Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill must have been rooting for an autocorrect mishap.
The Seattle Mariners were prepared to part with a significant prospect package and absorb a long-term contract to improve their major league roster. Great! Now, if only it didn’t mean trading away NL All-Star and Gold Glove winner Dee Gordon.
Unfortunately, Hill and Jerry Dipoto spoke specifically about Gordon prior to and during November’s MLB general managers meeting, as James Wagner of The New York Times reports. No other player in Marlins history has ever had his initials, anyway. Dipoto’s phone wasn’t going to confuse him for, say, Martin Prado, Wei-Yin Chen or one of the club’s less desirable assets.
That’s an important consideration in 2018, when the highest ranking baseball executives are occasionally closing transactions like this through text message conversations:
“When it came time to complete the trade, a problem emerged: Dipoto was going to be on a plane for several hours, flying to Seattle. So, using the airplane’s Wi-Fi, Dipoto fired text messages back and forth with Hill to finish a deal that would send Gordon to Seattle in exchange for several prospects.
“‘I’ll call you when we’re on the ground, but we’re good on this end,’ Dipoto texted Hill from the plane.
“And when Dipoto landed and called, Hill asked if he had ever before made a trade by text. ‘Yes, Mike,’ Dipoto said, ‘but I hope this one works out better.’”
In exchange, the Fish acquired infielder Christopher Torres and right-handed pitchers Robert Dugger and Nick Neidert (who we recently profiled for the “Marlin on the Rise” series). Gordon is expected to be Seattle’s everyday center fielder next season.
If GMs are comfortable enough to settle deals of this magnitude with their fingertips (and emojis), it’s time to update our clichés about baseball’s front office culture. Verbal negotiations were sooooo 2002.
Going forward, Hill better not get too casual about this. Gordon was a key player, but the Marlins need to fully maximize their most valuable trade chips (Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto). It might help to dust off the landline and raise his voice with interested teams to ensure they put decent proposals on the table.