Thanks to an improbable late-season rally, the Marlins entered Saturday a game over .500 and 4.5 games behind Colorado for the National League’s last wild-card spot. They’re not going to attempt to sell veterans such as 49-home run right fielder Giancarlo Stanton or reliever Brad Ziegler anytime soon, then, Rosenthal suggests (video links). Dealing Stanton during the season looked extremely unlikely even before the Marlins’ recent run, given his enormous contract (10 years, $295MM left after this season), the opt-out in the deal after the 2020 campaign and his full no-trade clause – not to mention the team’s impending ownership change. Nevertheless, the Marlins have been getting calls on the surging 27-year-old, according to Rosenthal, who reports that teams have been offering packages consisting of prospects, salary relief and major leaguers for Stanton. Miami has not seriously considered any offers to this stage, but if Stanton’s incredible performance keeps up, proposals from other clubs should only get more appealing, Rosenthal posits.
Ziegler, meanwhile, could have interested contenders looking for bullpen help. The 37-year-old has posted some mediocre-at-best numbers this season (4.73 ERA, 4.73 K/9, 3.15 BB/9 over 40 innings), but the ground-ball machine (66.6 percent) has worked 11 straight scoreless appearances and is under control in 2018 for a fairly reasonable $9MM. He and Stanton have each reportedly cleared trade waivers this month, freeing them up for August moves, though it looks like a moot point in both cases.
More from Rosenthal on the Marlins and two other clubs:
- Whether Tigers left fielder Justin Upton continues his torrid pace through September and whether he’s willing to stick with a rebuilding team will help determine his opt-out decision after the season, Rosenthal says. Upton, who has been one of the majors’ most valuable outfielders this season, will have a chance to walk away from the four years and $88.5MM left on his deal in hopes of landing a similar or better pact elsewhere. If he chooses to exit Detroit, facing less competition on the market than he did when he was a free agent in 2015 and not being eligible for a qualifying offer would aid him in his search for another big payday, Rosenthal notes. As a free agent a couple winters ago, Upton inked a six-year, $132.75MM pact with the Tigers despite being part of a class of available players that included other star-caliber outfielders in Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon.
- On account of their unexpected success, the Marlins seem to be on the lookout for rotation help, though president of baseball operations Michael Hill told Rosenthal that the starters who have cleared waivers in August are “not inspiring at all.” Stuck with the likes of Vance Worley and Justin Nicolino in their rotation, the Marlins could promote minor league left-hander Dillon Peters, per Rosenthal. The 24-year-old Peters has posted impressive numbers across 45 2/3 Double-A innings this season, with a 1.97 ERA, 7.88 K/9 against 2.17 BB/9 and a 46 percent grounder rate, and MLB.com ranks him as the Marlins’ fourth-best prospect.
- The Nationals would like to retain contract-year manager Dusty Baker past this season, GM Mike Rizzo informed Rosenthal. The Baker-led Nats have gone 171-117 since he took over in advance of the 2016 campaign and are coasting to a second straight NL East title. Baker has said on multiple occasions that he wants to remain with the Nationals, but he’s also aiming for a pay raise.