PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 22: Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Of course, the Miami Marlins naturally would pull off their biggest trade in the last two offseasons just an hour after I go to the baseball game without my computer and cannot make a timely post. The Marlins completed a trade with the Detroit Tigers that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers in return for top prospect pitcher Jacob Turner and prospects Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn. In addition, the teams will swap competitive balance draft picks that they acquired last week; the Marlins will now pick first among the second group of draft picks (around the 75th pick) while the Tigers will pick last in the first group of picks (around the 37th pick).
It does not take a genius to realize what this means for the Fish, but let us quickly look at the immediate aftermath of the trade. Tomorrow, we will have more on the analysis of the deal, though you can already check out the talent we got in return thanks to this piece by one of Fish Stripes' prospect gurus Sam Evans.
1. The Marlins became sellers.
It does not mean the Marlins will trade more players, though a number of teams were eyeing Josh Johnson tonight. The team has made Hanley Ramirez more than available as well. Can they make these moves? Will they? I'm not sure, but exploring these ideas has made them sellers at the deadline, and given the prowess of their first trade, it seems like a good move.2. This trade nailed the player's values perfectly.
We'll discuss this more tomorrow, but the Marlins and Tigers could not have been closer to evaluating the value of these players. In previous articles, we established the value of Infante and Sanchez in the trade market, and as a group, we expected them to be worth something like $16 million in trade value. The value of an elite pitching prospect (top 100 in Baseball America pre-season) is around the same amount ($15-16M according to research by Victor Wang in 2009). The extra players may have provided minor additional value, and the swapped compensation picks helped to even out the sides, but overall, the deal could not be more fair for both sides. The Marlins get a chance to build towards the future with one piece they were unlikely to re-sign and one piece that had a year left in his deal, while the Tigers get immediate help for their stretch run.
3. The Marlins received major league ready talent.
The most important part of this deal is that it does not significantly hinder the team's 2013 chances, yet is still forward-looking in nature. Sure, Sanchez is a better pitcher now than Turner is, but Turner is about as close to major-league ready for a top pitching prospect as it gets. This season, he has a 3.16 ERA and 3.58 FIP in ten Triple-A starts, and while the peripherals do not look great in terms of strikeouts and walks, the Fish should allow him a decent amount of time to develop some before bringing him up and having him work against major-league pitching.
Regardless of whether the Marlins start Turner in the majors immediately or if they work him in Triple-A to start his Marlins career, he will have free time to develop away from a pressure situation. If the Fish choose to work him in Triple-A, it should do wonders for his game and help avoid the dangerous situation that happened to Andrew Miller in the last Marlins / Tigers top prospect deal. Provided Turner has not already been busted by the Tigers' aggressive promotion plans, the Fish will have a player who is almost seasoned enough to be placed into a rotation to play in 2013 for contention, presumably in the spot that Sanchez departed.
We'll have more on the trade tomorrow, with more calculations and more insight. But overall, this is an excellent trade for the Miami Marlins.