Fresh off the World Series, the Hot Stove rumor mill doesn't miss a beat. The latest involves the Marlins, but more so on the Athletics' end. According to ESPN's Jason Churchill, Oakland could be looking to shop the young talented lefty Gio Gonzalez in exchange for a offensive bat, and the Marlins are one team who could want him.
However, the big difference in this latest rumor is that Gio Gonzalez is a left-handed pitcher, is cheap and 26 years old.
James Shields, 29 (turning 30 in December), is going to get paid $7 million in 2012, $9 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014 whereas Gio Gonzalez is entering his first year of arbitration as a Super Two for an Athletics team that isn't in much position to spend now with the new stadium/relocation issues posed by the neighboring San Francisco Giants.
The Athletics are evidently looking to sell high on the left-hander, who has put up back-to-back solid seasons:
2010: 15-9, 3.23 ERA, 171 Ks in 200 2/3 innings
2011: 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 197 Ks in 202 innings
The Marlins are craving for a left-handed starter in the rotation to pair with Josh Johnson and acquiring the local product in Gonzalez (from Monsignor Pace High and born in Hialeah) would be a first step.
Yes, the team would take an up-and-coming bat from the lineup, but the team can always find a serviceable outfielder with pop than a potential Cy Young-caliber southpaw on the market.
Logan Morrison, 23, hit 23 home runs with 72 RBI but in reality underperformed to his standards. His on-base percentage dropped from .390 to .330, and his batting average took a hit, dropping from .283 to .247.
Morrison is exactly the type of player that would intrigue Billy Beane (and his Moneyball strategy). He can get on-base and provide much needed pop to the Athletics lineup that lacks it (Willingham hit 29 but is a free agent, Kurt Suzuki was second with 14 home runs).
Remember, Morrison filed grievance against the Marlins front office for a demotion in August that was linked to him skipping a autograph session, which was triggered by the team cancelling a charity bowling event that got little fanfare.
On the bright side, Morrison could be shipped off to Oakland, where eventually if the Athletics get their way, might be in the San Jose/Silicon Valley area. Morrison could be living at Twitter headquarters.
The Marlins could sign a Josh Willingham to replace Logan Morrison in the lineup until Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna are ready, but it's clear this is a deal they would certainly pull the trigger on. The Marlins crave pitching and know they have the minor league and major league (Bryan Petersen and Chris Coghlan) outfield depth to fall back on.