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How the Marlins are still connected to post-2012 salary dump

The old Marlins regime spun a hideous payroll situation (of their own creation) into several key long-term contributors.

We all have a painful memory of 2012. Back then, the team moved to a new stadium, was renamed the Miami Marlins, had a new manager (Ozzie Guillén), and a bunch of new stars, including RHP Heath Bell, LHP Mark Buehrle, and SS José Reyes. But all that fell apart fast. By midseason, it was clear that they lacked the talent to seriously contend, and the front office went on a fire sale.

Most established players on the active roster—except for Giancarlo Stanton—were traded for younger, cheaper building blocks. An interesting core gradually matured from the rubble, only to be torn down again under new ownership in 2017.

Would you believe that, through all the chaos, one series of transactions connects the Marlins’ past, present and future?

On November 19, 2012, the Marlins sent Reyes, Buehrle, C John Buck, UT Emilio Bonifacio, RHP Josh Johnson, and cash to the Toronto Blue Jays. They received RHP Henderson Álvarez, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, IF Yunel Escobar, SS Adeiny Hechavarría, OF Jake Marisnick, C Jeff Mathis, and LHP Justin Nicolino.

Moving forward, Marisnick was a key piece. Right before the 2014 trade deadline, they flipped him along with 3B Colin Moran and RHP Francis Martes to the Houston Astros in exchange for RHP Jarred Cosart, OF Austin Wates, and UT Kiké Hernández. Mere months later, in December 2014, Hernández was traded by Miami with C Austin Barnes, RHP Chris Hatcher, and LHP Andrew Heaney to the Los Angeles Dodgers for—pay attention—2B Dee Gordon, RHP Dan Haren, SS Miguel Rojas, and cash.

Rojas rapidly became a fan favorite in Miami, excelling as the utility guy between 2015 and 2018 before taking over the full-time shortstop role in 2019. He’s been getting better year after year offensively and is now Martín Prado’s natural successor as the leader of the clubhouse.

Gordon had one of the most spectacular seasons in Miami Marlins history. In an All-Star 2015 campaign, he won the NL batting title, a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger, piling up 205 hits. In 2017, he stole 60 bases, a mark no one else has reached since the team moved to Miami.

The speedy infielder ended up as one of the most popular guys in Marlins Park before departing to Seattle on December 7, 2017 for RHP Nick Neidert, SS Christopher Torres, and RHP Robert Dugger. Those three remain in the organization, with Neidert having the highest ceiling.

Haren only appeared in 21 games for the Fish. He finished with a 7-7, 3.42 ERA record after 21 starts. Then, the righty was sent to the Chicago Cubs, where he called it quits after that ‘15 postseason.

h/t Baseball Savant

If not for the 2012 fire sale, it’s hard to imagine Rojas, Neidert, Torres and Dugger ever becoming Fish. Hopefully, at least a couple of them will have important roles in bringing this rebuilding process to completion.