Trades are more difficult in August than July, but the Marlins are still open to moving a few veterans if they can get quality young pieces back.
Where things stand on a few veterans who were in play before the July 31 no-waiver trade deadline:
▪ Outfielder Derek Dietrich. The Indians and Cubs inquired about him in July but nothing substantive ever materialized. The Marlins will certainly listen if approached again this month.
He likely would be better suited to play in the American League because of defensive shortcomings, but the Marlins have appreciated his contributions this year (.282, 14 homers, 38 RBI) and aren’t opposed to bringing him back next season, particularly with their dearth of big-league ready outfielders. He’s making $2.9 million and will get a raise in arbitration.
“He has worked really hard [in improving his defense],” manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday. “I don’t want to go too far because the metrics don’t necessarily pan that out but he is a guy that’s giving us everything he’s got. He consistently works with Fredi [Gonzalez] to try to get better and that’s what you ask of guys, to give their best effort. He has swung the bat good.”
▪ First baseman Justin Bour. The Marlins had discussions with at least one team on Bour in July but received no serious trade offer. After earning $2.4 million this season, Bour (.227, 19 homers, 54 RBI) again will be arbitration eligible this winter. It would be surprising if he’s the Marlins’ first baseman in a few years.
▪ Pitcher Dan Straily. The Marlins would listen to offers if they can get quality prospects back. Oakland and the Marlins discussed Straily in July but the A’s instead traded for Mike Fiers this week. Straily (4-5, 4.35 ERA) likely will get a raise from $3.38 million in arbitration this winter.
▪ Second baseman Starlin Castro. He was very much available before the trade deadline — and remains so — but no team expressed serious interest.
Mlbtraderumors.com lists him among 20 players who could be dealt this month, saying: “A strong run at the plate of late increases Castro’s appeal somewhat, though teams generally know what to expect. He’s a solidly average player earning a bit more than he’d likely command on the open market, with a $10 million salary this year, $11 million owed for 2019, and a $1 million buyout due thereafter. Still, if a sudden infield need arises, he’d be an immediate fill-in option. And the Marlins would surely be open to striking a deal.”
Per mlbtraderumors.com, here’s how August trades can happen:
“After the trade deadline, a big-league player must pass through revocable waivers before his team can trade him without restriction. These waivers last 47 hours. If no one claims him in that period, his team can trade him anywhere.
“If a player is claimed, his team can do one of three things. It can trade the player to the claiming team, revoke the waiver request [in which case the player will remain with his original team], or simply allow the claiming team to take the player and his salary [although a player with no-trade rights can block this from happening].”
THIS AND THAT
I asked Mattingly what the Marlins would like to learn, from a long-term perspective, about their young position players before the season ends. (They already know plenty about Brian Anderson, who warrants Rookie of the Year consideration).
“With [Lewis Brinson], hope to get him 100 at bats or so before this season ends to see if the progress we felt like we were making takes a little more hold,” Mattingly said, with Brinson (.186, 10 homers, 30 RBI) having been sidelined since July 4 with a right hip bone bruise.
“We felt like he was swinging the bat better [before the injury] and his at-bats were getting better, swings were getting shorter, takes were better. Not necessarily that he was getting a ton more hits but you could see he was making progress in terms of his at-bats and he’s just come right back and his [rehab] work looks good.”
Mattingly also mentioned outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper, who has missed substantial time with a sprained right wrist] but said he hopes to be back with the Marlins by late August.
“Garrett is another guy I would like to get 100 at bats hopefully and see what he can do,” Mattingly said. “He’s the one guy we seen a little bit in spring, got hurt so early. We haven’t really seen him get any kind of rhythm. He’s the one guy really want to find out what this guy can do. We talked about possibly playing some winter ball, getting some more at-bats.”
The Marlins also are eager to see a bigger sample size of outfielder Magneuris Sierra, who is hitting. 200 with no walks in 45 plate appearances.
“Magneuris is another guy we will get to see a lot of at-bats,” Mattingly said. “I like a lot of things about Magneuris. I really think this guy is going to be a player for us. We’re going to work on his bunt game. His speed is really off the charts. I like the swing. There is a lot to like about him, his attitude. I think this kid is going to be really good for us.”
▪ After batting .250 as a rookie last season, J.T. Riddle is hitting only .222 in 63 games, with five homers and 21 RBI.
The Marlins don’t believe they have a full sense of Riddle’s offensive capabilities because he wasn’t activated from the disabled list until May 2 following August shoulder surgery and months of rehabilitation. So they can’t know for sure if he’s a starting caliber shortstop.
“The delayed start has made it a little bit difficult,” Mattingly said. “We thought it would be sooner he would be able to start hitting [in the cage this year]. He wasn’t able to do anything until late January. We will see exactly who J.T. is a lot better next year because he’ll have a full winter of work and a normal, healthy winter. Hopefully, everything goes well the rest of the way.
“There are still areas of improvement for him with the bat. A little bit of a hitch in his swing where it creates a little bit of length. That’s one thing we’ve talked about since I’ve been here, trying to eliminate that hitch or just shorten it or time it up better.”
▪ Right-handed reliever Tommy Eveld has pitched three scoreless innings, with a save and four strikeouts, in Double A Jacksonville since being acquired by the Marlins for Brad Ziegler last week. Shortstop Bryson Brigman is 2 for 18 in Single A Jupiter since being acquired by Miami, from Seattle, for Cameron Maybin last week.