Marlins trade target now a real possibility after the Isiah Kiner-Falefa signing 

Kiner-Falefa pushes Santiago Espinal out of the picture

Sep 29, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal (5) fields
Sep 29, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal (5) fields / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins have a glaring hole at shortstop and  they need to fill it with a more serviceable player than in recent years. The Toronto Blue Jays signed Isiah Kiner-Falefa to a very affordable contract of $15 million over 2 years, which the Marlins could have easily matched. The Marlins lost out on that opportunity, however they could benefit from the fallout as Blue Jays infielder Santiago Espinal now has no useful place on the team. 

The Miami Marlins need to trade for Santiago Espinal to fill their shortstop position

Santiago Espinal would come cheap as the Jays Journal suggests, he might be acquired for a lefty reliever or he could even be placed on waivers. If Perer Bendix has any interest at all in Espinal, who is a very solid defender, he needs to jump at this opportunity. Espinal has no path with the Blue Jays, and the Marlins can be the beneficiary.

If Bendix has bigger plans such as a trade for Willy Adames in mind then I can see them not even giving it a look. Adames would be their big bat and shortstop so they could potentially afford him, but it will come at a cost, and one I’m not sure the Marlins can afford with their lackluster farm. 

Santiago Espinal is the affordable choice and could pave the way for a big name signing for their DH opening such as Soler or J.D. Martinez. Espinal has been relegated to a utility player role with the young power hitting core of Blue Jays in front of him but he has great potential. 

Espinal was an All-Star in 2022 when he posted a stat line of 25 doubles, 7 home runs, 51 RBI, 6 stolen bases and a slash line of .267/.322/.370 with a .692 OPS. In 2022 he got almost a full season of at-bats with 449 but his time was cut in half in 2023 with only 230 at-bats. He has a career strikeout rate of 14.2% and a .312 BAbip and he had an amazing .990 fielding percentage in 2022 with only 4 errors in 945 innings of work. 

He seems like the perfect guy for Bendix who is more defensive minded. Could the Marlins swap Josh Simpson, AJ Puk, Steven Okert, or another reliever for Espinal? His trade value is low right now so perhaps Simpson would fit the bill and Bendix than then focus on the one big bat opening. Espinal is under team control until 2027 so he would be a longer term add as well.

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