Two weeks ago, the Florida Marlins sent seemingly every starter it had on the roster to the Toronto Blue Jays in a blockbuster trade for a package of prospects that has left many Marlins fans wondering what has happened to this franchise that was going to be an annual contender thanks to the snappy new stadium in the Little Havana section of Miami. Commissioner Bud Selig approved the trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechevaria, Jeff Mathis, and Henderson Alvarez and a bunch of guys you’ve probably never heard of.
What the Marlins Got in the Blue Jays Trade
MARLINS FANS BEANED: Jeff Mathis brings his lifetime .198 average from The Great White North to South Beach.
Escobar, 30, will make $5 million next year. He struggled at the plate last season with a .253 batting average and 8 homers in 608 AB’s. Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. Hechevaria, an infielder, hit .254/2/15/0 in 126 AB’s last year. Mathis was the Angels backup backstop for five seasons before joining the Blue Jays last year. Mathis’ stats are rather Uecker-esque. He hit .218 last year in Toronto which is his all-time best so his fantasy baseball value is extremely limited.
Escobar, and his $5 million salary, may never wear a Marlins uniform as he may as well be dealt too. Ditto for the only other high paid Miami player, Ricky Nolasco, who will make $11.5 million next year. Owner Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins have already pared $146.5 million in future salaries with the deal.
Of the guys you’ve never heard of, Justin Nicolino cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9. Jake Marisnick, an outfielder, is ranked as #35 on the MLB.com Top 100 prospects list. The 21-year-old batted .249/.321/.399 with eight home runs, 29 doubles, 10 triples and 24 stolen bases in 553 plate appearances this past season between High-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire. He played in the Arizona Fall League championship game last week and wasn’t sure which uniform he should be wearing, pending Commissioner Selig’s ruling on the controversial trade. Anthony DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing last year.
South Beach Smackdown II
Miami Marlins fans must be wondering what has hit them! Their fans were told that if they supported the financing of a new stadium that it would allow for Miami to invest in higher paid talent the likes of Buehrle who signed for 4 years and $58 million.
Team President David Samson said the Marlins didn’t lie to Buehrle or their fans, but instead were compelled to make drastic changes after a disastrous season that included a last-place finish and disappointing attendance in a new ballpark. (Didn’t BallparkBob say last year in his article “South Beach Smackdown” that the new ballpark wasn’t going to work, tropical fish tank and all?)
A King’s Ransom for Stanton
Now, the only drama left for the Marlins is finding out what they’ll do with 23-year-old slugger Giancarlo Stanton whose $440,000 salary for next year is still within the Marlins’ budgetary needs. There’s no proof that the Marlins are shopping Stanton, but that hasn’t stopped the phones in Miami general manager Larry Beinfest office from ringing. Stanton, coming off a monster 37 home run season, is rumored to be being discussed with the Yankees, Phillies, Orioles, Red Sox, and Cubs. All would need to supply a King’s Ransom to pick up this young superstar.
If you want to know what Stanton is thinking, just spin on over to Giancarlo’s Twitter account. His November 13 Tweet said it all: “Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple.” Yeah, I guess so. If Stanton remains a Marlin, will he be able to get over being pissed off (not to mention having no protection in the lineup) to produce those gaudy numbers again for your 2013 fantasy baseball season?
One thing is for sure: if you are looking to make any MLB Predictions for the 2013 season, you’ll probably want to pencil in the Marlins for the cellar of the National League East. Now that should make your pissed off!!! Plain & Simple.