The Marlins’ offseason trade interest in Willson Contreras was fairly well documented, but it appears he wasn’t the only Chicago catcher pursued by the Fish. Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald report that the Marlins also made an “aggressive” attempt to acquire Yermin Mercedes from the White Sox but couldn’t convince the South Siders to part with him. “Aggressive” is a relative term, but in the case of Mercedes, nearly any focused effort to pry him away could’ve been seen as such prior to Opening Day. He’d logged only a single MLB plate appearance prior to the 2021 season and entered the year as a 28-year-old with 53 Triple-A games under his belt. Scouting reports on Mercedes have universally tabbed him as a DH-only prospect who lacks a true defensive position.
There’s been no ignoring Mercedes’ remarkable breakout at the plate to begin the season, however. The bat-first characterization of his skill set looks to be well deserved, as he opened the year with an incredible eight consecutive hits and is now 16-for-32 with a pair of homers, three doubles and four walks to match his four strikeouts. Mercedes obviously won’t sustain a .538 average on balls in play, but at least early on, he looks the part of a strong DH option. Even with some regression to be expected, the torrid start has surely quelled any temptation for the White Sox to trade the “Yerminator.” The Marlins, meanwhile, figure to continue looking for catching help this summer and into next offseason, per Mish and Jackson.
A few more notes out of South Florida…
- While the Marlins may be seeking catching help now, they had one of the game’s top all-around backstops not long ago. Miami traded J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies prior to the 2018 season, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal sheds some light on talks that took place with another interested party: the Reds. Talks between Cincinnati and Miami weren’t a secret at the time, and it’s been previously reported that current second baseman Jonathan India and catcher Tucker Barnhart were among the players who could’ve potentially been sent to the Marlins in a Realmuto deal with the Reds. The breaking point in talks, according to Rosenthal, was that the Reds staunchly refused to part with flamethrowing righty Hunter Greene in the deal. Greene was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, and while he’s since had Tommy John surgery, he remains a highly regarded pitching prospect. Then again, righty Sixto Sanchez, whom the Marlins actually did pick up in their eventual trade of Realmuto, is widely considered among the game’s top overall young talents.
- Corey Dickerson doesn’t appear to be in the Marlins’ plans beyond 2021, Jackson and Mish add in the previously linked Herald column, making a trade at this year’s deadline appear possible. Dickerson stood out as a rather logical on-paper trade candidate in the first place, as a veteran on an expiring contract with an up-and-coming team that most do not expect to contend for a playoff berth. Dickerson, who’ll turn 32 in May, has batted just .259/.314/.402 through his first 243 plate appearances as a Marlin dating back to 2020. He inked a two-year, $17.5MM deal to serve as Miami’s primary left fielder, and while his power and exit velocity have dropped off, his strikeout and walk rates have actually improved a bit with the Fish. As of this year’s July 30 trade deadline, Dickerson will still have $2.97MM remaining on this year’s $8.5MM salary, plus an additional $1MM owed to him in the form of a deferred signing bonus. The Marlins could need to absorb a portion of that sum in order to bring about a trade.