Toronto Blue Jays get: SS Jose Reyes, 3B/OF Emilio Bonifacio, C John Buck, SP Josh Johnson, SP Mark Buerhle
Miami Marlins get: SP Henderson Alvarez, C Jeff Mathis, SS Yunel Escobar, Shame and prospects SP Justin Nicolino, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, OF Jake Marisnick,
Less than twelve months removed from a massive winter shopping spree that preceded the team’s long-awaited move into a brand-new stadium in downtown Miami, the Marlins have completed a fire sale that many thought they’d started this summer by trading Hanley Ramirez, Edward Mujica, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. The Fish have removed almost every vestige of considerable major league experience or salary demands from their roster, leaving only SP Ricky Nolasco, OF Giancarlo Stanton and new imports Mathis and Escobar as the only players on the roster with three or more seasons of service time. Stanton has already voiced his disapproval, and there are rumors he’ll be the next star to go, though I find it hard to believe that Miami would trade him with four years left on his rookie deal.
In a nutshell, the Marlins have completed their once a decade post-championship fire sale, except this time they haven’t won anything besides the award for “the franchise least deserving of success in major North American sports”. For the purposes of this post, I’ll leave out the repercussions this will have the possibility of there ever being success for Major League Baseball in South Beach, as well as the unscrupulous manner in which the Marlins seemed to have conned the city of Miami into paying for a brand new ballpark for what amounts to an expansion team. Let’s just focus on what happens to these two teams.
For Miami, it’s fair in some ways to say this was just about dropping salary, but in others…this was a baseball trade. If all the prospects that go to the Marlins that were supposed to, the Fish are getting three of Toronto’s top 10 prospects, as well as a major league-ready pitcher in Henderson Alvarez. The Marlins next year are going to look like an expansion team, but then again, they lost 93 games this year and ranked 29th in runs scored, 21st in team ERA and 17th in errors. On every conceivable level, this team was subpar and that’s even before the comparison to their payroll, which was the 7th highest in baseball. Miami had a roster full of post-rookie contract vets in or past their primes who weren’t going to get better.
As MAMBINO examined this past summer after the Hanley Ramirez trade, perhaps the expectations put upon the Marlins during the preseason weren’t particularly fair–maybe this team wasn’t that good in the first place. In the three to four seasons preceding their big move into downtown Miami, the Fish stuck around as a speculative playoff dark horse, with youngsters like Josh Johnson, Ramirez, Nolasco, Sanchez, Dan Uggla and Andrew Miller on the roster. Yet, year after year, the Marlins failed to win more than 87 games or finish any better than 2nd place. Predictions remained stagnant for a “sleeping giant” Florida team, as they waited to add big money pieces to an “almost there” stadium situation in which they’d finally be able to supplement a rich system of homegrown players with free agents.
The truth is, maybe we all got caught up in the interim. This team’s window to pay for free agents like Reyes, Buerhle and Heath Bell to supplement the home grown product wasn’t 2011–it was 2007, 2008 and 2009. Our ex… Read more...