As the Marlins have shed payroll by trading All-Star outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, they have been reluctant to trade their only star outfielder left: Christian Yelich.
But more teams have signaled interest in the 26-year-old, including the Nationals, Blue Jays, Giants, Rangers, Phillies and Braves, according to a report from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.
MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that the Padres and White Sox also contacted the Marlins.
Yesterday’s notes column: https://t.co/L09eCd1xk2 Have since learned #Nationals are not as aggressive as others on Lynn at this moment. Teams most intent on adding starting pitching through free agency or trade, according to sources: #Astros, #Cubs, #Twins.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) 8 de enero de 2018
The Marlins are looking for a bigger haul in return for Yelich than they received for Stanton or Ozuna. And since Yelich is relatively cheap -- only due $44.5 million over the next four years plus a $15 million option for 2022 -- the Marlins aren't in any rush to trade him.
Yelich slashed .282/.369/.439 in 2017 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases while posting 4.5 WAR for the second straight season. Only 16 other players produced that much value in each of the last two years.
The Nationals are the latest team to get involved, and the Marlins would be chiefly interested in MLB Pipeline's No. 3 overall prospect Victor Robles. The 20-year-old five-tool outfielder received a brief cup of coffee last September and cracked the Nationals' postseason roster, making him a natural replacement for Yelich.
Toronto and San Francisco have been connected to several prominent free agent outfielders, including Lorenzo Cain, Jay Bruce and J.D. Martinez, while the Rangers have been rumored to be interested in bringing back Carlos Gomez or signing Cain.
The division-rival Phillies and Braves are interesting fits because they already have a bevy of young outfielders. Philadelphia will be giving time to Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr, while the Braves have Ender Inciarte and veteran Nick Markakis with uberprospect Ronald Acuna waiting in the wings.
The Padres and White Sox are both rebuilding, and Yelich could make more sense than other options they have been pursuing. The Padres have reportedly offered free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer a seven-year deal worth well in excess of $100 million, while the White Sox are reportedly interested in Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who has one year left on his contract.