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Fish Food: Trade reaction, Payroll update, Winter Meetings

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Continuing to process the fallout from the Dee Gordon/Giancarlo Stanton deals.

St Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
Dejected Tazawa seems fitting atm.
Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Marlins’ fans trade reaction: We all grieve in different ways

Quite the whirlwind last few days, eh Marlins fans? First Dee Gordon and then Giancarlo Stanton were moved — and it only feels like the tip of the iceberg.

This probably evokes a feeling you’d hoped had gone away forever (but you knew in your heart never would): The Marlins are about to launch headfirst into another fire sale, a phrase so synonymous with this franchise that if it were a part of the team’s motto, no one would bat an eye.

I saw a wide range of emotion on social media in reaction to the events of the last few days and even here in the Fish Stripes comment section. Some fans decided that this was their final straw and, to varying degrees, they’d be backing away from the Marlins.

Those people were in turn admonished by some of the more practical members of the Fish Faithful, who gave a virtual wave goodbye and told them not to return when the team was good again in (pick your favorite timeline here).

Some felt the jury was out on the trade return in the Stanton deal. Some thought it was horrible. Some thought the action of trading Stanton himself was horrible. Others felt it inevitable.

There were those who were begrudgingly glad that a rebuild seemed officially underway. And there were those who laughed heartily at the notion of calling what had taken place anything other than a straight salary dump.

The national media raked Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman over the coals, as anticipated. How could they do this to Marlins fans, who have already had to endure so much? How could the MLB allow this to happen?

I read a lot yesterday, and of everything I read, Dayn Perry’s article struck truest with me (despite the unnecessary and tired jab a couple of paragraphs in at the supposedly minuscule but in reality dormant Marlins’ fanbase).

If you didn’t like what went down yesterday, it all comes back to Jeffrey Loria. Loria gave Stanton the backloaded contract extension it appears he never had any intention of paying. Loria agreed to hand out questionable contracts near the end of his run like candy. Loria sold the team to Jeter and Sherman instead of Jorge Mas, who probably balked at the asking price because he knew he’d have to pony up a significant amount of his own money for at least two years straight to maintain or increase the payroll, all while he scrambled around trying to bolster revenue in order to offset the supposed debt racked up under the previous regime.

However you feel about the trade, whether you accepted it as a matter of course or hated it or felt it too light for a reigning MVP, it’s important to remember that Jeter’s legacy with the Marlins wasn’t written yesterday.

It will be written into the fate of the 2020 Marlins. The 2021 Marlins. The 2022 Marlins. Where the organization goes from here is what truly matters, and from at least this tiny corner of the world, the fledgling ownership group will get some time to allow their vision to fully manifest itself.

Doesn’t mean that yesterday didn’t suck for virtually everyone who considers themselves a Miami Marlins fan. I hate the idea of Stanton in pinstripes. Hate it. Even those who were completely practical about trading him weren’t thrilled about his departure.

I really liked this particular group of players and I was hopeful beyond hope that they would be the ones to break through the playoff drought. That dream is officially over, and it saddens me greatly. Now, we simply have to hope that Jeter and Gary Denbo are slowly but steadily bringing into focus a comprehensive plan to bring this franchise sustained contention for the first time since...well, for the first time ever, really.

I don’t blame you at all if you ain’t feeling that right now, though.

What’s the payroll look like now?

Thanks to Marc Normandin’s breakdown in his article yesterday, I have a nice little blurb that I can pull here instead of typing up more words myself!

“...their [the Marlins] Opening Day payroll for the 25-man roster in 2017 was $115 million, and their projected payroll to begin the offseason was nearly $132 million. Trading Dee Gordon to the Mariners freed up $10.8 million, and the Giancarlo Stanton trade to the Yankeeswhich is just pending his approval and physicals — will slash another $25 million from the budget. Moving those two players gets the Marlins down to about $97 million in projected payroll, though bringing Starlin Castro and his $10.9 million back in return for Stanton bumps them back up to about $108 million.”

At $108 million it would seem that the team still has some work to do. Initial reports had the Marlins’ intended payroll slash at $90 million, then $75 million, and now as low as $55 million.

The exact target is really no longer important to anyone not in the Marlins ownership group. What is important is that if they have no intention of adding salary in order to (significantly) bolster the starting rotation, they then need to trade anyone and everyone of value. This is no time to half-ass a rebuild. The fan base is already pissed off and jaded, might as well keep going! Almost all will be forgiven if the winning starts happening three, four seasons down the line here.

The Winter Meetings have arrived

Speaking of trading everyone, the annual winter meetings have officially kicked off today a bit north of Miami at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The meetings will run from December 10th through the 14th and typically produce a couple of significant trades.

On the Marlins front, now that the so-called Stanton domino has fallen, look for increased activity around Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Starlin “not so long a Marlin” Castro. The St. Louis Cardinals have been tied to both remaining Marlins outfielders and are expected to make a hard push for one or the other. Meanwhile, Miami’s NL East division rival, the New York Mets, have already inquired about Starlin Castro’s services.

Jeter and company will also likely use this opportunity to explore moving some of the more onerous contracts remaining on the books, those belonging to Wei-Yin Chen, Martin Prado, Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa.