Days before the annual Winter Meetings, Jim Bowden of ESPN released an article titled "5 bold predictions for the winter meetings." And they were very bold. However, number three on his list might turn out to be one of the boldest predictions he will have ever made in his career.
Bowden's list began with the talk of the meetings, stating that the New York Mets would resign R.A. Dickey, which they haven't yet done. He also went on to say that the Cleveland Indians would be active (which is still arguable), that the Royals would trade for an elite starter, and that the Texas Rangers would resign outfielder Josh Hamilton (which reportedly never came close to happening).
His third prediction, which was dedicated to a Marlins organization coming off of a fire sale, read "The Miami Marlins will sign a free agent and give him a full no trade clause."
It's tough to argue with such a point. Following a fire sale and looking to improve a roster with many young players, it's clear that the Marlins should be and are interested in adding several veteran free agent players. After the blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays, though, they knew that would be a challenge.
The prediction is only logical because after being one of baseball's only organizations that refuses to give a player a sense of security, the only way the Miami Marlins would be able to sign any type of free agent would be by including a no-trade clause in his contract.
What free agent would want to sign with a team that just got rid of five key players, four of which were in the Opening Day lineup?
Now that it is all said and done, Bowden's prediction was way off. The Miami Marlins did not even sign a free agent, let alone give a no-trade clause.
In fact, despite being interested in Mark Reynolds and other third baseman (see "Marlins Work Themselves Into A Corner With Third Base Situation"), the Marlins came away from the meetings down a major league player, having traded Yunel Escobar, who changed his mind about being willing to play third base.
Bowden ended his argument by admitting that if the Marlins ended up signing Albert Pujols like they wanted to, he probably would have been in Toronto right now too. And who could disagree?
-Miami landed outfielder Alfredo Silverio from the Dodgers and left-handed pitcher Braulio Lara from from the Rays using their two picks in the Rule 5 draft. Silverio was projected to replace Andre Ethier in right field before a car accident that set him back. Lara was 6-10 with a 5.71 ERA in the Florida State League last year.
-After trading Yunel Escobar to the Rays, the Marlins are searching for a third baseman. Miami reportedly had interest in Jeff Keppinger, who recently signed a three year contract with the White Sox. Eric Chavez, who the Marlins were considering, just signed with the Diamondbacks. "I don't think there are any third basemen that are out there that we haven't talked about," President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said. "We'll get somebody."
-Adam Greenberg, who the Marlins signed for a day and gave one at bat to last season, was at the Winter Meetings looking for a team to invite him to spring training. The Marlins, though, informed him they have no interest in bringing him to spring training.
-Speaking at the Winter Meetings, manager Mike Redmond said that his biggest challenge will be "getting the young players to have success in the big leagues." Redmond added that he and his staff will begin helping some of the younger players once spring training begins.
-Redmond also added that he plans to place Giancarlo Stanton in the cleanup spot and have Logan Morrison batting third. Miami executives have said that they don't necessarily seek protection for Stanton in the lineup.
-As they left Nashville, the Marlins said that they are not necessarily done making moves. They will continue to search for a low-cost third baseman after trading Escobar for a minor league infielder. "We're shopping right now with Yunel's money," Beinfest said.
-Taking on a roster that will feature many young players, manager Mike Redmond said he is excited to change the culture in Miami. "Obviously, I knew the organization was not happy with the 93 losses, and that there was going to be some changes," said Redmond, who replaced Ozzie Guillen on Nov. 1. "I knew that going in. We've picked up a lot of great young players. We're starting with a clean slate. We're going to be able to go out there and develop these young players."
-Though he expressed his displeasure with the organization after the blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays, Giancarlo Stanton is likely to remain a Miami Marlin. Even if he doesn't remain in South Florida long-term, Miami may wait until next summer to trade Stanton to ensure they get maximum value.
-Stanton wasn't the only Marlin to publicly admit that he wasn't satisfied with the direction the organization is headed. Pitcher Ricky Nolasco also said that he wasn't happy and wanted to be traded, however the Marlins have said that they plan to keep him. "Ricky is just interested in getting a fresh start with a different organization,'' agent Matt Sosnick told the Palm Beach Post. "He doesn't feel like playing for the Marlins is conducive to being as happy and productive as a player as he can be.''
Around The League
-The Los Angeles Dodgers are nearing a deal with Zack Greinke, according to reports. The deal is expected to be for six years and is worth $147 million.
-The Texas Rangers traded Michael Young to the Phillies for a pair of right handed pitchers on Saturday. Young is expected to play third base for the Phillies.
-Alex Rodriguez is relieved that he is on the comeback trail and aims to join the Yankees midseason. "It was a crushing blow when we got to Vail, Colo., and I talked to my doctors," Rodriguez said. "It was obviously a big blow, but there is a very small part of me that is relieved that there is a tangible issue and we can adjust and get back to playing really good baseball."
-The Seattle Mariners signed outfielder Jason Bay to a one-year contract. Bay struggled while with the New York Mets.
At Fish Stripes
-Here is a list of the Marlins' top 20 prospects for 2013.
-What do the Fish Stripes authors think of the Yunel Escobar trade? Find out here.
-Yunel Escobar refused to play third base, and the Marlins reportedly traded him because of it.
-Is Marlins prospect Austin Barnes ready for a breakout season? Find out here.