The Miami Marlins' intention to cut payroll this winter has been a poorly kept secret. The Marlins have new ownership and are coming off a season in which they lost 85 games -- of course they were going to try lowering costs.
Relatively, how Derek Jeter and company intended to shed funds has been better guarded. Yes, everyone can and has speculated about a Giancarlo Stanton trade -- or finding a way to drop off Dee Gordon's or Martin Prado's contract at another team's curb -- but little was known about the organization's plans. That changed on Monday, as Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald let it be known that, yup, it's true -- all three players could soon be on the move:
According to two sources, the Marlins will look to trade outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who's due $25 million next season, and also will try to trade second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Martin Prado.
Presuming the Marlins don't intend to go full scorched earth with their fan base by dumping each player to whomever will take the most financial responsibility, each presents their own difficulties in finding a match.
Stanton has been the most talked about for good reason. He has a massive contract (he's owed $77 million over the next three seasons, and could bank another $218 million afterward if he doesn't opt out) and is coming off a year in that he was equally productive, as he homered 59 times and posted a 165 OPS+. He's a potential in-his-prime MVP candidate, meaning he should return a lot in any deal. That aforementioned contract, however, complicates matters. Would the Marlins eat some of that money to nab the deserve prospect payout -- or are they likely to take less in terms of talent to save more moolah? There's no telling at this point.
Gordon's contract is considerably smaller (he's due at least $38 million through 2020), but has a complex situation of his own. He hasn't played up to his previous all-star levels since failing a performance-enhancing drug test in 2016. It's possible he's a slightly below-average hitter whose value stems largely from his wheels and glove heading forward. That could be enough for teams like the Los Angeles Angels or Toronto Blue Jays to take interest. There's fair reason for any and all interested suitors to be skeptical about how Gordon will age in the coming years.
Lastly, there's Prado. He's 34 and coming off the most disappointing season of his career, in which he hit for a 70 OPS+ while appearing in 37 games. Any team interested in Prado will essentially have to gamble $28.5 million on his ability to rebound and stay healthy. Once known for his versatility, Prado has largely settled in as a third baseman over the last several seasons -- that development could well limit his market.
We'll see if the Marlins are able to find suitable deals for any or all of the three -- and if they decide that saving money is more important than getting off on the right foot with their fans.