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The three year plan


Nny
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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 Nicolino maybe?

 

If Addison Reed can net Matt Davidson, I'd think it wouldn't really take more than Cishek to get Franklin.

 

It's definitely what we need to aim for when trading him though. Preferable a SS, but with so many SS options in the next FA class it'd more important to get the better IF player even if it's a 1B instead of a MI.

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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.

 

It's important not to look at Alvarez and Eovaldi as front line starters because then one will likely be disappointed. Both both have been in the major for 3 years now and have shown the ability to be average SP, with a ERA+ that'll probably hover around 100 going forward. And there is most definitely value in average SP.

 

This also goes for Heaney. It's generally the smart thing to be conservative when projecting. It's better to project him as an average SP than as a front line because it's more realistic that that'll be the outcome. There are few aces in the majors yet a lot of top SP prospects for a reason.

 

The biggest thing to me is that they stay injury free. You never know with SP in that regard, and both had issues last season.

 

Turner and his career 4.64 FIP is a different issue though.

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The Cardinals signed Peralta to a substantially front-loaded contract. I don't see the rest of baseball laughing at them for that, probably because they realize that Peralta will likely see his production diminish by 2017.

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Teams would probably prefer to sign front-loaded deals, but the players have leveraged themselves into backloading.

 

I think a lot of things have to be assessed after this season:

 

-Is Cishek still around?

-Did the young pitching staff regress? (I have to imagine based on how common that is that at least one will have a down year)

-Is Moran ready to step in for 2015 as a permanent third baseman?

-Do we have a long-term first baseman? (Not sure if it's realistic to convert one of the outfielders to 1B or not, probably not)

-Figuring out second base, since we don't really have long-term options there unless you are high on Dietrich for some reason.

-Are we going to see Hech continue to be the starting shortstop if he continues to not hit at the MLB level again?

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Teams would probably prefer to sign front-loaded deals, but the players have leveraged themselves into backloading.

 

I think a lot of things have to be assessed after this season:

 

-Is Cishek still around?

-Did the young pitching staff regress? (I have to imagine based on how common that is that at least one will have a down year)

-Is Moran ready to step in for 2015 as a permanent third baseman?

-Do we have a long-term first baseman? (Not sure if it's realistic to convert one of the outfielders to 1B or not, probably not)

-Figuring out second base, since we don't really have long-term options there unless you are high on Dietrich for some reason.

-Are we going to see Hech continue to be the starting shortstop if he continues to not hit at the MLB level again?

 

This needs to play out for sure, but I'm not worried about the pitching.

 

I would imagine Cishek (and Dunn) are 99% gone in June/July and that nets at least a very good young position player who is MLB ready in 2015. That is going to save Loria $2 mil this season too. The bullpen can easily survive with Ramos, Capps, pick 3 of Caminero/Koehler/Wittgren/DeScalfani/Dyson/Sanchez and pick 2 of Jennings/Dayton/Olmos/Flynn/Conley. They can have a huge flameout rate and still have a likely above average pen club controlled pen for 4-6 seasons. There are some other ancillary arms like Brice and the 2013 crop that could emerge too. They are in good shape here.

 

As for the young starting pitching regressing, it's always a possibility, but they have so many arms projected to be 3/4 starters right now and MLB ready by the end of this season (Alvarez, Eovaldi, Nicolino, Turner, DeScalfani, Flynn, Conley) that you have to imagine at least two of them work out. That's all they 'need' as you imagine Fernandez, Heaney, and likely # 2 pick in 2014 draft (Rodon, Hoffman) are the rest of the 'long term' rotation and that is in place by the end of 2015. I think the most important thing here is Heaney becoming the next Bumgarner. That's the big "if" for me with all the pitchers, as if that happens, that could turn this group from good to great. The second most important thing is hoping from that group above more than "2" make it, so maybe they could trade one or more of them for some help offensively. I think that is something to hope for, not count on though, when penciling in the team.

 

It's just a question of who makes it for the staff, not an if like the bats. They have safety in numbers with the arms (especially if they take a SP #2 in draft which I think is smart) to make this work.

 

As for the bats, Moran and Hech, those are wait and sees like you say. So are Yelich, Ozuna, Marisnick, and Dietrich too. And hell Stanton staying healthy for 150. They absolutely have no longterm corner infielder across from Moran in the system. Who makes it? That's the # 1 question. Could be great if Yelich and Moran become above average and they get solid starters out of Marisnick and Hech, or they could just get 1 or 2 average guys. Should be interesting.

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so at least short-term, seems like the only thing on the to-do list (addressing the Stanton issue goes without saying) is to look at dealing Cishek & Dunn and get back a good young IF. Other than that it's just wait & watch to see which kids make it.

 

and it would seem that the best way to fill the 1B hole long-term is for Marisnick to just hit his weight. They'd love to put him out in CF, then you shift one of the other OF to 1B.

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and the best way to fill the 1B hole long-term is for Marisnick to just hit his weight. They'd love to put him out in CF, then you shift one of the other OF to 1B.

I do agree mostly with this (and it'd be Yelich or Stanton most likely). Marisnick hitting his weight would be fine, but it has to be with power, not what he was doing. Only 4 XBH in 109 at bats in his time up. All comes with adjustment, of course.

 

Issue there, though, is playing time. If Ozuna and Yelich are doing well, and Stanton is healthy and producing, where do you put Marisnick to give him the ABs? I guess AAA for the time being.

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Yeah I give him all 2014 in AAA. Or at least most of it. Hell for that matter I'd start Ozuna down there too but that won't happen. (Do the Marlins even remember that we have a AAA team?)

 

He's still developing, only 22 and was another one of the pointless call-ups the Marlins made last season. He was doing just fine in AA Jax then they promote him and basically wasted the second half of the season. Agree with you on the power - I was just speaking in general. (Come to think of it, hitting .225 would suck because he's not gonna walk much either). But whatever, if Jake gets a home run stroke going (Matt Dominguez anyone?) I'd take it & run.

 

The defense is there, no need to rush the bat.

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I do agree mostly with this (and it'd be Yelich or Stanton most likely). Marisnick hitting his weight would be fine, but it has to be with power, not what he was doing. Only 4 XBH in 109 at bats in his time up. All comes with adjustment, of course.

 

Issue there, though, is playing time. If Ozuna and Yelich are doing well, and Stanton is healthy and producing, where do you put Marisnick to give him the ABs? I guess AAA for the time being.

 

You just keep whomever in AAA for right now. 2014 is all about development, they ain't winning the pennant. Marisnick and/or Ozuna could use time in the minors so I don't think that is an issue even if everyone is excelling. Saying that, longterm if all 4 of them work out and they don't trade one, I agree that Yelich or Stanton move to 1B as the weaker defensive options. Stanton and Yelich's core value is going to be their hit tool, so moving them to 1B would have much less impact as the team as a whole. Marisnick and Ozuna's value are going to be tied to their defense, especially Marisnick in CF. If they turn out to each be .250/.310/.400 hitters, they are probably 2.5+ WAR starters with their expected defense, which wouldn't translate to the infield. If they slug .450+ plus, Marlins are looking real good.

 

We'll see what happens, but they'll all get 600+ PA this year if healthy. It'll be interesting to see what they do if they all work out. But I imagine someone sucks or gets hurt and makes the choices easy.

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so at least short-term, seems like the only thing on the to-do list (addressing the Stanton issue goes without saying) is to look at dealing Cishek & Dunn and get back a good young IF. Other than that it's just wait & watch to see which kids make it.

 

and it would seem that the best way to fill the 1B hole long-term is for Marisnick to just hit his weight. They'd love to put him out in CF, then you shift one of the other OF to 1B.

 

That's what I would do. My organizational top 3 priorities from now until July 31st would be:

 

1. Sign Stanton longterm, 6/$90 and try and put as much of that as possible in 2014-2016. Full no trade clause 4 years.

2. Sign Fernandez longterm, 6/$40 and team option for $15 mil, which is more than what Bumgarner got in very comparable circumstances (Bumgarner has a guaranteed 5/$35, or 7/$53 with team options)

3. Trade Cishek/Dunn (and maybe Furcal, G. Jones, McGehee, and anyone else not important depending on circumstances) for infielders and arms at deadline

 

It's just wait and see who works out on absolutely everyone else and reassess after the year. I expect 1 of these things to happen.

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I have a conceptual problem paying Cishek around $6.5-7 mil next year (2015) for 70 innings pitched, when they have an absolute slew of legit RHP arms (Ramos, Capps, Caminero, Wittgren, Koehler, Dyson, Sanchez, Urena, and DeScalfani) in the high minors. I think the only way you pay for saves is if everything else on the team is taken care of and there is extra payroll (clearly a situation Marlins are not in, but someone like Oakland may be in right now who are acquiring high price relievers like Johnson and Gregerson, etc.). Secondly, I think Cishek's throwing motion is a time bomb so if they can get a good young infielder for him, that's less risky moving forward. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying his arm is going to blow out and I like Cishek a lot, but given the circumstances, he's probably worth more in trade for this team come July (I'd trade him now for the right deal though).

 

As for next guy for saves, let performance dictate it, although you'd imagine Ramos and Capps are next up. I'm really not concerned with the pen at all nor who gets the saves. I'm more into the big picture. They probably can field an above average bullpen and fill their entire bullpen with current arm talent on the team and system for between $5-7 million per year for at least the next 5 seasons. Which is incredible to think about when LOOGYs like Boone Logan are making that per season in free agency and top closers are making double that per year.

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Lou, don't you think that the Marlins would be better off offering Stanton something like 10/200 at this point? They have sat on their hands for so long and at this point they should offer him 10/200 and pray that he accepts.

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Lou, don't you think that the Marlins would be better off offering Stanton something like 10/200 at this point? They have sat on their hands for so long and at this point they should offer him 10/200 and pray that he accepts.

I think Stanton is hellbent at getting back to California at some point so I don't see him entertaining that kind of deal despite the money, nor locking him up through his age 33 season, i.e. no opportunity to sign a mega-deal in his prime. At some point, you just gamble on yourself in arbitration. If I was his agent, I would respond with a 5-6 year deal. Makes Stanton a free agent at 29-30 to cash in on a mega-deal in his prime, and that would be a ton of guaranteed money (likely $70-90) to sacrifice 2-3 free agency years when Stanton hasn't made really anything as of yet. Likewise, from the Marlins perspective, he has played over 130 games once (including minors) in the last 6 years. Is that worth a 10 year commitment?

 

Got to really balance the two interests at this point as yes, they have sat on their hands and there is no excuse he wasn't signed post 2011 to a 7 year deal with an 8th year option.

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Agreed with Lou, looks like at this point they're not going to be agreeing to a deal. THIS was the off-season to do it, next year he will only be under club control for 2 years and he'll likely just gamble at that point and elect not to sign a deal.

 

I really can't blame them to be honest. There are questions about whether he wants to be here, and it looks as if you have 4-5 outfielders that can be major league starters in his absence (Yelich, Ozuna, Marisnick, Jensen, Keys). So if you can deal him next year for a ransom, acquire a pair of long-term IFers that can be impact players, you could make the team stronger with less salary to commit.

 

It's never fun to deal a player like Stanton, but at this point, it's probably going to happen.

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We should be signing Stanton long term right now or trading him right now. No point going year-to-year now. I would prefer we sign him long term obviously.

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We should be signing Stanton long term right now or trading him right now. No point going year-to-year now. I would prefer we sign him long term obviously.

 

I agree and disagree. Right now only one of those 4-5 outfielders is big league ready, and we're already forcing one of them to step up too soon and contribute. If you deal Stanton, now you're asking for two guys to contribute that shouldn't be in the majors. Keeping Stanton will allow those guys more time in the minors, and it should also allow us more time to rebuild a little of his value.

 

I actually think it could be very possible to see Stanton get dealt mid season this year. A contender in need of a bat will probably grossly overpay for him to make the post-season, and by July, Marisnick should be ready to get back into the major league lineup.

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As time passes, our return for him decreases. We're not going to compete in 2014 anyway most likely. That's the only reason I'd deal him ASAP if he's not staying for many years.

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As time passes, our return for him decreases. That's the only reason I'd deal him ASAP if he's not staying for many years.

 

Yes and no, because mid-season teams forget really quickly about anything but winning now. Look at the return that some guys bring for only 2 months and the playoffs... it's often ridiculous.

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We should be signing Stanton long term right now or trading him right now. No point going year-to-year now. I would prefer we sign him long term obviously.

 

I agree and have been saying this for 2 seasons now, but just to type it all out.

 

Scenarios

 

A - Sign him for 6 years and pay him $90 million. You get him for 6 years, but payroll is drastically impacted 2017-2019 with huge numbers limiting your ability to do other things in free agency and/or retain another guy or two hitting later stages of arbitration. There is no CBA in 2019, so there is no idea if compensatory draft picks are still a thing when he inevitably walks back to California.

 

B - Trade him now and get 2 great and 2 good young players, but now your league worst offense to give your pitchers a fighting chance has made no improvements whatsoever and there is no superstar bat in the organization anymore (side note: I love Yelich, but I don't suspect he becomes a murderous bat (i.e. limited power and defensive projection) and is probably the 3rd best position player on a great team. Stanton clearly can be a top dog.) The average fan still hates your guts, but baseball insiders really like the Marlins team moving forward in 1-2 years (assuming Loria brings in at least two more Saltys by 2016).

 

C - Keep him for 3 seasons and pay him a nominal sum of cash, and get 2 top 40 draft picks for him and control your own destiny with making picks. CBA runs through this year so the comp picks can be counted on. There is a possibility of contending in 2016, and you have Stanton in a contract year.

 

D - Keep him a year or two and trade him when he is closer to free agency where an acquiring team will have less a chance of signing him unless they pay an enormous sum to make him not want to test free agency. This likely limits potential trades to west coast, and likely California, teams. This also limits what you would get in a trade by moving him now by probably a third, and you'll only get 1 really great guy and 2 good ones.

 

So what do you do?

 

A is best scenario in a vacuum. Keep him, build the team around him. They look good on paper if they do this and have the payroll to deal with it. It eliminates the unknown in prospects. D is far and away worst scenario. Stanton for 2014 means nothing except they score a few more runs in a non-contending year. And yea it may piss off some fans, but they have already done that and its most important to get the best package now if the decision has been made to move him. Not get 2/3rds of what you were going to get just to win 75 games instead of 70 next year.

 

But I think B and C are closer scenarios than one thinks in a vacuum (see below) because getting those comp picks is kind of getting half the value of your prospect trade in the first place, and you get 3 years of Stanton for very cheap prices, which is worth more than prospects I would say. He could be monstrous in 2016 playing for a contract around a team that, on paper, looks very good right now and could be a contender. If Loria opens the bank and adds 3 free agents he intends to keep (let's say 1 really good one and 2 more saltys), I can live with Scenario C as Stanton is then kept in a scenario where they are actually going for it.

 

--

 

However, I did intentionally not mention one thing above which is ancillary and going outside the vacuum. You also clear payroll in scenario B which is why I think this becomes a very very attractive option because now, you can immediately go out and sign Ubaldo/Garza/Ervin (take your pick) to a 4 year $60 million dollar contract (marlins 1st rounder protected so no big deal), and get all the young guys from another team. I like the idea of dealing with Seattle. They would probably run to trade Walker, Franklin, Smoak, J. Montero, Pike (a good low A SP prospect, think a Nicolino type guy. He is probably the 2nd or 3rd most valuable property in this trade as a side note), and Taylor/Marte (decent young SS prospect flyer, would each be in Marlins top 8-13 prospects) for say Stanton and Alvarez. That gives Seattle the big OF bat they need and a good young 3/4 SP they control for a few years. Kind of a best case scenario for them as Stanton and Alvarez cost less than Cruz/FA SP so they can go all in on Tanaka. This would be tremendous for the Marlins as well as they could stick Franklin and J. Montero (who still has big upside, and at a minimum hits lefties, .828 career OPS MLB level… see where I'm going with that) in AAA for half of 2014 and see what happens for them. Both are probably mainstays on 25 man for seasons once the summer hits, with Franklin taking over 2B longterm. Smoak, who is controlled for 3 years and won't make much, takes over 1B (a very quiet .869 OPS vs RHP last year) in a quasi-stop gap situation and G. Jones shifts to RF for short term which is not a terrible situation with one of Marisnick/Ozuna hanging in AAA. Most importantly, Walker slips into rotation mid-season with Heaney (making rotation them plus Fernandez, Ubaldo/Garza/Ervin, and best of Eovaldi/Turner, plus Nicolino long term… which is a really exciting 7 man group), Marlins get a younger Nicolino in Pike which is huge for the system and a good young SS prospect to bring up with Romero (marlins best 2B prospect in A ball) in lower minors.

 

That team will still hit RHP a bit in 2014 to give them a fighting chance, but the SP staff and bullpen would be ludicrous short and longterm even when they trade Cishek, Dunn and at least some of Eovaldi/Turner/Nicolino/Flynn/Conley/DeScalfani/Urena/Koehler (note - as stated the Marlins have 4 guys in their rotation in front of all of these guys in this scenario) for more bats. Additionally, your # 2 overall pick becomes a bat selection and now you can shift over to T. Turner and not feel bad about neglecting the top end of your rotation as you've added Walker and a real legit veteran # 3 through 2017. Plus, having significant payroll flexibility moving forward to add more bats.

 

Basically, in this rosy scenario, the no-Stanton trade to Seattle Lou 2016 team looks like

 

C - Salty, J. Montero (stanton trade)

1B -

2B - Franklin (stanton trade)

SS - T. Turner (2014 # 2 pick, fast moving college. Not huge upside, but should be good) (lets say Hech doesn't work out)

3B - Moran

LF - Yelich

CF - Marisnick (let's say Ozuna doesn't work out)

RF -

Other Bench - Maybe they get a good bench player or two out of Bugosevic, Dietrich, Keys, etc., but whatever

 

SP - Fernandez, Walker (stanton trade), Ubaldo/Garza/Ervin (FA 2014), Heaney, Nicolino

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