The Marlins upped the ante in their pursuit of highly coveted Cuban prospect Victor Victor Mesa by trading reliever Kyle Barraclough to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday for international bonus pool money.
The Marlins can use that money in their attempt to sign the 22-year-old outfielder, Mesa’s brother Victor Mesa Jr., and pitcher Sandy Gaston. The three worked out Friday at Marlins Park in front of scouts for all 30 major league teams.
The Baltimore Orioles are also interested in the three players and have the most money to spend on them: about $6.7 million.
But in acquiring international spending money in Saturday’s trade of minor-league pitcher Ryan Lillie to the Cincinnati Reds and Wednesday’s deal sending Barraclough to the Nationals, sources said the Marlins now have almost as much money as the Orioles at their disposal in their pursuit of the three prospects.
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The teams did not disclose the actual dollar amount exchanged in Wednesday’s deal.
The hard-throwing Barraclough is coming off a season in which he experienced extreme highs and lows, going 0-3 with a 1.28 ERA before the All-Star break before faltering in the second half and going 1-3 with a 13.50 ERA.
Barraclough, who was acquired in 2015 from the Cardinals in a trade for Steve Cishek, went 15-12 with a 3.21 ERA and 11 saves in his four seasons with the Marlins.
The Marlins have made no secret of their desire to ramp up marketing efforts in South Florida’s Hispanic community and acquiring top Latin American prospects as part of that process.
Historically, the Marlins have shunned the international player market and have often traded away much of their international bonus money allotment to acquire experienced major league players. But there has been a strategy shift under new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter.
Wednesday’s trade is the third in the past several months in which the Marlins have increased their international spending power. In July, the Marlins also acquired international money in their trade with the Seattle Mariners for Cameron Maybin.