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Marlins likely to deal pitchers, seek hitters

Vets Romo, Granderson, Walker could be moved for young bats
@JoeFrisaro
July 10, 2019

MIAMI -- With the All-Star Game now in the rearview mirror, the Marlins’ front office will intensify its focus on trade possibilities aimed at strengthening the organization for the long haul. At the top of Miami’s shopping list are middle-of-the-order-caliber hitters -- preferably big league-ready, or close to it. Stage

MIAMI -- With the All-Star Game now in the rearview mirror, the Marlins’ front office will intensify its focus on trade possibilities aimed at strengthening the organization for the long haul.

At the top of Miami’s shopping list are middle-of-the-order-caliber hitters -- preferably big league-ready, or close to it.

Stage one of the Marlins’ building process, which started after the 2017 season, was dedicated to stockpiling the organization with pitching -- mainly starters. They have since become the strength of the franchise. Now, the attention is on run-producing position players to help balance the roster in the big leagues, as well as up and down an improved farm system.

Current status: Seller
In stretches, the Marlins (33-55) have shown steady improvement, especially the young, talented starting staff. Sandy Alcantara emerged as an All-Star from the group. But overall, the reality is Miami has the worst record in the National League, and more roster revisions are expected by the July 31 Trade Deadline.

President of baseball operations Michael Hill and his staff have been surveying the market for the past few months, and talks are expected to pick up in the coming weeks.

What they are seeking
Offense. Offense. Offense. To Marlins fans, that’s a switch from recent years, when the priority was pitching, pitching, pitching.

There has also been a shift in organizational thinking since Derek Jeter became chief executive officer two years ago. In 2018, the Marlins mainly targeted athletic middle-of-the-diamond players, which they sought in early trades and the 2018 MLB Draft. Now, the position players they’re profiling are more pure hitters with track records. They showed that in the Draft, and hitters of that caliber are trade targets this month.

Miami has also been more active on the international market the past two seasons. If there is a fit, it could seek trades that include receiving international bonus pool money.

What they have to offer
The Marlins have several veterans with expiring contracts. Closer Sergio Romo, outfielder Curtis Granderson and infielder Neil Walker are new additions this season on one-year deals. All three could be on the move before August. For weeks, clubs have reached out to Miami regarding second baseman Starlin Castro, who is having a down season, but has a history of success. Infielder Martín Prado’s contract is also up at the end of the season, but he’s currently on the injured list with a right hamstring strain. Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen’s substantial contract -- $20 million this year and $22 million the next -- makes the chances of moving him extremely remote, unless he’s packaged with another player -- like a controllable starting pitcher. But Miami may not be willing to do that.

The Marlins have starting pitchers with controllable years like right-handers José Ureña and Trevor Richards and left-hander Caleb Smith. Because of their depth, they are open to dealing some of the surplus. But only for an overpay situation.

Possible scenario
Romo, who has shown leadership and the ability to still perform in high-leverage situations, is most likely to be the first player to be dealt. Relievers tend to be in high demand, and Romo has the versatility to open, set up and close. Along with Romo, lefty Adam Conley and hard-throwing right-hander Tayron Guerrero may draw interest.

The bigger splash deals will depend on if the club seriously considers trading Smith or Richards.

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