Wheeling and dealing! Marlins make a trade, weighing all options
Marlins in initial conversations with Starling Marte about an extension, while also being open to make trades, depending on what makes sense.
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
The Marlins are getting a head start on the trade market.
On Tuesday, Miami dealt outfielder Corey Dickerson and reliever Adam Cimber, along with cash considerations to the Toronto Blue Jays for infielder Joe Panik and Minor League reliever Andrew McInvale, who will join Double-A Pensacola.
As part of the deal, Toronto is picking up about $4.5 million, which is roughly the remainder of Dickerson’s contract.
This is expected to be the first of several deals the Marlins consummate before the July 30 Trade Deadline.
What the deal doesn’t exactly signal is the Marlins are now “sellers.” Use that term loosely in regards to the Marlins, because the club isn’t throwing in the towel on the 2021 season.
The Marlins enter Tuesday with a 33-44 record and are 8 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East. Even at 11 under, the Marlins are confident they can go on a run to make things interesting.
“I don’t know necessarily if we are in a great spot, record-wise,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said on a Zoom call Tuesday. “But I think we still have confidence in the club that there’s more than what we’ve seen so far. I think with the injuries, we haven’t quite seen the full force of this club. I think we’ve seen some of these guys get healthy.”
By dealing Dickerson, who is on the injured list with a left foot contusion, the Marlins intend to give rookie Jesus Sanchez regular playing time in left field.
Cimber had been used regularly, and he was the focal part of the trade for Toronto, who need bullpen depth.
“You have to factor Jesus Sanchez into the mix, and creating some playing time for him,” Ng said. “Corey’s injury sped up that clock.”
With one trade down, what’s next?
The Marlins have a pressing issue with players on expiring contracts.
Their most high profile one is center fielder Starling Marte.
It’s about to get interesting with the veteran who is making $12.5 million this season, because Ng said the Marlins have had initial conversations with Marte about an extension. This is significant, because it means the club could retain him for the long-term.
“We have talked with Starling,” Ng said. “I can tell you that we’ve expressed interest in him. That we hope that he would be here for the foreseeable future.”
So far, so good for fans who want Miami to make a big splash. Where do talks stand right now?
“We are in initial stages,” Ng said. “Hard to define progress.”
This is where the Marte story gets interesting, because, per sources, the Marlins have received calls regarding Marte, and interest in him could be substantial.
So what does this all mean?
The Marlins are expected to see how extension talks with Marte progress, as well as weigh potential trade offers. This puts the club in an excellent spot, because they may wind up signing Marte in the long run. Or, if an agreement isn’t reached, the outfielder could end up being dealt for a substantial price.
This actually puts the Marlins in a win/win situation, because they may wind up keeping an impactful veteran, or end up getting high value in return.
Miguel Rojas also is a potential trade candidate. But Ng downplayed the possibility the popular shortstop could end up being moved.
Asked the odds if Rojas would be in Miami after the deadline, Ng said: “I think it doesn’t make sense to say what definitely will happen. I would say, in terms of the odds, I’d say the odds are very good.”
With so much still up in the air, it’s hard to say with certainty which direction the Marlins will go in the upcoming weeks. That’s why the Marlins are staying flexible.
“I’m not sure there is any definite indicator that we’re looking at,” Ng said to determine if they will buy or sell. “But I think we have to be listening on all fronts. I think we have to be flexible. So that when we make that determination, we have all of our groundwork laid before going either way. That’s what the end of the June is for. That’s what the next three weeks in July are for. I think we have to be nimble. We have to be flexible, and we have to be flexible for when opportunity exists.”