The White Sox are among the clubs that have spoken to the Marlins about Christian Yelich, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter), though he adds that those talks never gained much traction. Per Crasnick, talks never advanced beyond “routine dialogue.” Certainly, though, if the Marlins elected to shop Yelich to other clubs, there’d be a fit between the two sides. Chicago has one of the game’s top farm systems, and the 26-year-old Yelich would align nicely with the rebuilding White Sox’s projected timeline for contending. Yelich is owed $44.5MM over the next four seasons — a sum that includes the buyout on a $15MM option for a fifth season. All told, Yelich can be controlled for five years and $58.25MM — a relative bargain for a player that has batted .293/.371/.447 with outstanding left field defense over the past three seasons. Yelich showed in 2017, too, that he can handle center field if needed, though defensive metrics are much more bullish on his corner work. For now, however, Crasnick notes that execs with other clubs believe the Marlins will hang onto Yelich.
A bit more on the Marlins…
- Marlins vice president of player development Gary Denbo tells reporters that he expects Starlin Castro to be a part of the club in 2018 as well (link via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald). Denbo spoke highly of Castro, praising his ability to hit for power relative to other second basemen. Castro, acquired in the blockbuster that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, is owed $22MM over the next two seasons and has a $16MM option for a third year. There’s been plenty of speculation that the Marlins, looking to further trim their payroll, could flip Castro to a club in need of a second baseman. Marlins fans will want to check out Jackson’s piece for Denbo’s evaluations of prospects Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers — the other two players in the Stanton deal.
- Jackson’s column and this column from MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro both contain a number of quotes from Denbo on the young pitchers the Marlins have acquired this offseason. Denbo suggests that lefty Caleb Smith (another pickup from his former organization, the Yankees) will compete for a rotation spot in 2018. Smith, 26, was hit hard in a tiny sample of 18 1/3 innings with the Yankees last year, but he turned in an outstanding 2.39 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 41.1 percent ground-ball rate in 98 Triple-A innings in the Yankees organization. Smith averaged 94 mph on his heater with the Yanks last year, though he did so primarily as a reliever, so that velocity will likely take a step back when working as a starter. Denbo also weighs in on first baseman Garrett Cooper, who could potentially serve as a right-handed complement to Justin Bour.
- In his latest Marlins Inbox, Frisaro breaks down the Marlins’ potential rotation, noting that he’s not convinced Dan Straily will be traded (thus positioning him to be the team’s Opening Day starter). Jose Urena should be in the mix as well, with Adam Conley, Justin Nicolino, Odrisamer Despaigne, Dillon Peters and (as Denbo suggested) Smith all in the mix as well. Wei-Yin Chen, of course, will start if he can return to health, though his status remains up in the air. Frisaro tackles a number of other roster-related issues, including the outfield alignment, the timeline of some pitching prospects to the Majors and Derek Dietrich’s role with the club.