The Miami Marlins remain a pleasant surprise as the 2014 season wears on into the long days of summer. With a 34-32 record they are just one game out of first place and firmly in the middle of the playoff hunt.
The Marlins have maintained this winning record despite the loss of Jose Fernandez for the season to Tommy John surgery. They have done so with the stellar play of a number of young players and the borderline-MVP work of the mighty Giancarlo Stanton. That wealth of young talent might also have them positioned as interesting trade partners.
Whether they stay in the race or not, the Marlins could be active in the trade market. Peter Gammons wonders about the decision they will face with closer Steve Cishek, a guy who might be pricing himself out of the Marlins’ plans in the coming seasons:
But if Miami falls back in July, he could be a big chip for one of the many teams—like the Tigers—who have struggled at the end of games. He’s the Marlins third highest-paid player at $3.8M, and arbitration is going to drive that way up. The Marlins have been trying to assemble backend arms, and right now have closer possibilities in Bryan Morris and Anthony DeSclafani—if not Nathan Eovaldi—and could get some young infield offensive help in return.
Here’s what might even be more interesting about this situation for the Marlins: couldn’t they make this move anyway? Of course the team would be reluctant to trade a proven closer while they are in the race themselves. That would certainly eliminate the possibility of trading him in the National League.
But what about a deal to the Tigers anyway? The Marlins tend to do better than most teams when it comes to balancing the big picture with the short term. If they have another pitcher ready to close, why not restock some prospects while anticipating a potential problem in the future with Cishek’s contract and still chasing the playoffs this year?
Interesting possibilities for the Marlins as they try to prove that they will stick as contenders this season.