Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Miami Marlins Rumors
Now that the General Manager Meetings have wrapped up last week, activity has begun to pick up.
In the past week, starting pitcher Tim Hudson has a pending agreement to join the San Francisco Giants, outfielder Marlon Byrd inked a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and catcher Carlos Ruiz decided to stay put with the Phillies. That's three of ESPN.com's top 50 free agents off the market.
Moreover, rumors are swirling as we are a little more than a week away from the Thanksgiving holiday. For instance, Jay-Z and the New York Mets held a secret dinner Monday night to discuss free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, according to the New York Post. Last week, the New York Post had a theory the Miami Marlins could be a stealth bidder for Cano's services because they are further along in their accumulation of young talent, and no owner has proven more impetuous in spending and selling off than Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
Basically, at this time of the year, you can't trust everything you read. But because of that, we're here to help decipher what is real and what is fantasy in the Marlins world.
From the least impactful to most impactful, we'll play fact or fiction with the latest Marlins rumors.
The Marlins are closing in on signing a marquee free agent
Fiction: The Marlins have not come close to signing a marquee free agent
Initially, many believed the Marlins were in the running to sign first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu before the Cuban defector agreed to a six-year, $68 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. After all, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported the Marlins were "all in" on Abreu and Frisaro tweeted that the Marlins bowed out of the bidding when it went past $60 million.
However, the Marlins might not have been as close to signing Abreu as many thought.
According to the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer, multiple sources said the Marlins made a legitimate initial offer for Abreu but dropped out of the bidding early. And although the Marlins need about three impact bats, it looks like the Marlins are bargain-bin shopping, as Frisaro reported the Marlins are considering moderately priced free agents.
Coming from the Marlins, this is no surprise. However, it's a little troubling because the Marlins have anywhere from $12-$15 million to play with and they can't (or won't) sign a quality player who commands $10 million per season, especially if Loria backloads the contract like he usually does.
It's understandable if the Marlins exercise fiscal responsibility, especially since the Marlins made it rain when they signed Heath Bell, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to a combined $191 million in contracts, according to the Sun-Sentinel, in 2011. However, Marlins fans aren't asking for Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury or Brian McCann. Instead, they are asking for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jhonny Peralta or even Juan Uribe.
Is that too much to ask?
The Marlins will complete a blockbuster trade
Fiction ... for now: The Marlins will not complete a blockbuster trade this offseason
But the Marlins are looking to wheel and deal, that's for certain, just not to the extent of last year's 12-player fire sale.
“We want talent, but we’ve done our prospect deals," Marlins president of baseball operation Michael Hill told the Miami Herald. "We’re trying to get better and acquire players that help us now, and in the future.”
As stated earlier, the Marlins want to acquire about three impact hitters and the Miami Herald reports Hill's preference is to get players with proven major-league experience, but also ones the team can control contractually for three years or longer before the onset of free agency hits.
That means All-Stars such as Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese probably won't work as they will be free agents after the 2015 season. Los Angeles Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo is a possibility since he won't be a free agent until after the 2016 season.
If the Marlins don't sign any impact bats through free agency, they are prepared to part with their most valuable asset to acquire some hitters, which is young starting pitching.
“When you have starting pitching that you’re willing to part with, you should be able to make some deals,” Hill said. “I don’t think we’ve focused specifically [on one particular trade or player], but there are some situations that you feel encouraged by, and you think that there’s something to be done.”
Obviously, National League Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez is untouchable, but so is No. 2 starter Nathan Eovaldi and closer Steve Cishek, according to Frisaro. A more realistic trade piece appears to be Jacob Turner. First baseman Logan Morrison has attracted plenty of attention because of the increasing scarcity of power at that position, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted, but no trade is close although the Marlins are listening to prospective offers.
One crazy idea floating in the stratosphere is a major prospect-for-prospect trade.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman thinks the Marlins and Cubs could swap prospects since the Cubs have four huge positional prospects in Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler, while the Marlins have pitching prospects such as Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, Jose Urena and Brian Flynn, in addition to Turner and Henderson Alvarez.
However, Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick, isn't eligible to be traded until June. Moreover, such a trade carries major risks, which makes this an unlikely scenario.
In all likelihood, the Marlins will execute player-for-player trades with others pieces being thrown in if any deals were to occur.
Giancarlo Stanton will stay with the Marlins
Fact ... for now: Giancarlo Stanton will stay with the Marlins
It was at last year's GM Meetings where the framework of the 12-player fire sale was discussed, according to Frisaro. So, it's only fitting that general managers ask about Stanton's availability last week, seeing as how the 24-year-old All-Star right fielder is one of the most affordable power threats in the game.
But when the other 29 clubs asked about Stanton, they were quickly turned away. Frisaro reported few serious inquires were made about Stanton as the Marlins wouldn't budge on even considering a deal for Stanton.
Stanton is in his first arbitration-eligible season, and he could command a salary anywhere from $5-$7 million. Frisaro also reports the team remains open to presenting Stanton a multi-year deal, but are also prepared to go on a year-to-year basis if a long-term agreement isn't reached.
What is concerning is whether Stanton will stay even if the Marlins go year-to-year until Stanton becomes a free agent after the 2016 season.
When former Marlins infielder Chris Valaika signed a minor league deal with the Cubs recently, Valaika's agent Joel Wolfe said, “Chris is very excited to be with a first-class organization," Rosenthal tweeted.
As you might remember, Valaika was one of a handful of players who complained to management he had been harassed verbally by former hitting coach Tino Martinez, who resigned in the wake of the allegations in late July. Martinez was Loria's hand-picked hire. Not long after, Loria vetoed the infielder's promotion from the minors late in the season.
Wolfe's shot at the Marlins is notable.
The reason: Wolfe also represents Stanton, according to the Miami Herald.