Marlins open to trading for starter
MIAMI — Plan A was promoting from within for rotation help. If necessary, Plan B will be exploring trades.
The Marlins are open to dealing for a starting pitcher before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The club just isn’t at the point right now where they are seriously narrowing down possibilities on the market.
On Monday, the organization pulled the trigger on promoting two of their best in-house candidates, prospects Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani.
Heaney, the touted top lefty prospect in the game, will make his MLB debut on Thursday against the Mets. DeSclafani draws Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs on Tuesday.
Heaney and DeSclafani opened the season at Double-A Jacksonville, and gained a little more seasoning at Triple-A New Orleans. When Jose Fernandez was injured in May, DeSclafani received the call to fill in immediate. He made two starts before being sent to Triple-A.
The Marlins are in a “win now” mode because of where they’re positioned in the standings.
Because no one has run away with the National League East, Miami is prepared to make a deal or two to stay in the hunt until the end.
Within a few more days, the bullpen is expected to add Kevin Gregg, who signed a Minor League deal and is getting some innings at New Orleans.
In order to be a serious contender, Miami will be counting on its starting pitching to do its part. It’s a tall task, especially after ace Jose Fernandez was lost to Tommy John surgery in mid-May.
Already there is speculation linking Miami to Jason Hammel and Samardzija, who both happen to be in Miami this week taking on Miami.
News on Tuesday is the Cubs are exploring signing Samardzija to a long-term deal. Whether the right-hander stays in Chicago or is on the market doesn’t seriously impact the Marlins.
If Chicago did make Samardzija available, they’d likely seek Heaney in return, and Miami isn’t open to moving its top prospect.
With so many teams in striking distance of at least the second Wild Card, there are a limited number of potential sellers.
One match for Miami could be Tampa Bay, and not necessarily for David Price.
Again, the Marlins are waiting and seeing how Heaney and DeSclafani change the landscape in Miami. No deals are expected until July. But a potential wish list candidate could be Alex Cobb.
If Miami is prepared to move big league ready talent, they’d want a starter with controllable years.
The Marlins don’t have any desire to move Heaney, DeSclafani or Justin Nicolino, the talented lefty right now in Jacksonville.
From a position player standpoint, one of their trade chips could be Derek Dietrich, who came up with the Rays.
Dietrich is in Triple-A right now as Rafael Furcal has joined the club after opening the season on the disabled list.
Dietrich is considered the team’s second baseman of the future. And if Furcal were to go down again, he is a candidate to be called up.
As constructed, the Marlins don’t have much speed, and second is a position they could consider adding some in the future. Justin Twine, for instance, is the club’s second rounder in the First-Year Player Draft. Twine, for now a shortstop, may have a future at second. Brian Schales, a shortstop taken in the fourth round, is a shortstop who also could profile at second.
Avery Romero, ranked by MLB.com as Miami’s No. 11 overall prospect, is batting .321 at low Class A Greensboro.
Those are internal options to play second in the future.
Miami certainly isn’t eager to move Dietrich, a left-handed bat with power. But if the team is to make a big move for an impact starter, they’d weigh all their options.
– Joe Frisaro