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Grading Miami Marlins pre-lockout offseason moves

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The Miami Marlins made a flurry of moves right before the MLB lockout began. Naturally, the fanbase has a lot of mixed opinions about them.

Today, I grade all the moves that the Marlins have made so far.

1. Marlins acquire Louis Head in exchange for player to be named later: B

Around the beginning of the offseason, the Marlins made a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire Louis Head. Head was solid in the small sample size played for Tampa (2-0, 2.31 ERA, 35.0 IP, 32 SO, 0.86 WHIP), though he was not a piece of their bullpen come playoff time. Miami was and currently still is in need of a couple of bullpen pieces and Head definitely will contribute with his fastball-slider combination. He can remain under club control all the way through 2027 if he stays this effective for his new team. The Marlins made a good deal with the Rays.

2. Marlins extend Miguel Rojas (2 YRS/$10M): A

Miguel Rojas may have taken a hometown discount to stick around with the Marlins for 2 more seasons. Miggy Ro is a huge piece of what the Marlins have wanted to do and has been a supporter of their rebuild from day one. The 32-year-old captain is the longest-tenured current Marlin and on track to be among the longest-tenured Marlins ever. Projected to be their starter at shortstop in 2022, he has the versatility and mindset to eventually shift to a lesser role if the Marlins have an opportunity to upgrade at a fair price. Miguel Rojas brings an immense amount of leadership and experience to the team and is understandably beloved by the organization from top to bottom and the fans of Miami.

3. Marlins sign Avisail García (4 YRS/$53M): A-

The first big free agent signing for the Marlins was to bring in OF Avisaíl García who had an impressive season with the Brewers (461 AB, 68 R, 121 H, 26 HR, 86 RBI, .262 BA, .330 OBP, .820 OPS). He opted out of the final year of his contract with them and it proved to be the right business decision. An A- is the grade because García is relatively young at 30 years old with special physical skills. I am personally not a huge fan of the number of guaranteed years, so my grade was lowered to reflect that. Avisaíl’s mammoth homer against the Marlins as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019 sums up what he’s capable of. If you would like to hear a different perspective on Avisaíl Garcia, I highly encourage you to listen to the segment on Fish Stripes Unfiltered with Daniel Álvarez of El Extrabase.

4. Marlins extend Sandy Alcantara (5 YRS/$56M): A+++

The most necessary move that had to be made was the Marlins extending the ace of their rotation, Sandy Alcantara. Although Sandy had several years of club control already, it would’ve been a lot harder to sign him to a good value deal by allowing him to get any closer to free agency. This a very team-friendly contract and the most interesting part of the deal is a 6th-year option on the back end worth $21M. Just like Rojas, Alcantara will be regarded as a Marlins legend if he plays out this deal without being traded. This is a perfect move.

5. Marlins acquire Jacob Stallings in exchange for Zach Thompson, Connor Scott and Kyle Nicolas: A+

Acquiring catcher Jacob Stallings from the Pittsburgh Pirates addresses the biggest hole on the Marlins roster. The Marlins dealt away three players with decent potential, but none of them were essential considering the depth that their farm system has in terms of pitchers and outfielders. Miami gets a Gold Glover and defensive-oriented player in Stallings who does bring some offense as well, certainly more than the catchers that we’ve grown accustomed to. I give the trade an A+ because this is the guy that the Marlins had been targeting since the summer and they pulled it off without taking much risk at all.

6. Marlins acquire Joey Wendle in exchange for Kameron Misner: C+

The Marlins pulled off a surprise trade for super-utility player and All-Star Joey Wendle. He projects to be more valuable than the likes of Jon Berti and Isan Díaz moving forward. Wendle got off to a hot start for Tampa Bay in 2021 (460 AB, 73 R, 122 H, 11 HR, 54 RBI, .265 BA, .319 OBP, .741 OPS), rotating between third base, shortstop and second base. He’ll have a similar role with the Marlins, according to Craig Mish of SportsGrid. Keep in mind that Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miguel Rojas, and Brian Anderson all were injured at different times this season. Wendle improves Miami’s infield depth. The C+ grade is not due to what the Marlins acquired, but what they had to give up. Kameron Misner, now the 22nd-best prospect in the Rays organization, has a very high ceiling. Developing under the best farm system in baseball, he could turn out to be more of an all-around star than Wendle because of his superior raw power and speed.

7. Marlins non-tender Lewis Brinson and trade Jorge Alfaro: A

The Marlins moved Jorge Alfaro to the San Diego Padres in return for a PTBNL and parted ways with Lewis Brinson to open up a spot on their 40-man roster. Alfaro never was consistent in Miami after his promising 2019 season. Francisco Cervelli is the new catching coordinator in San Diego and I believe that was the biggest factor that facilitated the trade.

Brinson, on the other hand, hurts to lose a bit more because he came here with higher expectations and never really broke out. He proved to be excellent on the defensive end, playing all three outfield spots. Brinson’s issue was his lack of offense—he had a few crazy streaks, but generally struggled to get on base. The overall package was below replacement level during his four Marlins seasons.

This is an A move because it simply had to be done to turn the page on disappointing players as the Marlins want to win more games in 2022.

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Conclusion

Although there are still a lot of moves to be made for this Marlins team, it has been a good start to their offseason. Let’s see what the future holds after the lockout once the transaction freeze is lifted.

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