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Jon Morosi: "One year later, Marlins better off than the Blue Jays."


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Pretty incredible article.

 

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/blockbuster-deal-set-to-pay-off-for-pitching-rich-marlins-032114

 

One year later, the Miami Marlins are better off than the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

A loaded statement? Perhaps. But it's true. For all the justifiable criticism of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria after his 2012 fire sale, the Marlins will win more games than the Blue Jays over the next three seasons.

 

In fairness to the Blue Jays, they are saddled with a brutal schedule in the American League East. I wouldn't be as bullish on the Marlins if they had to play 76 games against the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees and Orioles. But successful teams are built to seize competitive advantages within their particular circumstances. And on that score, the Marlins are in a more favorable position than their trading partner from the November 2012 blockbuster.

 

The Marlins are poised to compete for a wild-card berth -- seriously, they are -- in a National League East that includes the aging Phillies, hobbled Braves, rebuilding Mets . . . and, admittedly, the powerhouse Nationals. Marlins first basemanGarrett Jones told me Thursday that his new team has comparable talent to his old team -- the Pittsburgh Pirates, who reached the playoffs last year.

 

"We can compete with anybody," Jones said.

 

And this wasn'€™t blithe spring optimism. Jones meant it. When I asked why, he replied, "The arms."

 

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are staring at a second consecutive last-place finish. The reason for that: the arms, of course.

 

Consider the state of each team's organizational pitching depth 10 days before the regular season begins.

 

The Marlins are one of the few big league teams in position to trade a starter if they're offered an impact position player in return. They have six experienced starting pitchers on the 40-man roster: Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner, Brad Hand and Tom Koehler. (The latter two have pitched exceptionally well this spring.) Kevin Slowey, a non-roster invitee, has performed well enough in camp to merit a roster spot.

 

Turner, who is out of minor league options, is the most likely trade candidate. Multiple teams have inquired generally about the Marlins' starting pitching in recent days, sources say, with the Mariners and Diamondbacks among the teams most interested in acquiring a starter. Michael Hill, in his first year as the team's president of baseball operations, seems content to wait while gauging the desperation of other teams to add a starter. That's the wise play.

 

Meanwhile, Marlins officials are confident they have no fewer than five prospects capable of starting in the majors at some point this year: left-handers Brian Flynn (who debuted last year), Andrew Heaney (the system's top prospect), Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.

 

Three of the aforementioned 12 -- Alvarez, Nicolino and DeSclafani -- arrived in the controversial trade with the Blue Jays, who happen to be short on pitching at their camp on the opposite Florida coast.

 

Toronto has been among the worst teams in the majors this spring in ERA, WHIP and walks. On aggregate, those numbers represent some cause for concern. Manager John Gibbons can feel relatively confident in what R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle will offer. Drew Hutchison has had an encouraging spring coming off arm surgery. But the uncertainty surrounding the remainder of the rotation has grown since the Jays failed to sign free agent Ervin Santana.

 

Brandon Morrow, a perpetual injury risk, has pitched only five innings in the Grapefruit League. J.A. Happ has issued nine walks in four innings. Esmil Rogers remains inconsistent. Ricky Romero and Marcus Stroman, rotation hopefuls as recently as last week, already have been sent to the minor leagues. Todd Redmond, who averaged less than five innings per start with the Blue Jays in 2013, could begin this season in the rotation.

 

There are sudden calls for top prospect Aaron Sanchez to make the Opening Day roster. He is talented enough, but it's not fair to ask a 21-year-old with zero experience above Class A to rescue the Blue Jays because they made no moves of consequence during the offseason.

 

One year after the Jays were supposed to win the World Series, it's becoming harder to see how they can finish with a winning record. Toronto could contend with the everyday lineup it has now, but the other AL East teams are going to bludgeon the Jays' rotation.

 

Here's the irony: I don't blame Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos for his franchise-altering deal with the Marlins. The organization's greater mistake was a failure to carry over the large-market philosophy of 2012-2013 into the most recent winter. Santana should have been a Blue Jay long before the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy thrust the Braves into the conversation.

 

The Marlins, meanwhile, reverted to an approach that had been an organizational hallmark -- a low budget and emphasis on young talent. The movement started in July 2012, when the Marlins lit the fuse on their ill-fated chemistry experiment by trading Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. Those moves netted Eovaldi, Turner and Flynn.

 

Of equal importance, the Marlins kept All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who won'€™t be traded anytime soon. They also are benefiting from an improved front-office culture. The atmosphere had grown dysfunctional under former GM Admin Beinfest, who was fired last year. The Marlins' operation is running more smoothly overall, now that Hill, Dan Jennings and Dan Noffsinger hold more prominent roles, along with the additions of top evaluators Mike Berger, Craig Weissmann and Jeff McAvoy. Manager Mike Redmond -- who has the ideal personality for this roster --has a better feel for the job in his second season, too.

 

Were Marlins fans right to feel betrayed when the team stripped its roster after one season at a new, publicly financed stadium? Absolutely. But even Loria's harshest critics would have to acknowledge that his front office traded for the right players. The Marlins also have developed a number of their own prospects --” Fernandez (reigning NL Rookie of the Year) foremost among them.

 

Now, one year after fan discontent reached an all-time high, the Marlins' present and future outlooks are quite good. They have the best ERA of any team in the majors this spring, at 2.95 heading into Friday. Some will remain skeptical until the Marlins' March success continues into the regular season. That is fair. But I'd like to remind you of something: The lowest ERAs last spring belonged to the Red Sox and Cardinals.

 

And they did OK in the games that counted, too.

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The young arms have all shown promise, to different extents of course. Mathis has served his purpose as a "signal caller" and should be fine as a backup. He's been worth almost the same as John Buck. The weak link in the trade is Adeiny. If we'd kept Escobar (personality issues aside) and traded Hech, the trade would be looking even better.

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I don't think the issue was ever the logistics of the trade (although trading Jose Reyes/Mark Buerhle/Josh Johnson, despite whatever contracts they have, and NOT getting D'Arnaud in return is still the worst part about that trade), it was the message it sent. Regardless of how the trade turns out, If Brian Flynn/Jake Marisnick/Justin Nicolino/etc... become the greatest thing since sliced bread, that trade is still one of the biggest insults the Marlins organization has ever delivered to its fans. It's an insult to pretend that Loria cares more about the fans/the team/winning more than the bottom dollar, and that they don't give a flying f*ck whether the team has five or fifty losing seasons in a row and nobody shows up to the game, because Loria will continue to enjoy owning a baseball team, pocketing the revenue sharing money and laughing as his cheapness and overall personality will continue to hurt the future of the franchise.

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I think we all know that the stupidest thing Loria did was thinking that he could maintain a $100 million payroll long term and not the trade. The trade made baseball sense. Top baseball people admitted it at the time. Those contracts that we gave out in 2012 never should of happened. Like a lot of us have said, Loria could've just as easily eased himself into a $30-$40 million payroll in season 1 and maintain a $40-60 million payroll long term and nobody would've been mad. It's the extremes that piss people like myself off. Just like fans hate seeing everybody on the team making less than a million bucks each, nobody wants to see us giving $9 million a year to overweight, whiny closers like Heath Bell, $100+ million to an injury prone SS like Jose Reyes, and $48 million to a 33 year old pitcher.

 

The Marlins need to start learning to spend smart. There needs to be a happy median. Go back to the old days where we'd find awesome bargains like Uggla in the Rule V, Cody Ross on waivers, Cantu from outta nowhere. But also spend responsibly on some good free agents. We don't need to go after the top top free agents, but go after a top middle tier style free agent every once in while. Stop waiting until January and dig through the bottom of the barrel to hand $7.5 million to Garrett Jones and $3.5 million to Rafael Furcal.

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I don't think the issue was ever the logistics of the trade (although trading Jose Reyes/Mark Buerhle/Josh Johnson, despite whatever contracts they have, and NOT getting D'Arnaud in return is still the worst part about that trade), it was the message it sent. Regardless of how the trade turns out, If Brian Flynn/Jake Marisnick/Justin Nicolino/etc... become the greatest thing since sliced bread, that trade is still one of the biggest insults the Marlins organization has ever delivered to its fans. It's an insult to pretend that Loria cares more about the fans/the team/winning more than the bottom dollar, and that they don't give a flying f*ck whether the team has five or fifty losing seasons in a row and nobody shows up to the game, because Loria will continue to enjoy owning a baseball team, pocketing the revenue sharing money and laughing as his cheapness and overall personality will continue to hurt the future of the franchise.

 

Flynn came from Detroit...

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I feel like they're overrating our pitching. It's a good position to be in for sure, but I don't see it as being THAT dominant. This team is still not close to ready without one of Marisnick/Ozuna panning out, Salty being serviceable, and at least one more good IF bat.

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The Marlins are poised to compete for a wild-card berth -- seriously, they are -- in a National League East that includes the agingPhillies, hobbled Braves, rebuilding Mets . . . and, admittedly, the powerhouse Nationals. Marlins first basemanGarrett Jones told me Thursday that his new team has comparable talent to his old team -- the Pittsburgh Pirates, who reached the playoffs last year.

 

I don't agree but I hope so. It would be fun to watch the Marlins in the playoffs over the Phillies.

 

Of equal importance, the Marlins kept All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who won'€™t be traded anytime soon.

 

I also don't agree with that statement.

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It pissed me off that Miami didn't get D'arnaud out of it and they could have broken it down and got more pieces without rushing them all into one deal, but it was a solid baseball move.

 

Like people here have said, it's more about the inconsistency ownership has.

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The trade wasn't the problem

 

Not re-investing into the team was the problem - which they still haven't done

 

Bingo. None of this talent even matters if you don't lock it up long term. Fans have little confidence that the guys who emerge into good players will be around by the time a winning team is possible.

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Exactly. Look, from a baseball perspective, you argue about the Jays trade that the Marlins shelled out some significant coin to buy a year of Reyes and Buehrle in 2012 and a number of solid prospects for 2013 and beyond. And all it cost the Marlins in pre-2012 talent was a year of a broken-down JJ and the eminently replaceable Emilio Bonifacio.

 

But for many, many Marlins fans (myself included), the trade confirmed our worst fears about management: that all the pre-2012 cries of poverty and promises of significant future investment into players was all hot air. If the Marlins had honored their commitment, they would have chipped in more money in that trade and pried loose one of the Jays top 2 prospects, D'Arnaud or Syndergaard. Or taken some the saved cash and invested in some proven talent.

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great trade for the Marlins

 

We gave them Reyes and scrubs for Alvarez, Nicolino, DeSclafani, Marisnick.

 

It goes to show you how shortsighted (may I say idiotic) the Blue Jays were last offseason...they traded a slew of their top 10 prospects to the Marlins....then they trade their top 2 prospects (D'Arnaud and Syndergaard) for RA Dickey.

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great trade for the Marlins

 

We gave them Reyes and scrubs for Alvarez, Nicolino, DeSclafani, Marisnick.

 

It goes to show you how shortsighted (may I say idiotic) the Blue Jays were last offseason...they traded a slew of their top 10 prospects to the Marlins....then they trade their top 2 prospects (D'Arnaud and Syndergaard) for RA Dickey.

It took balls. They took a shot and missed, shit happens. If everyone stayed healthy maybe it works.

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It took balls. They took a shot and missed, s*** happens. If everyone stayed healthy maybe it works.

 

That team had no chance of succeeding even if everyone was healthy. The problem wasn't as much injuries as it was players they paid high dollar for absolutely sucking.

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Anyway, my major problem with the trade is that the Marlins clearly overvalued some of the pieces they acquired. I get the impression that they viewed Hechavarria as the most coveted piece of the trade despite the fact that it was clear that his offensive capabilities were pretty poor before he even put on a Marlins uniform.

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Anyway, my major problem with the trade is that the Marlins clearly overvalued some of the pieces they acquired. I get the impression that they viewed Hechavarria as the most coveted piece of the trade despite the fact that it was clear that his offensive capabilities were pretty poor before he even put on a Marlins uniform.

 

His final year in triple-A suggested he wasn't terrible.

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That doesn't do much to undermine his previous track record of sucking, in part because it was in the PCL.

It was still success. He wouldn't be the first guy who hit in the PCL that also had success in the majors. It was also his most recent season before the trade.

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