Last week Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that the Marlins have told teams relievers Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn “are not available” in trade talks. That didn’t really make much sense to me, but it did make sense that the Marlins are very willing to entertain offers on Ricky Nolasco.
And now Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that “the Orioles and Yankees are leading the parade of teams that already have interest” in Nolasco, who has a 3.80 ERA and 72/22 K/BB ratio in 88 innings after four consecutive underwhelming seasons.
Nolasco is a 30-year-old impending free agent with a 4.44 career ERA, so it’s unlikely that the Marlins could get a whole lot for him, but since they have no real use for veterans at this point a mid-level prospect or two might be an acceptable enough return.
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.