Report: Marlins “not thinking about selling” and don’t want to trade Martin Prado

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Things have gone very poorly for the Marlins so far, with one fired manager and a 20-31 record, but Joe Frisaro of MLB.com says that “doesn’t mean the club is thinking about selling any time soon.”

Martin Prado in particular stands out as a potential trade piece because he’s a good but not great 31-year-old veteran whose versatility could make him a fit with a lot of contending teams.

However, according to Frisaro the Marlins don’t think dealing Prado makes sense because he’s under contract for next season and the Yankees are paying $3 million of his $11 million salary. Frisaro also writes:

Prado is a leader on this team. Dealing him would be a tremendous blow to the clubhouse, and a signal of retreat to a market that is tired of rebuilding. Giancarlo Stanton didn’t sign here long term to see the towel thrown in after two months.

It seems a little far-fetched that trading a 31-year-old one-time All-Star with a .678 OPS this season and a .764 OPS for his career would be a crushing blow in terms of whatever remaining fan morale the Marlins have and whatever clubhouse leadership Prado brings to the table hasn’t kept the team from being terrible so far. (And within the past 12 months the Diamondbacks and Yankees were both very willing to part with Prado).

Of course, trying to make sense of the Marlins’ logic has often been difficult over the past decade or so.

Whatever the case, teams looking to swoop in and pick up some of the Marlins’ veterans will probably have to wait a bit longer.

Rob Manfred walks back comment about 60-game season

Rob Manfred
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Yesterday, on The Dan Patrick Show, commissioner Rob Manfred stuck his foot in his mouth concerning negotiations with the MLB Players Association, saying, “We weren’t going to play more than 60 games.” The comment was taken poorly because MLB owners, represented by Manfred, and the MLBPA were engaged in protracted negotiations in May and June over the 2020 season. Ultimately they couldn’t come to terms, so Manfred had to set the season as prescribed by the March agreement. In saying, “We weren’t going to play more than 60 games,” Manfred appeared to be in violation of the March agreement, which said the league must use the “best efforts to play as many games as possible.” It also seemed to indicate the owners were negotiating in bad faith with the players.

Per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, Manfred walked back his comment on Thursday. Manfred said, “My point was that no matter what happened with the union, the way things unfolded with the second [coronavirus] spike, we would have ended up with only time for 60 games, anyway. As time went on, it became clearer and clearer that the course of the virus was going to dictate how many games we could play.” Manfred added, “As it turned out, the reality was there was only time to play 60 games. If we had started an 82-game season [beginning July 1], we would have had people in Arizona and Florida the time the second spike hit.”

As mentioned yesterday, it is important to view Manfred’s comments through the lens that he represents the owners. The owners wanted a shorter season with the playoffs beginning on time (they also wanted expanded playoffs) because, without fans, they will be making most of their money this year through playoff television revenue. Some thought the owners’ offers to the union represented stall tactics, designed to drag out negotiations as long as possible. Thus, the season begins later, reducing the possible number of regular season games that could be played. In other words, the owners used the virus to their advantage.

Manfred wants the benefit of the doubt with the way fans and the media interpreted his comment, but I’m not so sure he has earned it. This isn’t the first time Manfred has miscommunicated with regard to negotiations. He told the media last month that he had a deal with the union when, in fact, no such deal existed. The MLBPA had to put out a public statement refuting the claim. Before that, Manfred did a complete 180 on the 2020 season, saying on June 10 that there would “100%” be a season. Five days later, he said he was “not confident” there would be a 2020 season. Some have interpreted Manfred’s past comments as a way to galvanize or entice certain owners, who might not have been on the same page about resuming play. There’s a layer beneath the surface to which fans and, to a large extent, the media are not privy.

The likely scenario is that Manfred veered a bit off-script yesterday, realized he gave the union fodder for a grievance, and rushed out to play damage control.