Posted on October 31, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Going all the way back to last summer, there has been speculation that the Miami Marlins may look to trade outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. However, with the team’s new ownership in place, there is a clearer vision for how the team will proceed. For instance, it’s already been reported that the Marlins are hoping to trim their payroll down to $90 million for the 2018 season. There are also recent reports that the Marlins do indeed plan on trading Stanton to make that happen. In addition to Stanton, the Marlins are also intent on trading both second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Martin Prado.
It’s not all that surprising that the Marlins have identified those three players as their biggest trade priorities. If Miami can become free of the salaries of those three players, they can come close to cutting their payroll to the target of $90 million. It may not get them all the way there, but it will get them close and give them more flexibility in the years to come.
In contrast, the Marlins are reportedly keen on holding onto outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Both are young, coming off productive seasons, and may have their best years still ahead of them, making them key building blocks for the future. Ozuna has two more years of arbitration and isn’t yet to the point of making an outrageous amount of money. Yelich is signed through the 2021 season and has a salary that’s more than reasonable for the next two seasons.
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Of course, while it’s Miami’s preference to hang onto Ozuna, Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, and others, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be able to find suitors for Stanton, Gordon, and Prado. Their plan is just that: a plan.
For Stanton, there already appears to be a market for his services. However, trading Stanton and getting rid of his salary are two different things. He will make $25 million in 2018, and his salary will only go up from there. The Marlins may have to take on part of his salary over the remainder of his contract if they hope to trade him. That will undoubtedly complicate things and make it more difficult to trim their payroll to $90 million by next year.
The situation could be similar with Gordon, who’s owed $38 million over the next three seasons. That’s not an unreasonable amount for a player with his skillset. But he’s also older than the rest of Miami’s core players. Gordon will turn 30 in April, a scary age for a player whose best asset is his speed. That could limit the amount of interest in him on the trade market.
Prado could also be a tough sell. He was limited to just 37 games in 2017 because of hamstring issues early in the year and then a knee injury later in the season. When healthy, Prado has been a productive offensive player during his career. But now he’s a 34-year old with questions about his health who’s owed $28.5 million over the next two seasons. It may be difficult to find an enthusiastic trade partner for him.
It’s certainly good for the Marlins to have a clear plan in mind for how they will approach the offseason and lower their payroll. However, the plan they appear to have may be difficult to execute with precision. Even if they manage to trade Stanton, Gordon, and Prado, they will have to make concessions along the way to make it happen. Miami’s offseason will be interesting to watch, but it won’t be as simple and easy as the Marlins think.