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The three year plan


Nny
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The point of this is to really be able to objectify what holes we need to address and what resources we have to address those holes. I did this last offseason prior to the firesale (which more-or-less justified the firesale unless we were going over a 100m payroll. It's also interesting to see how much our pitching progressed from then) and thought it'd be good to see where we now stand going forward.

 

Few notes:

-* means arbitration eligible/guess payroll

-Replacement level team is worth 48 wins, so add 48 to the WAR total for total team wins

-Those WAR numbers are very rough, as are minimum numbers. This is meant as a rough view and not meant to be completely 100% accurate. Just enough to paint a picture.

-If they're making the minimum, their name really doesn't matter (This especially goes for bench/bullpen). It's just used as a filler piece since it's already rather interchangeable.

 

2014

 

Nothing really to say except that our IF sucks ass while the rest of our team is good and our payroll is super low (aka what everyone already knows). I have us at ~78 wins, Zips has us at ~75 wins. So there really isn't much hope even with major break outs. Our IF just sucks so bad

 

2015

 

With continual development from the likes of Fernandez, Yelich, and Ozuna/Mars, the first full season of Heaney, and the departure of Dobbs, I think we progress to being around a .500 win team. Still way too many holes in the IF. Our pitching staff will likely be in the top-5 (and that's being conservative) in the NL, our OF will be top ranked as well, but our current projected IF is looking like the worst in baseball.

 

The good part? The IF FA class is a lot more interesting than this past year's. Up the middle, there is Lowrie, Hardy, and Asdrubal Cabrera (Their contracts probably being around 3-4 years at 9-12m per). At third, there's Sandoval and Headley (4-5 years at 14-17m per). All of which are about ~3 WAR players and relatively young.

 

Further expounding optimism is just how much money there is to play with. We're looking at a current projected payroll of just 50m. Removing Cishek, Dunn, and McGehee frees up over another 10m. Hech and Turner are more pieces that would not hurt to move to free up room. We could sign 3 of the above players and still be around just a 75m payroll.

 

Now, it's unlikely we sign all 3 for a lot of reasons. But we need to sign at least two (likely of the up-the-middle variety so as not to block Moran) to be serious contenders. If we do that, we're looking at a ~5 win increase and now being an upper-80's team. Still not great, but there's a lot of room for growth with our young players.

 

There is also dealing from our SP depth to fill these holes. And that really should not hurt us all too bad.

 

If we have a desire to upgrade 1st (and we likely should), it'll have to be through trade. The FA class there is incredibly weak. But there is also the option of moving Stanton to first if both Ozuna and Marisnick develop well. This would free up even more money to spend on the rest of the IF.

 

2016

 

With Fernandez hitting arbitration, as well as the continual raises in others like Stanton, Eovaldi, Alvarez, and Cishek, our payroll is getting pretty high. Dumping a lot of our pen (which, with our pitching depth, is not a bad thing) frees up a ton of payroll though so this isn't too big of a thing. Again: need IF help.

 

2017 will also be pretty hard on payroll with more guys like Yelich and Ozuna/Mars hitting arbitration. Plus Stanton getting huge pay raise from FA years. Oh, wait. Sigh.

 

TLDR

 

Lot of hope starting in 2015 based off how good our pitching and OF are, along with a stronger IF FA class and a lot of money to spend. As long as they actually spend that money.

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Trading Steve Cishek is the obvious thing to do.

 

Probably the reason for Carter Capps. Hopefully they're right there with you on that. Take a year for Capps to develop further and hopefully Cishek continues to prove his worth the first 3 months of this season so we can rape someone at the deadline.

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Good stuff, thanks Nny.

 

Well if by 2016 they haven't made a significant move to fill either 1b, 2b, or SS (or skip 2b if Dietrich figures it out I guess), then they suck again. It seems like they're not that far off yet with this FO you never know how feasible it is to fill holes in FA. Salty was a nice step. Pitching and outfield and probably pen have real promise. If all the kids pan out, just find 1 or 2 infielders and we're in business. You hate to count on every young guy working out but that's sort of the situation we're in.

 

Marisnick figuring out the bat seems like a HUGE deal (I don't how Stanton would work at 1B and there's always the Yelich option too) because that leaves maybe only 2 holes in the IF (assuming Moran doesn't flop). Really even if he can just be average out there it's a good thing.

 

Agree on Cishek. I don't know if they HAVE to, but unless they raise payroll significantly or someone unexpected busts out they'll probably need to turn him into an IF piece. I'm always surprised at how the closer arby numbers rocket up. Unless they're a contending team that's a tough luxury to justify the dollars on, as much as I'd love to keep him around.

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It wouldn't be a terrible idea to trade Stanton either. Right now, we could get a bunch for him. Our OF is pretty set. Even if one of those guys doesn't pan out, a corner OF'er is one of the easiest positions to fill in free agency as proven this offseason.

 

The Marlins seem to think they can win with a couple of stars and a bunch of scrubs and it doesn't work that way.

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The Marlins seem to think they can win with a couple of stars and a bunch of scrubs and it doesn't work that way.

 

you think they feel they can win with the current team? I think they know it's still very likely going to be a losing season. they'll put a nice spin on it but Jennings/Hill aren't that nuts.... at least I don't think so.

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I'll read through the entire thing in a bit, but I wanted to just point out that I found it funny that in these projections Furcal is set to produce about as much this year as Dietrich is expected to produce at 2B the next two years.

 

Another reason why the Furcal signing was useless and the team should just let Dietrich prove himself as the starting 2B next season. Furcal is just a $3 million addition to the payroll and taking valuable learning experience away from Dietrich.

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Seattle seems to be going all-in and they want a closer. I don't know why we didn't just expand the LoMo deal to get Nick Franklin. This seems like a good fit - Cishek alone wouldn't be enough would it? Add a B level prospect arm?

 

I was going to mention this in my post. I think the Marlins wanted to enter the year with Cishek, you know, just in case they're good. And the Mariners are smart to keep Franklin as a trade chip. But when July rolls around that could be a perfect match up.

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It wouldn't be a terrible idea to trade Stanton either. Right now, we could get a bunch for him. Our OF is pretty set. Even if one of those guys doesn't pan out, a corner OF'er is one of the easiest positions to fill in free agency as proven this offseason.

 

The Marlins seem to think they can win with a couple of stars and a bunch of scrubs and it doesn't work that way.

 

This.

 

We don't really need superstar position players with our pitching. We can field an average-to-above-average offense and be a very good team. This requires solid position players, but no actual 'star.' I hate it when teams put their money on one big player, because when that player is injured or has a bad year, the season is pretty much over.

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Not to mention Yelich and Fernandez can be the faces of the franchise moving forward, if that's what they're worried about. If you could move Stanton and pick up, say, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, why not?

 

Because Stanton is awesome and a real franchise would fix their holes through other means.

 

They have the minor league depth (over next year and a half) to trade Cishek, two of Alvarez/Turner/Eovaldi, Dunn, the loser of Ozuna/Marisnick if both work out, and other minor league assets to fill out the infield. Draft a SP # 2 overall in 2014 and throw him in with Fernandez, Heaney, Nicolino, and who remains of Alvarez/Turner/Eovaldi, Let everyone else battle for bullpen and hang in AAA.

 

They could easily have a $40 million payroll team of this in 2016

 

C-Salty

1B-?

2B-?

SS-Hecha/?

3B-Moran

LF-Yelich

CF-Ozuna/Marisnick

RF-Stanton

B- Realmuto/Barnes, Dietrich/Solano, ?, ?, ?

 

SP - Fernandez, Heaney, Alvarez/Eovaldi/Turner, # 2 Pick 2014 Draft (Rodon/Hoddman), Nicolino

RP - Ramos, Capps, Jennings, and pick your favorite 4 - Caminero, Wittigren, Koehler, Dyson, Sanchez, Olmos, Dayton, Flynn, Urena, Conley, DeScalfani (that is 2 bullpens as a side note of realistic club controlled options)

 

Sure you need 3-4 bats on that team, but you have added trade assets (and likely bats) from Cishek, two of Alvarez/Eovaldi/Turner, Dunn, and other trades, and have payroll to spend. Likely $20-30 million total as I can see it creeping to $70 after a few years down. That is going to bring in some offensive talent to round out the club big time.

 

That's why you keep Stanton. And by that, I mean sign him for 6 years because you can afford him and can still build a potential juggernaut 2016-2019 around him based on how much everyone else costs. The really smart thing to do would be to front load that contract 2014-2016 (same with Fernandez) and have a more team friendly deal on the backend to account for guys arbitration. Also makes him a more valuable trade chip with a lower salary down the road.

 

But yea, they will do dumb things instead.

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This.

We don't really need superstar position players with our pitching. We can field an average-to-above-average offense and be a very good team. This requires solid position players, but no actual 'star.' I hate it when teams put their money on one big player, because when that player is injured or has a bad year, the season is pretty much over.

Dunno if I want to jump the gun on the pitching yet. Eo & Alvarez had half seasons. Turner's so-so. High hopes for Heaney & the others but let's not go nuts just yet until it plays out another year. This isn't the Nats or Boston or Tigers. I want Stanton and if they can't work one star contract then Loria should fold up the %^$%^@ tent.

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The really smart thing to do would be to front load that contract 2014-2016 (same with Fernandez) and have a more team friendly deal on the backend to account for guys arbitration. Also makes him a more valuable trade chip with a lower salary down the road.

 

Is this something that other teams have done in the past? I can't think of any off-hand... for guys in roughly the same position as Stanton I mean. Or just that other teams wouldn't have a need to, because they aren't the Marlins?

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Dunno if I want to jump the gun on the pitching yet. Eo & Alvarez had half seasons. Turner's so-so. High hopes for Heaney & the others but let's not go nuts just yet until it plays out another year. This isn't the Nats or Boston or Tigers. I want Stanton and if they can't work one star contract then Loria should fold up the %^$%^@ tent.

 

Agreed, especially about the pitching.

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Is this something that other teams have done in the past? I can't think of any off-hand... for guys in roughly the same position as Stanton I mean. Or just that other teams wouldn't have a need to, because they aren't the Marlins?

No, you see it in other sports but hasn't really happened in baseball yet, my guess is mainly because no salary cab and the luxury threshold is crazy high compared to others so more flexibility. It's going to happen though at some point. Some team will overcommit to a guy or two as part of a plan to deflect salary years in non-contending years to try and benefit down the road. It could be Tanaka too. A few teams might offer similar overall money deals, but let's say the low payroll-3+ years away Astros put $30 million in the first year and $20 in the second year (and let's say years 3-7 are $10 million each for 7/$100 overall). Present value of money (and no state income tax) makes that a huge windfall if someone else is backloading it where Tanaka can't see the real money until 4 years down the road, but is super rich instantly with Houston. For the Astros, knocks out payroll obligations now (when it doesn't matter) so they can project all their top picks in bigs 3-4 years from now and afford more free agents. Would make sense if ownership is cool with the initial outlay, that's the caveat.

 

But anyways, Marlins payroll is maybe $47 right now for 2014, including an estimated $7 million to Stanton. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they signed Stanton to 6/$90, which he would easily take, and put $20 million on 2014 (overall payroll $60 million), another $20 million in 2015 (could easily keep payroll to $60 million with the rest of team), and $15 million in 2016 (which is what he is probably getting in arbitration anyways, payroll would probably be around $40-45 million and need maybe 2 position player starters….seriously). They'd effectively have Stanton 3/$35 for 17-19, when he "should" be making $18-20 million per season (conservatively). Would be huge to keep that extra $8-10 million dollar player on the team during prime years for Stanton/Fernandez/Yelich/Moran/Heaney/etc,, or inversely if somehow they don't need him, talk about getting a major package back if you're trading a top slugger in baseball for less money than Jhonny Peralta gets annually. Loria would be lauded as signing one of the smartest contracts in baseball (given the circumstances, since you know, they should have done this 2 years ago and the circumstances should have never happened...) and would be a first real step in really trying to appease the fans.

 

Of course he is cheap and risk-adverse to a fault so it'll never happen, but if they want to operate smartly and plan for 2016 (which is the first reasonable year one can argue they may contend), it's paying off Stanton and Fernandez big next 3 years, to make them (somewhat) cheaper 17-19 when things should be real good. Maximizing assets. Their low payroll is an asset they should use to plan for the future. Stanton and Fernandez on 6 year deals is how they can do it (since there are no other players they should be looking at arb buyouts right now. We can talk Yelich next year if he shows up this year). Got to be creative as a small market.

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Unfortunately, the entire concept of "front-loading" is ridiculous.

 

Which is why no one has ever done it and no one ever will.

 

I guess you could argue, if an owner is willing to spend X on a guaranteed contract he will be willing to do it in any given season so it doesn't matter when playing in a world without a salary cap, but you are very wrong if you do not think there are serious and real tax implications where owners don't want to approve overall payrolls over a certain level or inversely, players getting funds up front as a serious enticement in signing a deal or picking one deal over another. Say for example the Yankees front loading a deal to combat against Texas' natural advantage of no state income tax. It can balance the scales if the team can handle the money up front.

 

The sport is becoming smarter and more competitive. You're going to see all sorts of unique deals soon and teams using payroll strategy to attempt to get a competitive edge over other teams. The arbitration buyout has only been around about 10-15 years, that was never going to happen 20 years ago. I'd be cautious speaking in absolutes. And saying that, the Marlins should absolutely attempt to deflect Stanton and Fernandez. It's smart payroll strategy and keeps things manageable so there is payroll consistency, and not fluke insanely expensive years where the owner may be reluctant to add that extra money. Let alone the added benefit of having the backend of guys contracts being cheaper and therefore an easier trade if that is a scenario down the road.

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Well, certainly there are tax implications in the equation of FL/TX/WA versus other states (plus cities) with an income tax.

 

But, it only applies to half of all games -- the home games. As for the other 81 games, you're subject to the vagaries of the schedule-makers on a year-to-year basis over the term your multi-year deal. Somewhat, but not totally predictable.

 

You may have a 10-year deal, but the inter-league play rules may change mid-contract, as they just did and you might wind up playing more (or more highly) taxed games than you thought you would. Or, you might get traded from the NL to the AL or vice versa. Or from division to division within a league.

 

I don't know if any agent has been smart enough to have demanded a contractual compensation provision for his player if he was adversely affected tax-wise by a trade or by a mid-contract MLB rule change or a scheduling or alignment change. Some players surely were.

 

All of which means that the Marlins, Rays, Rangers, Astros and Mariners can offer a little less money and be competitive. A MLB franchise in South Dakota, Alaska, Nevada or Wyoming could join our little 5-team state-tax-free club if such a thing ever comes into existence.

 

This paper suggests that the zero-state-income-tax advantage is on the order of 2-3%:

http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1209.pdf

 

Which makes perfect sense. State/city income taxes run 4-5-6% on the road games you play for the 5 zero state-income-tax teams in FL/TX/WA. Half taxed and half not taxed results in a 2-3% advantage.

 

Clubs in places with state and/or city income taxes have to pay a little more for the same talent. The Yankees are well aware of this, as is everyone else in states with state and/or city income taxes. They've been paying their tax penalty for decades. It's a 2-3% factor that has been widely understood for many years.

 

But, there is no salary cap in MLB, and until there is there is no chance that any multi-year game-playing or other distortions due to it will take place. Absent some rule change, no owner in their right mind will front-load any contract. Owners aren't stupid. They will continue to back-load both their cash and risk as much as they can. If someone sticks their neck out and tries front-loading, the other 29 owners will laugh because under the existing rules, it's just a silly thing to do.

 

One could say that a 24 mill contract as 8-8-8 is "front-loaded" to the extent that it should have been done as 7-8-9 or 6-8-10, but that's about as far as it will ever go. And that already happens. We did it with Buck as 6-6-6. Nobody is ever going to pay a Stanton or any comparable talent 25-20-20-15-15-10 or 20-18-16-14-12-10 (just examples of front-loading) to make him more attractive on the back-end or for any other reason.

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Now it is a special case, but A-Rod's is front loaded. 157m the first 5 years (~31.5m per), 118m the last 5 years (~23.5m per).

 

He does have an extra 30m in HR incentives to bring the contract to a more even stand point though. But it's unlikely he'll hit all of them (Would have to average over 27 HR the next four years, and he's averaged less than 14 the past 3). Hell, it's questionable if he'll even hit two of the milestones (he'll have to average 15 HR to tie Ruth's 714).

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I'll read through the entire thing in a bit, but I wanted to just point out that I found it funny that in these projections Furcal is set to produce about as much this year as Dietrich is expected to produce at 2B the next two years.

 

Another reason why the Furcal signing was useless and the team should just let Dietrich prove himself as the starting 2B next season. Furcal is just a $3 million addition to the payroll and taking valuable learning experience away from Dietrich.

 

Yeah, it's really hard to justify the Furcal signing if you're not building to win in 2014. Signing a 36yo who hasn't played in a year with a combined 83 OPS+ the two seasons prior to that is just...

 

If you're going to sign somebody in a building-for-the-future, it should be young risk signs like McGehee/Jones. Polanco and Pierre at least made more sense last year since we didn't have young guys to even play at the start of the year. Now they just spent 3.5m for someone who likely won't help us this year and blocks someone who might help us in the future.

 

Oh well

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