The Miami Marlins are in a very weird spot as we approach the trade deadline. The Fish have a 47-53 record and face very slim odds at making the Wild Card as the sixth seed in the National League, a spot currently occupied by the St Louis Cardinals, who are six games up in the loss column.
The problem for Miami is pretty simple — their offense is mediocre at best, and probably just plain bad would be a better way to describe it. Not only that, but their two All-Star hitters and their leadoff man are all on the shelf. When you take away Jazz Chisholm Jr., Garrett Cooper, and Jon Berti from this lineup, they’re in even deeper trouble.
Their strengths lie on the other side of the ball. Sandy Alcantara and Pablo López form one of the more exciting one-two punches in baseball. Despite the struggles of Trevor Rogers, and Tommy John surgery to Max Meyer, this team is flushed with talented young pitching at every level.
Recent reports have come out suggesting their front office may be willing to trade anyone not named Sandy Alcantara to bolster its offense, and that puts the spotlight on one Pablo López. While the likelihood of this deal actually happening is close to nonexistent for a myriad of reasons we’ll get to, López is the kind of impactful addition that warrants the proper due diligence from the Yankees and other contenders.
The 26-year-old right-hander has a 3.03 ERA over 20 starts on the season. Although he may get a little overlooked at least in the national spotlight by the team’s ace (Alcantara) this year, he is certainly pitching like an ace himself. In his fifth season in the big leagues, López is close to blowing past his career high in innings pitched and also posting the best ERA, and WHIP he’s ever had since his call-up in 2018.
The reasons why a López trade seems unlikely are many. For starters, although this is his fifth season in the majors, López is controllable through the 2024 campaign. Any team that potentially acquires him would get an extra year of service time in comparison with Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo, the two names that have dominated this year’s pitching market.
If you thought the package the Mariners paid for Castillo was massive, López would most likely cost that, and more, primarily due to that extra year of control.
The Marlins’ primary problem being their lack of offense also indicates that they’d probably demand major league assets that could come in and contribute right now, even if they decide to retool through this 2022 season. This isn’t a team interested in a deep rebuild like the Reds or Athletics, and that leads us to Gleyber Torres. He is the one Yankee that fits the bill in terms of a controllable young hitter to come in and fill a need for the Marlins. It’s doubtful Miami would flip López for a package of prospects that are far away, and it’s tough to envision the Yankees trading Torres right now.
Ultimately, this is more about due diligence than anything else, and Frankie Montas remains a much more realistic target, but if the price is going to be steep for both, it may be better to pursue López.