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The Marlins are asking for a lot for Christian Yelich. For now.

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Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at the latest Christian Yelich rumor, involving the Braves.

The Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees for prospects whose names don’t even need to be mentioned here because you’ll forget who they are five minutes later, anyway. Miami did a little better with trading Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals, but still didn’t manage to even bring back a single top-100 prospect, so again, I’m not going to bother looking up their names for you. This time, though, with Christian Yelich, the Marlins are definitely clamping down and not just hoping you’ll forget about the awful trades they’ve already made this winter.

Peter Gammons is reporting that the Marlins asked the Braves for top prospect Ronald Acuna in exchange for Christian Yelich. I absolutely believe Gammons’ report that the Marlins had this ask, but I do not believe for a second that this is their expectation for an actual Yelich return.

The Marlins appeared blindsided by just how angry fan and media reaction was to their giving up Stanton in a salary dump and a star like Ozuna for non-elite prospects. Making it known that they’re asking for a lot for Yelich and aren’t just going to give up J.T. Realmuto — who, like Yelich, also wants out of Miami — is their way of distancing themselves from their very recent and very public mistakes on the trade market.

Yelich is under contract through 2021 with a $15 million option for 2022. The Marlins don’t need to trade him in January, not when they can deal him in June or July to a team that’s ready to admit they probably should have signed extra outfield help over the offseason. Of course, since they will likely be able to get Yelich at a discount with the Marlins eager to ship him out before his salary climbs any further — he’s at $7 million in 2018, then $9.75M, $12.5M, and $14M — those teams aren’t going to have to admit they should have done anything differently.

Remember, too, that Yelich could serve as the Marlins’ way out from one or more of the contracts they regret having around. If Wei-Yin Chen — who is owed another $52 million over the next three years — has a solid start to 2018 and his elbow isn’t an issue, and he’s packaged with Yelich for a very limited return in order to get his deal out of town, well… then there would be no mystery as to why the Marlins aren’t rushing to move Yelich like they did Ozuna.

Maybe you have a more charitable view of the Marlins’ plans! It’s fair to wonder why you do, though. No, seriously, what goodwill do Marlins’ employees past and present have to cash in here in this moment? Maybe I’m just being cynical, but it sure feels like the new ownership group has earned this skepticism already.

  • MLB teams have decided free agents are an expensive risk, especially when young players are the alternative. Grant Brisbee has the solution: pay young players more, and MLB will once again find the balance it needs to keep everyone paid.
  • You’re seeing “collusion” in more and more coverage, here and elsewhere, so let’s take the time to explain just what it is.
  • MLB is trying to blame Scott Boras for the slow offseason, which is pretty hilarious.
  • The current offers for free agents like J.D. Martinez and Yu Darvish might be even lower than we thought.
  • Here’s Camden Chat letting Orioles’ fans know that Baltimore isn’t the only team that still has holes to fill in mid-January.
  • Here’s Talking Chop on the Marlins asking for Acuna.
  • There is a way the Andrew McCutchen trade can end up helping the Yankees, writes Pinstripe Alley.
  • Speaking of McCutchen, the 2018 Giants aren’t the 2013 Phillies.
  • The tale of Purnal Goldy is the ballad of us all, writes Steven Goldman.
  • Y’all should read this from Rachael McDaniel on Doug Ault and the triumph of joy.
  • Jeff Sullivan makes a good point here about the best prospects often being overrated and middling prospects probably being underrated, but also, I’m not ready to let the Pirates off the hook for the Gerrit Cole return.

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