The Marlins are informing rivals that they are now willing to trade their last remaining star outfielder, Christian Yelich, according to a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Per the report, the return will need to exceed what the team achieved in deals involving Marcell Ozuna (the return in which is still unknown) and Giancarlo Stanton.
In truth, everything written above was anticipated at this point. While there has been some chatter suggesting the Fish would like to keep Yelich and a few other quality veterans, the fact is that the organization is probably best served fully completing the process it began by shopping Stanton and dealing Dee Gordon. Likewise, Yelich’s value has long seemed highest of the members of the Marlins’ once-great outfield.
True, both Stanton and Ozuna dramatically out-produced Yelich at the plate in 2017. But the left-handed-hitting Yelich has a smooth swing with good patience and contact ability along with (some believe) some as-yet-untapped power potential. With high-quality glovework and baserunning mixed in, Yelich has posted 4.5 fWAR campaigns in three of the past four seasons.
The biggest difference-maker, though, is Yelich’s appealing contract. He will be guaranteed $44.5MM through 2021, including a buyout on a $15MM club option for one additional season, meaning that an acquiring team could pick up the rights to all of his remaining prime years for something like the going annual rate for a quality setup man.
As the Marlins’ fire sale continues, it’ll be interesting to see whether other names are put on the block. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is the most intriguing possibility, though others — just-acquired infielder Starlin Castro, fellow infielder Derek Dietrich, first baseman Justin Bour, and starter Dan Straily, especially — seem like they’d draw interest. Plus, the team is still looking to move salary, with players such as Martin Prado, Brad Ziegler, and Junichi Tazawa representing additional possible trade candidates.