The Marlins boosted their offense yesterday, adding Jean Segura on a two-year, $17MM deal to play third base. Yet it appears they are still looking for hitting, according to a report from Jon Heyman of the New York Post, and at some stage discussed possible trade scenarios with the Rockies, with Edward Cabrera and Brendan Rodgers the players talked about. It’s not known whether those talks occurred before or after the Segura signing, although it seems probable they came beforehand.
Cabrera, 25 in April, made a solid 14 starts for the Marlins this season, pitching to a 3.01 ERA. He surely benefited from an opponent’s BABIP of just .207, and sure enough advanced metrics such as FIP had him pegged at 4.59. While he did strikeout batters at an above-average 25.8% clip in ’22, his walk rate of 11.3% was below the league average. Nonetheless, it was still a big step forward from a difficult seven starts Cabrera made in 2021 for Miami. Pitching prospects often take a bit of time to settle in at the highest level, and Cabrera is a former top-100 prospect who’s made just 21 big league starts and is yet to reach a full year of service time, so there’s still plenty of time for him to reach his full potential.
The Rockies could certainly use a boost to their rotation, as not one of their projected starting five had an ERA under 4.50 last year, and three finished north of 5.00. Acquiring a young starter like Cabrera would have given them a huge boost in the rotation, particularly over the long term.
The Marlins have been speculated as a possible trade partner for one of their starting pitchers. There were reports at the deadline that the Yankees came close to acquiring Pablo Lopez in a deal involving infielder Gleyber Torres. That didn’t come to fruition, and while it’s not known how far these discussions between the Rockies and Marlins got, it’s interesting to note that it was a similar framework in terms of the Marlins seeking an infielder to headline the return for one of their starting pitchers.
In this case, Rodgers, 26, is a former top-100 prospect himself who had a breakout year in 2022. The bat largely stayed in line with his career numbers, as Rodgers slashed .266/.325/.408 with 13 home runs, but he amassed a staggering 22 Defensive Runs Saved at second base, the second most in all of baseball (behind only Ke’Bryan Hayes). That’s quite the jump forward from the previous year, when Rodgers was worth -5 DRS. That saw Rodgers claim his first Gold Glove award.
The acquisition of Rodgers would have given them arguably one of the best defensive group of infielders in the game, as he would have joined Joey Wendle, Miguel Rojas, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. Though it’s worth noting that both Wendle and Rojas have drawn trade interest themselves (Rojas and Wendle).
The exact makeup of a deal, or even how far along in discussions the two teams got, is unknown but it seems unlikely it would have been a straight swap. Rodgers is first year arbitration-eligible and is projected to take home $2.7MM in 2023 (per Matt Swartz’ predictions). He can be controlled for three more seasons, while Cabrera is under control for another six.
Given the signing of Segura, it’d seem unlikely for Miami to seek any more additions in the infield without trading someone away, but they could shift their attention to moving some pitching to get outfield help. The Padres are reportedly open to moving Trent Grisham, while Pittsburgh has reportedly been seeking a top, young starter to headline any deal for Bryan Reynolds, so those two teams as well as a myriad of others could, speculatively, make sense as trade partners for Miami.