Marlins’ Potential Deadline TargetsBy
Although the non-waiver trade deadline is still six weeks away, it’s becoming easier to tell which teams will be a buyers and which teams will be sellers.
The Marlins enter today at 32-30 on the season, six games out of first place in what has been an ultra-competitive NL East division. The Nationals don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, so the moves that the Fish decide to make in July could determine their fate for a wild card spot when the playoff race heats up in September. I’ve decided to take a look at a few names that the Miami could be interested in come July 31st.
1B Bryan LaHair (Chicago Cubs)
LaHair has been one of, if not the biggest, pleasant surprises in all of baseball this season. After spending parts of nine seasons in the minor leagues, the 30-year-0ld LaHair has gotten the chance to prove himself for the new-look Cubs and has made the most of it. LaHair has posted an impressive .304/.388/.591 line to date and his 12 home runs are good for eighth-best in the NL. The Marlins could certainly be a fit for the Cubs’ first basemen, as first base has been huge hole for the club so far in 2012. Despite the Marlins’ potentially-potent lineup, they still rank near the bottom of MLB in slugging percentage, and the numbers would be even uglier if it weren’t for the superhuman efforts of Giancarlo Stanton. LaHair’s trade value is at an all-time high and there will certainly be many other teams in play come deadline time, but adding a bat like his could get the Marlins that much closer to a playoff spot this season.
SP Jason Vargas (Seattle Mariners)
The Marlins’ starting pitching has been one of the most consistent aspects of the club this season, but an injury or string of bad starts could severely hinder a chance at staying in the NL East race. With the lack of top pitching prospect depth in the upper levels of the minors, Miami could be best suited for finding pitching outside the organization. One name that could be in play is M’s lefty Jason Vargas. Vargas has been a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter for Seattle since being acquired from the Mets in 2009. He’s made 30 or more starts each of the past two seasons and would provide some good depth in the rotation if Josh Johnson’s injury bug came back or Carlos Zambrano swung too hard. He’s on a one-year deal, and with the Mariners anxiously awaiting the arrival of top pitching prospects like Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, the Marlins could be able to acquire Vargas at a discounted price.
RP Ryan Cook (Oakland A’s)
Ryan Cook makes the list of potential Marlins’ trade targets due in large part to the fact that he plays for the trade-happy A’s organization, but that certainly doesn’t mean Oakland would give the righty away for free. Just about every club in contention at the July deadline is looking for bullpen help, and adding a power arm like Cook’s could prove crucial in late-game situations. The rookie Cook started the season with a 23-inning scoreless streak that was snapped at the end of May, and has been one of the most impressive relievers in baseball this season, even with the high walk rate. The Marlins’ have posted the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in the league in June at 6.51 and could use a shutdown reliever like Cook, who has allowed just eight hits in 27.0 IP in 2012. If Heath Bell returns to early-season meltdown mode or injuries begin to take a toll, the Fish could very well look to revamp the bullpen and Cook would be a solid acquisition.