5:43pm: Eight teams have reached out to the Marlins on Straily, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter).
12:51pm: After focusing primarily on trades involving their relievers over the past couple of weeks, the Marlins have now informed teams that they’re open to trading right-hander Dan Straily, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
The 28-year-old Straily was essentially a free pickup for the Reds in Spring Training 2016 and has continually built up increasing trade value over the past season and a half. Cincinnati dealt him to Miami in exchange for a prospect package headlined by flamethrowing rookie starter Luis Castillo this offseason, and it’s possible that the market for controllable starters is thin enough that the Fish can recoup comparable or even superior value after four more strong months out of Straily.
While Straily definitely won’t be mistake for a top-of-the-rotation starter, he’s been a durable mid-rotation piece dating back to Opening Day 2016. Over his past 308 2/3 innings, Straily has averaged 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 with a 33 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 3.79 ERA. Alternative metrics like FIP and xFIP don’t love Straily, though as an extreme fly-ball pitcher, he’s more likely to sustain his .251 BABIP than a more ground-ball oriented pitcher would be. (Fly-balls in play, generally speaking, are easier to turn into outs than grounders.)
Straily’s true value, however, comes through the simple fact that he’s a solid mid-rotation piece that is controlled not just through the 2017 campaign but all the way through 2020. He’s yet to reach arbitration eligibility (though he will this offseason) and should be affordable, from a financial standpoint, for any team in the Majors.
The Marlins have begun to replenish a perilously thin farm system by trading David Phelps to the Mariners, and it stands to reason that they’ll also part with closer AJ Ramos and, perhaps, Straily over the next 96 hours. Virtually all reports on the team have suggested that they’re not open to trading core offensive players like Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto, and the team has several potential trade chips on the disabled list in the form of Kyle Barraclough, Edinson Volquez and Martin Prado.
Whether their likely inability to cash in on those players impacted Miami’s willingness to move Straily isn’t clear, but now is among the best times possible to be marketing an affordable, controllable starter — even if his ceiling is that of a workhorse rather than that of an ace. Moving both Straily and Ramos in the coming days won’t dramatically overhaul the Miami farm system, but it’d further begin to build up a minor league reservoir of talent that has been thinned out by trades and injuries to recent top picks Tyler Kolek and Braxton Garrett.