With the trade deadline entering its final hours (4PM EDT today), a new suitor has entered the Soriano sweepstakes.
Red Sox? Nope.
Mets? Think again.
How about the Florida Marlins?
The latest rumor has the pitching-prospect heavy Marlins looking at a deal for Soriano with the possibility of them then flipping him for positional prospects. With perhaps the Detroit Tigers. The names being rumored are pitchers Yusmeiro Petit, Renyel Pinto and Jason Vargas.
Who are these guys?
Petit was the key piece the Marlins received from the Mets (with 1B Mike Jacobs and IF Grant Psomas) in exchange for 1B Carlos Delgado this off-season. Petit was the Mets #2 prospect entering 2006, he’s a 21-year old RHP with four above average pitches (fastball, curve, slider, and changeup). John Sickels had Petit ranked as the fourth best prospect in a system flush with high-ceiling prospects, and in his July 11 review of the top 20 Marlins prospects said, “Was 2-3, 4.21 in nine starts for Triple-A Albuquerque. For the Marlins, is 1-1, 7.41 in 17 innings so far, though his 12/2 K/BB is strong.” Petit has had two tours with the Marlins so far in 2006 (5/13-6/18; 7/3-16) pitching both as a starter and in relief.
Pinto was acquired by Florida along with pitchers Sergio Mitre and Ricky Nolasco in the trade that brought outfielder Juan Pierre to the Chicago Cubs in 2005. Pinto is a 24-year old LHP who ranked #13 among Baseball America’s 2006 top Marlins prospects. He has three above average pitches (fastball, changeup, and slider). His struggles have been with command and control. Sickels had Pinto as the 18th best prospect in the deep Marlins system. From the July 11 review, “7-2, 3.26 in 15 starts for Albuquerque, 80/37 K/BB in 77 innings. Has allowed four runs in seven major league innings. Triple-A numbers are quite impressive given the context.” Pinto has spent part of 2006 with the Marlins on three separate occasions (5/15-31; 7/3-7; 7/30-present) all in relief.
The 23-year old Vargas was a 2004 2nd round draft pick by the Marlins out of Long Beach State. Another LHP, Vargas pitched too many innings in 2005 to be considered a propsect in 2006. However, in 2005, Vargas ranked #8 in Baseball America’s ranking of top Marlins prospects. Vargas has a 91-94 mph fastball with a slider that is tough on lefties, and a gradually improving changeup. He has pitched primarily out of the bullpen in 2006 during his two stints with the Marlins in 2006 (Opening day roster through 5/15; 7/7-30).
An interesting list of names no doubt, any of three would likely rank towards the top of the list of Nationals pitching prospects. But, aside from Petit, Pinto and Vargas are not that high-ceiling pitching prospects that the Nationals are seeking in exchange for Soriano. The Marlins have plenty more promising arms where that comes from, and one would hope the Nationals are insisting upon players not limited to Petit, RHP Anibal Sanchez, LHP Scott Olsen, RHP Chris Volstad, LHP Aaron Thompson, LHP, RHP Ricky Nolasco, and RHP Gaby Hernandez.
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