How desperate will the Marlins be?
We knew there was probably going to be some out-of-nowhere team in Major League Baseball that makes the kind of surprising run this 60-game season was built for. Right now that team is Miami.
Perhaps this 6-1 start is much more of an early-season mirage than even first glance might suggest. Due to their COVID-19-induced shutdown, the Marlins have played six fewer games than teams like the Twins and Cubs (both sitting at 10-3). But still, as we sit here they are in the mix.
So what if Miami does hang around? That's where the Aug. 31 trade deadline might get very interesting. Derek Jeter and Co. could see this as their chance for instant viability in a market that isn't thick with baseball excitement. And if that is the case then, Mr. Jeter and Mr. Michael Hill, let us introduce you to the Boston Red Sox.
It's hard to envision Chaim Bloom approaching this season in any other way than as a trampoline to the future. It would seem to be an opportunity to secure some key pieces that might be part of the foundation for legitimate title contenders in the years to come. The problem is that the players who carry the expiring contracts aren't exactly trending toward becoming in high demand for contending clubs.
Jackie Bradley Jr. Jose Peraza. Mitch Moreland. Martin Perez. Brandon Workman. Kevin Pillar.
All have their positives and will bring some value if put on the trade market. But in terms of securing the big-ticket-item, star-of-the-future, using these chips might be a challenge.
There is, however, one intriguing scenario when looking at that call Bloom could potentially make to Hill three weeks from now.
J.D. Martinez for Sixto Sanchez.
This is a reach. And it is certainly an uncomfortable notion moving on from one of the best middle-of-the-order presences in baseball. All understood. But the Red Sox are desperate for top-of-the-rotation pitching talent that can be controlled for years to come. And this might represent a window to get that exact thing.
Miami is 24th overall in OPS at the designated hitter position (.486), cycling in shortstop Jonathan Villar and first baseman Jesus Aguilar along with a few others. The fit in terms of need is a logical one.
Now, we come back to the original question: How desperate will the Marlins be?
It would be an enormous risk for Miami to make such a trade without some assurances from Martinez that he wouldn't opt-out of the last two years of his deal. There would have to likely be some sort of pre-trade negotiations that would sweeten the DH's contract enough to take that last opt-out off the table. And while the Marlins was previously perceived by Martinez as one of those teams that weren't putting their financial all into trying to win, the taste of success in 2020 -- along with the fact the slugger grew up a fan of Miami and still lives in the area -- might sway his opinion.
All things considered, this is a long shot because while the Marlins are currently having some success there still isn't any evidence they would be willing to deliver the investment to secure a player like Martinez. Miami's current highest-paid player is Villar, who was slated to earn $8.2 million in 2020.
But this is Martinez. Local kid makes good. This might be the perfect storm to Jeter actually opening up the checkbook.
At any rate, it's at least time to start to think along these lines. The future of the Red Sox success may depend on it.