The 2012 Miami Marlins Season Review series continues onward, as we track What Went Right and What Went Wrong with the Fish in this miserable 2012 season. Earlier today, we discussed one of the few positives the Marlins did experience in 2012: the success of the prospects they acquired from the trades they made this season. This indeed is a relative success this early in the process, if only because the Marlins will depend on names such as Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi, and Rob Brantly to help fill holes on the team heading into 2013 and going forward for another six seasons, so their early success was quite encouraging.
But as mentioned yesterday, the Marlins gave a significant amount of talent away in order to bring in pitching prospects of the caliber of Turner and Eovaldi. The Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, and Anibal Sanchez in order to acquire those players, and the replacements for those listed were not nearly as effective as the traded players were expected to be. Recall that the Marlins lost upwards of seven wins in 2012 just from failing to meet expectations, and that is with a number of players who did not receive playing time throughout the season. Now add to that the possible losses the Marlins received by playing replacement-level talent in place of legitimate major leaguers who were ready to produce.
Consider what the Marlins expected to receive from the two position players they traded away in 2012.
These were the expectations of Ramirez and Infante going into the regular season, prorated for their time spent with other teams after the trade. If the Marlins really thought they were going to get this kind of value from their players, the team essentially sacrificed another three wins in trading those two players away.
But let us also take into account the fact that Ramirez looked fairly incapacitated compared to this now-lofty projection. After all, he was only hitting .246/.322/.428 (.329 wOBA) with the Fish, and heading into the trade, his projection had likely fallen to closet o .345 wOBA than that. In addition, his defense had looked below average at third base and atrocious based on the numbers. In this article, I estimated that it was perfectly possible that Ramirez is, at this stage, just a 2.3-win player, in which case the Marlins would be losing a lot less in value. But even at 2.3 wins a season, the Marlins would still lose one win from trading Ramirez away.
But what of their replacements? After all, Donovan Solano was an above-average hitter in 2012 (no guarantees going forward) and, well, Greg Dobbs hit .285 this season! Well, Solano replaced Infante after Emilio Bonifacio essentially lost his season due to various injuries, and he did indeed put up a decent campaign, putting up a 1.3-win season according to FanGraphs. But Greg Dobbs also took over at third base for much of the year and was apparently beyond worse than replacement. Dobbs not only hit an extremely empty .285/.313/.386 (.296 wOBA), but he was also terrible defensively at third base along with his horrific escapades in the outfield. FanGraphs has him worth -1.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which is an almost 2009 Bonifacio-like level of poor play. Overall, I think it is safe to say that the infield replacements ended up netting no wins for the Marlins, yielding a straight loss.
With Anibal Sanchez, the story was a little different because of the relative success of Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Turner. We can estimate that Sanchez, who more or less met expectations this season, would have provided 1.2 WAR for the remainder of the season in 74 2/3 innings. The combination of Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi, and Wade LeBlanc somehow put up more than a good enough performance to fill in Sanchez's missing innings, so the assumption here is that the Fish lost no wins in moving from the established Sanchez to the prospects Turner and Eovaldi.
In total, this analysis showed that the Marlins lost three wins to the midseason trades and the wake they left behind. That brings the total number of wins lost as compared to the preseason up to 10 wins, and recall that my preseason projection was that the Marlins would end up at around 85-87 wins, and closer to the low end of that mark. Already, I have accounted for 10 wins in these pieces, and there are two additional wins left on the table due to the team's poor timing luck with runners in scoring position. Finally, I still have not even covered another aspect of the team that went terribly wrong in 2012, which I will discuss tomorrow.