The past calendar year or so has gone more or less as expected for the Miami Marlins. Jeffrey Loria finally sold the team and new ownership began yet another Marlins fire sale, sending star outfielders Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Giancarlo Stanton to new teams. The team is in last place in the NL East (although they haven’t been quite as bad as expected) and the club will continue to sell pieces off over the next few days.
While most of the big pieces were moved in the offseason, almost nothing is nailed down in Miami and there are still a handful of quality players on the roster that could help contenders like the A’s down the stretch.
Dan Straily, SP
According to Joe Frisario of MLB.com, the A’s had a scout in attendance to watch Dan Straily’s most recent start. Originally drafted by Oakland, Straily has bounced around since being sent to the Chicago Cubs, along with Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, in the 2014 trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. He has since made starts for the Cubs, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, and, of course, the Marlins.
He has also seen varying levels of success at each of these stops. Overall, since leaving the A’s, Straily has posted a 4.28 ERA (4.84 FIP) in 487.1 innings. His 4.04 ERA in 16 starts this season has been supported by a .245 BABIP, and as a result he has posted an ugly 5.41 FIP. His velocity is still right around where it was during his original stint with the A’s and his slider is still effective. But Straily has yet to figure out his command issues and doesn’t miss enough bats to compensate, leaving little reason to believe in any upside for the righty.
Straily is making $3.4 million in his first year of arbitration, and will not be a free agent until after the 2020 season. If he was an effective pitcher this would make him an extremely attractive target; unfortunately, he just isn’t very good. I don’t like Straily very much and I do not believe he would be much of an upgrade over any of the A’s current options. With his team control, I would expect him to cost a pair of interesting prospects like Wyatt Marks and Miguel Romero, and I’m not sure even that low of a cost would be worth it.
Brad Ziegler, RP
In that same piece, Frisario noted the A’s potential interest in another old friend, reliever Brad Ziegler. The sidewinder is fondly remembered for his 2.49 ERA over 231.1 innings with the club from 2008-11, before being dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the 2011 deadline (for future A’s stars Jordan Norberto and Brandon Allen!).
Since, Ziegler has continued to be effective. Now 38, the righty has posted an uncharacteristic 4.09 ERA this season, although most of those struggles came early in the season. Since June 1, he has been more himself, posting a 0.98 ERA.
Ziegler is owed roughly $3.2 million the rest of the way and will be a free agent after the season. He’s not your prototypical power bullpen arm, but he’s a reliable veteran arm who’s always been very tough on righties. I’d prefer the A’s pick up another lefty, but I wouldn’t mind Ziegler, and he wouldn’t cost much - perhaps James Naile.
Adam Conley, RP
If the A’s make a trade with Miami in the next three days, I really hope Adam Conley is part of the package heading back to Oakland. The 28 year-old lefty is enjoying a breakout season out of the bullpen and checks off a lot of boxes for the A’s.
Conley debuted for the Marlins in 2015 and for the next season and a half, he was a fairly reliable back-end starter. But 2017 was a lost season for the southpaw, as he posted an ugly 6.14 ERA and found himself back in Triple-A. In 2018, after continuing to struggle as a starter in the minors, Conley was called back up to join the Miami bullpen and has pitched well since.
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs recently detailed how successful Conley has been since the move to relief. He has added nearly five miles per hour to his fastball, now sitting around 95 MPH with the pitch and touching 98-99. His changeup is a devastating complementary pitch, and Conley just looks like an entirely different pitcher.
For 2018, Conley could be an effective second lefty out of the ‘pen for the A’s, capable of going multiple innings if necessary. However, in future years, they could even look into moving him back to the rotation and seeing if any of his relief success could stick in a longer role. Conley is fascinating and, with no marquee lefty relievers on the market after Zach Britton was traded, he will likely be in high demand. 2019 will be Conley’s first year of arbitration, meaning he comes with three and a half years of control. I wouldn’t be surprised if he cost one of the A’s second tier prospects (Sheldon Neuse, Richie Martin, Logan Shore, etc.) plus a little more. In my opinion, he would be more than worth it.
Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider, RPs
These two are your traditional power relievers. Both are righties with big fastballs that sit in the mid-90s and touch 97 or so. Steckenrider’s go-to secondary pitch is a cutter, while Barraclough relies on a slider and sometimes a changeup. Both have their control issues and Barraclough has seen his fastball velocity dip a bit this season.
Barraclough is 28 and has three and a half years of team control remaining, while Steckenrider is 27 and comes with five and a half years of team control. I’m not sure the A’s need either of these two, and with the premium teams have put on controllable relievers as of late I’m not sure either would be worth the price. Of the two, I would prefer Steckenrider due to age, control, and Barraclough’s velocity loss. But I bet the price for either is higher than most A’s fans would be comfortable paying.
Derek Dietrich, LF/3B
I’ve been fairly interested in Derek Dietrich for a few years now. The left-handed hitter has always shown decent power and on-base skills, along with some defensive versatility. However, I’m not sure he’s a great fit for Oakland overall.
Dietrich has posted a solid 119 wRC+ this season, but he has also posted a career low 5.4% walk rate, career high 25.5% strikeout rate, and career high .358 BABIP. After bouncing around the diamond for most of his career, he has settled into left field this season, where all of the metrics rate him as decidedly below average. The other two positions he has played most often in his Major League career, second base and third base, are currently manned by Oakland’s best players.
Dietrich, 29, offers a similar skill set to Matt Joyce, but without the walks that make Joyce so valuable. If given the choice between spending prospects on Dietrich or riding it out the rest of the way with Joyce and Nick Martini, I would much rather stick with what the A’s already have. If the A’s want to add a lefty outfielder, I would strongly prefer a true centerfielder. Dietrich has two and a half years of team control remaining.
Factoring in acquisition cost, which of these Marlins targets do you like the most?
This poll is closed
None of the above