The 2017-2018 offseason is here for the Minnesota Twins. Could the Miami Marlins be a fit as a trade partner this offseason?
Now that the Minnesota Twins have entered the offseason, they are looking to improve the roster through trades and through free agent signings. In this series, we’ll look at how the Twins match up with teams in trade scenarios.
We will first cover the team’s 2017 and what they may be looking for this offseason and then look at whether the Twins could be a good fit for a possible trade this offseason. If there’s a fit, we’ll try to put together a feasible trade that would work for both sides. We will go alphabetically through the league, and today we have made it to the Miami Marlins.
After adding considerably to their opening day payroll, the Marlins were hoping for a competitive 2017. Those hopes weren’t followed by results as the team went 77-85 finishing second in a weak AL East behind the Washington Nationals. Even with a disappointing season, the Marlins still had plenty of intriguing performances in 2017.
Any conversation about the Marlins must start with outfield slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton showcased incredible power as he hit 59 home runs and slashed .281/.376/.631 and an impressive 1.007 OPS. Dee Gordon is a very different player than Stanton, but put up an impressive season showcasing his speed with 60 stolen bases, scoring 114 runs and slashing .308/.341/.375.
Stanton isn’t the only Marlins outfielder that teams have to pay attention to. Marcell Ozuna had an incredible jump in performance as the starting left fielder with a .312 avg, .924 OPS, and 37 home runs. Center fielder Christian Yelich also provided a solid contribution to the club by slashing .282/.369/.439 and 18 home runs.
Marlins fans were able to enjoy a breakout from 25-year-old starter Jose Urena. Urena pitched 169.2 innings while going 14-7 as a starter with a 3.82 ERA. Dan Straily led the staff in innings pitched with 181.2 but with a 10-9 record and 4.26 ERA isn’t likely providing quite what the Marlins had hoped for when they traded for him. That has more to do with what was traded away to obtain Straily, but he is still able to fill a solid role on a contending team.
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Around the trade deadline, the Marlins struck two separate deals to trade away two solid bullpen pieces in David Phelps and AJ Ramos as the team was out of contention. That left an opportunity for Brad Ziegler to perform well down the stretch picking up 10 saves while holding a less than impressive 4.79 ERA but a 3.71 FIP making it seem he may have performed a little better than the results indicate. Kyle Barraclough also was able to perform well over 66 innings with a 3.00 ERA and a 10.4 SO/9.
Possible Trade Interest
Marlins may want: With new ownership taking over there is a bit of change in direction for the Marlins. All signs point to payroll shedding as a top priority, with a $90 million opening day payroll the goal. After trading SS Adeiny Hechavarria, the Marlins are in need of middle infield depth. Some closer to major league prospects could be a target as well as the team as some intriguing prospects but many need more time before impacting the major league team.
Twins may want: The Twins need starting pitching, relief pitching, and a right-handed power bat.
There are some intriguing places where the Marlins and Twins line up well for a trade. Let’s see if we can find any deals that would work for both sides.
Marcell Ozuna represents a right-handed outfield option that has some pop to his bat. He should also earn over $10 million dollars after arbitration this year, making a trade of him a sizable bit of salary relief for the Marlins. Ozuna may not be the over .300 avg hitter that he was in 2017, but if he lands somewhere around .285 and 25 home runs he would be a solid offensive contributor.
This trade doesn’t make sense if you are a believer in the Rosario production of the second half of 2017. If you think it was simply a hot streak it makes more sense. Rosario would provide the Marlins with a cheaper outfielder who should be able to produce for a competitive team. Pressly helps bolster their bullpen with a major league ready arm. And Blankenhorn or Palacios help provide some middle infield depth. I wouldn’t put it past the Marlins to push for the inclusion of Royce Lewis, Nick Gordon, or Wander Javier but if I am the Twins I am not giving up one of those three in this deal.
A move for Dan Straily in itself won’t “win” the offseason, but if the Twins are looking for someone to fill out the middle of rotation he would do that. He has shown the ability to pitch over 180 innings for two consecutive seasons and when paired with the Twins outfield could produce some better numbers as long as he keeps the ball in the park.
As one of the themes for the Marlins appears to be, stay competitive but at a cheaper rate, both pitchers going the Marlins way are cheap but ready for their crack at the majors. Jorge got a taste of the big leagues this season and could fill a back-end of the rotation position. Jay showed a huge improvement in the Arizona Fall League and could fill an important role in the Marlins bullpen in 2018.
Kyle Barraclough could be an intriguing bullpen piece for the Twins as they look to improve in that area. His career 12.09 SO/9 and 13.3% swing strike rate could both help bolster the backend of the bullpen for the Twins.
The goal of the players going the Marlins way is about the same as the second trade proposal just of a slightly lesser quality. Thorpe is getting close to major league ready but will need some more time in the minors. Curtiss got a look this season in the majors and could jump into the bullpen for the Marlins.
A similar trade could potentially be proposed for RP Brad Ziegler as getting his contract of $9 million off the books would be welcomed by the Marlins.