How trade positions Marlins now and future

PITTSBURGH — Organizational depth put the Marlins in position to pull off a trade with the Astros last week that should help the big league roster for at least the next few seasons.

The downside of the deal is it weakened the system from a position player standpoint.

But that’s the nature of trades. You have to give to receive. The Marlins did yield quite a bit when they sent outfielder Jake Marisnick and third baseman Colin Moran to the Astros.

The Marlins and Astros finalized a six-player deal less than 30 seconds before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Miami also sent Minor Leaguer Francis Martes and a 2015 competitive balance Draft pick to Houston.

In return, the Marlins acquired right-hander Jarred Cosart and infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez, plus Minor League outfielder Austin Wates.

Ultimately what the trade did was help solidify the rotation for the short and long term.

Cosart, according to several scouts, profiles as a No. 4-caliber starter. His ceiling could be a solid No. 3. Plus, he is big league tested.

All along the Marlins said they wanted a starter with controllable years before reaching free agency. Cosart steps right into the rotation, and he provides a boost for the rest of this season.

Plus, heading in 2015, the Marlins are bracing to be without Jose Fernandez until around the All-Star Break.

Until Fernandez is ready, the organization feels better positioned with a rotation of Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, Cosart, Tom Koehler and perhaps Brad Hand or Jacob Turner.

It’s an impressive young group that will be pushed by prospects like Andrew Heaney, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino.

Hernandez also is part of the big league plans. The infielder can play second, short and third base, as well as center field. He also can hit.

Moving forward, Hernandez is an option to fill in for Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop and Casey McGehee at third.

Hernandez also could be a candidate to win the second base job in 2015.

A couple of other things to keep in mind regarding the trade.

* It solidifies McGehee has Miami’s third baseman for 2015, and perhaps beyond. McGehee is arbitration-eligible next season. But the club also is open to signing the 31-year-old to an extension.

Although Moran was the sixth overall pick in 2013, he wasn’t projected to be big league ready next year.

* By dealing Marisnick, Miami’s outfield of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton are expected to remain together at least through 2015.

If the Marlins had been leaning towards trading Stanton, they only would have done so if they were confident Marisnick was ready to play every day in the big leagues. Obviously, Miami could seek an outfielder in any deal involving Stanton, but that is not what the organization is considering at this point.

Signing Stanton to a long-term deal remains the Marlins’ priority. That’s not a given, because the slugger will have to agree this is the place he wants to be for at least five or six more years.

Even if Stanton wants to sign year-to-year until he becomes a free agent after 2016, the Marlins appear to be in no rush to make a trade. The return the Red Sox got for Jon Lester has redefined what the market could look like for a rental.

Joe Frisaro

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