Friday, February 8, 2019
What Have the Marlins Gotten Back from All of Their Trades?
ESPN noted that, following the J.T. Realmuto trade, 23 of the Marlins’ top 25 players by WAR have been traded, rather than leaving as a free agent or eventually retiring with the team. It’s a pretty sorry affair after 27 seasons, but I wondered if maybe they had at least gotten back prospects to rebuild the team over the years. This isn’t necessarily to see how the trades looked at the time, just to see the eventual outcomes. So let’s take a quick look at the returns for the 23 players sent away.
1. Giancarlo Stanton
Got: Jose Devers, Jorge Guzman, Starlin Castro
It’s amazing they haven’t managed to flip Castro yet, I have no idea why they’re holding on to him. He was useful on a team going nowhere last year, and has a team option for 2020. Guzman is their #7 prospect according to MLB.com, while Devers is #14.
2. Hanley Ramirez
Got: Nathan Eovaldi, Scott McGough
Hanley had sort of played his way out of Miami, but looking at this history, I don’t know how much I can blame him for maybe being disinterested in things. Eovaldi didn’t quite put it all together in Miami, and was traded to the Yankees for David Phelps (since traded for four prospects, including their current #13) and Martin Prado (signed a three-year extension before 2017, has only played 91 games since it kicked in).
McGough threw 6.2 innings for the Marlins in 2015 and has kicked around the minors since.
3. Luis Castillo
Got: Scott Tyler, Travis Bowyer
Neither pitched above AA for the Marlins.
4. Josh Johnson
Got: Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino
Johnson was part of the big trade with the Blue Jays, which returned a lot of talent. Alvarez was an All-Star in 2014, but was released due to injuries and hasn’t quite come back to his former level yet. Nicolino threw three mediocre seasons and was waived. Hechavarria spent four and half years as an all-glove, no-hit shortstop before being sent to Tampa.
DeSclafani was traded for Mat Latos, which is definitely a loss. Marisnick was traded to Houston with Colin Moran and Francis Martes for Austin Wates, Jarred Cosart, and Kiké Hernandez, another definite loss by itslef, although some of them were later flipped for decent players themselves (including #24 on this list), salvaging it a little.
Mathis and Escobar were both established major leaguers when they arrived. Mathis spent four years in Miami as a back-up catcher before becoming a free agent. Escobar was immediately flipped for Derek Dietrich, who’s been a useful utility man at least.
5. Miguel Cabrera
Got: Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Frankie De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo
This is a big trade that just didn’t pan out. Maybin and Miller have both been decent, but that was a bit disappointing considering they were both top-10 prospects. Miller was never good in Florida and was given away for basically nothing. Maybin only played 144 games in teal before being traded for two relievers who turned out okay (but spent less than five combined seasons with the team), Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica.
Trahern never reached the majors. De La Cruz and Rabelo only got cups of coffee. Badenhop might have been the high point of this package, with 250 league-average innings in Miami.
6. Christian Yelich
Got: Isan Diaz, Monte Harrison, Jordan Yamamoto, Lewis Brinson
Harrison is the current #3 prospect in their system, Diaz is #10 prospect, and Yamamoto is #18. Brinson is a former top prospect himself, although his 2018 full-season debut was a little underwhelming.
7. Dan Uggla
Got: Mike Dunn, Omar Infante
Dunn was basically a replacement-level reliever over six seasons. Infante had a decent season and a half, then was packaged with Anibal Sanchez and trade (more on that later).
8. Ricky Nolasco
Got: Steve Ames, Angel Sanchez, Josh Wall
Wall and Sanchez were both waived before reaching the majors. Ames at least got 4 innings with the Marlins.
9. Mike Lowell
Got: Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez
Lowell was sent to Boston with Josh Beckett and Guillermo Mota for a pretty good deal. We already covered Ramirez, and we’ll get to Sanchez later. Garcia and Delgado pitched a combined 14.1 innings in the majors, all for the Marlins. Still, it’s a little sad that we can tell that this was a good trade because half the players get traded away themselves later.
10. Dontrelle Willis
Got: (see Miguel Cabrera, #5)
11. Jeff Conine
Got: Blaine Mull
Conine has actually had two stints with the team, each one coinciding with a World Series. The first one, which started in the expansion draft, ended when he was sent to Kansas City for a pitcher who would never reach AAA. The second one did see him leaving as a free agent, though.
12. Cliff Floyd
Got: Graeme Lloyd, Mike Mordecai, Carl Pavano, Justin Wayne, Don Levinski
Floyd was part of a big package that went to Montreal. Lloyd was a veteran reliever who would leave as a free agent after a mediocre half-season. Mordecai was a veteran utility infielder who would rack up -2.2 WAR over 12 seasons, but also 2 World Series titles. Levinski never reached the majors, while Wayne was released after three mediocre seasons in relief.
Pavano was the prize of the deal, a former top prospect who never quite got things together with the Expos. He had a decent season and a half, then broke out to an All-Star campaign in his walk year, which led to the Yankees wildly overpaying him.
13. A.J. Burnett
One of two players on this list who was never traded away from the Marlins, although as the ESPN article notes, they tried to send him to the Orioles in 2005. The proposed package of Larry Bigie, Jorge Julio, Steve Kline, Steve Reed, and Hayden Penn is pretty pitiful in an especially-mid-2000s-Orioles way.
14. Marcell Ozuna
Got: Daniel Castano, Zac Gallen, Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra
Alcantara is still their #4 prospect, and Gallen is #21. Castano, entering his age-24 season, spent most of last year at high-A Jupiter. Sierra had a rather lousy 2018, but he’s still only going to be 23 this year, so there’s time.
15. Gary Sheffield
Got: Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile
This was a big deal, with Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Manuel Barrios, and Jim Eisenreich all going to the Dodgers. Both Piazza and Zeile were gone before the trade deadline. Piazza famously spent only five games with Florida before being traded for Geoff Goetz (never reached the majors), Ed Yarnell (a cup of coffee with the Yankees), and Preston Wilson (five decent seasons with the Marlins before being part of a second Charles Johnson trade). Zeile lasted until the trade deadline before going to Texas for two players who never reached the majors.
16. J.T. Realmuto
Got: Sixto Sanchez, Will Stewart, Jorge Alfaro
Sanchez is their new top prospect, and Stewart is #25. Alfaro is a former top-100 prospect who has had some success in the majors, but might still have room to improve.
17. Jose Fernandez
The only other player on this list to never be traded, due to his tragic death.
18. Charles Johnson
Got: Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile; Mike Hampton, Juan Pierre
As stated, Johnson was trade away twice; we’ve already covered the first one. The second one saw him packaged with Preston Wilson, Vic Darensbourg, and Pablo Ozuna and sent to Colorado. Hampton was already on his disastrous contract, and was flipped to Atlanta after two days for a pair of players who had little impact. Pierre had two decent seasons and one bad one in Miami, but was always overrated at the time due to his high batting averages (which came without much power or many walks) and stolen base totals (which came with three league-leads in caught stealings). Still, it got him to #25 on this list.
19. Josh Beckett
Got: (see Mike Lowell, #9)
20. Kevin Brown
Got: Steve Hoff, Rafael Medina, Derrek Lee
After two amazing seasons, Brown was traded to San Diego for Hoff (never reached the majors), Medina (under 100 career innings), and Derrek Lee (#23 on this list).
21. Brad Penny
Got: Juan Encarnacion, Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota
Penny was the strongest player in the trio that went to the Dodgers. Mota was later included in the Lowell and Beckett trade. Lo Duca was in the middle of his second straight All-Star season; he’d make it the next two years as well, although neither was especially deserved, and he was definitely in the downswing of his career. He would be traded after one and a half years to the Mets for two players who never reached the majors. Encarnacion left his second campaign in Miami as a free agent.
22. Anibal Sanchez
Got: Rob Brantly, Brian Flynn, Jacob Turner
We finally reach the Infante trade mentioned earlier. Brantly and Flynn were a back-up catcher and middle reliever who didn’t do much in short stints in Miami. Turner was a former top prospect, but disappointed in about 240 innings before they gave up on him.
23. Derrek Lee
Got: Hee-Seop Choi, Mike Nannini
The key return in the Kevin Brown trade, Lee’s best days were still ahead of him when they sent him to the Cubs. Choi was one of the players who went to Los Angeles with Brad Penny. Nannini never reached the majors.
24. Dee Gordon
Got: Robert Dugger, Nick Neidert, Christopher Torres
Gordon was one of the pieces salvaged from the Marisnick trade; Kiké Hernandez (one of the players who came over from Houston) was packaged with Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher, and Andrew Heaney in return for Gordon, Miguel Rojas, and Dan Haren. That actually seems like a win-win deal, to be honest, as everyone involved seems to have done fine post trade (or been flipped in other decent trades).
After three good years in Miami, Gordon was traded to restock the minor leagues; Neidart is their #5 prospect right now, Torres is #19, and Dugger is #26.
25. Juan Pierre
Got: Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, Renyel Pinto
We covered Nolasco already. Mitre had two below-average seasons for a starter before being cut. Pinto was a fine reliever for five seasons, got released, and has been playing internationally since.
So, what’s the take away here? About a quarter of these deals are still too early to tell. Among the rest, there’s not a ton to recommend. In almost all of the trades, the Marlins were sending the best player involved away, and many of them led to further bad trades down the road, like some kind of bad-trade-fractal. There are a ton of burnt-out top prospects in the lot, which doesn’t speak well to player development. Sometimes, they’d get a pretty good player back for a good player about to leave, but that seems to have happened a lot less frequently under Jeffrey Loria’s ownership. All in all, it’s a pretty depressing history, even with a pair of World Series titles to brighten things up along the way; after the last decade and a half, 2003 and 1997 feel especially far away.