When it comes to formidable young outfield cores, there aren’t too many that can top the one assembled in Miami. Giancarlo Stanton just landed the largest contract in professional sports, while Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna have each just begun to tap into the tools that had prospect evaluators giddy as the pair climbed the minor-league ladder. Better yet, all three are under club control through the 2020 season and Stanton, who just turned 25 last month, is the oldest of the bunch.
The Marlins have their starting three locked up for the foreseeable future but at the moment the rest of their outfield cupboard is completely bare. With Stanton, Ozuna and Yelich the only outfielders currently listed on Miami’s 40-man roster, the only other players on the roster with any previous outfield experience are their starting corner infielders: Martin Prado and Michael Morse.
Miami’s need for outfield depth coincides with the continued rumor that Dan Haren could soon be on his way back to the West Coast, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports speculates that the Padres would be an ideal trade partner given their current glut of outfielders. Haren declined to attend a Marlins press conference over the weekend and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Haren is still “holding out hope” for a trade to either the Padres or Angels in order to be close to his family.
While the Marlins are awaiting word from Haren about his future, it seems likely that they’ll explore what value the 34-year-old would have given his limited potential trade destinations.
With a plethora of question marks filling up the back-end of San Diego’s rotation, Haren could be an appealing option for A.J. Preller’s club, particularly if the Marlins can chip in some of the money that the Dodgers sent them to cover Haren’s contract. Cameron Maybin and Will Venable could each be parts heading back to Miami in a potential trade, as Morosi points out that Miami would ideally seek out a center fielder who could back up Ozuna.
Once upon a time, the Marlins were high on Maybin—who is just 27 years old despite seemingly being around forever—but Venable’s left-handed bat would be the more appealing buy-low option for the Marlins in center field. Venable is coming off his worst offensive campaign to date, but he had strung together four straight 2.0+ WARP seasons prior to last season and is due just $4.25 million in his final year before hitting free agency.
A.J. Preller’s aggressiveness has been the talk of the baseball world during the last week, so it hardly came as a surprise when reports surfaced on Monday linking the Padres to Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels. What did raise eyebrows about Ryan Lawrence’s report for the Philadelphia Daily News was that his source said the Padres had discussions about using newly acquired Wil Myers as trade bait in a potential deal for the southpaw ace.
Such a trade would lead Myers to join Andrew Heaney and Ryan Hanigan as the latest player to be flipped twice this offseason, but Dennis Lin, who covers the Padres for U-T San Diego, wrote that talks of a Myers-Hamels trade are premature. Lin confirmed that the Padres do have interest in acquiring Hamels, a San Diego native, but his sources indicated that Myers figures into the club’s long-term plans and that the 24-year-old is expected to start the year in center field.
Without Myers, a trade for Hamels would likely have to include one of the young trio of prospects that the club has been able to preserve amidst their recent flurry of moves: Matt Wisler, Austin Hedges or Hunter Renfroe. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said that while the club is willing to move Hamels, there is no internal pressure from ownership to move him, so it seems that the club will only move Hamels if they are fully satisfied with the return. Given that the Phillies have previously insisted that the Dodgers part with either Joc Pederson or Corey Seager in a trade for Hamels, one of San Diego’s top minor-league talents is a likely necessity in a potential trade.
With long-time shortstop Jimmy Rollins gone and Ruben Amaro Jr. apparently open to trading anyone on the roster, the Phillies appear to be ready to take the next step in the rebuilding process in Philadelphia. Amaro acknowledged that the organization has decided that it’s time to turn the page and that they are looking to build a younger and more athletic core, evident by talks of trading Hamels and the acknowledgement that the team would be better off without Ryan Howard.
However, it’s unlikely that Philadelphia’s rebuilding process in Philadelphia will involve shipping off Chase Utley.
The 36-year-old second baseman has full no-trade rights due to Major League Baseball’s 10-and-5 rule and Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News writes that Utley’s agent, Joel Wolfe, has had dialogue with Amaro but that Utley ultimately does not want to leave Philadelphia. “He has no desire to go anywhere,” Amaro said. “He wants to honor his contract and that's how we have to perceive it."
Utley may not be the perennial All-Star second baseman he was in the late 2000s, but he avoided the disabled list last season for the first time since 2009 and finished with a 4.5 WARP effort. After averaging 464 plate appearances per season from 2010-2013, Utley stepped to the plate 664 times last season, which is a trend he’ll have to maintain if he wants to continue his tenure in Philadelphia. Utley is owed $10 million next season and has three options that could potentially keep him in Philadelphia through 2018, but those options only vest with 500 plate appearances in the previous season.