Beyond what meets the eye, there might not be a better direction in the Miami Marlins 21-year history than their current direction. They have their first, true superstar in Giancarlo Stanton. Carlos Delgado (2005) and Garry Sheffield (1993-1998) were close, but nothing like Stanton who is a home run hitting machine and is on track to be a permanent Marlins representative in the Home Run Derby and MLB All-Star Game.
They have had phenoms in the past (Livan Hernandez in 1997 and Dontrelle Willis in 2003) but none like the Cuban franchise savior that is Jose Fernandez. He is currently on the mend recovering from Tommy John surgery – which explains why the Marlins are where they are right now – but will be back to his Cy Young caliber self come 2015.
Like in 1996 and 2002, this team is truly building for 2015. Everyone who were signed going into this season and are mainstays in the lineup will return next season. Fernandez will be back and will be paired with Henderson Alvarez as their pair of aces.
What they must do now is bring in just a bit more and make what they currently have become official staples of the organization. This month can be like tornado watch for teams not in contention for the playoffs. What they can’t do is put truth to the rumors and trade their closer Steve Cishek.
If they do, it would be reasonable baseball business wise. The 28-year-old comes with three more years of control through arbitration and his $3.8MM salary will only rise. Huston Street with an extra year of control and a Double-A pitcher commanded three of the remaining top prospects from the Los Angeles Angels’ farm system. The Marlins should get more for Cishek and replace him with either A.J. Ramos or Carter Capps -- who they traded Logan Morrison to the Seattle Mariners for.
However, if the Marlins decide to trade Cishek, they might as well include Stanton with him. Regardless of the return, trading Cishek would virtually guarantee futile efforts to resign Stanton.
"I don't think there's much chance Stanton ends up staying (long-term) with the Marlins, anyway," a source told the Miami Herald. "But if they do move Cishek, what's that telling him (Stanton)? If they traded Cishek, they could pretty much kiss him (Stanton) goodbye."
They can’t trade Cishek, but what they can and must do is trade for Tommy Milone of the Sacramento River Cats. Yes, the River Cats. Milone has a 3.84 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate in 468 2/3 Major League innings, but became a victim of the Oakland management’s greed and desperation. Once they acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, they sent down Milone to Triple-A Sacramento, his third sent down in a calendar year.
Now he’s pissed. Now he’s had enough. If the A’s didn’t find Milone to be a fit for the Athletics’ dream rotation, he would rather return as the enemy than as their backup raft, as told by Fox Sports.
Milone will be arbitration eligible in the offseason and is under control through the 2017 season. He’s a soft-tossing southpaw with an average of 87.3 mph on his fastball in his career.
The A’s have shown no indication that they care about Milone’s wishes and still see him as part of the long term plan – especially given that Hammel is going into free agency after the season.
The Marlins need to do the reverse. Trade prospects and whatever is necessary to acquire this rare opportunity. If it takes a package consisting of Rob Brantley and Anthony DeSclafani and someone else to get Milone – who went 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA in his 11 starts prior to the trade – then so be it. This must be their top trade priority.