Inbox: Will Ramos become a trade chip?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Ramos become a trade chip?

If the Marlins are in the postseason race, do you see A.J. Ramos being a trade chip? He is getting pricey and we have other options at closer (Kyle Barraclough and Brad Ziegler).
-- @ThePooj

What you suggest really isn't normally how teams have made additions around the non-waiver Trade Deadline. But I get what you are suggesting. The organization has created bullpen depth, not only on the big league roster, but also at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. But if Ramos is performing, I'd highly doubt the Marlins would deal their closer. More logical trade options would be some of the candidates who start off in the Minor Leagues. Keep in mind that the likely teams that would want Ramos are contenders, not clubs rebuilding. As for Ramos becoming pricey, that wouldn't be an issue after the season. On the flip side, if the Marlins are not contending by midseason, you may see core players being dealt away.

If the Marlins' goal is to have a super bullpen, why not go all in and add another arm?
-- @kodakcane305

President of baseball operations Michael Hill has repeatedly stated the team is exploring the market, and if something makes sense, the Marlins may pursue it. If you look at the bullpen, as is, there are six spots secured. Of course, injuries could change that. But free-agent signees Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa and Dustin McGowan have guaranteed contracts. And Ramos, David Phelps and Barraclough are locks. So that leaves one, maybe two, bullpen spots for several talented candidates, including Nick Wittgren, Jose Urena, Brian Ellington and Austin Brice. Left-hander Hunter Cervenka also could make the Opening Day roster. There also are prospects like Drew Steckenrider and Jarlin Garcia. So when you want to add someone, you have to ask, is it really an upgrade? I think some are missing the boat on the super 'pen concept. What the Marlins hope separates their 'pen is both the quality and the numbers. All of them may be needed over the course of the season.

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Any plans for a platoon at first base? What can we expect from the corner-infield positions?
-- @thememanxx

It's been previously reported that catcher J.T. Realmuto could see some time at first base as a right-handed-hitting alternative to Justin Bour. The signing of A.J. Ellis, who has been a solid offensive catcher, gives some flexibility regarding Realmuto. I still think the Marlins will bring in a veteran who can play corner infield. The club intends to go with Bour at first, and even give him a shot against lefties, and Martin Prado at third. Ideally, the Marlins would like to give Prado some rest, and Derek Dietrich is a candidate to play third, and some first base as well.

Realmuto's long solo jack

A prospect to watch is Tomas Telis, a switch-hitting catcher who played some first base at Triple-A New Orleans. The way I see it, if the Marlins don't bring in a veteran, they could carry Telis as a third catcher who could also play some first base, and provide depth behind the plate if Realmuto gets some days at first base against tough lefties.

Where do you think Braxton Garrett will start in April? I'm thinking Greensboro.
-- @blueGrassTubb

The seventh overall pick in 2016, Garrett is ranked as Miami's top prospect and the 37th overall prospect on's top 100 list. The left-hander from Florence, Ala., turned 19 in August, and he has yet to pitch in a Minor League game. Typically, high school picks open at Class A Short Season Batavia in the New York-Penn League. Before heading to Batavia, I'd guess Garrett opens in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Perhaps by late summer, depending on how he does in Batavia, he could wind up at Class A Greensboro. I'd imagine Garrett wouldn't be rushed. Yet, if he dominates at an introductory level, he could hasten his advancement.

Top Prospects: Garrett, MIA

If Adeiny Hechavarria's batting average keeps going down, do you see Dee Gordon moving to shortstop and the Marlins getting a power hitter at second base?
-- @EricPabon2

Hechavarria projects to bat eighth, a tough spot to post a high batting average. He's also been a regular since 2013, so the club has a general idea of what to expect. Hechavarria is impactful with his defense, even if he isn't hitting. If his production slips, you'd probably see Miguel Rojas play more regularly at shortstop. Gordon, although he came up as a shortstop, was a Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman in 2015. It's highly doubtful he would switch to shortstop.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. 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.