Marlins looking to improve near Trade Deadline
CHICAGO -- Players with expiring contracts, and perhaps one controllable starting pitcher, remain the most likely to be dealt by the Marlins before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill continues to explore all options to make deals in the next nine days.
“We’re mindful of what we’re building,” Hill said on Monday before the series opener against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. “But ultimately the goal is to win championships. If we see an opportunity to make ourselves better, and help us in our quests to win championships, then we’ll explore.”
Closer Sergio Romo, infielder Neil Walker and outfielder Curtis Granderson are on one-year contracts and will be eligible for free agency after the season.
“They obviously garner interest, just because clubs see them as expendable pieces,” Hill said. “If you look at the expiring contracts that we have here, they’re all filling roles in developing our young players here.”
Second baseman Starlin Castro making $11 million this season, has a club option for $16 million in 2020. His contract also has a $1 million buyout.
Teams are also checking in on starting pitchers Trevor Richards and Caleb Smith. Both are in their second big league seasons, and they have five years of club control remaining.
For a controllable starter, the asking price is high.
“We love the depth that we are starting to accumulate,” Hill said. “You see the pitching depth, it will allow us, whenever the situation arises, to be opportunistic. I think that’s the biggest thing. You have assets and you want to maximize the value of those assets. I think that’s our approach as we head to next week.”
Clock ticking on Isan
Isan Diaz’s performance is pressing the issue, but the Marlins are in no rush to promote the 23-year-old second baseman from Triple-A New Orleans to the big leagues.
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 6 prospect, Diaz is hitting .305 with 24 home runs and 64 RBIs.
“We’re in no rush to get him here,” Hill said. “I think every at-bat that he gets in Triple-A is a valuable one for him. I think it’s only a matter of time when he gets his opportunity. We don’t have to rush guys anymore.”
Diaz is showing his first signs of sustainable success. The Marlins also have Castro at second base.
Still it appears Diaz will be promoted by at least mid-August, if not sooner.
“He’s a tremendously talented young player,” Hill said. “So it’s great to see him performing at Triple-A. If you just look at his development arc, this is the first time where you’ve seen that sustained production.
“That’s really what we search for with all of our young players is to get that consistency. They’re all talented, but they all battle consistency at various areas, be it approach, mechanics, whatever it is. We’re starting to see him develop that, and that’s what you need to be successful here.”
• Shortstop Miguel Rojas (right shoulder) is getting another day of rest on Monday, and the hope is he is back in the lineup on Tuesday.
• Infielder Jon Berti (left oblique strain) is restarting his rehab assignment.
• Right-hander Pablo Lopez (right should strain) is slated to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.