Miami Marlins Trade Rumors: Marlins Prepared to Become Sellers
By Ehsan Kassim
Even with their impressive win on Thursday night behind Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins enter today 14 games under .500, with a 36-50 record 86 games into the season.
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While the team came into the season with the expectation that they could be scouring the trade market to aid the roster in a potential pursuit for a playoff spot, the team’s front office may have realized the sobering reality that they overestimated the talent level of the team and could be ready to sell and look forward to 2016.
As we learned earlier today, the San Francisco Giants could been open to the idea of a reunion with Michael Morse.
According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the team has other players on the trading block at the moment, as well.
"With the second-worst record in the majors, the Marlins have finally reached the jumping off point on the season and are telling teams they’ll listen to offers for pitchers Mat Latos, Dan Haren and Brad Hand, and backup infielder Jeff Baker.None of the names come as any great surprise.Latos and Haren have long been rumored as prime trade candidates. They, like Baker, are eligible for free agency after the season and not in the Marlins’ long-term plans. Nor is the lefty Hand, who has remained on the 25-man roster the past two seasons, in large part because he has been out of options.Another name the Marlins could deal before the July 31 trade deadline is reliever Steve Cishek."
We know the team has shopped Tom Koehler and Brad Hand for much of the season, with MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro even mentioning at one time that a trade could have brewed involving those two back early last month.
Latos, Haren, and Baker are likely now becoming available, as the team realizes they have little to no chance to compete for a playoff spot. Fangraphs has the Marlins chances of making the playoffs at 0.6% as of last night.
Mat Latos, who the Miami Marlins acquired for Anthony DeSclafani and Chad Wallach this past off-season, got off to a slow start to the season, but after a trip to the DL to rest his ailing knee, has been a completely different pitcher.
Through his first 9 starts, Latos owned a 6.12 ERA and a 3.43 FIP in 42 2/3 innings of work. He was striking out just 18.8% of the hitters he faced while walked 8.8%. Latos’ velocity was also at a career low mark at that point.
Since his return on June 13th, Latos has had a noticeable uptick in his velocity and has performed better as a result. He owns a 3.31 ERA and a 3.60 FIP in those 5 starts and 32 2/3 innings of work. Latos is striking out 23.9% of the hitters he faces and walked just 6.2% of them.
If Latos can keep his pace up for a couple of more starts, the Miami Marlins could potentially extrapolate more value out of him at the trade deadline. With Latos, the team can also bank that right hander continues to improve and offer him a qualifying option after the season, in hopes he rejects it and the Marlins recoup draft picks when he signs elsewhere.
Trading Latos when his stock should be the highest over the next couple of weeks should be the best option, though.
As for Dan Haren, who has been the most consistent starter in terms of traditional numbers, the team hopes to recoup some of the prospects they lost in the original deal that brought him from Los Angeles to Miami.
Haren owns a sparkling 3.34 ERA on the season, but his 4.15 FIP, 10-year low strikeout percentage of 18.1%, .252 BABIP against, and nearly 80% left on base rate suggest regression should be on the way for the 34-year old. The team would be wise to trade him while he has trade value and before he implodes back to his true talent level.
The problem with trading Haren could be two-fold.
Firstly, the Miami Marlins, using mostly traditional stats, could hold a different value for Haren opposed to teams that look past record and ERA, at better pitching indicator analytics.
Secondly, Haren held out pitching anywhere but the west coast for much of the off-season and the he could look to force the Marlins hand to trade him to a team on the west coast, as opposed to a team like the Yankees located on the other side of the country.
For those two reasons, along with Haren’s age, the trade market for Haren could be a lot less robust than the market for Mat Latos, or even a Tom Koehler.
Latos is scheduled to pitch for the team on Saturday and Haren on Sunday.
Jeff Baker could be valuable to any team searching for a strong left-handed hitting bat off the bench, or even a strong platoon option. Baker could hold appeal for many teams in the same role he’s playing for the Marlins right now.
Brad Hand is unlikely to have a ton of trade value, as he has been forced onto the Miami Marlins roster the last two seasons due to him being out of minor league options. An acquiring team would not have the luxury of optioning him to the minors without the risk of losing him, if he struggles.
Hand also has not shown he can be a capable Major League starter full-time, so a trade for him would not bring as much value as the team would like.
Steve Cishek, whom the Marlins would have been wise to trade last July or even this past off-season, is an interesting trade chip for the team. Cishek owns an ugly 5.14 ERA and lost his closer role earlier in the season. However, like Latos, his numbers have looked a lot better since he returned from a minor league stint to hone his stuff.
On June 1st when the team optioned Cishek to Double-A Jacksonville, Cishek owned 6.98 ERA and a 4.22 FIP in 19 1/3 innings of work. He had struck out just 18.3% of the hitters he faced and walked 10.8%. Cishek, like Latos, suffered from a dip in his velocity.
Call to the Pen
Since his return from Double-A on June 14th, Cishek owns a 1.04 ERA and a 2.27 FIP in 8 2/3 innings of work. He has struck out 21.1% of the hitters he’s faced and walked just 7.9%. While the strikeouts are well below his 30% mark last season and his career 25% mark, they are a remarkable improvement over earlier in the season.
Quietly, Cishek has helped the Miami Marlins form a strong 1-2-3 punch for the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning.
The team should hope for a couple more weeks of Cishek bouncing back and look to deal him at the trade deadline. While they are not going to get the same value they would have out of Cishek had they traded him last July or this past off-season, the team should still look to get a decent return for a guy that has a proven track record as a strong closer.
The Miami Marlins don’t have a lot of trade chips as the trade deadline nears, but they are also not devoid of any chips either. If the Marlins play their chips right, they could walk away with decent trade value for some of their players on the trade block.
Author Dillon Murrell posted two article earlier this week emphasizing what the team could get in return in terms of prospects, as well as in terms of retooling the team to get back into the race next season.
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