The Miami Marlins may be sellers before they're buyers regardless of what they told $325 million franchise superstar Giancarlo Stanton when they renegotiated his deal last winter, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
With a quarter of the season behind them, the Marlins are dead last with room to spare in the NL East, and the landscape in South Florida is already ablaze with rumors of yet another owner-driven Jeffrey Loria wildfire sale. Recent talks aimed at bringing in Philadelphia Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon have apparently died with the firing of manager Mike Redmond, and Rosenthal says a scenario is developing that favors a rebuild based on unloading short-term assets.
Among those Rosenthal named at the top of the deck to be dealt away are underperforming utilityman Mike Morse (2 years/$16 million, two home runs, ten runs batted in, 213/.270/.291/), 34-year-old starting pitcher Dan Haren, who hinted in January before being shipped to Miami by the Los Angeles Dodgers he'd rather retire than pitch on the East Coast (entire $10 million salary paid by the Dodgers, 4-2, 3.47 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.014 WHIP) and formerly steady but now struggling four-year bullpen mainstay Mike Dunn (2 years/$5.8 million, 0-3, 16 IP, 5.06 ERA, 80 ERA+).
Elsewhere, Rosenthal reported the San Diego Padres -- whose offensively challenged in-house shortstops made them shoppers since Opening Day and forced them Saturday to pencil third baseman Will Middlebrooks into the spot despite not having started there since high school -- are looking hard at the last-place Brewers for relief. San Diego probably doesn't have the necessary pieces to go after starter Jean Segura, but general manager A.J. Preller may be eyeing 22-year-old farmhand Luis Sardinas, who has been filling in capably for Segura during his recent DL stint (10-for-30 over eight games, one extra base hit, no walks, six strikeouts) and was a former Texas Rangers' prospect when Preller was assistant GM there.
The Los Angeles Angels, who boast the AL's third best starting rotation in run prevention, are losing ground to the Houston Astros in the AL West thanks to the league's fourth worst run production. The team could be induced to swap surplus pitching for some productive bats, Rosenthal said. Young arms like Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano could be likely candidates. Heaney, 23, was the Marlins first round pick in the 2012 draft. At the Angels' Triple-A affiliate at Salt Lake this season, Heaney is 5-0 in eight starts and carries a 3.12 ERA and 1.408 WHIP over 43 and 1/3 innings pitched, striking out 43 and walking 12. Last season, in five starts with the big club spanning 29 and a third innings last, he went 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA, 65 ERA+, 5.45 FIP and 1.330 WHIP, striking out 20 and walking seven.
Tropeano, 24, a former Astros fifth round pick in the 2011 draft, is 2-1 in seven starts spanning 40 and a third innings at Salt Lake this season, and carries 4.02 ERA and 1.215 WHIP, striking out 40 and walking 11. He made a spot start for the big club last month against the Oakland Athletics and threw six scoreless inning, striking out five and walking one to earn the win. Last year, he started four games for the Astros and went 1-3, throwing 21 and 2/3 innings with a 4.57 ERA, 87 ERA+ and 1.292 WHIP. striking out 13 and walking nine.
Also, Rosenthal speculated the Minnesota Twins may find a potential partner in the Phillies to upgrade their offensive production at designated hitter and centerfield in the same bargain. He suggests a deal sending Twins' first basemen Kenny Vargas and centerfielder Aaron Hicks to Philadelphia for outfielder Ben Revere and first baseman Ryan Howard. The Phillies are anxious to rebuild and Revere, who will be a free agent at the end of the year, may be movable. The 35-year-old Howard has been on the block for some time but attracted few takers with $50 million and a $10 million buyout remaining on his deal through the end of next season. So the Phillies would have to pay nearly all of that to make sense for the Twins.