The Marlins have conveyed to Christian Yelich that they will listen to trade offers but have given him no assurances that they will fulfill his trade request, a source fully briefed on the situation said Thursday evening.
Yelich is displeased with the Marlins’ trading of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon and is disinterested in being part of a long rebuilding program.
But he is planning to report to spring training, if he isn’t traded, and has no intention of staging an NFL-style holdout, which would be highly unusual for baseball, according to a source.
A few other things we’ve heard:
▪ A bunch of teams have given the Marlins proposals. One team that spoke to the Marlins said they were asking for way too much several weeks ago but now have become “more reasonable” in their demands.
▪ At this point, Yelich is strongly leaning toward attending FanFest, which is mandatory.
▪ One team said the Marlins, in Yelich talks, expressed a preference for more developed prospects who are in Double A or above. The Marlins want multiple prospects from a team’s list of Top 10 prospects.
▪ The Marlins initially tried to sell Yelich on the idea of staying and being a part of this rebuild but haven’t done so in several weeks. CEO Derek Jeter has said he has no need to reach out to Yelich.
▪ As Peter Gammons reported, a source briefed on the situation confirmed the Marlins asked the Braves for top outfield prospect Ronald Acuna in a package for Yelich, but the Braves said no.
Atlanta, which covets Yelich, has three players in MLB Pipeline’s latest ranking of the top 10 left-handed pitching prospects: Luiz Gohara (No. 4), Kolby Allard (No. 7) and Max Fried (No. 10).
They’ve also got highly-regarded right handed pitching prospects in Kyle Wright and Mike Soroka.
▪ But the Braves have plenty of competition. As ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick noted, the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Phillies, Padres and Angels are among other teams that have inquired about Yelich, 26, who’s a career .290 hitter.
▪ One team that spoke to the Marlins said Miami tried to get a third team involved because it liked that team’s prospects better. But a two-team trade seems more likely.
Yelich 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.
▪ If the Marlins trade Yelich, they likely would need to sign a cheap free agent outfielder to replace him unless they get a big league-ready prospect back in the deal or any other trade in the next two months.
▪ The Marlins will give Magneuris Sierra every chance to win the center field job and team executive Mike Hill said Sierra, acquired in the Marcell Ozuna trade with St. Louis, “may be as fast as Dee Gordon if not faster. Top of the order [talent].”
He’s a .292 minor-league hitter and batted .317 in 60 at-bats for the Cardinals last year.
Sierra is a good prospect, but after trading two of their three outfielders and parting ways with Ichiro Suzuki, the Marlins don’t have a lot of other options.
▪ Derek Dietrich also has a good chance to start. He has been working in the outfield this winter.