What's left for the Yankees at the Marlins' fire sale?
After the Miami Marlins unloaded the most desirable parts of their roster on Tuesday night, attending the fire sale in Miami might seem like getting to Filene's Basement just after the Running of the Brides.
Still, there are useful items to be had, and the New York Yankees, who have some holes to fill, should explore a few potential deals while the Marlins are in a selling mood.
Here's a break-down of who's available, why, and what it might take to get them from Miami to the Bronx.
RICKY NOLASCO, starting pitcher: He once appeared to be headed for stardom, but with Nolasco now pushing 30, and some key indicators moving against him, that is no longer the case.
Nolasco has seen his strikeout rate decline from 9.5 per nine innings in 2009 all the way down to 5.9 per nine innings in 2012, which makes his ceiling far more limited than it appeared a few years ago.
He does have plenty of positives, however. He doesn't walk many batters, maintaining a career walk rate right around two per nine. His ground ball rate continues to elevate, which will help him limit damage in Yankee Stadium's home run-friendly terrain. And he's been durable, making at least 31 starts in four of the past five seasons.
But the main reason Nolasco is available is that he's due $11.5 million in 2013. It simply doesn't make sense for the Marlins to keep him around, since they've traded away all the other parts that could have made them a contender in 2013. Nolasco's salary is probably an overpayment for what he could offer the Yankees, but not a massive one, and for a team looking to get salary below $189 million in 2014, the lone year left on the deal could prove quite enticing.
By himself, Nolasco shouldn't cost the Yankees much. But in all likelihood, the Marlins will look to package Nolasco with one of the players below.
LOGAN MORRISON, outfielder/first baseman: Think of Morrison as a young version of Raul Ibanez, a lefty who can provide power and play the corners, along with first base, though not all that well. Morrison struggled in 2012, but has a career O.P.S.+ of 110 and is turning 25. For a Yankee team in need of some lefty power, either by re-signing Ibanez and Eric Chavez, or moving in another direction, Morrison would fit in nicely, and he would be cheaper.
What makes him more difficult to acquire is that he is not eligible for arbitration until 2014, so there's no financial imperative for the Marlins to deal him. If packaging him with Nolasco nets them more in a trade, however, they might consider it. The Yankees should, too, though they shouldn't go crazy, given Nolasco's limited ceiling and that free agent lefty bats with limited defensive range are usually available on the free agent market.
GREG DOBBS, third baseman/outfielder: Think of Dobbs as a more limited version of Eric Chavez, with a lesser glove and production against righties that simply doesn't approach what Chavez did in 2012. However, he is owed $1.5 million in 2013, and as part of a larger deal, the Yankees could take him on in exchange for offering the Marlins a lesser total package for the other key parts of a deal.
GIANCARLO STANTON, superstar: If there's a more exciting young player in the National League, it is hard to say who. Stanton just completed a 158 O.P.S.+ season, with a .608 slugging percentage and highlight-reel home runs, and he just turned 23.
The Yankees should consider no one off-limits if the prize is Giancarlo Stanton in their outfield. He's not eligible for arbitration until 2014, so the Marlins have no incentive to trade him for purely financial reasons. But if the Yankees can put together a package of young players, and take back excess salaries like Nolasco or Dobbs, perhaps a deal can be worked out.
They'll have plenty of competition for Stanton, though. He would be the dress everyone massing at the door is hoping to wear.