The Marlins are firmly in seller mode as the deadline approaches, and one of the veterans who has received some interest from rival teams is Starlin Castro, as the Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson reports that the Fish have received some calls about the second baseman.
Castro has been a trade candidate since the moment he first came to Miami, dealt in December 2017 (mostly as salary offset) as part of the blockbuster deal that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees. The rebuilding Marlins didn’t have much use for a veteran with a pricey contract, though their efforts to deal Castro over the last year and a half haven’t been successful. If nothing else, that time diminished the money attached to Castro’s services — he is still owed roughly $4.7MM of his $11MM salary for the 2019 season, and his $16MM club option for 2020 can be bought out for $1MM.
It’s easy to imagine Miami eating virtually all of that remaining salary just for the sake of accommodating a move, since Castro’s trade value is minimal. As MLBTR’s Connor Byrne recently outlined, Castro is suffering through the worst season of his ten-year career, hitting only .245/.272/.336 through 371 plate appearances and some of the least-impressive advanced metrics (via Statcast) of any player in baseball.
It’s probably safe to assume that interested teams are looking at Castro just as infield depth for the stretch run, and perhaps hoping that getting away from the last-place Marlins and into a pennant race would help jolt Castro back into something resembling his old self. Conversely, a team keen on adding Castro may not feel the need to give up even a minor prospect to acquire his services when it’s quite possible the Marlins could just release him after July 31 anyway. Marlins prospect Isan Diaz is tearing up Triple-A pitching and pushing hard for MLB playing time at second base, so if a trade partner for Castro can’t be found, the Marlins could release Castro and end up eating his salary anyway (with a new team then responsible for a prorated league minimum salary if they were to sign Castro).