The Miami Marlins have been active thus far this MLB offseason on both the free agent and trade market.
Notable Miami Marlins’ trades and signings
- Extended right-hander Sandy Alcantara to a five-year, $56 million extension
- Traded right-handers Zach Thompson and Kyle Nicolas and outfielder Connor Scott to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Jacob Stallings
- Traded outfielder Kameron Misner to the Tampa Bay Rays for infielder Joey Wendle
- Signed outfielder Avisail Garcia to a four-year, $53 million deal
Furthermore, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal notes that the Marlins have expressed interest in acquiring Ketel Marte from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The aforementioned transactions improve the Marlins, but acquiring Marte would change the entire dynamic of their operation.
Here’s why the Marlins should pull out all the stops for a Ketel Marte trade.
Ketel Marte uplifts the Miami Marlins’ offense
Miami has continually sported one of the worst offenses in baseball over the last four years. They finished last season 29th in MLB in runs (623) and OPS (.671) and 28th in batting average (.223), hits (1,244) and home runs (158). It’s a unit that has been a combination of raw youngsters and volatile veterans.
Sure, Marte has been a bit inconsistent and injuries have played a role in his career of late. At the same time, he would instantly become the Marlins’ best everyday player and take their offense from being anemic to respectable.
Marte is a smooth All-Star player who’s adept at playing second base, shortstop and center field. He can play any of those positions for the Marlins, as the veteran Miguel Rojas could move to third or assume a versatile backup infield role. Meanwhile, the Marlins’ outfield rotation has been a revolving door in recent memory, and Marte could serve as their outfield commander.
- Ketel Marte stats (2021): .318/.377/.532, 14 home runs and 50 RBIs across 340 at-bats
At the plate, the 28-year-old is a high-octane and reliable switch-hitter. He’s a consistent, contact hitter who puts the ball in play with frequency and has considerable pop. Marte could be manager Don Mattingly’s leadoff or number three hitter. In the scenario that Marte plays shortstop, the Marlins combine a stud in his prime (Marte) with the most encouraging young position player on their roster in Jazz Chisholm. With continued improvement from Chisholm, the two could be an elite middle infield duo.
As for the Marlins’ offseason acquisitions, Wendle is a proven contact hitter, Garcia slugs well and Stallings is one of the better all-around catchers in the sport. These three, Marte, Chisholm and perhaps one of Bryan De La Cruz and Monte Harrison coming into their own would make for a sturdy offensive core with upside.
Miami Marlins can trade from pitching depth for Ketel Marte
The Marlins have all the resources to pull off a Marte trade, especially on the pitching front. They essentially have a starting rotation in the minors that’s waiting in the wings behind an already potent MLB rotation.
Sandy Alcantara is an ace. Trevor Rogers was stellar in his first full MLB season. Pablo Lopez is efficient and logs strikeouts at a high rate. Sixto Sanchez was impressive in 2020.
The following individuals are MLB-caliber starters and/or pitchers who are poised to reach the big leagues within the next two years: Jesus Luzardo, Daniel Castano, Elieser Hernandez, Max Meyer and Edward Cabrera. Miami can send Arizona two of those pitchers as a baseline or a combination of one of those arms, a young outfielder struggling to stick in the big leagues (e.g. Monte Harrison) and a compelling position player prospect who’s yet to make his MLB debut.
- Ketel Marte contract, per Spotrac: three-year, $30 million remaining with 2023 and 2024 team options
Miami has one of the best starting rotations in baseball, and it can only improve. They’ve been accumulating blue-chip prospects for four years. It’s time for them to capitalize on that capital in a blockbuster trade that takes their ballclub to the next level and, more importantly, makes them a playoff team.
The Marlins have an identity. Now they need to complement their strong suit with a capable and promising offense. That combination would be enough for them to at least compete for the National League playoffs. Regarding the playoffs, the Marlins’ division is a developing situation.
Miami Marlins have to make a move in the NL East
Miami resided in a 2021 NL East division that was arguably MLB’s worst five-team cluster. The Atlanta Braves were a sub-.500 team through the first four months of the season. Who took advantage of that? Nobody.
The New York Mets collapsed, the Philadelphia Phillies were inconsistent and the Washington Nationals went forth with a historic fire sale. The Braves traded for a bevy of outfielders, won the NL East with 88 wins and then just so happened to win the World Series. To boot, the Marlins struggled to the point where they were sellers at the MLB trade deadline. Now they’re trying to reboot.
The NL East will not be as putrid as it was last season in 2022. Atlanta will lose players to free agency but also get back Ronald Acuna Jr. and Marcell Ozuna at some point in the regular season. The Mets have added Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha, so they’re somewhat optimistic about their roster. Philadelphia, at the very least, is a competitive bunch. The Nationals figure to make some progress around the diamond from a production standpoint.
It’s now or never for the Marlins. They didn’t build on their 2020 playoff appearance and are maybe the third-best team in the NL East. The only way their fortunes change and they realistically challenge the Braves and Mets for the division is by making a move for an impact player.
Miami has a prosperous bedrock, but without the company of an at-least competent offense, their foundation goes to waste. They need to acquire a big fish. Acquiring Marte would be a franchise-changing move.