Giancarlo Stanton was off limits. Jose Fernandez was off limits. Every core player was probably untouchable.
Miami made four notable deals leading up the non-waiver trade deadline. Steve Cishek was dealt to St. Louis. Dan Haren was sent to Chicago. Michael Morse and Mat Latos were sent to Los Angeles. Sam Dyson was traded to Texas. The Marlins were rightfully not willing to deal any players that are expected to contribute in 2016. As a result, the Marlins did not receive much in return. But for this team right now, that might be alright.
Cishek was a core bullpen piece. He was Miami's closer at one point. But he was getting expensive and A.J. Ramos has proven he can close games. The Marlins have enough bullpen depth in 2015. Cishek was not having a great season. The organization got what it could in Kyle Barraclough.
Michael Morse was struggling and Mat Latos was not expected to re-sign with the Marlins. Yes, the Marlins had to deal a competitive balance pick. But they got salaries off their hands. It was not a salary dump. If one of Jeff Brigham, Kevin Guzman, or Victor Araujo makes it to the majors, the trade should be considered successful.
Haren was a candidate to be traded in August. The Marlins found a deal they liked and made the most of the situation. Like Latos, Haren is an impending free agent. Miami included cash in the deal with the Cubs. As a result, they got two notable prospects, Ivan Pineyro and Elliot Soto, in return.
The Marlins never really had a role for Sam Dyson. Tomas Telis will help the Marlins on the bench at a position where they really do not have depth. Cody Ege could prove to be a valuable left-handed arm.
Leading up to the deadline, if you want notable players, you have to deal notable players. This season, the Marlins did not have the assets to deal. Marcell Ozuna, Martin Prado, and Carter Capps all likely drew the most interest. But all three should help the Marlins win in 2016.
The Marlins were thought to be shopping for starting pitching. The time to add starting depth and offense will likely come this winter.
It should be considered a successful deadline for the Marlins. They traded impending free agents, got rid of loaded contracts, and added minor league depth to a depleted system. Miami will have another opportunity to contend moving forward. These deals will give them the opportunity to do so.