MIAMI -- Brace for anything when it comes to the Marlins as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.The front office is leaning towards making trades and selling off some players if they fall further out of contention by the end of the month. It's just a matter of being
MIAMI -- Brace for anything when it comes to the Marlins as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.
The front office is leaning towards making trades and selling off some players if they fall further out of contention by the end of the month. It's just a matter of being given the go-ahead, but when that might be is anyone's guess.
Complicating the trade front is what is happening with the sale of the team. Speculation continues to grow that Jeffrey Loria is close to selling the club that he's owned since 2002.
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If the sale is imminent, it could impact which players are available. So from a baseball operations standpoint, the club is moving forward with caution.
No matter who owns the team, there's a realization that some sort of restructuring of the roster is necessary. There's not enough starting pitching depth, not only at the big league level, but in the Minors as well.
The Marlins have demonstrated that they have a strong nucleus of position players, and parting with at least a few may be the most practical way to acquiring a controllable starting pitcher, in hopes of building towards a brighter future.
Miami already has made one such trade, dealing shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to Tampa Bay for two prospects.
The organization has the green light to make similar deals, meaning trades could be made from the Marlins' big league roster, but not their big-ticket players. It's still unclear if that will change before the end of the month.
The Yankees and Red Sox are among the clubs that have checked in on the availability of third baseman Martin Prado. The 33-year-old signed a three-year, $40 million extension at the end of last season, and the Marlins would like to clear his salary from their books.
What are they playing for?
If this core is to stay together longer, the time to start winning is now. Getting to .500 by the Deadline is the best way to keep the infrastructure of the team intact.
The road ahead
If closer AJ Ramos or setup reliever David Phelps are dealt, it will create opportunities for young relievers like Nick Wittgren and Drew Steckenrider (Miami's No. 8 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com) to pitch late in games.
All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna will be in high demand, especially since he has two more years of arbitration eligibility left and isn't a free agent until 2020. But the Marlins maintain that Ozuna and other core controllable players are not available. If that changes, it could be a signal that sweeping trades will be made.
Prospect to watch
Brian Anderson, Miami's No. 3 prospect, had two hits for the United States in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, and he could be promoted from Double-A Jacksonville to Triple-A New Orleans soon. If Prado is dealt, Anderson will certainly be a September callup candidate.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.