Marlins’ next step after Nolasco trade

MIAMI — Having already completed one big trade this month, what would it take for the Marlins to pull off another?

A hefty return, that’s what.

On Saturday, the Marlins dealt Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers for three pitching prospects. Moving the 30-year-old right-hander was expected, because he is eligible for free agency after the season, and he wasn’t part of Miami’s future plans.

The Marlins made it a point to get ahead of the market on Nolasco, not wanting to risk having a chance to complete a deal fall through. The Dodgers, eager to add rotation depth, became the ideal fit.

Although the Marlins didn’t lure in any of Los Angeles’ top five prospects for Nolasco, they trimmed about $5.5 million (the remainder of Nolasco’s salary this season) and adding three quality arms to their system. And in Angels Sanchez, 21, Miami got a starter who they feel has a chance to be solid in the future.

Also in the deal, Miami received relievers Steven Ames and Josh Wall. They did inquire about right-hander Chris Withrow, ranked the Dodgers’ eighth best prospect, but were told he wasn’t available.

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest made it clear the organization remains open for business on the trade front, but that they also aren’t necessarily to unload any of their core players.

The most prominent name in the organization is Giancarlo Stanton, the 23-year-old slugger. But Stanton isn’t on the market, and he isn’t expected to be dealt this season. There is a chance he could be moved in the offseason, if he declines a multi-year offer. Even if he does, it isn’t automatic he will be traded.

Basically, Stanton could fill a bulk of the $11.5 million that Nolasco was making this year. So financially, the Marlins are well positioned to take on Stanton’s first-year salary in arbitration.

The next player teams would likely have interest in is closer Steve Cishek. Like Stanton, Cishek will be up for arbitration in 2014. The 27-year-old right-hander with the deceptive, side-arm delivery is an ideal trade chip because he is affordable for three more seasons, and three years away from being up for free agency.

All those reasons are factoring into why the Marlins also want to keep Cishek.

If the Marlins were to listen to offers for Cishek, they’d likely command another team’s top prospect.

Hypothetically, let’s say the Tigers were interested in Cishek. To get the Marlins’ full attention, they’d probably have to have Nick Castellanos, Detroit’s No. 1 prospect according to, in the package.

Maybe the Tigers would be willing to over-spend, but the Marlins are in position to ask for that, otherwise they have no reason to move one of the promising, young, affordable closers in the game.

Joe Frisaro


How did you feel about the Nolasco trade? It was expected, but what do you make of the reports that they could have landed “higher” quality prospects if they had paid some of Nolasco’s remaining salary?
Also, do you think the Marlins deal someone like Justin Ruggiano, who might be valuable to a contender as a 4th outfielder or platoon guy? They have Yelich and Marisnick waiting in the wings, and two guys in Stanton and Ozuna who are, by all accounts, part of the future.
I’d love to know your thoughts here. Thanks for the great work that you do.

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