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Marlins Confuse With Badenhop, Rowand Moves

The Marlins made a pair of moves this evening, trading right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league catcher Jake Jeffries along with signing outfielder Aaron Rowand to a minor league deal.

Obviously, these are not the moves that are going to excite the fan base about the Miami Marlins. In reality, not much will come of either move. Nevertheless, it does not make either acquisition look any better by looking at it in the "does it really matter" light. In fact, neither move looks particularly smart.

Badenhop was the only remaining Marlins left from the blockbuster deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers. It is safe to say that, in retrospect, the Fish did not get what they wanted in that trade, and had I told you that the only player that would remain that deal by 2011 for the Marlins was a right-handed middle reliever, you would be disappointed. But for a right-handed middle reliever, Badenhop was just fine.

Badenhop, Year IP K% BB% ERA FIP Avg WAR
2011 63 2/3 18.5 8.7 4.10 2.95 0.8
2010 67 2/3 16.7 7.5 3.99 3.67 0.5
2009 72 18.8 7.9 3.75 3.46 0.8
2009-2011 203 1/3 18.0 8.0 3.96 3.37 0.7

Now, there is no confusing the Hopper as anything but a solid, unspectacular, major league reliever. He would do well in the seventh inning, but his sizeable career split (2.87 FIP against right-handers versus 4.75 FIP against lefties) will always prevent him from being more than a early-inning right-handed reliever and will likely make his peripherals look better than his real performance. Badenhop was completely expendable for the Fish despite his skills, in the same sense that Brian Sanches was.

The problem is that the Marlins seem intent on holding onto this other guy.

Oviedo, Year IP K% BB% ERA FIP Avg WAR
2011 64 1/3 20.5 7.8 4.06 3.98 0.4
2010 65 26.3 7.8 3.46 2.86 1.3
2009 68 2/3 20.5 9.5 4.06 5.17 -0.1
2009-2011 198 22.4 8.3 3.86 4.02 0.5

Now, I do not doubt the likelihood that Juan Carlos Oviedo, or the man formerly known as Leo Nunez, is better than Burke Badenhop. When the numbers are as close as they are, I side with the guy with the better stuff, and Nunez does have some very good stuff. Unfortunately, the fact that the numbers are as close as they should indicate that while Oviedo may be better, he is not better by much. Yet the Marlins traded Badenhop for a catcher that was drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft but has since hit .254/.318/.343 for his career in the minors and is now 24 years old. Meanwhile, the team is still planning on tendering Oviedo a contract, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel.

That's not my understanding RT @MRJManiac: If they can't find a trade partner in the next few hours, are they going to non-tender Oviedo?
Dec 12 via SeesmicFavoriteRetweetReply

Presumably the team is still interested in trading Oviedo, but nothing is likely to happen until his visa situation is cleared up. Until then, teams will not offer anything for the chance of getting Oviedo at a projected $6 million salary for 2012. The team (Marlins or otherwise) could sign Oviedo to a friendlier deal because of his legal problems, but he still is not likely to make less than the $3.65 million he made last season. Even if he makes a similar value, this still avoids the fact that the Fish would be at least entertaining the idea of paying almost $4 million for a guy who is not much better than someone else they just gave away.

The Rowand signing is unlikely to amount to much more than a minor league depth signing, but it is important to note that Rowand has not been important for at least two seasons and is still being paid for one more season by the San Francisco Giants. The only thing the Marlins probably know about Rowand is that he hit the home run off of Oviedo in 2010 that triggered the sudden halt of slide usage by the reliever, which subsequently led to his most successful major league season. Of course, the team undid that in the offseason leading into 2011, and Oviedo promptly returned to being mediocre.

Again, neither move is a killer for the Marlins by any means. However, the moves coupled with the likely decisions the team will be making in a little while regarding their bullpen call into question some of the thinking process of the front office.