Touching base with the Miami Marlins trade rumors

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 1: The batting order for the Miami Marlins in their game against the Atlanta Braves is shown in center field with Giancarlo Stanton
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 1: The batting order for the Miami Marlins in their game against the Atlanta Braves is shown in center field with Giancarlo Stanton /

Giancarlo Stanton remains a member of the Miami Marlins and is dominating the hot stove. But trading the biggest name won’t provide the biggest payoff.

The Miami Marlins will be at the center of wheeling and dealing this offseason. Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman want to trim payroll into the $90 million range, and their plan to do so recently became public.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Martin Prado are all on the trading block. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following along. Dealing all three would constitute an effective partial rebuild.

Stanton is obviously the headlining name, but he isn’t the one the Miami Marlins would benefit most from moving.

For Miami, all three players are no-brainers to find homes elsewhere in the league. But each brings a unique set of challenges that will make them a difficult sell. A one-for-one trade, or a pirates booty of prospects will take yeoman’s work on the part of the rookie ownership group.

Giancarlo Stanton

In terms of pure value, the timing couldn’t be better. Stanton is coming off his best season, and could potentially be the first MVP winner in franchise history. He remained healthy for an entire season, and made strides in his approach at the plate.

All this to say his value on the open market has never been higher. The Miami Marlins can’t afford his contract, and it appears fans are beginning to come to terms with the fact that he won’t be around next year. That’s for the best.

But his short-sided-mega-contract makes it a difficult sell. The Miami Marlins will either need to eat a portion of his salary, or tack an a low-price, high upside player to go along with the deal. At a time when they’re trying to stockpile that type of asset, there are no obvious takers.

The St. Louis Cardinals are entering the offseason looking for a slugger, and the Philadelphia Phillies remain an outside contender. It’s not known whether anyone has approached the team about a trade yet, but he’ll be a hot name and will land somewhere.

This will be the first, and biggest test of what the new ownership group can do. They need a big haul of quality players. If they whiff on the deal, it could haunt them the way the Miguel Cabrera trade haunted the previous ownership group.

Dee Gordon

This will probably be the most heartbreaking parting of ways this offseason. Dee is an electric, likable ballplayer who gives back to the community. The spark plug of the offense, there is no player at the lower level waiting to jump into his spot.

Derek Dietrich, Miguel Rojas, JT Riddle, and anyone who performs exemplary out of spring training will likely battle it out for playing time up the middle.

But the time to trade Dee is now. He’ll turn 30 in the first month of the season, and is still owed $51 million over the next four years. His value has never been higher, either. A bounce back 2017 saw him post a slash line of .308/.341/.375, and a was successful on 79 percent of his steal attempts.

There will be takers for Gordon, but how much the Marlins are able to get back is questionable. His salary isn’t huge, but it’s more than most teams are willing to pay for speedsters entering the other side of 30.

Martin Prado

Herein lies the biggest challenge the Miami Marlins will face this offseason. (They already failed their other biggest challenge, which was convincing Wei-Yin Chen to walk away from $60 million). Prado didn’t have much go right in 2017, and an injury late in the season makes a deal difficult.

Prado started the season on the DL, found his way back there mid-season, then ended the year there. In between the stints, he managed to play below average baseball.

Moving him will be a challenge, and when you take into account the amount of money that he’s owed, it’s nearly impossible. If the Marlins are going to tack on a prospect to move an unwanted player, it’ll happen here.

Prado may very well have a bounce back year in 2018, but the Miami Marlins have Brian Anderson ready to take over third base full time. Not only is Prado expendable from a personnel standpoint, he’s expensive at a time when the team is trying to tighten their belts.

They nearly had a taker ahead of the deadline last season, but his injury scared away the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

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There may be other moves the Miami Marlins find themselves forced into making. These are the three they want to trade, but it might not be the three that other team are interested in. For the time, it appears that Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna are safe.

Starting pitching will remain an issue through 2018, and the mostly young bullpen will have to eat another year of bloated Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa contracts before they’re off the books.