Too many variables muddy Marlins future

How will the Miami Marlins handle a Hechavarria trade?Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
How will the Miami Marlins handle a Hechavarria trade?Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Is Adeiny Hechavarria only the tip of the iceberg? The Miami Marlins are difficult to read these days.

The shortstop with the funky name and Gold Glove defense, who endeared himself to fans with his GIF worthy plays, was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays this Monday. Once considered a key part of the Miami Marlins future, Hechavarria has consistently been praised by the Marlins front office. As recently as 2015, the two sides were working on a contract extension.

While the move was heavily rumored in recent weeks, it was still a bit of a shock to see Hechavarria traded. And it raises questions about Miami’s intentions moving forward.

At 35-41, a playoff bid doesn’t seem like a lost cause, but their postseason odds currently rest at only 6.4%. With a barren farm system and limited payroll, could Hechavarria be the first domino in another sell-off?

The Marlins are never an easy team to read. They are notoriously unpredictable. In recent years they’ve underperformed and stood pat, but no one can forget their fire sale ways. It starts with rumors about Martin Prado and Justin Bour. Keep reading and you’ll see Marcell Ozuna and JT Realmuto pop up. Heck, dig deep enough into the rumor mill and even Giancarlo Stanton may be on the table.

Complicating matters

What complicates any trade rumor about the Marlins is the uncertainty of their ownership situation. Nobody knows who will be making decisions in six months for the Marlins. Without an owner, this is a team that lacks direction.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has asked Jeffrey Loria to wrap up the team’s sale in the next few weeks. He is reportedly concerned about coverage of the sale overshadowing this year’s All-Star Game in Miami. However, it isn’t clear that any of the potential buyers are close to a deal yet.

It makes sense that the Marlins wouldn’t make any major moves without the input of a new leadership team. Surely Loria and the MLB would want the transition between owners to go as smoothly as possible.

However, the Marlins are losing money and on the hook for several big contracts. It’s not inconceivable that big pieces (meaning Prado, Gordon, Chen, and yes, maybe even Stanton) could be moved to alleviate their finances.

Next: Trading Martin Prado makes sense

Any typical season with the Marlins, it’s hard to guess what they’re going to do. But with the lack of clarity surrounding ownership, it’s become an exercise in futility. Look for the team to change hands before any major decisions get made.