Jazz tunes out noise, hits leadoff HR: 'It's just rumors for me'

July 10th, 2024

HOUSTON -- is no stranger to making headlines, so when his name surfaced in trade rumors hours before the Marlins’ 4-3 loss to the Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, he thought nothing of it.

"Every year,” said Chisholm, who was acquired by Miami from Arizona at the 2019 Trade Deadline for Zac Gallen. "It's just rumors for me. Until it happens, I don't know, you know? So I'm going to just keep going out there playing baseball and knowing how I play, you know what I mean?"

Chisholm did just that, opening the game with a leadoff homer against righty Ronel Blanco. He later singled, stole second and scored on Bryan De La Cruz’s RBI single to make it a one-run deficit in the eighth.

Entering Tuesday, Chisholm ranked seventh among qualifying Major Leaguers in runner runs, a Statcast metric designed to use data to evaluate the performance of baserunners in taking extra bases. Per Baseball Savant, Chisholm has added two extra runs on the basepaths.

"He's the one guy in the lineup that can change the game in multiple ways,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “Jazz is a dynamic player and he can change the game in a number of ways. He did that tonight."

Until Chisholm’s third leadoff homer of the season and eighth of his career, he hadn’t been that dude of late. Over his last 12 games entering Tuesday, Chisholm was batting 9-for-48 (.188) with zero extra-base hits and 15 strikeouts. Miami had gone 5-7 with just 3.6 runs scored per game during that stretch.

"I feel like I just couldn't hit the ball in the air at the time,” Chisholm said. "I don't know what was going on. Swing felt good. Swing looked good on video, I just was hitting the top of the ball. I feel like that's probably the mentality I had was to get on top of the ball, because I felt like I was flying out a lot and missing a lot of pitches. So I probably tried to get on top of it for the past couple of weeks and it led to a lot of ground balls. Now I'm just thinking about hitting line drives.”

So why would the Marlins consider dealing Chisholm?

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand first wrote about Chisholm as a Trade Deadline candidate on June 30.

Chisholm, who lost his arbitration hearing in January (he is making $2.625 million rather than the $2.9 million he filed for), is under club control until the 2027 season. Miami doesn’t need to move him. If the organization did, it would be with the intention of restocking its farm system.

Even though Chisholm didn’t compile an All-Star-worthy first half like he did in 2022, he has remained on the field -- a knock on him during the early part of his career since he has never played in more than 124 games in a season. While his average (.258) and on-base percentage (.328) are on pace to be career-high marks, his slugging percentage (.417) and OPS (.745) are not. But Chisholm has improved against left-handed pitching (.277 average) and cut down on his whiff rate (-7.4 percent, the fourth-best turnaround in MLB) to improve his all-around hitting game.

In terms of defense, Chisholm has remained in center field despite the departures of second baseman Luis Arraez and shortstops Tim Anderson and Miguel Rojas over the years. A shortstop prospect before successfully moving over to second base, Chisholm still takes grounders to help his outfield play and stay ready just in case he is needed in the infield.

Waiting in the wings is the Marlins' No. 4 prospect, , a natural center fielder with a .782 OPS at Triple-A Jacksonville. He was pulled from Tuesday’s game with a minor injury he has been nursing, per MLB Pipeline.

When asked pregame about how he is approaching this Deadline compared to the last one and Miami's likely approach, Schumaker had this to say:

"I don't play GM. I've said that before, even last year. I'm concerned about the 26 guys in our locker room. There's teams that are adding that aren't in contention, too, for their future. So you don't know what's going to happen. There's trade rumors. Everybody reads them. They're rumors for a reason, and you don't know what's going to happen. But I'm more concerned in getting these guys better and trying to get a really good second half out of each one of them."