May 10, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Marlins reliever Mike Dunn delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Marlins defeated the Dodgers 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s get this out of the way: Marlins will be sellers this July. This summer, Miami can take advantage of the relievers market for teams who are one piece away from their magical postseason run. Out of desperation and a demand spike, teams like these typically overpay for their marginal relievers at the deadline.
The Marlins, who know a thing or two about ripping people off, should consider parting with Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn at the deadline. Based on a couple deals from last year, Miami can get a sense of what to expect in their haul.
(There is some question as to if it’s really “overpaying” if your team ultimately wins the World Series but that is not a discussion the Marlins should associate themselves with anytime soon.)
Mike Dunn has played a couple roles for the Marlins this season. From cleaning up during garbage innings during blowouts to playing setup man for Cishek, to being the lefty specialist, to eventually sharing the closer role, Dunn’s pitched a flexible 22 innings this year.
Dunn’s trade value should draw comparisons to last year’s Edward Mujica deal. Dunn turns 28 this month and is arbitration eligible this offseason, same as Mujica in ’12. The two also have similar numbers— Dunn striking out a few more per nine but with more walks.
Another factor in Dunn’s value is how left-handed he is. He is very left handed. And while Dunn might not have the shutdown numbers against lefties a manger would expect from a LOOGY (Lefties bat .233/.330/.333 on Dunn), another possible role to fill can only help his value.
May 16, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Steve Cishek (31) throws in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
If you’ll recall, the Cardinals sent Zack Cox for Mujica. Cox was an interesting prospect at the time and some even speculated St. Louis overpaid for a middle reliever. If Dunn were to draw some trade interest in the next two months, look for the same mid-range prospect return the Fish got last year.
With the struggling Steve Cishek, Miami only has to look back one season to see how much value a closer who’s shouldered some blown saves and losses has.Last year, the Kansas City Royals signed Jonathan Broxton to be their ninth inning punctuation, and the big guy quickly made himself known for making saves scary as hell for everyone involved. (No, really everyone involved, there was always a hit-by-pitch possibility with Broxton on the hill.) By July, Broxton had 23 saves and eventually sent to the Reds for minor leaguers Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran. One will probably contribute to the Majors soon (Joseph) and one is a 23-year old starter in AA (Sulbaran).
There’s no doubt Cishek’s value was higher before losing his closers role, and neither of the projected hauls are particularly encouraging in the first place. But in a year where Miami has opted to roll the dice on minor leaguers already, selling on Dunn and Cishek shouldn’t be a difficult decision come July.