Miami Marlins To Use Caution Towards Trade Deadline
By David Levin
The Miami Marlins may want to follow road signs as the team and Major League Baseball inch closer to the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31. Maybe a message should be filtered through front office email that reads, “Proceed with Extreme Caution.”
Despite how I feel about the idea of trading away core players, it appears the Miami Marlins will be players in the hustle of the trade deadline. Who gets dealt is more of a mystery then if it shall happen. Miami, 36-55 this season, showed signs of life and upward mobility until taking on the Washington Nationals, dropping the first three games of the series.
After an 18-4 loss on Saturday night, it’s a safe bet that no one on the roster may be safe if the right deal comes along. National pundits have been all over the map as to who may find themselves elsewhere on August 1. Most notably, catcher J.T. Realmuto and closer Kyle Barraclough continue to lead the trade rumors that will only get stronger and hotter as the closing date grows nearer.
"“The organization is open to making deals, but only if they make sense,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “There isn’t any urgency to move players who are close to free agency, and there isn’t a mandate to unload salary.”"
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Team owner Derek Jeter already took care of eliminating a large chunk of the team’s 2018 payroll over the offseason. I talked about how Jeter, who has become a villain in the eyes of many Marlins fans, can make peace with the community by signing Realmuto to a long-term deal, might have allowed that ship to sail over this weekend.
Losses in the fashion the Marlins have failed to improve on against their National League East rival tends to do that.
As explained in Frisaro’s article, anything is possible if the lines of communication are open.
"“Pretty much, we’ll talk about anybody, but you also have guys you’re way less likely to trade than others,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re trying to build something. You have guys you feel like are part of your future, and you’re not necessarily looking to keep subtracting.”"
The Marlins may have no choice. Realmuto is the most marketable player on the roster. Barraclough is their best relief pitcher. No team will look at any of the Marlins starters and race to the bargaining table to make a deal unless a playoff contender wants Dan Straily for the postseason or feels it can offer the bank for someone like Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez.
Jeter and the Marlins are in a bit of a “Catch 22” as the trade deadline approaches. He wanted to change the culture of the team. He has. He wanted to change the outlook on the future. He has. He wanted to build in a slow, plodding fashion. He has. Now, he may trade players once again in a swift swing. Again, it won’t sit well with some veterans on the roster and the baseball community in south Florida.
The Nationals may still be in the market for Realmuto, but the asking price of Juan Soto or Victor Robles may be too high. The Dodgers and Red Sox may want to look for a reliever but may look elsewhere. And there is the New York Yankees, who could knock on Jeter’s door to see if the former hometown hero wants to talk trade once again.
Like I said in a previous story, the Marlins may be best to stay put and wait for the offseason to make more moves to bolster the team’s future.
There are other roads the team and Realmuto could travel as well, as Frisaro points out.
“At the same time, teams are measuring the trade market. Realmuto, in his first year of arbitration, won’t be eligible for free agency until 2021,” he explains. “Internally, team officials have discussed signing the 27-year-old to an extension, but nothing has been proposed to the catcher’s representatives.”
The next three weeks should be as dramatic as the Marlins attempt to rise from the bottom of the NL East division. Trade talk will continue as Realmuto and Barraclough have career seasons. The Marlins will make a deal or two with some team. Until it is announced, the speculation will build.
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In the meantime, this is a franchise that will try to solve the Nationals in the final game of the series. Moving forward is the best thing to do now. Worrying about trades, player movement and the future only causes more issues.
The Marlins have enough of those.