Ruggiano likely candidate to be traded

MIAMI — With their top two prospects called up, the Marlins have a couple of outfielders who are expendable.

Justin Ruggiano and Juan Pierre will see their playing time drastically reduced now that Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick have been promoted from Double-A Jacksonville.

Ruggiano, especially, becomes a candidate to be traded by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The 31-year-old can play all three outfield spots, and he provides power. His 12 home runs lead the Marlins. but he’s mired in an 0-for-30 slump since his last hit on July 8.

The dryspell has dropped his batting average to .202.

According to various reports, the Yankees, Rangers, Phillies and Giants have a level of interest.

Because he is out of options, and doesn’t figure to be part of the team’s plans next year, Ruggiano is a strong candidate to be moved either at the deadline or sometime in August, during the waiver trade period.

Pierre, meanwhile, is 35 and he is a favorite of the organization. The veteran speedster likely will remain with the club for the remainder of the season, unless there is a contending team interested in his services. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

If Ruggiano is dealt, Pierre could see more playing time in spot starts. Yelich is playing left field, but he could move to center field if Marisnick is given a day off or replaced in a double-switch situation.

A key member of the Marlins’ 2003 World Series team, Pierre’s role now is mostly as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.

Pierre remains popular in the clubhouse, and he is seen as a valuable asset to provide leadership and insight to the young players.

Pierre lives in South Florida, and when he retires as a player, the Marlins would strongly consider having him work in their organization, perhaps as a coach.

Joe Frisaro

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