Miami Marlins face uncertain future in second half of season

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MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: Giancarlo Stanton
MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: Giancarlo Stanton /
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The Miami Marlins are through the first half of the season. It was a mixed bag, with the team showing flashes of what everyone hoped they would be.

The All-Star festivities are in the books, and the Miami Marlins now turn their attention to the second half of the season. With uncertainty from top-to-bottom of the organization, it’s difficult to gauge what ground the team stands on.

Will they be sold? Will they sell at the deadline? Who will they be trading away? Anyone at all? With so much in flux, it’s difficult to know what the second-half Marlins are going to look like. Fortunately most of these questions will be answered within the next 18 days.

With the trade deadline looming, and the sale of the team barreling towards a conclusion (hopefully), answers should be arriving soon.

It seems as if nobody really knows anything about anything. Reports for the sale of the team have been wild, and at times irresponsible. The team remains unsold, despite Forbes reporting that an agreement had been reached on Monday.

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It appears that Derek Jeter has added Michael Jordan to his bidding group. While Pitbull has joined the Billionaire Boys Club. (Side note: none of them are actually billionaires, otherwise this would have been settled a while ago). Meanwhile, Jorge Mas continues to look like the inevitable winning bidder.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has said all along that he believes a deal will be made before the trade deadline on July 31st. Again, it’s difficult to know exactly what all is going on, but it appears he’s on the money with that prediction.

After a sale is made, we might see some of the competing bidders look to hop on the bandwagon of the winning group. Something tells me the saga will never end.

Who will be the starting nine after the deadline?

Let’s go around the horn:

Pitching: The Miami Marlins don’t have anything they can trade away at this position. They barely have enough arms to field their own team right now. Regardless of who they deal at the deadline, this is going to be at the top of their list in terms of demands.

Catcher: J.T. Realmuto is safe. He’s already a stud, and all that is missing for him to be a star is a little more power and national press. If they do trade him, which they won’t, it would take a haul that most teams would be unwilling, or unable to meet.

First base: How about that show that Justin Bour put on in the Home Run Derby? He should have advanced; a casualty of a poorly conceived format. They aren’t moving him. He’s under team control and is having a breakout season.

Second base: They team could be convinced to move Dee Gordon, but again, it would take a lot to make it happen. Gordon is locked up to a contract that is generally team friendly. But with several teams in pursuit of him, his recent hot streak might not be enough to convince Marlins brass to keep him around longer. It might actually be making him a more enticing trade tool.

Third base: Martin Prado is a piece that they will likely move, and with good reason. It’ll take a team sending back at least one upper-echelon prospect, and another mid-grade prospect. But most importantly, they’ll need to take his entire contract. Brian Anderson is waiting in the wings.

Shortstop: Nothing to trade here, that move has already been made. The team will ride with J.T. Riddle and Miguel Rojas on the right side of the infield for the rest of the season. If Riddle can continue to look like he belongs in the Major Leagues, trading Adeiny Hechavarria could prove to have been a prudent move by Miami.

Left field: All-Star Marcell Ozuna could be on the move, but it would take a lot. He’s emerged as one of the National League’s best outfielders this season, and still has several years of team control ahead of him. If the Fish do move him, they likely get back one of the top-rated pitching prospects in baseball.

Center field: Christian Yelich is locked up to a very team friendly contract. It’s going to take a number of upper echelon prospects to get him off the Miami Marlins books. The fans love him, the team loves him, and he’s a silver slugger with a gold glove. At only 25 years old, he’s still a star in the making.

Right field: The most recognizable Miami Marlins right now. Stanton’s contract isn’t team-friendly as much as it is really long. It’s worth so much, that few teams would be willing to take his entire contract, and give the Miami Marlins what they feel he is worth. Rumors will swirl, but he likely stays in Miami.

Next: On the bright side, the Home Run Derby isn't rigged

Conclusion

Call me crazy, but I think the team remains intact for the most part. Moving Prado makes the most sense, and it’s a move that I think will be made. Trading Dee Gordon away would be a heart-breaker, but ultimately might be necessary.

Miami needs to try and position themselves better along the starting rotation if they want to make a run at the playoffs next season. They have the offensive firepower to compete for the division with the Nationals to win the NL East. They have a better bullpen as well.

But the gulf that exists between the quality of the starting rotation is humungous. It will take clever maneuvering and a willingness to spend in free agency for the team to bounce back by 2018.

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