Transitioning baseball writer Jon Heyman (he’s taken SI.com out of his profile, but he’s still dishing the goods while his move to CBS Sports is in progress) tweets that the Marlins are going to limit themselves to one more splash:
Hearing marlins won’t do 2 more big free agents. If they get pujols they’ll be out on wilson/buehrle and trade for SP instead
He also wrote the following:
marlins will press to settle pujols 1 way or other by today or tomorrow. If no albert, they’ll go for wilson or buehrle
As things stand now, the Marlins have a rotation of Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, Brad Hand and Chris Volstad. They do have quite a bit to barter with, though, even if they choose to keep Hanley Ramirez. Gaby Sanchez would be made expendable by a Pujols signing, and while third base prospect Matt Dominguez and former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan have seen their stock drop, they’d still have some value. Former closer Juan Carlos Oviedo, Nolasco and Volstad would also be available.
Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.
Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.
Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.
Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.