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Marlins trade Alex Jackson, actually get something in return

I told ya so.

Alex Jackson #23 of the Miami Marlins at bat against the Atlanta Braves at loanDepot park Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

While the Marlins major league roster was en route to San Francisco on Wednesday, their front office completed a trade sending Alex Jackson to the Brewers for infield prospect Hayden Cantrelle and right-hander Alexis Ramírez.

If you follow Fish Stripes on Twitter, then you saw this coming! My hunch was correct, for once. In the aftermath of the Brew Crew losing catcher Pedro Severino to an 80-game PED suspension, I suggested that the Marlins were a logical trade partner:

Per Craig Mish of SportsGrid, Jackson entered 2022 spring training with a legitimate chance of making the Marlins Opening Day roster as the backup to Gold Glover Jacob Stallings. Instead, he sunk beneath Payton Henry on the depth chart (coincidentally, Henry was drafted and developed by the Brewers before being traded to Miami last July). The Marlins optioned Jackson to Triple-A Jacksonville where he served as the starter for their season opener on Tuesday.

From the get-go, Jackson’s eight-month tenure in the Marlins organization was a disaster. He was the only compensation that they received from the Braves for Adam Duvall, which even in the moment, felt like a lopsided deal. While Duvall proved to be an integral piece for the eventual 2021 World Series champions, Jackson flailed in the batter’s box (.157/.260/.278, 55 wRC+), striking out in nearly half of his plate appearances. Raking in the minors did not translate to the challenge of facing world-class fastball velocity every night.

Defensively, the former first-round round draft pick did his part to control the running game. He also guided Sandy Alcantara to exceptional results—even by Alcantara’s high standards—in the six starts that they were paired together. However, it wasn’t enough to make him playable over the Marlins’ other internal options or justify his spot on the 40-man roster.

The Marlins enter Thursday with 39 players on their 40-man. Reliever Shawn Armstrong is expected to fill that vacancy when they select his contract.

Hayden Cantrelle is the better of the two prospects coming back in return from Milwaukee. Here is what FanGraphs had to say about Cantrelle in ranking him the No. 29 prospect in a weak Brewers farm system:

Cantrelle is an athletic, switch-hitting infielder with doubles power. He’s not an especially deft hitter, he just swings with big effort from both sides of the plate and sprays hard contact to all fields when he finds himself able to make contact. Similarly, as an infielder Cantrelle isn’t especially smooth but makes a lot of plays via sheer effort and athleticism. He played short at Lafayette and has played both middle infield spots as a pro, and he could eventually get reps in center field because of his speed. Even in a smaller conference it was clear Cantrelle was pretty allergic to breaking balls, and he’ll likely never hit enough to play a huge role. But the fact that he switch-hits and has the speed and projected versatility he does provides other ways for him to impact a game in a reserve role.

MLB Pipeline had him ranked 30th in the system.

During his age-22 season, Cantrelle posted an unsightly .171 batting average but robust .368 on-base percentage thanks to an extreme walk rate. He got the vast majority of his defensive reps at second base. I expect him to spend most of the 2022 campaign with Double-A Pensacola.

Dominican righty Alexis Ramírez hasn’t pitched above rookie ball. He contributed to a combined no-hitter in the DSL in 2018, so that’s something. Ramírez was sidelined for all of 2021 due to injury.