MLB Trade Rumors: Florida Marlins Looking to Deal Closer in a Seller's Market

Joseph JonesContributor IIIJuly 14, 2011

The Florida Marlins' Leo Nunez is mediocre. At best.
The Florida Marlins' Leo Nunez is mediocre. At best.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes that there’s “a good chance” closer Leo Nunez “is dealt before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.”

Rodriguez points out that Nunez has one more season of arbitration eligibility, but “it’s doubtful the Marlins will absorb his expected salary hike” from this year’s $3.65 million salary.

What he does not write is that in addition to not wanting to pay Nunez upward of $5 million in 2012, the Marlins would also be smart to cash in a sub-par closer for something of value in a seller's market.

In three seasons as Florida’s closer, Nunez has saved 81 games in 99 chances with a 3.71 ERA and a 169/63 K/BB ratio in 175 innings. He’s basically a solid setup man who’s been thrust into the closer role and has converted saves at an 82 percent rate, which is at the extreme low end of acceptable for a closer.

If they can get so much as a solid prospect for him because some other team focuses on his save totals, they should jump at the opportunity. They can then spend the second half figuring out which other reliever is capable of stepping into ninth-inning duties with similarly mediocre results.

The franchise has some tough decisions ahead of them in the next year or two, primarily regarding Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson, so they need to be as shrewd as possible at every turn in.

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