Inbox: Where do Yelich, Marlins stand?
Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers fans' questions
Is Christian Yelich on the trade block? What will it take for the Marlins to trade him?
-- @IzzTenorio via Twitter
The Yelich situation has gotten more uncomfortable, especially after the ESPN story was published last week, stating the relationship between the player and the club is beyond repair. The Marlins are listening on potential offers, and I still wouldn't be surprised if the 26-year-old is traded before Spring Training starts. Recently, Peter Gammons reported on MLB Network that the Marlins and Braves have talked, and Atlanta is reluctant to part with top prospect Ronald Acuna. I've previously reported Miami had interest in Acuna in a potential trade. In fairness to Yelich, the frustration of being part of five straight losing seasons, plus the fact the team is building for the future, makes it understandable that he'd want a fresh start. If the club holds tight and keeps Yelich, I'd anticipate someone in the organization would have to reach out to the player and his representatives to try to smooth the situation as best they can. It would be counterproductive to have a disgruntled player in camp.
If J.T. Realmuto is traded, does Tomas Telis get a chance to be a regular?
-- @Ehsan_Kassim via Twitter
First, I'm not convinced Realmuto will be traded before Spring Training begins on Feb. 14. The asking price is high, and the closer we get to the reporting date, my sense is the less likely a major trade will be consummated. Clubs are in the process of preparing to go to Spring Training with pretty much the rosters they already have in place.
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As for Telis, he remains a fascinating player because he shows so much promise at the plate. He's a switch-hitter with some power, and he has a good approach. What the Marlins need to determine is what position Telis plays. He spent much of last year at Triple-A New Orleans, and when he was with the Marlins, he played more innings at first base (167 1/3) than behind the plate (18). Even at New Orleans, Telis saw a lot of action at first base (123 innings), although he caught 380 1/3 innings. Defensively, there are questions about whether he can handle catching at the big league level. If Realmuto is dealt, I'd expect Chad Wallach would get more playing time. In that scenario, Miami likely would go outside the organization to find a regular, or at least someone who could play a majority of the games.
What are the chances of seeing Jorge Guzman in the Majors in 2018?
-- @RobertLarosa07 via Twitter
A centerpiece in the Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Yankees, Guzman will be one of the most followed players in the Marlins' system. But the 21-year-old, who has had his fastball clocked as high as 103 mph, has not pitched beyond the lower Class A levels. Chances are he will open on Miami's Class A Batavia squad in the Short-Season New York-Penn League. Guzman, Miami's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, threw just 66 2/3 innings last year, and he's not on the 40-man roster, either. A more realistic MLB debut date is 2019. There is no need to rush his development in any way.
What's your best estimate for how Brian Anderson, Martin Prado, Garrett Cooper and Justin Bour will get their at-bats? I would hope Cooper can handle a corner outfield spot to keep him in the lineup. Prado in the outfield is risky due to health, but I really want to see Anderson get his at-bats.
-- @all_right_Miami via Twitter
Prado is the key here. Remember, the 34-year-old third baseman appeared in just 37 games last year. He missed substantial time due to hamstring and knee issues. If healthy, I anticipate Prado being the regular third baseman. Some feel he could move to left field, making way for Anderson. I don't see it. Marlins Park is too spacious to ask the veteran to cover that much ground. Prado is solid defensively at third base, and that is where he's comfortable. If he establishes health, playing regularly at third also increases his chances to be traded, perhaps in July.
Anderson showed promise as a September callup, but the Marlins' No. 6 prospect will have to show in Spring Training that he is ready to stick in the big leagues. The organization may want him to work on some things, and if so, he could open at Triple-A New Orleans. Bour will play every day, if he's healthy. Cooper, acquired from the Yankees, is a right-handed-hitting first-base option. He hasn't played an inning in the big leagues in the outfield, but in his Minor League career, he had more than 100 innings at both left and right field.
What are the chances of adding a veteran outfielder like Jose Bautista on a one-year deal? He could provide some pop and leadership for a young team.
-- @DustinLindbom via Twitter
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Not a bad idea. I could see this making sense, especially if Yelich is dealt. I don't see it happening if Yelich stays. Defensively, Bautista isn't ideal in right in Marlins Park's expansive outfield. But he is familiar with the position. At age 37, Bautista is still a threat. He could also see playing time in Miami as an option, because if he has a solid first half, he could be a trade candidate in July.