Second base has been a position of weakness for the Miami Marlins in 2014. This after they signed former shortstop Rafael Furcal to fortify the position in the off-season.
Furcal has spent the majority of the season on the Disabled List with hamstring and other leg issues, forcing the Marlins to deploy the quartet of Derek Dietrich, Ed Lucas, Donovan Solano, and Jeff Baker.
Of those four, Dietrich has been the only one to hit the ball well, although he has struggled since his return from his last minor league stint. Dietrich has immense power and was the Marlins second best hitter at the time of his demotion, but his defense at second base left much to be desired. He is on the DL with a wrist injury.
Lucas, Solano, and Baker are all utility players, at best, on any given Major League roster. The Marlins are instead forced to deploy them on a nightly basis, which has hurt the team’s production, especially in the month of June.
On the trade front, Tampa Bay infielder Ben Zobrist is high on a number of teams’ lists. Miami would be a nice fit, but the asking price is a top prospect for the former All-Star.
On the season, Zobrist owns a .255/.338/.401 slash line with a .327 wOBA. He’s lost a bit of a step on the 5-win player he was last season, but is still on pace for a 4-win season.
For the Marlins, who are unlikely to contend this season, but their chances improve next season with a healthy Jose Fernandez, Zobrist would make a ton of sense. He has a friendly team option for next season and would give the Marlins an experienced, and talented player to be the stop-gap solution at second.
However, like Frisaro noted, the asking price for Zobrist should be through the roof. He is still a player that will be in demand and the Rays have played quite well of late, making a potential run in a weakened AL East possible.
I reached out to Robbie Knof, the editor over at Rays Colored Glasses, the Rays Fansided team site, and asked him what he though a potential Zobrist-to-Marlins deal would look like. Here is what he said:
Here’s the conundrum: especially with the Rays on a hot streak, the value they would need to receive to trade Zobrist is far above what any team in baseball will offer. The chances of him getting dealt have been reduced to slim to none unless the Rays fall apart in the next couple of weeks. If the Marlins did want to trade for him, it would take a relatively legit top prospect, a low-level guy with upside, plus a third player, and that is probably above what the Marlins would realistically be willing to give up.
Robbie did not go into specifics into the players the Rays would demand, but a package would likely have to be built around Justin Nicolino. With the way the Marlins pitching has struggled this season, it would be hard to imagine the Marlins giving Nicolino up for much at this moment.