The Miami Marlins have exceeded expectations so far in 2023. However, to sustain this (and to better position themselves for perennial postseason contention), they’ll likely need to acquire help from outside the organization. Leading up to the August 1 MLB trade deadline, Fish On First will profile potentially attainable players who would fit with what the Fish are building.
SS/3B Jordan Westburg (Baltimore Orioles)
Since the beginning of his pro career, Jordan Westburg has been consistent. Facing older competition throughout his climb up the minor league ladder, the 2020 draft pick has homered in every full month he has played with only two months of sub-.200 batting averages.
The number 47 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, Westburg has been one of the best prospects in the Baltimore Orioles system. He is currently having a career year at AAA slashing .291/.371/.570/.941 with 17 home runs, 52 RBIs, and a 130 wRC+. Westburg’s power continues to increase year by year and there could be even more from him in the future considering he’s only 24 years old.
Westburg has plenty of experience at shortstop, third base and second base. He has added even more to his versatility in 2023 with occasional starts in the corner outfield spots. Aside from Jorge Soler, nobody on the Marlins is on pace to reach 20 homers this season, and Soler could opt out of his contract this winter. Westburg fits perfectly with Miami from that standpoint.
Currently, the Baltimore Orioles stand at 44-27, which is second in the AL East and good enough to hold the top AL Wild Card spot. They aren’t getting much offense from shortstop Jorge Mateo, who is slashing .231/.271/.367/.638 with six home runs, 27 RBIs, and a 74 wRC+. Calling up Westburg to share playing time with Mateo is a possibility, but Mateo still makes a positive impact with Gold Glove defense.
Starting pitching is a bigger need for the O’s moving forward, so they might be willing to trade Westburg under the right circumstances.
Roster Fit & Trade Considerations
Just like I mentioned in the Iván Herrera article, you can never completely trust a young player to succeed in the majors immediately even when he’s been raking at Triple-A. If the Marlins were to pull the trigger on a Westburg trade, it would be mostly about 2024 and beyond rather than counting on him during their current playoff push.
Before being slowed down by Tommy John surgery and a foot fracture, Vanderbilt product Jake Eder was widely regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in the Marlins system. As of Tuesday, the left-hander has made three minor league rehab starts as he gets stretched out to be a starting rotation option. In 18 career MiLB appearances, Eder has a 2.11 ERA with 109 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched. If Eder gets back to full strength by the deadline, maybe he’d be the centerpiece of a Westburg package?
Former All-Star Trevor Rogers should have even more value with a league-average adjusted ERA during his four MLB seasons. It’s unclear when he’ll be ready after suffering a right lat strain (on top of his initial injury of a left biceps strain). That would be a big gamble for both teams—Rogers has been inconsistent since the middle portion of 2021, but he still has great upside and won’t be on any sort of innings limit down the stretch of this season.