Marlins Making Trades of Little Consequence

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do the Marlins get to keep his magic levitating bat? 
Our blogbro SWCS said it best: the Marlins' fire sale has turned into a yard sale.

The Marlins are shipping Edward Mujica to St. Louis for 3B prospect Zack Cox. Mujica will be eligible for arbitration in 2013 (his third arbitration year) and will be a free agent thereafter. The team would have likely owed him a raise from his $1.63 million salary, and instead get a guy who can be plugged in to Hanley Ramirez' spot at some point (the team announced it will assign Cox to Double-A Jacksonville for now). Cox, St. Louis' 2010 first-round draft pick, has no big league experience. The 23-year-old was slashing .254/.294/.421 for the Cards in Triple-A, with 9 home runs.

As with the Omar Infante trade, this is a case of the Marlins dumping a guy who would have been on the 2013 roster, but not a major impact player, for a club-controlled prospect who will plug a hole for cheap. Regardless of whether Cox pans out, I don't think we'll ever regret the Marlins giving up Edward Mujica.

UPDATE: The Marlins have also traded 1B Gaby Sanchez and minor league P Kyle Kaminska to the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF
Gorkys Hernandez and a competitive-balance draft pick. Sanchez was an All-Star in 2011, then promptly lost all ability to hit. The Marlins sent him down to the minors twice this season, as he was slashing .202/.250/.306. Even though the team plans on getting rid of current 1B Carlos Lee (acquired only 27 days ago via trade), they are confident that the 29-year-old Sanchez is not in their long-term plans. He will be eligible for arbitration at the end of the season.

Like Cox, Hernandez is another top prospect whose success is an iffy proposition. Now in his fourth organization, he was hitting .213 in 26 plate appearances with the Pirates this year, his first cup of coffee. The Marlins say they are bringing Hernandez to the big club (presumably he'll take Mujica's roster spot). Now seems like a good time to cut losses with Sanchez, I only wish they traded him a few years ago when his value was highest.


Not Now Hanley

[UPDATE: Tom Green points out that the Getty Image of Webb we originally used is not Webb at all - (Exhibit A and Exhibit B). So we fixed our images. As we were...]

Ryan Webb is our new favorite Marlin. On Monday he unfollowed former teammate Hanley Ramirez on Twitter. He did this not because Ramirez is on another team, but because his retweets of Dodger fan photos were obscuring the NASA and particle physics tweets he reads:
"Just un-followed him, didn't notice any tweets while he was in miami..then all of a sudden I couldn't get through my feed," Webb tweeted.

Webb said he didn't mean any harm, but caught flak on Twitter for it from fans who thought he was ripping Ramirez. Webb, who has his own telescope and is fascinated by astronomy, said he usually goes on Twitter "to find out is going on with the curiosity rover on Mars and the latest in particle physics."
Related: We could totally be nerdbros with Ryan Webb.

And if anyone else wants to memify (cough, @BoobiesNStanton, cough) here's a blank (click to embiggen):


JJ to Stay?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Our reaction 
From Jayson Stark:
After all that Josh Johnson talk, the Marlins were telling teams Monday they're just going to keep their ace unless something unforeseen happens. With 15 scouts watching closely Sunday, Johnson turned in a six-walk, four-whiff, five-inning start that one scout summed up with one word: "Uninspiring." So the Marlins are informing clubs they see more value in keeping Johnson, heading into his free-agent year, than trading him just to say they did.
Some fire sale, amirite?! This makes sense, though. JJ has not been nearly as effective this year as he was before elbow troubles sidelined him in 2011. Here are his ERA, FIP, and xFIP for the past three seasons (via Fangraphs):

2010: 2.30/2.41/3.02
2011: 1.64/2.64/3.32
2012: 4.04/3.06/3.56

Using xFIP minimizes the difference, but there is still an upward slope, which is likely scaring teams off. JJ is due $13.75 million in 2013, teams clearly don't want to pay that much (plus give up some good prospects) for anyone short of a sure thing. Add in the fact that Carlos Zambrano will likely walk this offseason, and it is easy to see why the Marlins don't want to lose the best pitcher in the 2013 rotation.

This could all change before tomorrow's 4pm EDT trade deadline, but I think we'd all be surprised if the Marlins move JJ now.


Week in Review

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Overview: The Marlins lost 2 of 3 to Atlanta, then took 2 of 3 from San Diego. Oh yeah, they made some trades too. Did you hear about those?
Positives: Everyone had a calm and reasoned discussion regarding the team's decision to give Hanley Ramirez away to whichever team was willing to pay the rest of his salary through 2014. Just kidding, we all lost our collective shit. But it was cleansing, right? No more Twitter bat nonsense, no more celebratory Lo Viste signs after he breaks another 1-for-21 slump or whatever, and no more hand-wringing over whether Ramirez is "finally becoming a leader" or whatever. The Marlins broke up with Hanley, plain and simple. Giancarlo totally treats us better, you guys.
Negatives: The trades of Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and Omar Infante, while all acceptable to me on baseball grounds, bring up a few questions: Will Beinfest and Hill get screwed as they did in the Cabrera-Willis/Maybin-Miller trade? Why did the farm system get so bare? Is there a major problem in the scouting department? These and other questions deserve their own post, so we'll get to that later. Also, the team is still managing to be totally disappointing while outperforming its massive run-deferential. The team is 47-54, but its run differential (-79), suggests the record should be closer to 42-59, all things being equal. Yikes.
Line of the Week: Nathan Eovaldi, who came to Miami in the Ramirez trade, got the W on Saturday with this line, adding an RBI single.
5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Highlight of the Week: Justin Ruggiano, who might be Cody Ross 2.0, gets the walkoff single on Sunday.
Looking Ahead: The Marlins have back-to-back 4-game series on the road, starting in Atlanta on Monday and Washington on Friday (with a double-header).


Adios, Hanley

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

There is not much more to say about the Marlins' decision to trade Hanley Ramirez for some prospects and a bucket of baseballs. The following facts are clear:

  1. With the team out of contention and attendance not as robust as the team had initially hoped, the Marlins are content to cut salary and focus on 2013 and beyond. Trading Ramirez, Randy Choate, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante will save the Marlins roughly $12 million in 2012 payroll (based on a rough back-of-envelope calculation).
  2. The ONLY WAY the Ramirez deal can be considered a success is if the Marlins use the $31.5 million he was owed in 2013-2014 to lure a free agent hitter to Miami this winter. They gave Ramirez away so that Los Angeles would take on his entire salary. If they use this new financial flexibility to get a top-tier hitter, I'll be okay with the deal.
  3. Let's not pretend that this is a reprise of the Miguel Cabrera trade. Hanley's OPS+ this year is 100 - which is literally the average (last season it was 95). $15 million is a lot to pay for an average hitter with suspect defense. I would have preferred the Marlins to have swapped Ramirez for a somewhat comparable player (the Marlins were reportedly offering Ramirez for Baltimore's Nick Markakis for instance), but why would another team offer much in return for Ramirez at this point? The true error of the deal is that the Marlins sold low on Ramirez, not that they sold at all.
  4. Of the two prospects Miami got in return, I'm more excited about Nathan Eovaldi, who will join the rotation right away. But as we learned with Andrew Miller, there is no such thing as a sure-thing prospect. We'll have to keep our fingers crossed. Scott McGough has been assigned to class-A Jupiter, meaning it could be another year or two before he cracks the major league roster. 
Finally, I've resisted the temptation to criticize the Marlins' front office for the past year and a half, but it is beyond obvious that Larry Beinfest and Michael Hill have made some severe missteps as of late. The Marlins have whiffed on their first-round picks for the past decade (this is true even if recent draftees Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez turn to gold) and have made some very questionable moves in free agency (see Bell, Heath and Oviedo, Juan, for just two examples). 

The Marlins are one of the few teams that treats advanced statistics with more skepticism than is necessary. This is forgivable when you have a good scouting department, but I don't think the Marlins have that (do you?). My own biases aside, I think it's time for the Marlins to bring in an MBA with the analytic chops to find the underpriced gems and sell the overpriced duds at the right time (it worked for the Red Sox, no?). You know how to find me, David Samson...


How One Fan Coped With A Depressing Trade

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One difference between the Marlins and other franchises: When the Seattle Mariners traded Ichiro Suzuki yesterday, Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service - a Seattle native) penned "Ichiro's Theme." Stream it below:

I'd love to think that Jimmy Buffet and Pitbull are collaborating on a slow-jam commemorating Anibal Sanchez' 2006 no-hitter, but something tells me I'll have to keep dreaming...

Via Stereogum


Marlins Make Trade, People React Wildly

Monday, July 23, 2012

Well, as I made a one hour drive home, I missed two bits of baseball news. One, the Yankees acquired Ichiro in a trade. Good for them. The other more pertinent news to us is that the Marlins traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers. In return the Fish get three prospects and a compensation draft pick, a pretty nice haul. Predictably, fans went nuts on Twitter instantly, some complaining about the Marlins usual selling of good players, others making uppity comments about how this is a good move. I wont pretend to know anything about the prospects, so instead I'll let Dave Gershman be our guide:

I’m very impressed with what the Marlins were able to acquire here. Rob Brantly and Jacob Turner are both, for me, top 50 prospects. Brantly is one of the best catching prospects in the game and Turner is one of the best pitching prospects. The Marlins get both of the two for a guy who they weren’t going to re-sign and Omar Infante, who doesn’t have as much trade value as he has had in the past.
Sounds good to me. The key to me is who the club jettisoned. Omar Infante's trade value will probably never be higher than it is now. He's a very capable fielder and is putting up better than average numbers at the plate. Still, he's not a cornerstone of any team (especially being over 30). I love Anibal Sanchez, but it seems the contract negotiations between he and the club always end up at an impasse. The upsetting tidbit is that officially signals the Marlins as sellers and this season is shot, but hey, who didn't know that already?


Week in Review

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Overview: The Marlins won Monday against Washington and Tuesday against the Cubs, then dropped five straight, culminating in a weekend sweep at the hands of the Pirates.
Positives: Hard to find any at this point. The Marlins are sputtering just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, meaning some of the team's impending free agents could become trade bait for pieces that can help in 2013. Anibal Sanchez and Carlos Zambrano are the most likely candidates for a deal in that scenario.
Negatives: The Marlins' run differential keeps getting worse, it is up to -71 after Sunday's loss. The team is lucky to be 44-51, which is even more depressing than it sounds at first.
Line of the Week: Nothing sticks out this week.
Play of the Week: I always like a well-executed squeeze bunt, and Rick Nolasco pulled one off on Friday in Pittsburgh.
Looking Ahead: The Marlins return home for three-game sets against Atlanta then San Diego, with an off-day on Thursday.


Giancarlo Goes Under the Knife

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This week's episode of The Franchise includes footage of Giancarlo Stanton's arthoscopic surgery:

Come for loopy Giancarlo's slurred speech, stay for the arthoscope video! If my grandparents were still alive, The Franchise would definitely be their favorite show (they once tried to show my parents video of my grandfather's cataract surgery - the hospital let him take home a copy).

Now all that's left is for someone to overdub Balls in the Wind over the video...


A Musical Interlude

Monday, July 16, 2012

From the dudes who brought you "(Peyton Manning) Your Career Will Go On" and "We Didn't Stop Tim Tebow" comes what could be the Monsterdong boner jam of the summer: 

#WAARF Records ain't nothin' to fuck with...

Our blogbro Strip Club With Stanton commissioned it, and as of 9:35 EDT of the day it launched, it only had 94 views on YouTube. With our help, we might be able to get that count up to 115 by sometime next week! You're welcome, Boobies.


That Hat

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Image via Humans of New York

Being a Marlins fan outside of Florida can be a bit of a solitary pursuit, so I always notice a Marlins hat. But even when I see someone in a Marlins hat, I assume they wear it for any reason but fandom. I'm not sure if this is part of an inferiority complex, or if I just overestimate the reach of 90's nostalgia (there are few things more 90's than an all-teal Marlins hat - we all had one in 1993). So instead of making baseball-related small-talk with a stranger, I silently appreciate their choice of headgear.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

photo via the internet, somewhere

If you are the proud owner of this license plate or know who is, please get in contact with the Diehards. We'd like to give you a big internet high-five and buy you a round or two of drinks. I wonder if the "LOL METS" plate is taken in the state of Georgia?


David Samson is a Funny Guy

Monday, July 9, 2012

Samson, on Sunday, regarding Giancarlo Stanton's All-Star replacement:
If you look at the fact that this game counts and you need people to win games. Having (Greg) Dobbs as an All Star as a pinch hitter off the bench, having (reliever Steve) Cishek come in and get some righties out. Having Ruggiano coming who is completely clubbing the ball right now. I think he may have as much service time as the guy they named to replace Stanton this year, although I don't know actually.

For me it would have been natural to have Ruggiano in who has absolutely played as well as anyone since he was called up. Obviously MLB or Tony or whoever makes the decision has their own view of it and it's certainly disappointing.

Tony La Russa went with Bryce Harper instead. Tough choice, right? Either go with Harper, a Rookie of the Year candidate and majorly marketable 19-year-old, or one of three dudes on the Marlins no one outside of Florida has heard of. Shocker La Russa went the way he did...

BONUS DAVID SAMSON CONTENT: This guy's website shows up on page 1 of a Google image search for David Samson. We hope you like bondage!



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Giancarlo is out of the home run derby and the all star game and is going on the DL for 4-6 weeks to undergo knee surgery.


Marlins Prefer Past-Prime Carlos Lee Over Gaby Sanchez

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Carlos Lee is now (or soon) a Miami Marlin. The Fish have agreed to a deal that would ship minor leaguers Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen to the Houston Astros for the first-baseman. Houston will pay all but the pro-rated minimum on what is remaining of Lee's $18.5 million salary. He is in the final season of a six-year, $100 million deal. Buster Olney broke the story.

All the Marlins had to give up for a (very) cheap rental was their 2007 first-round pick and 2010 second-round pick. Dominguez could field like Brooks Robinson, but can't hit a lick. He hit .234 in Triple-A New Orleans, not what you want to see from a corner infielder. His fate was sealed when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes this winter and moved Hanley Ramirez to third base. There is a chance Dominguez turns it around and learns to hit, but I think the Marlins made the right move here. He is no Adrian Gonzalez. I have no idea whether they were smart to send Rasmussen to Houston, however.

The Marlins have not received any production from the first base position this season. Gaby Sanchez has regressed so much that he will likely get a second stint in Triple-A once Lee arrives (not before hitting a game-tying home run in the ninth inning in Milwaukee today). No other team has a lower OPS from its first-basemen than Miami. Michael Jong points out that Lee's rest-of-season projections are not a huge improvement over those of Sanchez (.254/.328/.398 for Sanchez, .277/.326/.431 for Lee), but I think the Marlins are not giving up much at all for a chance that Lee will outperform Sanchez. 


There's no '$' in Bullpen

Over at Fish Stripes, Michael Jong plots the Marlins' bullpen performance versus payroll for the past five years: 

It is not a pretty picture. The team has spent a ton of money (mostly on Heath Bell and soon Juan Carlos Oviedo, once his suspension ends). And the bullpen has been much worse in 2012, though the fielding-independent stats suggest the bullpen is not entirely at fault. Jong argues that the steady FIP- stats (which is weighted against the rest of the league; in other words, the Marlins bullpen has been 6 to 10% better than the average MLB pitcher in each of the last five years).

Be warned.
Clearly, the Marlins have overpaid for relievers this year. Besides giving Heath Bell top dollar, the Marlins traded Cameron Maybin two years ago for Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb (Maybin's WAR in 2011-2012: 4.9; Webb and Mujica's combined: 1.4!). 

All those dollars could have been used to address actual areas of need. The Marlins have been forced to play a converted outfielder (Emilio Bonifacio) and a Quad-A guy (Justin Ruggiano, whose .457 BABIP suggests is bound for a big crash) in centerfield. They could have kept Maybin, or used Bell's money on a free agent like Yoenis Cespedes, and probably get the same results out of the bullpen this year. Paying top dollar for a "proven closer" will get good press in December, but it often comes with opportunity costs that end up hurting the team in the long run.


MDH Snuff Films, Part One

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Via @MLB:

Bonus content:

Our reaction: 


Children of the Marlins Diaspora: 17

Dontrelle Willis, LHP

Played for Marlins: 2003-2007
Other Teams: Detroit (2007-2010), Arizona (2010), Cincinnati (2011)
Everyone knows him because: Willis retired from baseball on Monday. He lit up the majors in 2003, winning 9 of his first 10 decisions en route to a Rookie of the Year Award and World Series win with the upstart Marlins. With his high leg kick and cheery personality, Willis was an instant fan favorite. A 22-10 campaign in 2005 got him a second place finish in NL Cy Young voting. He was not very good after that, though, following up two mediocre seasons in 2006 and 2007 with little good to speak of after the Marlins traded him in a salary dump. Failed comeback bids with the Phillies in Spring Training and Orioles more recently convinced him to hang it up.
Best Marlins moment: Willis was the top highlight on Sportscenter following his eighth career start, a one-hit shutout of the New York Mets. Out-dueling Tom Glavine, Willis put everyone on notice that the Marlins were capable of big things in 2003.


Fashion Alert

Monday, July 2, 2012

If you're one of those Marlins fans that longs for the return of a more teal-centric uniform, the latest New Era limited edition Marlins cap is right up your alley:

Image via
The hat matches the new version of the LeBron James Southbeach shoe. You can buy it at in snapback or fitted.


Week in Review

Let's never speak of this again... 
Overview: The Marlins dropped two games to St. Louis, then reeled off four wins in a row, the last three constituting a sweep of the Phillies.
Positives: June is over! The Marlins finished the month with three straight wins, but still went just 8-18 for the month. Giancarlo Stanton will rep the Fish in both the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game next week.
Negatives: Have you noticed the Marlins' run differential? The team is -58 runs for the season, giving it an expected W-L of 33-45. With their actual record being 38-40, Marlins fans should take solace in the fact that as bad as this season has gone so far, it could have gone much, much worse.
Line of the Week: The honor goes to the aforementioned Stanton, who hit thusly over the past week:

8/21, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 R, 6 RBI, .381/.480/.857

Highlight of the Week: It's a Mark Buehrle two-fer. First, he picks of Hunter Pence at first base. Then, he starts an inning-ending double-play by snagging a hit up the middle, saving a run.
Looking Ahead: Miami kicks off a four-game set at Milwaukee today followed by a weekend series in St Louis.

Photo via Fish Stripes


Giancarlo Stanton: All Star

Sr. #Monsterdong is an All Star:
Giancarlo Stanton will have a busy All-Star break. In addition to appearing in the July 9th Home Run Derby, he will be a reserve outfielder on the NL All-Star team the next night. Stanton was selected to his first All-Star Game Sunday by NL manager Tony La Russa.

The 22-year-old Stanton is the Marlins' only representative this year. "If one thing is very bright for us, it's him," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen told the Miami Herald.

Stanton is batting .282 this season, and he hit his 19th home run of the season on Sunday. His .916 OPS leads the team, and only Omar Infante has a better average among the Marlins.
This was a no-brainer, as Stanton was the only real candidate among the underachieving Marlins. Omar Infante has had a good first half, but if the Marlins were to only have one representative in Kansas City, I'd rather it be Stanton.

We'll have an abbreviated Week in Review up later.


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