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Starting Pitching Trade Partners: Miami Marlins


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In the third of a three-part series, we look at the Miami Marlins as a trade partner for the Minnesota Twins to acquire starting pitching post-lockout. Who might be a fit? How much might they cost?

As the lockout meanders into the holiday season, Twins fans find themselves in starting pitching limbo. The floor of the rotation was raised marginally by the addition of Dylan Bundy prior to the lockout. Minnesota, however, still has significant business to accomplish if they are to field a competitive rotation, with only Bundy, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober currently locked into spots for 2022. In the third of a three-part series (part one - Cincinnati Reds, part two - Oakland Athletics), I’ll look at some potential pitching targets from an organization flush with starting pitching capital, the Miami Marlins. 

NOTE: The trades mentioned are designed to give an approximate idea of the value of each potential starting pitching addition. They don’t necessarily correlate with the exact needs of the Marlins.

Pablo Lopez
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At just 25, Lopez has improved both steadily and significantly since he made his MLB debut in 2018. In 102 2/3 innings pitched in 2021, Lopez accumulated a 3.29 FIP, 2.3 fWAR, a 27.5% K% and a measly 6.2% BB% Talk about a high floor. Lopez relies on a four-pitch mix including a mid-90s fastball, an excellent changeup, a cutter, and a curveball. Lopez is under team control until 2025 and would be pricey, but this is the position the Twins find themselves if they want to improve their rotation significantly through trade.

Possible Trade: The Twins trade INF Luis Arraez, C Ryan Jeffers and a PTBNL to Miami for RHP Pablo Lopez

Jesus Luzardo
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A former consensus top pitching prospect, very little has gone right for Luzardo since his first significant MLB stint in 2019 for the Athletics. In 95 MLB innings in 2021 between the A’s and Marlins, Luzardo managed a 22.4% K% (fine), an 11% BB% (not fine), a 5.48 FIP, and -0.2 fWAR (yikes). So, what’s to like here? For one, you don’t sit atop prospect rankings for multiple years for no reason. Luzardo still has electric stuff. A fastball that sits at 95 mph at the low end and a good slider he throws around 23% of the time. This combination falls into the wheelhouse of the Twins pitching preferences, but they’d have to be confident in next steps for Luzardo to pull the trigger on trading for him.

Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Brent Rooker and RHP Cole Sands to Miami for LHP Jesus Luzardo

Sixto Sanchez
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The Twins would be trading into the upper echelons of ‘stuff’ if they were to acquire Sanchez. Still a top pitching prospect, the 23-year-old boasts front of the rotation firepower. Sanchez relies on a fastball that sits at 98 mph. It gets fewer strikeouts than a pitch of that velocity should due to a lack of movement, but it’s his changeup that is the star of the show. In just 40 MLB innings in 2021, Sanchez had a 20.9% K%, 7% BB%, a 3.50 FIP, and accumulated 1.0 fWAR (that’s around 4.5 fWAR pace over a season). Sanchez could be poised for a monster 2022.

Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Max Kepler to the Marlins for RHP Sixto Sanchez

The Marlins have a huge amount of additional starting pitching assets, including Trevor Rogers, Elieser Hernandez, Edward Cabrera, and Max Meyer who I chose not to include as targets as I felt the Marlins would be unlikely to part with them (Rogers and Meyer) or the Twins wouldn’t be confident enough in the floor they would give the rotation to execute the trade.

Which of these targets feel like the best fit for the Twins? What direction do you think the team will take to improve the rotation when the lockout ends? Join the discussion below.

 


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Miami intends to compete next year, so I do not see them giving up one of their top pitchers. Luzardo, maybe, but there would be risk on both sides.  Sanchez would be great, but Miami would want a lot more than Kepler for him.  I could  see Kepler and one of the twins better prospects might do it, but still think would be light (even with Laurach).  You do not trade ace potential starters without a huge return.

Rodgers and Meyer are propects and they would still want a big return for them,  but I would kick the tires and see if there is a deal.  

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Frankly, I'm interested in ALL of those Marlins pitchers.  Last I had checked these were the values for the following Marlins pitchers on Baseball Trade Values:

Sixto Sanchez  27.5    Max Meyer  22.2   Pablo Lopez  57.1   Jesus Luzardo  10.0   Cabrea 15.0   Hernandez  5.2.

They are probably not trading Trevor Rogers, Cabrera or Hernandez.   Lopez would be EXPENSIVE.  Probably Kepler, Arraez AND a little something extra.  One question is, would the Marlins still be interested in Jeffers despite having already acquired Stallings ??  (I like sticking with Garver and getting a Jason Castro type until Rortbedt is ready).  If they were, I'd go for a package of Sixto Sanchez 27.5 and Luzardo 10.0. (37.5 total).   Assets the Twins could consider moving would include:  Arraez  33.3  Larnach  18.9   Kepler  23.6  Jeffers  19.2  Rooker 1.7  Sabato  3.0.  The Twins could also consider a negative asset like Donaldson (minus 19.2) since the Marlins would be looking for offense (although I'm inclined to KEEP Donaldson) with the possibility of the DH coming to the N.L.  The Marlins have a surplus of young pitchers and plenty of holes to fill.  The Twins have a surplus at certain positions and a need for SP's.  We still should be heavily considering a trade with Miami.  

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2 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

Frankly, I'm interested in ALL of those Marlins pitchers.  Last I had checked these were the values for the following Marlins pitchers on Baseball Trade Values:

Sixto Sanchez  27.5    Max Meyer  22.2   Pablo Lopez  57.1   Jesus Luzardo  10.0   Cabrea 15.0   Hernandez  5.2.

They are probably not trading Trevor Rogers, Cabrera or Hernandez.   Lopez would be EXPENSIVE.  Probably Kepler, Arraez AND a little something extra.  One question is, would the Marlins still be interested in Jeffers despite having already acquired Stallings ??  (I like sticking with Garver and getting a Jason Castro type until Rortbedt is ready).  If they were, I'd go for a package of Sixto Sanchez 27.5 and Luzardo 10.0. (37.5 total).   Assets the Twins could consider moving would include:  Arraez  33.3  Larnach  18.9   Kepler  23.6  Jeffers  19.2  Rooker 1.7  Sabato  3.0.  The Twins could also consider a negative asset like Donaldson (minus 19.2) since the Marlins would be looking for offense (although I'm inclined to KEEP Donaldson) with the possibility of the DH coming to the N.L.  The Marlins have a surplus of young pitchers and plenty of holes to fill.  The Twins have a surplus at certain positions and a need for SP's.  We still should be heavily considering a trade with Miami.  

Thanks Jamie for this intriguing article. MIA makes a lot of sense, We have excess bats and lack pitching and MIA have excess pitching and lack bats. IMO a good FO would've had a trade as soon as the off season officially opened. But my feel of the situation is that MIA really values their pitching while our FO really values our DH types, which complicates things. I'd love any of the pitchers mentioned but the most logical is Lopez. He'd really could help us and the options we have could really help them w/o really putting us in a bind.

Being a small market team, I can see waiting around to get the best deal in FA. But trading, you see the need, find the solution and jump and strike a deal. Waiting around cost us leverage in a catching option for MIA. I don't know if they are still open for a Jeffers or Garver (my preference is Jeffers, because I like Garver's arm and his established hitting) Rortvedt would become the near  future SC. I'd think Rowson would like some of his past disciples in his fold again.

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7 hours ago, beckmt said:

Miami intends to compete next year, so I do not see them giving up one of their top pitchers. Luzardo, maybe, but there would be risk on both sides.  Sanchez would be great, but Miami would want a lot more than Kepler for him.  I could  see Kepler and one of the twins better prospects might do it, but still think would be light (even with Laurach).  You do not trade ace potential starters without a huge return.

Rodgers and Meyer are propects and they would still want a big return for them,  but I would kick the tires and see if there is a deal.  

Thanks for reading. Even with 'trying to compete' they have 9 viable MLB starters and a relatively poor offense, so I'd like to see the Twins attack either their upper echelon or the back ends guys

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5 hours ago, specialiststeve said:

Not a bad article but one HUGE piece is missing... how much and how long are the contracts of the pitchers we are possibly attempting to trade for. This is probably "as" important as any of the stats or metrics. 

Thanks for reading, this is actually covered here. Luzardo and Sanchez are pre-arb, so MLB minimum. Lopez is Arb 1 so I believe $2.5 million. To your point however, it increases the price on all of them, particularly Sanchez, if they went that route.

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The Twins were sitting on their hands while Miami was looking for a catcher but the Marlins still need bats and they still have excess pitchers. The only way to pry away a Meyer and/or Cabrera is to satisfy the Marlins. This only happens if they see a clear benefit for their team now. This is also risky from the Twins side and both Meyer and Cabrera may be totally off limits making the exercise mute. Nevertheless, I see both Meyer and Cabrera as superior in present talent to any of the Twins pitching prospects and am willing to make the reach in an attempt to see if Miami is interested in a trade. I'm not exactly sure what Miami wants but Kepler, Jeffers, and a MLB ready player like Dobnak might be a start. Hopefully a conversation can take place, at the very least. Miami would be unlikely to trade Lopez for anything less than a massacre for the other team (think Lewis, Martin, Jeffers, and Duran) and Alcantara and Rogers are definitely off limits. Hernandez, Sanchez, and Luzardo hold little appeal due to their combination of price and risk versus what the Twins need which is a small degree of certainty. Oakland remains the site to shop for pitchers. 

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I just have one question:  what makes everyone on this site (no offense intended) think Ryan and Ober are locks, and we need to find 3 starting pitchers?  I wouldn't consider any of the young pitchers we have on the roster right now a "lock" going into '22; none of them has enough innings behind them to know if the league has started to get a book on them or not and how far into a season they can go from the beginning.  I sure hope they pan out, I am rooting for them and I like their style, but I am not counting on anything and we better have a plan C, D, and maybe even E.  

As for trades, only trade for a pitcher you have control over for at least 2 years, and preferably more.  Otherwise you might as well sign 1 year free agents and not lose talent.  And don't be afraid to go into the farm to make a good trade work.  Be creative and take a chance.  And do it before the season starts, whenever that might be.  

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43 minutes ago, Mark G said:

what makes everyone on this site (no offense intended) think Ryan and Ober are locks, and we need to find 3 starting pitchers? 

There are many readers who do not see either Ryan or Ober as "locks". These two are merely the only starting pitchers who are currently on the roster who pitched at all for a few decent innings last year in MLB. It is a pretty low bar.

46 minutes ago, Mark G said:

As for trades, only trade for a pitcher you have control over for at least 2 years,

This restriction reduces opportunities to gain experienced decent pitchers who would serve as models for the prospects who begin their education at the MLB level. A Chris Bassitt addition would be akin to adding Nelson Cruz several years ago, except we give up a player to gain the SP. Bassitt contributes, leads, and may stay if we gain his interest.

There aren't many promising free agents as December fades, thus one either hopes for significant trades, which have been reasonable proposed ad nauseam, or supports a prospect takeover. When we hand the ball to an all prospect staff, we spend too much energy looking for two-four Doc Goodens and eventually accept 90-110+ losses for a couple of years even as we hope the prospects' brains stay intact from the beating they watch and then receive day after day with an occasional spectacularly pitched game.

My one question is: will all of those people who want to see all prospects buy tickets to watch them pitch, tune in to the same number of games, and follow the team as carefully as they did in 2019? I will, for sure. But I'm still hoping to add four pitchers via trade and a free agent signing.

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On 12/18/2021 at 7:44 PM, Mark G said:

I just have one question:  what makes everyone on this site (no offense intended) think Ryan and Ober are locks, and we need to find 3 starting pitchers?  I wouldn't consider any of the young pitchers we have on the roster right now a "lock" going into '22; none of them has enough innings behind them to know if the league has started to get a book on them or not and how far into a season they can go from the beginning.  I sure hope they pan out, I am rooting for them and I like their style, but I am not counting on anything and we better have a plan C, D, and maybe even E.  

I think a lot of us are saying they are locks because if they aren’t the Twins still need to sign/trade for 4 SP which I absolutely do not see happening. 
 

I can see them signing/trading for 1-2, not 4. The reason Ober and Ryan are the two names brought up is because of what they have shown so far. They are both ready to be in the bigs.  There are no guarantees that they won’t have setbacks but I believe in them way more than I believe in Bundy who has only had one good season (2020) in his career 

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