Potential Marlins trade candidates
MIAMI — It’s now July, which means trade rumors are about to seriously heat up.
The Marlins, major disappointments, understandably will be the subject of speculation. At 32-46, Miami is striving to get back to respectability before thinking postseason.
Even with Jose Fernandez set to return on Thursday, there is not much realistic hope for a serious playoff push, especially with Giancarlo Stanton out at least a month with a broken hand.
So what does that mean with the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching? The Marlins insist they want to retain their core pieces, especially players under club control or contracts through 2016.
The organization isn’t in clean-house mode. Far from it. Now, by the end of the month, at least a couple of trades are highly likely.
Let’s start with who is least likely to be moved, before we get to who are the prime trade candidates.
Unlikely to go: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Martin Prado is signed through 2016, with the Yankees picking up $3 million of the $11 million he will make in ’16. It would take a really big return for the Marlins to move the veteran third baseman, who currently is on the disabled list.
Prado is exactly what the Marlins want. He’s a leader. He’s productive. He’s affordable. Also, the free agent market for third baseman isn’t great this offseason. So finding a replacement for next year would be difficult. Derek Dietrich is doing a nice job in his role, but he isn’t regarded as the full-time answer.
Foremost, Miami needs Prado healthy. He’s dealing with a right shoulder injury, and on Tuesday he played catch. He still has a ways to go before returning, which probably will be after the All-Star Break.
Also not expected to be moved is outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. With Stanton out, Ichiro is playing regularly. The 41-year-old is a free agent next year, but Miami already is hopeful he will return. It would take an overpay by another club to land Ichiro.
Likely to go: Mat Latos, a free agent, could be the primary trade chip the Marlins have. After being slowed by injury in the first month or two, Latos has made three straight solid starts, including Tuesday’s win. Even postgame, Latos noted that the game “is a business.” He wouldn’t be surprised, and Miami has been measuring interest in Latos for several weeks.
The Marlins already have an overflow of starters, and moving a couple of arms is highly likely.
Probably will go: Dan Haren headlines this group, but it is not a given he will be on the move. Haren has value to the Marlins, plus the Dodgers are paying his entire $10 million salary this season. It will depend on the offer Miami receives.
If he is not moved by July 31, Haren might be an August, waiver deadline candidate.
Lefty Brad Hand, who is out of options, is being used in a long relief role.
May stay or go: Reliever Steve Cishek, who has one more season of arbitration, could be dealt by the end of the month. The right-hander has been making strides after losing the closer role. If he continues to regain his old form, he could be a solid piece for a contender.
Others who may be on the move, reliever Bryan Morris, lefty Mike Dunn, first baseman Michael Morse and right-hander Tom Koehler.
The Marlins have indicated Koehler isn’t going anywhere, but if the return makes sense, you never know.
— Joe Frisaro