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Inbox: What is Ureña's future with Miami?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers questions from Marlins fans
@JoeFrisaro
November 5, 2019

Will the Marlins trade José Ureña? The bullpen was a failed experiment, and he doesn’t look like he fits in the rotation. -- @Fitchie6 I think Ureña is a potential trade candidate, but not because he’s a “failed experiment” in the bullpen. He threw 10 innings of relief -- hardly

Will the Marlins trade José Ureña? The bullpen was a failed experiment, and he doesn’t look like he fits in the rotation.
-- @Fitchie6

I think Ureña is a potential trade candidate, but not because he’s a “failed experiment” in the bullpen. He threw 10 innings of relief -- hardly a telling sample size -- after missing significant time with a herniated disc. Granted, it didn’t go well, especially at closer, but that may have been as much about him not being sharp due to a long layoff. The Marlins appear to be transitioning Ureña to the bullpen. My reason for thinking he could be traded is because he’s in year two of arbitration. After making $3.2 million in 2019, his salary projects, according to MLB Trade Rumors, to be $4 million. Due to his injury this season, Miami may decide to allocate that money elsewhere.

With no headlining names for the Marlins on the market, who would be a surprise trade we could see heading into the Winter Meetings?
-- @real_fish_fan

It should be a much calmer Hot Stove season for the Marlins in 2019, compared to how active they were the previous two years. In '17, they made daily headlines with the speculation and eventual trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. Last offseason, J.T. Realmuto was in the news non-stop for four months before being traded to the Phillies. You correctly noted that there isn’t that caliber player on the team who could be dealt. Still, Miami needs to make moves, and few could have expected pitching prospect Zac Gallen being sent to the D-backs in July after just seven big league starts. I think the Marlins are pretty much open to whatever makes sense. Obviously, that doesn’t mean they will make a habit of trading prospects months after they reach the big leagues, but they likely will listen on anyone. Someone I’d be surprised to see dealt is Caleb Smith, who will reach arbitration for the first time in 2021. I think Miami should keep its controllable starting pitchers, but Smith would have a market if the Marlins made him available.

What are some bullpen arm options or pickups for next season? Sergio Romo?
-- @damanbryan99

Let’s start with Romo, because he clearly is a possibility to sign once again with Miami. The 36-year-old signed with the Marlins for $2.5 million in 2019, and he was the closer until being dealt to the Twins in July. Romo is on record saying he would be open to returning to Miami. In fact, before he was traded, he made that known to the front office. Someone like right-hander Nick Vincent, who was with the Giants and Phillies last year and previously worked with Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. in Seattle, would make sense. There are others free agents who will be available, like Steve Cishek (who broke in with Miami), Tyler Clippard and lefty Jake Diekman.

Any chance we see Sixto Sánchez called up in 2020?
-- @vlow

Absolutely there is a chance. Sánchez is Miami’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 22 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The 21-year-old was a standout in his first season in the organization. At Double-A Jacksonville, he went 8-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts and 103 innings. It’s important to note that Sánchez’s final season with the Phillies in 2018 was cut short in June due to right elbow inflammation. The Marlins will play it safe with the right-hander, who is expected to open the season at Triple-A Wichita. Get used to that: The new Triple-A affiliate will be in Wichita. If Sánchez shows he is ready, I could see him making the leap to the big leagues around midseason. The Marlins will not rush him.

Is Isan Díaz trusted to be the everyday second baseman? Why not go after a Josh Harrison or Jordy Mercer type player?
-- @filmreviewbyme

You are completely on point about Díaz. There is a lot to like about the rookie, and there is reason to believe he will figure things out and be a highly productive player. The question is when? There was so much hype on the 23-year-old because he was so productive at Triple-A. But the big leagues are completely different, and everyone develops at their own pace. Whether Díaz flat out wins the job in Spring Training or not, I fully expect the Marlins to pursue a free-agent infielder who can play second base. You mention Harrison and Mercer. Both fit exactly what we’re talking about. I’ve long noted Howie Kendrick, because that’s a name I heard at the end of the season, and you can see why there would be interest. Kendrick was a standout in the postseason for the Nationals, perhaps building his market even more. Eduardo Núñez, Wilmer Flores and Brock Holt could be other names to monitor.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.