Breaking down possibilities for Marlins' core

Breaking down possibilities for Marlins' core

MIAMI -- After enduring an eighth straight losing season, the Marlins head into the General Managers Meetings on Monday in Orlando, Fla., open to making changes.

The Marlins have already generated buzz this Hot Stove season as speculation continues to run high that Giancarlo Stanton, the face of the franchise, could be dealt. Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Martin Prado are also trade possibilities.

"For us, it's not simple, but I think it is simple," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Our last winning season was 2009. We won 77 games this past year. What we've been doing has not worked or has not been good enough."

Hot Stove Tracker

The Marlins promise to be one of the busiest teams this offseason, and the GM Meetings should provide a little more clarity on their direction. breaks down some of the challenges and possibilities of dealing five core position players:

Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton 
A National League Most Valuable Player Award front-runner, Stanton paced the Majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs, and he showed that when healthy, he's among the most feared hitters in the game. Stanton is also expensive for Miami to retain.

Stanton's salary rises to $25 million next season, and he has 10 years and $295 million remaining on his contract. The four-time All-Star can opt out of the contract after 2020, which would make him a free agent.

For the Marlins to get impactful prospects in return, they will have to be creative to engage as many clubs as possible. One way is to look at the next three years -- or until Stanton can opt out. Through 2020, the slugger is due $77 million. If the Marlins pick up, say, even one-third of that money over the next three years, it could greatly improve the package they get in return.

After that, Stanton could opt out and become a free agent at age 30. If he exercises the option, he would be guaranteed $208 million for seven years. That would cover him to age 37. Considering what the market could look like then, Stanton may be viewed as a bargain, especially if Bryce Harper and Manny Machado command $400 million in free agency.

Stanton wins Silver Slugger

Third baseman Martin Prado
Prado appeared in just 37 games and will likely have to establish health in order to be dealt. Prado is due $28.5 million the next two years -- $13.5 million in 2018 and $15 million in '19, also decreasing his value in a trade. Unless he is packaged with another player -- say, Yelich -- Prado may eventually be a candidate to be dealt in July.

Second baseman Dee Gordon
Gordon had a strong bounce-back season in 2017, leading the Majors in stolen bases with 60. His salary will be $10.5 million in '18, and he is owed $37.9 million through '20. There should be a number of teams interested in the speedster.

If Gordon is dealt, Derek Dietrich is a possible replacement at second.

Gordon's 60th stolen base

Center fielder Christian Yelich
There's no urgency to move Yelich, but because there will likely be high demand, the Marlins will listen on offers. Yelich is productive and affordable, as he is set to make $7 million next year. From 2018-21, he's attractive to clubs at $43.25 million.

If the Marlins want to attach Prado to a Yelich trade scenario, they probably could find a match.

Left fielder Marcell Ozuna
Teams will be calling on the slugger, but Miami may not be budging on Ozuna, especially if Stanton is dealt. Ozuna has two more years left in arbitration, and with his agent being Scott Boras, he will likely pursue free agency after 2019.

Athletics look to revamp OF

Still, the Marlins may look to keep Ozuna at least another year, and he should still have high trade value. Miami may build around Ozuna, Justin Bour and catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. 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.