Miami Marlins: Trades if the season comes off the hinges

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Marlins are looking at a long road back to playoff contention. Only six weeks into the season, and it’s impossible to avoid the “what if” questions.

Let’s start by understanding one thing: the season is young. Very young. The Miami Marlins are seven games under .500 after going 3-12 in their last 15 games.

Wildcard standings aren’t even a thing yet, but if they were, the Marlins would only be five games out of the second spot. It’s hardly time to start sounding the panic alarm.

However, the slow start can’t be ignored. Most concerning, the issues of greatest concern are exactly what people expected heading into the season. So far, the Marlins season hasn’t been a surprise. Add the injuries on top of already thin team and you have a recipe for disaster.

More from Marlin Maniac

Everyone around the team, that includes the fans (hopefully), is still in ‘win now’ mode. The lineup is certainly good enough, and if they can muster any kind of consistency from the starting rotation, the Fish are in business.

But, let’s just say they aren’t able to. Let’s say things go really badly, and the team is forced to face reality: “What we have right now isn’t good enough and it’s time to start trading pieces away.”

To be sure, any trade that would involve a major piece of the Marlins roster would take place after the All-Star game. It sure would spoil the party if the Marlins were showing off their nice, new, expensive ballpark days after having traded a franchise cornerstone.

If things don’t go well, here are three trade possibilities the Marlins might explore at the deadline.

Marcell Ozuna

This is the most obvious, and unfortunately the most likely. Marcell Ozuna‘s breakout start to the 2017 season has been bittersweet.

On the one hand, he is emerging as an offensive force, and “the best young outfield in the Major Leagues”, is finally starting to live up to that billing. Of course, Ozuna’s hot start might amount to nothing more than an audition for a competing team.

The fact that Ozuna won’t hit free agency until 2020 works as both an advantage, and disadvantage.

On the one hand, the Marlins aren’t going to want to trade an All-Star caliber outfielder who is still under team control. On the other hand, they stand to receive several talented prospects from any potential suitor.

Ozuna is due $3.5 million this year. Arbitration will increase that number significantly next season. If the Miami Marlins aren’t looking like a playoff team, they’ll likely look to move Ozuna when the deadline comes.

Adeiny Hechavarria

This is a tough one, because the Marlins don’t really stand to get much in return. Adeiny Hechavarria makes this list because the Marlins aren’t keen on keeping him around much longer anyway.

More from Marlins News

Now that he has missed significant portions of time on the disabled list to start the year, his stock takes a hit. Hechavarria is due to test free agency at the end of this year, and will likely command more than the Marlins are willing to pay.

In his time with the Fish, there have been few shortstops flash the leather with the same level of grace. Hechavarria is a dynamic fielder with an unteachable instinct to catch the ball.

The same can’t be said for his offensive production, though. Unfortunately for the Marlins, that’s usually what teams are looking for most around the trade deadline.

Hechavarria was off to a better start this year. After hitting .238 last season, Hechavarria hiked his average up to .277, and was slugging a career high .385 in 2017.

But teams will be hesitant to rent a loaner that has recent injuries, and wasn’t a prolific hitter to begin with.

If the Fish are able to move him, they will. How many prospects they get back will likely depend on what else is included in the deal. But any trade involving Hechavarria is more about getting something for a player who is leaving either way.

Edinson Volquez

This is by far the toughest one to execute. There is going to be plenty of pitching available at the trading deadline this year. With so many marquee names due to hit free agency, teams that aren’t in contention will be looking to move their superstars. That means Edinson Volquez is likely going to get lost in the shuffle.

Volquez is an above-average pitcher, but he hasn’t looked like it this year. Currently doing a stint on the disabled list for a blister on his pitching hand, his return date is unknown. However, when he has been able to pitch, it’s been short of spectacular.

In his first year with the Miami Marlins, Volquez has started six games, and holds an 0-4 record. His ERA sits at 4.17, and he has walked 22 batters in 28 innings. He hasn’t had a WHIP as high as his current 1.814 since his second year in the league.

Add all this to the fact that Volquez is due a whopping $13 million next year, and he will be a tough chip to move. Teams get desperate as the deadline approaches though.

The Marlins might be able to find a team who feels they are an Edinson Volquez away from winning a World Series. If so, then it’ll work out for everyone involved.

Next: Miami Marlins: The shortstop of the future is behind the plate

The Miami Marlins will face some major decisions ahead if they are unable to turn things around this season. As the hosts of the All-Star Game, they can’t afford to trade marquee players before the event.

However, anything that happens after regular season play resumes is fair game, and you might see some wheeling and dealing if things aren’t going in the right direction.