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Checking In On Jeter’s Fire Sale

New York Yankees Derek Jeter warming up before a game against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, June 28, 2007 in Baltimore.

We’re coming up on two years since Derek Jeter’s ownership group assumed control of the Marlins. And while we’ve looked back at times at some of the transactions that made up Jeter’s franchise-resetting fire sale, the two-year mark feels like a good time to look at the moves in their totality.

We won’t cover every move that’s been made since Jeter and Co. took over. But below, we’ll look specifically at the net effect of the seven biggest trades that have been made in this two-year span.

Marcell Ozuna

Traded to St. Louis for Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano

Marcell Ozuna has not made it back to an All-Star Game since being dealt to St. Louis, which is why we’ve written before that St. Louis lost this trade. He’d have been nice to have around, but Ozuna’s best years may already be behind him, which made him a poor fit on Miami’s timeline. Meanwhile, Alcantara and Sierra are already getting time with the big league club, and while neither is setting the MLB on fire, they’re both 23 and getting valuable experience (with Alcantara showing some flashes of good stuff on the mound). Gallen, a talented prospect, was recently flipped for shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm (already ranked fourth in the organization), and Castano remains a ways away from relevance.

Verdict: Again, St. Louis lost this trade, and Alcantara and Chisholm could be relevant the next time the Marlins are.

Christian Yelich

Traded to Milwaukee for Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz, and Jordan Yamamoto

This is the one that hurts. While Yelich may have been difficult to hang onto long term, it’s safe to say the organization didn’t know he was this good when he was dealt away. That’s not to say the return hasn’t been promising. At 23, Yamamoto has had a strong first season pitching for the Marlins; Lewis Brinson and Isan Diaz recently got called up; and Monte Harrison is one of the team’s top prospects.

Verdict: Milwaukee won this one. The Marlins may prove to have gotten a lot, but if they could trade Yelich again today they’d get more.

Giancarlo Stanton

Traded to New York Yankees for Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman, and José Devers

Giancarlo Stanton seems to be a bit of an enigma. For all his talent, he never seems entirely necessary. He was an NL MVP for a forgettable Miami team. And now he’s on an extended IL trip for a Yankees team that’s steamrolling toward World Series favorite status. In fact, checking in on the internet’s top betting apps shows the Yankees neck-and-neck with the Astros and Dodgers in the odds (and with most of these betting platforms located in the UK, you have to figure the MLB picture has to be very clear for them to post definitive odds). In other words, a team can fail with Stanton at his best and succeed with him at his worst. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ package, too, is somewhat of an unknown. Castro is in decline, and the jury’s out on Guzman and Devers as prospects.

Verdict: Miami won. It’s a strange trade, and one that hurt at the time, but in the end the biggest factor was getting rid of Stanton’s contract for the rebuild. Stanton may yet contribute to deep playoff runs in New York, but even if that’s the case, both teams can feel okay about this one.

Dee Gordon

Traded to Seattle for Robert Drugger, Nick Neidert, and Christopher Torres

This trade, all in all, feels like one of the least significant. Gordon has done what Gordon does well for Seattle, but hasn’t quite regained his All-Star form, suggesting he’s another player who was worth letting go of to take a shot at prospects. However, this package from the Mariners hasn’t exactly lit the farm system up. Neidert remains a fairly well-regarded prospect and is only 21, so there’s at least hope that he looks like a steal down the road.

Verdict: If there has to be a winner, it’s probably Seattle simply because Gordon looks like he’ll ultimately have been the best player in the deal by far.

J.T. Realmuto

Traded to Philadelphia for Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez, and Will Stewart

It happened about a year after the initial fire sale, but this might end up being the most interesting trade of the bunch. J.T. Realmuto became a very hot commodity during the last offseason, to the point that the front office was ultimately able to get more than what people would have expected just a few weeks prior in exchange for him. Sixto Sanchez is the top prospect in the Marlins’ system; Will Stewart has a legitimate chance to climb the ranks; and Jorge Alfaro, while certainly no Realmuto, has had a solid enough first season at the big league level, hitting .260 from behind the plate. Realmuto, meanwhile, has been very good - though perhaps not great enough for Marlins fans to regret the deal.

Verdict: This one’s a push. We won’t know until we see Sanchez in the majors.

Justin Bour

Traded to Philadelphia for McKenzie Mills

Letting go of Justin Bour wasn’t easy for fans. He’s an easy player to love, even if his defensive limitations can be maddening. Furthermore, the underwhelming prospect McKenzie Mills wasn’t exactly a glowing return. However, it’s also true that Bour would not have been easy or strategic to keep long term, and sadly he’s performed poorly enough to have recently been sent to the minors by the Angels (with whom he ultimately wound up). This is simply not an inspiring trade from either angle.

Verdict: Insignificant. This trade just doesn’t matter as much as Bour’s name suggests it should.

Kyle Barraclough

Traded to Washington for international bonus money (Victor Victor Mesa)

The Marlins never had much in the way of pitching talent for Jeter’s team to trade away. But Barraclough was the exception, and fetched a fascinating return in the form of international bonus pool money—which wound up enabling the Fish to sign Victor Victor Mesa. The Cuban outfielder has since become one of the most intriguing prospects in the organization, while Barraclough has turned in an awful 2019 season.

Verdict: Marlins win.

Taking all of these transactions together, it’s easier than it once was to admit that the front office has done reasonably well. Firm judgments can’t be made until the prospects reach (or don’t reach) their potential. And there’s no question that a lot of talent has departed Miami, with Yelich being the big regret. But this overall is starting to look like a wash, with the Marlins maintaining some potential to see benefits down the road.