According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Miami Marlins are expected to survey the trade market to acquire a center fielder. The SF Giants could use this as an opportunity to retool the outfield, specifically by trading outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.
Could the SF Giants and Miami Marlins connect for a trade involving a center fielder?
Jackson notes that the Marlins will attempt to use some of their starting pitching depth to acquire a center fielder. Michael Taylor of the Kansas City Royals and Adolis García of the Texas Rangers are listed as potential targets.
Both Taylor and García are coming off of strong seasons, so neither team may be inclined to part with their center fielder. That could especially be true with the Rangers after hiring longtime Giants skipper Bruce Bochy to be the team's next manager.
The Marlins have a talented and young group of pitchers, so there is a possibility that they just do not receive compelling offers on the trade market. They could still pivot for a lesser center fielder, which is where Mike Yastrzemski comes into play.
It does feel like the Giants have to retool the outfield this offseason. They cannot have the same group of Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Luis González when next season begins. That will not inspire a lot of confidence.
As a unit, the Giants' outfield unit posted a perfectly acceptable 105 wRC+, which ranked as the 10th-best mark in baseball. It bears mentioning that this was heavily influenced by Joc Pederson's 144 wRC+ in 433 plate appearances.
Slater tallied a strong 124 wRC+, but the rest of the group was below average with respect to wRC+. As a unit, they were just fine. However, the defense was brutal in 2022 with the outfield combining to be worth -44 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -25 Outs Above Average (OAA). Both marks ranked last in baseball.
This is not to place blame on Yastrzemski. He had a fine year as recorded a 99 wRC+ in 558 plate appearances while being worth +3 DRS and +4 OAA in center field. This is one of those situations where the Giants and Marlins could make sense as trade partners.
Yastrzemski would not net any of the Marlins' top pitchers, but he does hold some value given that he is under team control for three more seasons and he plays a competent center field. I threw a trade proposal into the 'ol trade simulator:
Marlins get: Yastrzemski (14.30 total value)
Giants get: utility player Jon Berti, infield prospect Charles Leblanc, and veteran reliever Dylan Floro (12.90 total value)
The trade simulator indicated that the Giants would be making a slight overpay in this deal, but it is fair to mention that the simulator is an inexact science. The Marlins would be receiving an established center fielder in Yastrzemski, whereas the Giants would be receiving a couple of versatile fielders in Berti and Leblanc.
Berti is coming off of a nice season in which he slashed .240/.324/.338 (93 wRC+) with four homers, 28 RBI, and 47 runs in 358 plate appearances. This includes a 10.4 percent walk rate against a 22.0 percent strikeout rate as well as 41 stolen bases in 46 opportunities. Anyone who watched the Giants in 2022 will know that they need more speed and Berti brings that to the table.
Berti does not hit for a lot of power but he competently played five different positions in 2022 and that is a quality that the Giants front office and coaching staff value.
On the other hand, Leblanc debuted with the Marlins in 2022 where he tallied a .263/.320/.404 line (107 wRC+) with four home runs, 11 RBI, and 18 runs in 169 plate appearances. He appeared as first base, second base, and third base for Miami this past season. Plus, it bears mentioning that he has three minor league options remaining, so he carries some added roster flexibility.
Lastly, Dylan Floro would give the Giants a veteran reliever who made $3 million in 2022 and he has one more year of arbitration remaining. The right-handed reliever registered a 3.02 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, and a 3.20 SO/W ratio in 56 appearances for the Marlins in 2022. He has a 3.15 ERA across seven seasons in the majors, so he would give the Giants more predictability for a bullpen that needs a lot of help.
This trade would give the Giants three functional pieces for the 2023 season while giving the Marlins an established outfielder in Yastrzemski. Plus, it gives San Francisco a chance to retool the outfield this winter. There is a certain New York Yankees outfielder who would really change the dynamic of next year's outfield. Just saying...