Miami to land 3 Class A righties; Braves to get Marlins' Competitive Balance pick from Dodgers
By Joe Frisaro
MIAMI -- Trade speculation swirled all day and night Wednesday that Mat Latos and Michael Morse were being dealt to the Dodgers for three pitching prospects. But throughout the frenzy, nothing was made official, even after the Marlins suffered a 7-2 loss to the Nationals at Marlins Park.
The trade buzz, however, will continue because sources have told MLB.com that the deal eventually will get done. Although Morse and Latos weren't told they have been dealt, the two veterans had their bags packed and were shaking hands goodbye as they exited the Marlins' clubhouse before they could address the media.
Once the trade goes through, the Dodgers would also receive the Marlins' Competitive Balance pick (No. 34 overall) in the 2016 Draft, and Los Angeles would assume the entire salaries of Latos and Morse. L.A. will then send the Competitive Balance pick to Atlanta as part of a larger deal between the Dodgers and Braves. There was earlier speculation that Morse would head to Atlanta, but indications are that he'll be staying in L.A. for now.
In return, the Marlins will receive three Class A pitchers -- Jeff Brigham (23 years old), Victor Araujo (22) and Kevin Guzman (20). Brigham is the 28th-ranked Dodgers prospect according to MLB.com.
Marlins manager Dan Jennings postgame said nothing had been finalized, as he waited for updates from president of baseball operations Michael Hill.
"Nothing from Michael," Jennings said. "I know they're upstairs. They've been upstairs pretty much the whole game. There was no news to report. So there is nothing official."
The Marlins took the field for batting practice around 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday in preparation to face the Nationals. Yet Latos and Morse were not part of the group. However, they were in uniform and sat in the dugout during the game.
"You potentially know you can be managing short," Jennings said. "We've tried to keep our guys informed -- any of the guys that their names are being bantered around, out of respect to them.
"Before game time, we made sure Morse and Latos were suited up. You never know if you're going to get a call down to the dugout that says, 'Hey, get these guys out.' We've been on both sides of that in my time here with the Marlins. They just have to stay mentally ready to go. You never know when that time is coming."
Latos and Morse were two major pickups for Miami in December. The club acquired both veterans to help bolster its chances of making a serious playoff run, but the season has been a disappointment.
Latos, who is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts, is eligible for free agency after the season. The 27-year-old, who is signed for $9.4 million this year, was obtained from the Reds for right-hander Anthony DeSclafani and catching prospect Chad Wallach.
Morse, 33, is a South Florida native who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Miami after being part of the Giants' World Series championship team in 2014.
Morse opened the season as the regular first baseman, but he labored at the plate, batting .214 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 52 games. He's also spent time on the disabled list with a right ring finger injury.
In recent weeks, he's seen some action in left field.
To fill Morse's spot, at least short term, infielder Donovan Solano is expected to return from the paternity list on Thursday. Triple-A New Orleans left-hander Justin Nicolino is a candidate to replace Latos' rotation spot.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.