Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Many people around baseball have been surprised at just how active the Marlins have been so far this offseason. They have made trades, signed a few veteran free agents and even were rumored to be involved in the Robinson Cano sweepstakes. Miami still has a few pressing needs that have to be addressed, none bigger than the current question mark at third base. One solution that many insiders have been discussing are the Marlins plethora of young pitching.
Miami has amassed quite a stable of major league level pitching in their farm system. After the breakout success of Jose Fernandez and the emergence of Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi, it has been natural for teams to call inquiring about the availability of a young arm or two via trade.
To give you an idea of just how many prospects the Marlins have, in addition to the three young pitchers that I already named, here are the other pitchers that project to play in the major leagues; Lefties, Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley and Brian Flynn; Righties, Jose Urena, Angel Sanchez and Anthony DeSclafani.
These players all have an above average chance of sticking in a major league rotation or bullpen at some point. Marlins VP Mike Hill was on MLB Network on Monday discussing what future moves the Marlins may be interested in making. For those of you that were hoping that the Marlins would trade some of their young pitching to get help elsewhere, don’t hold your breath.
"We certainly have a surplus of upper level starting pitching, but Ken, you know as well as anyone, that as quickly as you have a surplus you could have a need, and we just aren’t built to fish in the deep waters of the starting pitching market, so we are very protective of it, we are very mindful that it could be gone before you know it. Unless it’s a deal that really impacts us and helps us in the near-term and deep in the long-term we are going to be very protective."
To me, this sounds like a team that is not going to be trading any of these pitchers any time soon. The problem that the Marlins’ face is that pitching prospects are not valued as high as hitting prospects. It often takes two top pitching prospects to get 1 top hitting prospect in return. Since the Marlins are not building for a World Series run in 2014, there is little incentive to trade their prospects for anything more than other prospects, which notoriously is difficult for teams to agree upon.
The majority of trades are made with one team looking for immediate help, giving away more talented prospects to a team that is building for the future and trading off their immediate talent. The Marlins lack immediate, tradeable talent, mostly because they have already traded them. Other than Giancarlo Stanton, nobody on the team really qualifies as “immediate talent”, and even Stanton is a good bargain and relatively cost controlled for a couple more years.
I would anticipate that the Marlins are going to hold on to their starting pitching and not make any rash decisions at this point. They might find someone who is a little more desperate at the trading deadline, and who is willing to overpay for pitching. That to me, would be a wise move.