Since he filed a grievance against the organization in 2011 and upset front office executives with several of his tweets, Logan Morrison was never the same player. That was the last year he was healthy. Two knee surgeries and an inconsistent return would follow.
Morrison in his rookie year batted .283 with a .390 on-base percentage. That was the player the Marlins thought they were going to get. After trading him to Seattle at last week's Winter Meetings, Miami can now only watch.
Following a second knee procedure in two years, Morrison was confident he was going to head into Spring Training healthy. It would be the first time since 2011 he is on the playing field and ready for Opening Day before the season starts. Instead of waiting to see if Morrison was the first baseman of the future, observing whether or not his health affected his inconsistent offensive numbers, the Marlins took what President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill called a gamble by trading him to the Mariners.
"That's a fair question," Hill replied when asked if the team thought about holding on to Morrison just a little longer to see if he returned to earlier form. "And it's something that we went back and forth with this offseason."
Ultimately, Miami thought it would be best to move on, having already signed free agent Garrett Jones to a two-year contract to play first base. The Marlins weren't reportedly looking to acquire a reliever in exchange for Morrison, though teams refused to bring their third baseman into play.
Hill discussed with the Miami Herald the fact that the team wasn't completely optimistic about Morrison's future.
"We really haven’t seen a productive LoMo since the 2011 season when he hit 23 home runs," Hill said. "We needed to upgrade, that six home runs and 36 RBI [last season], it just wasn’t going to get us where we wanted to go."
By substituting Jones for Morrison, Hill said the Marlins are getting a "consistent run producer, anywhere from 15 to 27 home runs on an annual basis," and that Jones was "a better fit moving forward."
Miami is aware of the fact that Morrison could, once healthy, become his 2011 self. But the club didn't want to waste any more time as they began constructing their 2014 roster.
"We felt that there was value in LoMo," Hill said. "He's just 26 years old and there's still a ton of potential there. There's no question there's a ton of potential. But we wanted to go with a more proven, consistent player. And I think once we made that decision, we went to work on trying to sign the best fit [Jones] to help our ballclub."
In Carter Capps, the Marlins saw a young arm with a bright future. And because of the success he had during his rookie year, Hill believes the trade was a gamble that will pay off.
"Our scouts identified something in his delivery that we will address immediately, that we think will allow him to return to the dominant form that we saw in 2012," Hill said. "We saw glimpses of it last year also. But we're not worried at all that he will not be an effective back-end reliever for us. Definitely, we have not seen the best of Carter Capps."