Although they didn’t ultimately make a deal, the Los Angeles Dodgers held reported trade talks with the Miami Marlins earlier this offseason for reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.
After several twists and turns, which included Stanton refusing to waive his no-trade clause for the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, he ended up being dealt to the New York Yankees at the beginning of the Winter Meetings.
The reason Stanton was traded is that the Marlins new ownership group, led by Derek Jeter, has emphasized slashing payroll and rebuilding for the future. Fellow All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna was also a casualty, as he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The third member of the Marlins outfield, Christian Yelich, is under control for five more seasons on a very team-friendly contract, so the Marlins do not have much motivation to trade him as well.
But reports indicate Yelich recently expressed displeasure with the organization, requesting that he also be traded if they are not committed to winning. While they did not end up getting Stanton, the Dodgers may be shifting their focus to Yelich.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, they are among the teams that have inquired on him this offseason:
Several industry sources said Hill has been fielding trade offers on Yelich from throughout the game in recent weeks. The Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies are among the clubs that have inquired about Yelich at various points this offseason.
The Dodgers have made it clear they plan to stay below the luxury tax threshold in 2018, although acquiring Yelich wouldn’t affect that too much as he signed a seven-year, $49 million extension with Miami in 2015.
In 156 games for the Marlins last season, Yelich hit .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs, 100 runs scored, 81 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native won a Gold Glove in 2014 and a Silver Slugger Award in 2016.
Los Angeles has enough outfield options that acquiring Yelich is not a necessity, but at 26 years old, Yelich is one of the bright young stars in baseball that could help propel the team to their first World Series title since 1988.