Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich is — rather unsurprisingly — not particularly enthused with the direction the club has taken so far this winter, according to a report from Jerry Crasnick of EPN.com. That said, the 26-year-old has not demanded a trade and is willing to hear out president of baseball operations Michael Hill on the organization’s plans.
Yelich joins catcher J.T. Realmuto as veteran Marlins players who are evidently disappointed by the fact they are bound to an organization that has already dealt away three critical roster pieces this winter. While neither player enjoys no-trade protection, their views are hardly irrelevant for a new ownership group that has not exactly endeared itself to local fans since taking the helm a few months back.
Miami previously shipped out veterans Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon, each of whom was a key regular who came with contract rights beyond the 2018 season. Those deals relieved a significant portion of the team’s payroll pressure, though more paring is anticipated.
It was already fair to wonder whether and when Yelich, Realmuto, and others would be put on the block, but the question is now teed up publicly. At the same time, Hill issued a statement (which Crasnick tweets) saying “we will be the ones who initiate” any efforts to trade further veteran players.
Miami’s true plans are still a bit of a mystery. The organization has suggested it would like to attempt to build around some of its remaining established big leaguers, though it’s unclear as yet just how the team proposes to surround them with enough additional talent to create a contending roster in the near future. It’s certainly still possible the club is mostly just hoping to maintain its bargaining position by refusing to acknowledge that certain players are truly available.
Last we heard, multiple organizations were eyeing the talented Yelich. Along with Realmuto, he’s the most valuable trade asset in the organization, with enough outside interest that it seems the Marlins will enjoy a favorable bidding situation even if it’s made clear they are willing to make a move.