July 21, 2024

The Marlins established their status as deadline sellers more than two months ago with the shocking early trade of Luis Arraez, and as the July 30 trade deadline approaches, their action on that front should resume.

While all of the focus has been on closer Tanner Scott, who will be a free agency at the conclusion of the season, Craig Mish of SportsGrid and the Miami Herald reports that Jazz Chisholm Jr. is also expected to be traded. Mish names the Mariners as a “club to watch” if Chisholm is dealt, and he also predicts that the Pirates and Royals may enter the bidding.

Chisholm, 26, is having a strong season at the plate, batting.255/.326/.407 (105 wRC+) with 10 home runs and 17 steals. He has struggled with strikeouts in the past, and while his 24.9% rate is still below average, it is a significant improvement than the 29.2% percentage he had in the previous four seasons. He’s combined his improved contact abilities with a career-high 8.8% walk rate.

There is little dispute about Chisholm’s natural talent and star potential. Throughout his career, he has averaged 26 home runs and 32 steals per 162 games. However, he has never played more than 124 games in a season and has only 400 plate appearances in his major league career. Injuries have regularly hampered Chisholm and forced him to miss significant time. Since becoming a regular in 2021, Chisholm has lost time with a shoulder injury, a back strain (which necessitated a 60-day IL stint), turf toe, and an oblique strain.

Chisholm is making a reasonable $2.625 million this season and is under contract for two more years after the current season. He has been the Marlins’ primary center fielder for the past two seasons, although that decision was made out of necessity. Miami has failed to develop a center fielder and has made repeated attempts to acquire a controllable alternative at the position. Chisholm, a natural shortstop who played second base early in his career, switched to center field last year and has received mixed evaluations from most defensive measures. He was a solid defender in slightly over 1,300 innings at second base before switching to the outfield.

All three prospective teams indicated in Mish’s report remain as clear fits in a theoretical Chisholm deal.

 

Jazz Chisholm Jr.'s leadoff homer (5) | 05/07/2024 | Miami Marlins

 

J.J. Picollo, the Royals’ general manager, has expressed a desire to add a hitter capable of playing both infield and outfield, which Chisholm would fill admirably. The Royals have a very even platoon split, although the majority of the squad is right-handed, including Kansas City’s top two batters, Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino and second baseman Michael Massey (who has only made 142 plate appearances due to injury) are the only left-handed batters on the roster that have produced at or above average wRC+.

Meanwhile, the Pirates have struggled offensively at second base this season. Since being called up, former first-round choice Nick Gonzales has produced approximately league-average offense (.269/.307/.414, 99 wRC+), although he has been more effective versus lefties than righties. Pittsburgh’s outfielders are also hitting.227/.299/.352 as a team this season. Chisholm may contribute offensively in either role or split his time between the two depending on opponents.

The Mariners, who lead the AL West, have struggled in the outfield and at second base. The goal in Seattle was that Jorge Polanco’s offseason signing would solidify second base, but the switch-hitter’s consistent offensive output has suddenly dropped this season. In 214 plate appearances, the former Twins infielder has hit just.189/.280/.284, with a career-worst strikeout percentage of 33.6%. Their outfielders have a combined batting line of.230/.285/.365.

With two and a half seasons of club control remaining, a modest salary, and another good season highlighted by his trademark combination of speed and power, Chisholm could command a high price. Mish adds that if the Marlins do not receive an acceptable offer within the next three weeks, a deal in the offseason is also possible, and that some current non-contenders may consider a deal for Chisholm (both now and in the offseason) as they plan for the 2025 season and beyond.

 

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