Report: “Growing Belief” That Marlins Will Trade Jazz Chisholm Jr.

The Marlins announced their status as deadline sellers more than two months ago with their surprising early trade of Luis Arraez, and with the trade deadline now just 22 days away, their activity on that front should pick back up. While much of the focus has been on closer Tanner Scott, who’s a free agent at season’s end, Craig Mish of SportsGrid and the Miami Herald reports that there’s a “growing belief” Jazz Chisholm Jr. will also be traded. Mish lists the Mariners as  a “club to watch” if Chisholm is moved and also suggests the Pirates and Royals could join the bidding.

Chisholm, 26, is enjoying a solid season at the plate, hitting .255/.326/.407 (105 wRC+) with ten homers and 17 steals (albeit in 25 tries). He’s struggled with strikeouts on the past, and while his 24.9% rate is still worse than average, it’s a notable improvement over the 29.2% clip he registered in the four prior seasons. He’s paired those improved contact skills with a career-best 8.8% walk rate.

There’s little doubting Chisholm’s raw tools and star-caliber upside. He’s averaged 26 homers and 32 steals per 162 games played in his career. However, he’s never topped 124 games in a season and has only reached 400 plate appearances once to this point in his major league career. Injuries have frequently hobbled Chisholm and caused him to miss significant time. Since establishing himself as a regular in 2021, Chisholm has missed time due to a shoulder injury, a back strain (which required a 60-day IL stint), turf toe and an oblique strain.

Chisholm is earning an affordable $2.625MM this season and is controlled for two more years following the current campaign. He’s been the Marlins’ primary center fielder over the past two seasons, though that move was borne out of necessity. Miami has been unable to develop a center fielder and has come up empty in its long-running attempts to acquire a controllable option at the position. Chisholm, a natural shortstop who slid over to second base early in his career, moved to center field last year and has drawn mixed reviews from most public defensive metrics. He was a plus defender in just over 1300 innings at second base before the move to the outfield.

All three of the potential teams listed in Mish’s report stand as clear fits in a theoretical Chisholm deal. Royals general manager J.J. Picollo has been open about his desire to add a bat capable of playing both the infield and the outfield — a need Chisholm would fill nicely. The Royals have fairly even platoon splits as a team, but the bulk of the team is right-handed — including Kansas City’s two best hitters, Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino and second baseman Michael Massey (who’s been limited to just 142 plate appearances due to injury) are the only left-handed bats on the roster who have turned in average or better production, by measure of wRC+.

The Pirates, meanwhile, have received sub-par offensive production from second base this season. Since being called up, former first-round pick Nick Gonzales has delivered roughly league-average offense (.269/.307/.414, 99 wRC+), but he’s been more productive against lefties than righties. Pittsburgh outfielders are also hitting just .227/.299/.352 as a collective unit this season. Chisholm could provide an offensive boost in either role or potentially split his time between the two positions based on matchups.

Both the outfield and second base have been weaknesses for the AL West-leading Mariners as well. The hope in Seattle was that the offseason acquisition of Jorge Polanco would have solidified second base, but the switch-hitter’s steady offensive output unexpectedly cratered this season; in 214 plate appearances, the former Twins infielder has slashed just .189/.280/.284 with a career-worst 33.6% strikeout rate. Their outfielders have combined for a .230/.285/.365 batting line.

With two and a half seasons of club control remaining, an affordable salary and another productive season highlighted by his typical blend of speed and power, Chisholm should come with a relatively steep cost of acquisition. Mish notes that a deal in the offseason is possible as well, if the Marlins don’t get an offer to their liking in the next three weeks, and suggests that even some current non-contenders could look into a deal for Chisholm (both now and in the offseason) as they look toward the 2025 campaign and beyond.

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Title: Report: “Growing Belief” That Marlins Will Trade Jazz Chisholm Jr.
Author: Steve Adams

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