Marlins targeting lefty bat

Speculation among players inside the Marlins’ clubhouse on Thursday had Adrian Gonzalez possibly coming to Florida as part of a blockbuster trade.

By early evening, reports surfaced that the Marlins were pursuing Nick Johnson.

The common theme in both possible trade scenarios is the Marlins are looking for a left-handed hitting, strong fielding first baseman. It also didn’t go unnoticed that Jorge Cantu was taking ground balls at third base before the Marlins played the Braves on Thursday night.

Cantu, who was Florida’s third baseman last year, has played exclusively at first base this season.

As of Friday morning, it appears the Marlins no longer are in the bidding for Padres closer Heath Bell. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has learned the Marlins are out of the bidding for the hard-throwing right-hander.

The Marlins are inquiring about a number of possible trades before Friday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. Chances are about 50/50 that something gets done.

Johnson appears to be the most realistic option. The Marlins are believed to be willing to trade either Ryan Tucker or Aaron Thompson to the Nationals. Both pitchers were first round picks in 2005.

It’s a matter of whether the Nationals would agree on the players in return to complete the deal.

Tucker, a hard-throwing right-hander, is at Triple-A New Orleans. Thompson, a lefty, is at Double-A Jacksonville.

The asking price for Gonzalez is higher. San Diego reportedly is seeking top prospect Mike Stanton and Cameron Maybin. Another rumored trade on Thursday had the Padres seeking Stanton, Maybin and pitcher Andrew Miller for Gonzalez and Bell.

Stanton, 19, is a 6-foot-5 right fielder regarded as one of the top overall prospects in baseball. A National League scout on Thursday said Stanton is another Dave Winfield, and he regards him as one of the top five prospects in all of baseball.

That scout added he wouldn’t trade Stanton. The Marlins don’t seem to be interested in moving Stanton at any cost. His name also came up in an inquiry for Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

— Joe Frisaro

 

 

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