Barry Jackson

Marlins’ best two remaining position players are upset with recent trades

Miami Marlins' right fielder Christian Yelich hits a single in the seventh inning of the Miami Marlins vs The Colorado Rockies game at Marlins Park in Little Havana in Miami on Sat., Aug. 12, 2017.
Miami Marlins' right fielder Christian Yelich hits a single in the seventh inning of the Miami Marlins vs The Colorado Rockies game at Marlins Park in Little Havana in Miami on Sat., Aug. 12, 2017. pportal@miamiherald.com

Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto, the Marlins’ two best remaining position players, are unhappy with new ownership’s decision to trade Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon.

But while the Marlins are willing to listen to trade offers on any player, they are not actively shopping either Yelich or Realmuto at this time, according to a source.

Realmuto has made it clear to the Marlins that he would prefer to play elsewhere, as Sirius XM’s Craig Mish first reported Monday.

Yelich, according to a source, is also unhappy with the Marlins’ direction but wants to speak to management about their vision in the coming days before deciding whether to ask for a trade, according to a source.

The source said Yelich is unhappy not only because the trade dramatically diminishes the chance of the Marlins winning in the next couple of years, but also because he is good friends with Stanton, Ozuna and Gordon.

Yelich plans to weigh what the Marlins tell him before informing them of his preference. But it would take some major persuading to ease Yelich’s concerns.

Yelich admired Derek Jeter growing up, but Jeter hasn’t reached out to Yelich, according to the source.

And it’s possible that Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president/baseball operations, could handle the call to Yelich. Hill said last week that he would call Yelich to wish him happy holidays.

Miami Marlins' Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman discuss their vision for the future of the franchise on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.

Keep in mind that the Marlins are under no obligation to trade Realmuto or Yelich. Neither can force a trade.

According to a team that spoke to the Marlins last week, the Marlins did not rule out trading Yelich but told teams that it would be easier to acquire Ozuna, who was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals last week. ESPN reported that one team was told Yelich isn’t available.

Asked about reports of Realmuto asking for a trade, Hill said – in a statement issued through the team – that “we used the last couple of weeks continuing to lay the foundation for building a first-class, winning organization.

“Should we feel like we need to make a trade involving any of our under contract, controllable players, we will be the ones who initiate that conversation and always do what’s best for the organization.”

J.T. Realmuto
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto hits a double against the the Mets in a game in September. Pedro Portal pportal@miamiherald.com

Realmuto, considered one of the game’s best young catchers, is under team control through 2020.

Arbitration eligible for the first time, the 26-year-old Realmuto is projected to make about $4.2 million next season. One of the faster catchers in baseball (he has 20 steals combined the past two years), Realmuto hit .278 with 17 homers and 65 RBI last season. He’s a .280 hitter in four big-league seasons.

“I love J.T.,” manager Don Mattingly said last week. “He’s a guy that I think all our players have so much respect for, the way he plays the game, the toughness he brings, who he is as a person and who he is as a player.”

Yelich, meanwhile, is due $7 million, $9.75 million, $12.5 million and $14 million over the next four seasons, with a $15 million team option in 2022.

Yelich, 24, hit .282 with 18 homers and 81 RBI and 16 stolen bases last season. He’s a career .290 hitter in 4 ½ big league seasons.

Atlanta, Philadelphia, Arizona and San Diego are among teams that have expressed interest in Yelich.

The trades of Stanton, Ozuna and Gordon left the Marlins a few million dollars above their $90 million payroll target.

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