Why Miami Marlins Pitchers Are Worth More Than You're Thinking

On the surface, the low return for Corbin Burnes would suggest it's a terrible time for the Miami Marlins to trade a starting pitcher. Not so fast.
Oakland Athletics v Miami Marlins
Oakland Athletics v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

There are plenty of reasons for the Miami Marlins not to trade any of their starting pitching.

The loss for the season of Sandy Alcantara, in a season where the Marlins claim to want to compete. The fact they ended 2023 with only three healthy starting pitchers, and only two that they trusted, which just goes to prove the vital need for pitching depth. There's the fact that it will probably look bad. There's the fact that they'd either be selling low or betting big on names like Edward Cabrera and Trevor Rogers.

Marlins starting pitching staff is highly rated

But the Miami Marlins not being able to get good or fair value in a trade? Not remotely the case.

It's an understandable reaction in the wake of Thursday night's Corbin Burnes blockbuster. If a Cy Young winner in their prime couldn't even land a Top 50 MLB prospect, what could Miami hope to get for Cabrera or Rogers? Would Jesus Luzardo have even warranted a single Top 100 talent?

Fortunately, it is not just talent and track record that matter anymore. Salary and service time loom larger than ever in all roster decisions. Burnes is undeniably better right now than any healthy pitcher in the Marlins organization, and he might just be better than any pitcher the Marlins have, period. However, he's also way more expensive right now, and slated to become even more so when he hits free agency next offseason.

Burnes will make just under $16 million in 2024 if he plays under the figure he agreed to in arbitration with the Brewers last month. To put that in Marlins terms, he will make roughly twice what Cabrera, Luzardo, and Rogers will earn. Combined. None of them hit free agency until 2027 at the earliest.

All this does is signify that MLB teams have gotten too smart about blowing up the farm for rentals they probably won't be able to resign. More importantly, it underscores how determined MLB teams are to get some kind of value before a player walks out the door in free agency. It's why stressing the need for the Marlins, or any other team, to trip over themselves getting to the phone to get a Willy Adames trade done doesn't disprove any of this. He's not Burnes, and also on an expiring contract.

If the Marlins are having trouble moving a pitcher, it's not because there's no market. It's either because they are having trouble getting a team to give up something that will help them in 2024, or because their asking price is too high. Or it might just have more to do with the fact the entire offseason has pretty much been stuck in neutral. So don't be surprised if Miami still ends up moving an arm before Opening Day.

Bottom-line, Thursday's news does not mean the Miami Marlins are out of luck when it comes to dealing a pitcher. It just means they are out of luck trading with the Orioles


Next. Can the Marlins take advantage of the Burnes trade. Can the Marlins take advantage of the Burnes trade. dark