The Miami Marlins have more or less completed their offseason goals with the signings of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones, Rafael Furcal, and Casey McGehee and the Logan Morrison trade. The Fish have filled roster holes at second base, third base, and catcher with new (if not necessarily better) talent, and the team is heading into the 2014 season with a brand new set of players while not sacrificing any of their prospect pitching talent.
But as you will recall, we here at Fish Stripes had our own offseason plan that took a drastically different turn than the one the Fish executed. While Miami went the free agent signing route and tried to avoid trading talent and depth, I opted to use some of the Fish's better trade chips to acquire long-term assets in our deal while improving the short-term a little more significantly.
How do those two plans stack up? Let's take a look at how those two plans differed and what the projections say about their respective 2014 seasons.
Present Versus Future
Both plans had thoughts about the present of the roster and the future of the Marlins. The Fish Stripes plan sacrificed some of the team's copious pitching prospects in order to acquire a four-year, long-term asset in Los Angeles Angels catcher Hank Conger. It essentially shifted parts of the future into an asset who could contribute for four years, including this season. It improved both the present and the future of the roster in that respect. The satellite additions of Howie Kendrick and Juan Uribe filled holes in the roster, but they also opened up smaller holes in the rotation and bullpen. The thought was that the Marlins have enough pitching depth to survive a deal of someone like Henderson Alvarez, because the franchise has a number of names like Andrew Heaney who would be ready to step up shortly.
The real Marlins opted for a different strategy. Their focus was on improving the present of the franchise by making a number of free agent signings, most notably that of Saltalamacchia. Miami covered their catching situation for three years with Saltalamacchia, who is at least the equivalent of Conger and may be slightly better at the plate, but who is also three years older. The team put in stopgap options at second base and third base, none of whom are significantly better than their current players but will not hurt the team's long-term salary sheet.
As for the future, Miami opted to maintain its current trajectory for the future, and that is an important difference in decision making. Miami bought a number of players, none of whom will turn the franchise around tomorrow. But the team also did not sacrifice any long-term assets to do so, meaning Miami's bright pitching future remains intact. In my plan, the Fish traded Alvarez and one pitching prospect to acquire Conger and better short-term players. I chose to eat into the Marlins' future to help the 2014 and 2015 seasons, perhaps in the hopes of selling Giancarlo Stanton on a long-term extension. The real Marlins gave up nothing from their potential 2016 team, but aside from Saltalamacchia, probably did not improve their current club by much.
Logan Morrison and First Base
In my plan, I opted to keep Logan Morrison, figuring that there was not a lot of other options available in the free agent market. Having already spent cash on both Juan Uribe and Howie Kendrick, I figured that playing for Morrison's upside had a better chance of succeeding for Miami than spending $7 million or so on a James Loney or Justin Morneau. The downside is that I did not get to acquire anyone with Morrison's limited trade value.
The Marlins went the other way, choosing "consistency" and Garrett Jones over Morrison's upside. I do not think this move is correct, and I would have liked to see Miami open the pocketbooks more if they planned on replacing Morrison. If the plan is to get better at first base this season, the Fish should have gone out to acquire a better first baseman than Jones and taken a more significant improvement at the position.
Let's take a look at how these two plans stacked up. We will revisit our initial projections from this article and update them with the newly available Oliver projections as well, taking the average of the two. For Morrison, his Marlins projections are no longer available, so I used what we had from the article.
|Position||Name||PA||Avg wOBA||Avg WAR|
|Bullpen and Other||1.7|
In this iteration, the Marlins are much improved offensively but dropped in efficiency on the pitching front. Their rotation is worse without Henderson Alvarez, with only Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi as significant contributors. The bullpen, on my presumption, is a win less valuable without Steve Cishek at the closer spot. I have this club worth 27.7 Wins Above Replacement, which is about where it was when I first calculated it.
What about the actual Marlins?
|Position||Name||PA||Avg wOBA||Avg WAR|
|Bullpen and Other||2.7|
Without looking too deeply into the roster and making some minor adjustments to the numbers, I have the current Marlins roster projected to be 27.1 WAR, which is essentially the same as the plan that I wrote out for the team. The Marlins' signings added just enough value that having the full complement of the Marlins' pitching staff picked up the extra wins. Having two more wins in between Alvarez and Tom Koehler helped to make up that value tremendously.
The Marlins' actual plan and our Fish Stripes offseason plan each had their merits. Which one did you like the most? Let us know in the comments!