As rumors consider to swirl concerning who the Marlins might move (to improve the organization in the future or to help facilitate the sale of the team, pick your prerogative), I can’t help but notice the names being thrown out there: Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour, JT Realmuto, Martin Prado, Edinson Volquez...in addition to the more obvious candidates residing in the bullpen (AJ Ramos, David Phelps, Kyle Barraclough).
Some of these guys moving would make sense. The team as of this writing is 10 back in the Wild Card standings and eight game under .500, where they’ve largely hovered all season long. It’s tough to imagine this team, with the rotation as it’s presently constituted, getting back into the mix of things. It’s the timing that garners suspicion.
I personally didn’t take the Adeiny Hechavarria trade as a sign that another fire sale was about to be launched, but maybe I should have given the history of the franchise under Jeffrey Loria. Hech wasn’t going to come back to Miami and start hitting; it’s irrelevant if he does so in Tampa Bay, so it made sense from a baseball perspective that the front office had decided that his glove-work wasn’t enough to cover for his lack of a stick. Furthermore, you have JT Riddle and Miguel Rojas in the organization who are capable (if uninspiring) replacements. It was, on it’s surface, a normal front office decision that could’ve been made by a normal front office anywhere around baseball.
Unfortunately the real reason seems to have been financially-motivated, surprise surprise. Hech’s departure meant that the Tampa Bay Rays would be picking up the rest of his salary for the season, over two million dollars. The impending sale of the team puts any such moves going forward under a bright spotlight.
The simple fact of the matter is that the current ownership group cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of the Miami Marlins at this time. David Samson can talk all he wants about other franchises and rebuilding but there is a reason the phrase “fire sale” and the negative connotations it conjures are intimately associated with this particular franchise.
I believe Commissioner Manfred is cognizant of this and wont allow Loria and company to rip this team apart and sell off the players simply to help facilitate the impending sale of the team. Moving many of these players now would be doing so for the wrong reason. Maybe you believe that it would be in the team’s best interest to act now and send some of these players off while at the peak of their abilities. Fair enough, but do you really want this administration and it’s checkered trade record deciding the fate of this franchise for the next three to five years?
Furthermore, there is a core in place offensively that is still young, controllable and can be built around. Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, JT Realmuto are a part of this core. Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour to a lesser extent. Many people who like to talk Marlins baseball act as if there is only one way to re-stock a farm system, via trade. That’s certainly the quickest way, but you can also draft wisely and deftly scout the international market. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see how a new ownership group handles this aspect of the operation. I’d love to see them be given the chance to surround this offensive core with pitching harvested from their evaluation methods.
Again, there is absolutely an arguement for shipping off players now. Show me a contract coming up at season’s end, I have no problem with that player being moved. If the team weren’t in the midst of being sold, I’d be actively advocating for several players to be dealt. But not in this scenario. Not by this ownership.
Maybe, despite the theoretical benevolent new owner’s best efforts, what we’ve come to lovingly know as a fire sale is inevitable for the Marlins and the new ownership group. So be it. Let it be their decision to embark on such an endeavor. Don’t leave it to Jeffrey Loria.