MIAMI -- The Marlins continued their pursuit of left-handed power, and they acquired another significant player at the expense of one of their most prized pitching prospects.
On Wednesday afternoon, Miami dealt rookie right-hander Zac Gallen to the D-backs for Double-A Jackson's Jazz Chisholm, a 21-year-old left-handed-hitting shortstop from the Bahamas. And minutes before the 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, another deal was consummated. Outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez and right-hander Ryne Stanek were acquired for relievers Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson.
Sanchez was the Rays’ No. 4 prospect, and rated 42nd overall by MLB Pipeline. He’s expected to start off at Triple-A New Orleans.
In a span of five days, the Marlins made three trades that all included a left-handed-hitting prospect. Last Saturday, they acquired Double-A first baseman Lewin Diaz from the Twins for closer Sergio Romo, pitching prospect Chris Vallimont and a player to be named later.
“We continued on that path with the trades we made, with Lewin Diaz and Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “Left-handed bats are at a premium. In our organization, we felt like we were very right-handed."
In June's MLB Draft, the Marlins took left-handed-hitting outfielders JJ Bleday and Kameron Misner with their first two picks. Before the Draft and the Trade Deadline, Triple-A New Orleans second baseman Isan Diaz was Miami’s primary left-handed-hitting position player at the upper levels.
“When you look at our prospects, aside from Isan Diaz, Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, those guys are all right-handed at the upper levels,” Hill said. “We just wanted to create a little balance to our lineup, our future lineup, our championship lineup.”
For one of the top middle-infield prospects in the sport, the Marlins parted with Gallen, who was Miami’s No. 5 prospect.
Sanchez, 21, opened at Double-A Montgomery this season, and was promoted to Triple-A Durham. He’s combined to hit .263 with nine home runs and 54 RBIs with five stolen bases in 2019.
The two trades thinned the Marlins' pitching at the big league level. And as part of a hectic day, infielder Jon Berti (left oblique strain) was reinstated from the injured list, and right-handed reliever Tyler Kinley was recalled from New Orleans.
Until 4 p.m., the Marlins pushed to move second baseman Starlin Castro, infielder Neil Walker and outfielder Curtis Granderson, but they couldn’t find a match.
The organization also fielded numerous calls for left-hander Caleb Smith, who remains a fixture in the rotation.
“We're going to make smart decisions,” Hill said. “From the outset of this Trade Deadline season, we were going to do what we felt was right for the Miami Marlins. Caleb Smith has done a tremendous job. Despite all the rumors out there that he was being moved, we didn't see anything that made sense to move Caleb.”
The Marlins have yet to announce who will replace Gallen in the rotation. It could be Triple-A right-hander Robert Dugger.
Not dealing Castro, Walker and Martin Prado means the Marlins will have veteran players in the final years of their contracts on the roster for the rest of the season.
Manager Don Mattingly said he will speak with players individually to let them know where they stand.
“Just let them know what we think the situation is,” Mattingly said. “I've found in the past, being up front, being straightforward with guys ... It could be Starlin. It could be Walker. It could be Martin. It could be anybody that you're having a conversation with. Being up front, straightforward is really the best way, even if it’s upsetting a little bit.”
A tough decision is looming, because the Marlins anticipate promoting Diaz to play second base sometime in August. When that occurs, Castro may wind up playing some third base, with Brian Anderson getting most of his playing time in right field.
“I think at the end of the day, guys appreciate honesty, without trying to sugarcoat it and make them feel good,” Mattingly said.
Gallen on Tuesday night allowed two runs in seven innings in a loss to the Twins at Marlins Park. In seven starts for Miami, Gallen was 1-3 with 2.72 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.
The Marlins initially acquired Gallen from the Cardinals in December 2017 as part of the Marcell Ozuna trade.
Chisholm has huge power upside and the defensive skills to stick at shortstop. At Double-A, he’s hitting .204/.305/.427 with 18 home runs and 44 RBIs in 89 games.
“I will forever be grateful to the Marlins for giving me the opportunity to make my debut,” Gallen said. “Being in the big leagues is always something I’ve wanted to do. Any time you can open some eyes and do what you can, it's good for you, for your career.”