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Valuing the trade chips: Miami Marlins

As expected, the Miami Marlins have been dreadful in 2019. The ongoing fire sale has seen the team trade valuable stars Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto over the past two offseasons. However, a handful of pieces still remain that Miami could look to sell this summer (values below in $Ms):

  • Smith: 30.5
  • Urena: 15.5
  • Walker: 6.6
  • Rojas: 2.6
  • Conley: 2.5
  • Steckenrider: 1.8
  • Romo: 1.4
  • Granderson: 0.7
  • Castro: -4.4
  • Prado: -8.7
  • Chen: -28.1

While the Marlins have already dealt all of their high-end trade chips, they still have a few solid veterans that could be moved. Their rebuild is in its early stages, leaving Miami with no reason to hang onto any pieces that they don’t see as part of their next core.

The biggest question is whether they'd be willing to move Caleb Smith, who is drawing interest. Smith is off to a great start in his career, and the Marlins have every reason to hold onto him considering he has four years of control left after this one. An acquiring team would have to offer them a significant overpay. Jose Urena had been the more likely of the two established starters to be moved, but his recent back injury took that option off the table.

The three relievers -- lefty Adam Conley and righties Sergio Romo and Drew Steckenrider -- are particularly likely to draw interest. Of the three, Conley has the highest trade value due to having nearly four seasons of team control remaining. The lefty showed signs of a breakout in 2018, but has taken a step back this season. The former starter is throwing harder than ever before and could interest a team like the Astros, who have an extensive track record of getting the most out of relievers with plus stuff. Houston could give up an interesting righty like Tyler Ivey in exchange.

Steckenrider will be similarly coveted as a solid bullpen righty with team control. While he has struggled early in 2019, he was solid in 2017 and 2018 and still throws hard. Steckenrider could make sense for a team like the Braves that would prefer controllable relief help over a rental. He could net the Marlins lower-minors shortstop A.J. Graffaninio and a lottery ticket relief arm such as Josh Graham.

Romo is another late-innings reliever struggling for Miami. However, as a rental, his value is below that of Conley and Steckenrider. He does have an extensive track record of success, especially against right-handed hitters, and is the most likely of the three bullpen arms to be moved. Similarly, outfielder Curtis Granderson is a struggling veteran that a contender could see as a cheap bench upgrade. The Marlins are unlikely to receive more than a lottery ticket for either veteran.

Another veteran, Neil Walker, could net the Marlins a decent prospect. After a down year with the Yankees in 2018, he has rebounded nicely with the bat. However, he has exclusively played first base this season, a position at which few contenders have a need. If teams still believe he is capable of moving around the diamond, he could have suitors as a super-utility type. Miguel Rojas fits that bill as well, although with less of a track record. Rojas is three and a half years younger than Walker, comes with an extra year of team control, and is capable of playing shortstop.

The ever-frugal Marlins would love to move some of the larger contracts on their payroll, but will likely find themselves unable to do so. They might have a chance to move infielder Starlin Castro with less than a year remaining on his contract, but would have to include a player or significant cash to do so. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen and utility man Martin Prado probably aren’t going anywhere.

Compared to the last two offseasons, this trade season will be relatively quiet for Miami. They are likely to move a handful of veterans on expiring contracts for middling returns, but will have to move one or more of their controllable relief arms if they want to add a significant prospect.

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