquired from the Blue Jays in the Jose Reyes/Mark Buehrle/Josh Johnson blockbuster in the 2012-13 offseason, Alvarez looked to be an increasingly important member of the Marlins’ rotation in 2013-14 (and he may very well still be), as he tossed 102 2/3 innings of 3.59 ERA ball in 2013 and showed improved results (2.65 ERA) with an increased workload (187 2/3 innings) in 2014. The young righty’s season-ending no-hitter served as one of the bright spots to the 2013 campaign for the Marlins.

Alvarez and his now-former agents at Praver-Shapiro agreed to a $4MM contract this offseason, avoiding arbitration with Miami. He and his new agents at Beverly Hills Sports Council won’t have much of a case for a big raise this winter, so Alvarez will likely earn a very similar amount in 2016.

Given Alvarez’s injury and the likely departures of Dan Haren and Mat Latos (presumably via trade), pitching depth figures to be an area of focus for Miami this offseason. The Marlins do have Jose Fernandez, Tom Koehler, David Phelps, Brad Hand, Jarred Cosart, Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino as rotation options, but that group is lacking in both experience and certainty.


Market Notes: Guerrero, Iwakuma, Latos, Prado, Cardinals, Ross

The Dodgers are having active discussions on utilityman Alex Guerrero, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Though Guerrero’s contract allows him to opt into free agency after the year if he’s dealt, Rosenthal notes that he’s expressed a willingness to work out a deal with a new team if he’s traded. Guerrero’s production has fallen back after a blistering early showing, and he’s lost playing time along the way, but he does offer relative youth and has shown good power. The 28-year-old has also dealt with a seemingly minor back issue of late. Los Angeles has several other similar utility options, as well as an overflowing stock of outfield pieces, so it’s certainly plausible to imagine that he’d have more value to another team.

Let’s take a look in at some other notable market developments as we continue to see significant activity in advance of Friday’s trade deadline:

  • It’s not yet clear whether the Mariners will move pending free agent righty Hisashi Iwakuma, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Seattle has, however, received interest from several clubs. Since a mediocre and injury-plagued start to the year, Iwakuma has turned in three consecutive solid outings and could be a nice mid-rotation piece for a contender.
  • The Marlins are increasingly “confident” they’ll find a taker for starter Mat Latos, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. Latos has pitched well of late and has appeal as a reasonably high-upside rental piece. According to the report, the market for his services is “coming into focus.”
  • Marlins infielder/outfielder Martin Prado increasingly seems available, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). An executive from another club says that the Fish appear to be “open to at least contemplate” a deal, which seemingly indicates slightly more availability than we heard yesterday (when Miami was said to be interested only for a sizable offer). Sherman notes that the Yankees and Mets could join the Royals with interest in Prado as a secondary option to Ben Zobrist (who is expected to be dealt in short order).
  • The Cardinals are looking at possible bullpen additions to slot alongside the just-acquired Steve Cishek, Heyman tweets. St. Louis will hope to bring back righty Jordan Walden in the relatively near future, as he’s progressing through a rehab assignment, but the club has been active in recent years in adding pitching depth.
  • Padres righty Tyson Ross remains a hotly-pursued name on the market, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported yesterday. He’s drawn interest from teams like the Blue JaysAstros, Dodgers, and Rangers, per the report. Expectations are that Ross would require a significant return, and Heyman notes that the team would likely prefer to move other pitching assets.


Marlins Fielding Interest In Marcell Ozuna; Indians Have Inquired

The Marlins have been getting calls on outfielder Marcell Ozuna, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter links). According to his colleague, Barry Jackson (via Twitter), the Marlins front office is gathering today to decide how to proceed with Ozuna.

One club that’s placed a call is the Indians, says Spencer, who adds that Miami has sent scouts to watch Cleveland’s starters. While it may be too soon to tell whether there’s serious interest between the two clubs, it’s certainly an intriguing possibility.

Both the Marlins and the Indians have been expected to hold onto controllable talent, but obviously there’s a possibility that similar assets could be swapped to better meet each club’s needs. Miami pulled off just such a deal last summer when it acquired Jarred Cosart.

Ozuna, 24, rebuffed Miami’s efforts over the winter to make him the third young outfielder to reach a long-term extension. He’s since been demoted to Triple-A after a .249/.301/.337 start to the season. Of course, Ozuna showed much more last year, putting up a .772 OPS with 23 home runs and contributing strong defense in center. And he’s done nothing but rake since going back to the minors.

We’ve addressed the Indians’ rotation chips several times in recent days, as reports have emerged suggesting that the team will at least listen on its various interesting pieces. A young player with Ozuna’s upside and control would obviously hold significant appeal, and he’s probably the kind of piece that would need to be involved to get something done. It remains unclear which particular pitchers would prove most enticing to the Fish, but names like Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer could all conceivably hold significant appeal.


Marlins Open To Trading Martin Prado For Big Return

Reports of teams showing interest in Marlins infielder Martin Prado have been circulating for weeks, but to this point, there’s been little to suggest that the Marlins are open to moving the versatile 31-year-old. However, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com now reports that the Marlins are at least open to moving Prado, though it would take something “big,” and the team is still reluctant to part with him (Twitter links).

A shoulder sprain cost Prado about a month this summer, but he’s been roughly as productive since returning from the DL as he was prior to the injury. Overall, he’s hitting .273/.312/.369 and playing strong defense at third base, as he has whenever he’s been asked to man the hot corner throughout his career. Prado is capable of handling multiple positions, though, as he’s logged more than 2000 innings at third base, second base and left field in his career. Defensive metrics consider him a bit below average at second base, but he again grades out quite well in left.

Prado is earning $11MM in both 2015 and 2016, though the Yankees are picking up $3MM of the tab on that salary in each season. Prado has been connected to several teams, including the Mets and, most recently, the Royals. Frisaro, though, hears that Kansas City’s interest in Prado at this time is “minimal.” Given his defensive versatility, Prado would likely draw interest from many of the same teams that have been connected to Ben Zobrist.

The Marlins, though, seem to value Prado beyond his production — a significant return on a player whose park-adjusted production is about 10 percent below the league average seems unlikely. Much has been written about Miami’s appreciation of Prado’s leadership and clubhouse presence, but the Marlins would have a better hope at obtaining something notable in return were his production at the plate closer to the .289/.339/.423 line (108 OPS+) that he recorded from 2012-14.


Royals Interested In Martin Prado, Ben Zobrist

JULY 27: Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals are expected to remain in the Ben Zobrist market “until the end,” which adds another versatile target to the list of Royals targets.

Zobrist, unlike Prado, is a rental player that’s eligible for free agency this offseason. He’s a bit more affordable, though, earning $7.5MM this season (of which $2.9MM remains). Zobrist is a better hitter than Prado and comes with the bonus of being a switch-hitter. He’s batting .268/.354/.447 and would be an excellent stopgap for Kansas City until Gordon is healthy enough to return to the lineup. Upon his activation, Zobrist would then be an immediate upgrade over Infante. The Athletics, who have already traded Scott Kazmir and could soon trade Tyler Clippard, are believed to be willing to part with Zobrist as well.

The Royals, it seems, will remain active even after picking up Johnny Cueto from the Reds in what has easily been the largest trade of the summer thus far.

JULY 26: The Royals have interest in Marlins infielder Martin Prado, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. The 31-year-old Prado recently returned from a shoulder injury and is batting .277/.316/.374 in 308 plate appearances in his first season in Miami. He’s making $11MM this season and next, although the Yankees are paying $3MM of that in each season. Morosi notes that the Royals would need to receive cash from the Marlins in the deal. Whether the Marlins would agree to send any is unclear — another recent report indicated that they weren’t interested in dealing Prado at all.

In any case, the Royals have a good player, Mike Moustakas, at third base, where Prado has played most of this year. But Royals second baseman Omar Infante has mostly struggled, so Prado could potentially help at that position. Also, he can help the Royals in the corner outfield while they wait for Alex Gordon to return from the DL — right fielder Alex Rios has hit just .256/.290/.333 this season.


NL Rumors: Bruce, Mets, Cueto, Padres

The Reds already made one big move today, could another be around the corner?  The Mets are heavily scouting outfielder Jay Bruce, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Recently, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com heard that the Reds are giving the impression that they are looking to “save money” wherever possible, and that could be an indication that Bruce is very much available.

Here’s more from the National League..

  • The Blue Jays‘ talks with the Reds concerning Johnny Cueto never gained traction, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).  Davidi hears that the Reds were asking for a package headlined by Marcus Stroman.  Cueto, of course, went from the Reds to the Royals on Sunday afternoon.
  • “Industry perception” is that there is some pressure on the Padres to move out future payroll as the deadline approaches, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.  On Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Tyson Ross was drawing the most interest of any of the Padres’ starting pitchers.  Of course, when it comes to finances, the Padres would surely prefer to move the contract of James Shields.
  • The Marlins should get a better indication what they can get for Mat Latos after learning the details of the Johnny Cueto deal, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets.

Rosenthal On Gausman, Ross, Cashner, Haren

Early Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports released his latest edition of Full Count (video link).  Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the highlights..

  • A trade of highly-regarded young right-hander Kevin Gausman would be quite unpopular with many members of the Orioles organization, Rosenthal hears.  It was reported late last week that the O’s appeared to be willing to discuss the 24-year-old but skipper Buck Showalter said on Saturday called that notion “comical.”
  • Tyson Ross is drawing the most interest of any Padres starting pitcher, thanks in large part to his contractual status.  Ross is under control through 2017 while Ian Kennedy is a potential pending free agent and Andrew Cashner can be a free agent after next season.  Unsurprisingly, the Padres want a greater haul for Ross than any of their other arms.
  • Dan Haren is on pace for about 33 starts and 205 innings, totals that would trigger an additional $3MM in incentives.  The Marlins could have some extra incentive of their own to move the veteran starter since they’d only be on the hook for the prorated portion of that, saving them roughly $1MM.
  • With the pending returns of Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales, the Cardinals are one team that is not in the hunt for starting pitching.

NL East Notes: Dietrich, Upton, Hamels, Papelbon

Cole Hamels fired a no-hitter against the Cubs in what could have been his final start for the Phillies. Cubs manager Joe Maddon thinks the studly performance will help the Phillies to land a top prospect, tweets Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Meanwhile, the Nationals welcomed back Anthony Rendon, and the Braves activated Freddie Freeman. Washington also expects Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman to return soon.

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • The Marlins have drawn trade interest in utility fielder Derek Dietrich, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Miami would move him for the right return. Rosenthal adds that some teams view him as a potential starter at second or third base. Dietrich is hitting .301/.378/.548 in 82 plate appearances at the top level this season. The Marlins have used him as a platoon bat against right-handed pitchers while Dee Gordon recovers.
  • The Mets were rumored to be in pursuit of Padres outfielder Justin Upton, but nothing is imminent, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Upton is currently sidelined with a mild oblique strain. Lin lists Upton and Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as the top hitters on the market. The Mets have the worst offense of any contender, although tonight’s outburst should help the season numbers. They’re currently third to last in team wRC+. The Phillies and White Sox are the only teams trailing New York. The acquisition of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe will help, but only so much.
  • The market for Hamels includes the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, and Rangers, writes Jayson Stark of ESPN. He mentions the Red Sox as non-traditional buyers with a desperate need to succeed in 2016. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets that some Phillies talent evaluators are “very high” on prospect Manuel Margot.
  • Earlier today, we learned the Nationals were interested in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. Add the Cubs and Blue Jays to the list of engaged clubs, writes Zolecki. Both Chicago and Toronto are practical fits for Papelbon who has said he won’t accept a trade to serve as a setup man. The Nationals would either need to change his mind or demote Drew Storen despite excellent performance.

Cardinals Acquire Steve Cishek

The Cardinals have officially struck a deal with the Marlins to add righty Steve Cishek, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was first to report (Twitter links). Heading back to Miami in the deal is Double-A righty Kyle Barraclough. St. Louis will take on the remainder of the $6.65MM left on Cishek’s contract this year, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets.

Aug 27, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Miami Marlins reliever Steve Cishek (31) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Angels defeated the Marlins 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before a rough stretch to open the 2015 campaign, the 29-year-old Cishek had established himself as one of the game’s most reliable late-inning arms. Over 2011-2014, he put up 253 1/3 innings of 2.70 ERA pitching, with 10.0 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. Despite racking up 91 saves over that stretch, Cishek lost his closing role to A.J. Ramos and was eventually optioned earlier this year.

Things have gotten better of late for the side-armer, but it’s hard to ignore his poor early results. Cishek has lost a mile an hour off of his average fastball velocity, with his double-digit strikeout-per-nine tallies from last year falling to 7.9 K/9 this season. Cishek has managed to maintain a swinging strike rate of 9.3%, in line with previous seasons, but that has not translated into the results and he has also walked over a hitter per nine innings more than he did in 2014.

All said, Cishek has worked 32 innings and put up a 4.50 ERA. But there are signs of promise. He has been victimized by a high BABIP (.350) and low strand rate (66.4%), and is inducing soft contact at better-than-usual levels. And, of course, the results are much better of late. He has allowed just one earned run over 12 2/3 innings since he was recalled on June 14.

For St. Louis, the move resembles the 2012 trade to acquire Edward Mujica and the 2013 deal that brought in John Axford. As in those situations, the team will add an underperforming arm to bolster depth and take a bet on improved results going forward.

While the Cards have received excellent work from their bullpen, top set-up man Jordan Walden is still working back from injury and the club has leaned heavily on pitchers such as Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, and Seth Maness. And as Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com notes on Twitter, the Cardinals have moved righty Matt Belisle to the 60-day DL to create roster space, which indicates that they will be without one of their internal options for some time.

For Miami, meanwhile, the deal paints the team as a seller after a disappointing performance this year. The Fish held onto Cishek last summer, when his value was much higher, in hopes that he’d anchor the pen of a contender.

The Marlins did at least manage to turn an asset of little function to the team — Cishek was a likely non-tender candidate after the year — into a potentially useful future piece. But it seems that the organization’s developmental staff will have some work to do. Barraclough, 25, dominated the High-A level early in the year and earned a promotion to Double-A, where his control issues have become more pronounced. He’s worked to a 3.28 ERA with 10.2 K/9 against 7.3 BB/9 over 24 2/3 frames at Springfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.