Not many people could have predicted the NL East to be as competitive as it's been so far this season. The two teams that garnered the most attention coming into the year—the Phillies and Marlins—find themselves towards the bottom of the division.
While only a few games separate the five teams in the division from the top spot, you have to wonder when disparity will hit and a team will make a trade.
The Miami Marlins had extremely high expectations from both their management and fans going into this season. They have a history of making notable trades and have a few players that many teams would be interested in inquiring about.
To put fans at ease—Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison are not on this list. However, here are five candidates who could be dealt at the trade deadline.
After being recently demoted to the club's Triple-A affiliate, one can only speculate how open the Marlins could be to trading this former All-Star.
Gaby Sanchez is having, by all accounts, a horrendous year. He's hitting career-lows in every stat imaginable, featuring a .197 batting average, one home run and 11 RBI. He seems lost at the plate and cannot find his stroke—a far cry from his great 2011.
Still only 28, Sanchez has the power and defensive skills of an every day major league starter. He was the only Marlin selected to the All-Star game last year, which could add to his trade value.
If he continues to struggle, the team may be more inclined to move him and could shift their up-and-coming star Logan Morrison over to first base.
The 2009 Rookie of the Year had the Marlins organization under the perception that they struck gold when he hit .327 and drove in 47 RBI. Unfortunately, since then Chris Coghlan has has struggled immensely and now finds himself stuck trying to find his place on the team's roster.
This once-promising outfielder could still potentially make his way back to relevance.
Teams may be tempted to take a gamble on a player who, only three short seasons ago, was among the top prospects in the league. If Coghlan can't find his way back to the Marlins' roster, the team may look to move the latest of their three Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year award winners.
Of the candidates listed, Matt Dominguez can be filed under "Most Likely to be Dealt."
The fact of the matter is, Dominguez is a fine prospect who the Marlins would usually grasp onto until he reached the majors. The only problem is, Miami has their third base position filled for the foreseeable future with Hanley Ramirez.
After the Marlins signed shortstop Jose Reyes this offseason and subsequently moved Ramirez to third, the chances of Dominguez ever playing his natural position for the team were more than likely destroyed.
Even though he has struggled to hit in the minors, he has Gold Glove potential at the position, which raises his value for teams looking to fill a void at the corner.
The Marlins may look to replenish other young, talented positions of need in return for Dominguez.
This wasn't what the Marlins envisioned when they traded for LeBlanc this offseason. Even after an impressive spring, LeBlanc has struggled in the minors and doesn't look like he'll be called up any time soon.
He won eight games for the San Diego Padres last year and was joined by former teammate Heath Bell over in Miami. While Bell continues to struggle on his own, LeBlanc hasn't been able to join him in the big show.
He still has some promise and could possibly crack the bottom of a rotation somewhere else in the league, but it looks highly unlikely down in Miami. The Marlins' pitching staff has been on fire, as their starters are giving the team one of the top rotations in the NL.
The Marlins didn't give up much to bring in LeBlanc—John Baker—but the team more than likely has no future plans for the starter.
Juan Oviedo, a.k.a. Leo Nunez, is still stuck in the Dominican Republic awaiting clearance to return back to MLB. His bizarre story, after faking his identity to play in the United States, resulted in him being suspended eight weeks upon his return.
With the rocky start of new closer Heath Bell, some wondered if Oviedo would get the chance to win his job back. Bell has since started to find his pitches and take on the role that the Marlins paid him highly to be.
Miami has also witnessed reliever Steve Cishek become one of the unsung heroes of the early season. His 1.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP has manager Ozzie Guillen and the rest of the organization excited and confident that they may have found another gem in the bullpen.
Even with Oviedo's uncertainty, teams have to consider that he was once a quality closer for the Marlins. He compiled 92 saves over a three-year period, which can't be left unnoticed if a contender is looking for added depth in the bullpen at the trade deadline.