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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Stanley Ipkiss, May 7, 2010.
7 in a row is impressive with this shit roster
Now can we go back to tanking please
String of games against the only teams in the league with comparable talent (Tigers because of injuries, according to their thread) will do that. Once we get back to playing teams with a pulse, the losing will recommence.
Gonna miss out on the first pick....such a bummer
It’s not over!
Really need to secure it
That Torkelson guy from ASU is the fucking truth man
Might be one of the worst trades that’ve gone under the radar
Traded for a rental pitcher (Cashner) when neither party had any intention of signing him
And Castillo was in the original trade too, got sent back to us and loria was in such a rush to get rid of him traded him again
I want him bad
EDIT: no homo
Fuck Castro, give this guy some ABs in the majors
Move Castro at the deadline, Diaz starts in sept
Not soon enough but better than nothing I guess
And Idk who would be stupid enough to take Castro, I’m assuming he’d go for like $10 worth of cash considerations
Lol Chen brought up his ERA to 9.33 today....19 earned runs in 18 innings of work is so ridiculously bad
With all those arms killing it in the minors....we continue to waste innings on this bum
Think I’m team Bleday now
Hopefully he’ll be ours in a week
With how good he’s been, I’m almost worried about him going 2nd or 3rd
Vaughn or Witt would not be a bad consolation prize though
Ramirez is now hitting .460 through his first 46 careers MLB ABs. That seems good.
Spoiler: What Could Have Been
‘Holy crap. They had some studs.’ Christian Yelich and your 2019 World Series champion Miami Marlins
By Marc Carig May 29, 2019
Christian Yelich shook his head at a memory from a past life, this one from the final days of another lost season. In five years of toiling for the Marlins, he rarely experienced “playing for something past the first two weeks.” Motivation had to be mined like a precious metal. Some nights, with so few people in the stands, there would be nothing to muffle the conversations taking place in the visitors’ dugout. Even in the middle of games, he remembered how he could hear every word being spoken.
“You’d like to say that you put the same effort forward no matter what,” Yelich said recently. “But I think the attention to detail and the concentration is probably more now — in stretches — because it really, really matters. Not to say that it didn’t matter before. The stakes just weren’t as high.”
Now, the stakes are high, and every night it really, really matters. Yelich, 27, is the reigning Most Valuable Player of the National League, the dynamo that last season powered the Brewers to within a game of the World Series. He’s royalty in Milwaukee, where puppies are named after him, and where he’s cheered when shown crushing beers at Bucks games, because, hey, when in Rome. Along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, he stands at the center of a city’s sports renaissance.
Yelich is also the most egregious One That Got Away for the sport’s most woebegone franchise. His great leap forward as a player only followed his liberation via a trade from the Marlins, who underwent a talent drain so massive that it will take years to fully appreciate the scope of the impact. Underpinned by disparate motivations, it encompassed two different ownership groups, unfolding over two distinct waves. The first was the consequence of ill-advised attempts to make contenders out of pretenders, a recurring exercise in futility that encapsulated years of mismanagement. The second was a direct response to the first, a calculated decision by new management to rebuild by first razing the ruins that it had inherited.
Taken together, the fallout is staggering.
Yelich, along with Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and J.T. Realmuto, had been established stars by the time they were jettisoned. But their departures might not have been a given had it not been for an initial run of decisions, in which the Marlins may have unknowingly gutted a championship-caliber starting rotation.
With the Reds, Luis Castillo has become the ace of the staff and one of the best young pitchers in the game, all after he was traded away by the Marlins twice. With the Padres, Chris Paddack has become one of the faces of a resurgent franchise, a self-styled sheriff with the cowboy boots and charisma to match. With the Yankees, Domingo Germán has become a savior in a sea of injuries, with the rest of his repertoire finally catching up to his crackling fastball.
All three were members of the Marlins organization. All three would have been under team control for 2019. All three are on track to be first-time All-Stars in the midst of a breakout. None of them came in Miami.
“Holy crap,” Paddack said recently. “They had some studs.”
The Marlins have long been known for their teal and their teardowns. But those previous deconstructions had followed World Series triumphs. This one came before any rings could be won. As they muddle through the darkest days of a painful rebuild, it’s easy to wonder about the greatness of a team that never got the chance to be.
What if the Marlins had kept all that talent rather than letting it go? What if they could combine it with the players that they actually kept? How would their current roster be transformed this season with an outfield of Yelich, Ozuna and Derek Dietrich, with Stanton working his way back from the IL? What about an infield anchored by Gordon? Or how about Realmuto, baseball’s best catcher, handling a starting rotation in which the most senior member would be 27?
The Marlins smartly plucked Caleb Smith from the Yankees in a trade. They’re now reaping the rewards of a breakout season. But what if Smith could have been joined by Castillo, Paddack and Germán?
Perhaps there would be stories written about a franchise on the rise, even after it being rocked to the core by the tragic death three years ago of their homegrown phenom, José Fernández. Maybe there would be a glossy magazine cover, featuring a photo of that smiling starting rotation, flanked by Yelich, whose 20 home runs currently lead the major leagues. It’s not difficult to imagine a bold editor adorning that cover with a provocative headline: “Your 2019 World Series champions.”
Such things are unknowable, of course.
But the numbers project a powerhouse, built around a homegrown core, adorned with a blend of brilliant young talent and sage veterans. When roughly measured by Baseball Reference’s version of wins above replacement, the 2019 Marlins would be on pace to win 102 games, and that’s even with Stanton on the shelf. All that winning would come at a cost of roughly $110 million, hardly exorbitant when compared to the rest of the league.
In essence, the Marlins would be a model franchise, not much different from the Astros.
“It’s crazy, huh?” said the Reds’ Anthony DeSclafani, another useful big-league arm that the Marlins traded away for a minimal return. “It’s everything you need.”
A glance of the Mashup Marlins’ 25-man roster shows that he’s not far off:
Position Player Current team 2019 bWAR*
2B Dee Gordon Mariners 0.4
RF Christian Yelich Brewers 2.9
CF Marcel Ozuna Cardinals 0.8
C J.T. Realmuto Phillies 1.7
LF Derek Dietrich Reds 1.4
1B Neil Walker Marlins 0.7
3B Brian Anderson Marlins 1.0
SS Miguel Rojas Marlins 0.6
LF Curtis Granderson Marlins -0.1
C Chad Wallach Marlins 0.3
1B/OF Garrett Cooper Marlins -0.2
Util Jon Berti Marlins 0.3
Util Rosell Herrera Marlins -0.8
RHP Luis Castillo Reds 2.3
RHP Chris Paddack Padres 1.5
RHP Caleb Smith Marlins 1.3
RHP Domingo Germán Yankees 1.0
RHP Trevor Williams Pirates 1.6
RHP Nick Wittgren Indians 0.9
RHP Anthony DeSclafani Reds 0.2
RHP Jose Ureña Marlins 0.3
LHP Wei-Yin Chen Marlins -0.7
RHP Nick Anderson Marlins -0.2
RHP Austin Brice Marlins 0.2
RHP Sergio Romo Marlins -0.2
* Through Memorial Day.
In an alternate universe, the 2019 Marlins would be a typical contending team with first-world problems. They’d be in search for help on the bench. They’d be canvassing the league for bullpen arms ahead of a heated pennant race. Instead, they are a haphazard collection of misfit parts, assembled not to win, but to merely endure a lost season. The Marlins of real life are 17-34 through Memorial Day, on pace to win 54 games, a shadow of what they could have been. They owe their fate in part to decisions made years before.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Marlins viewed themselves as contenders. Under former owner Jeffrey Loria, oftentimes, the mandate was to win. But notoriously, it was always with the bottom line in mind. This proved problematic. A pattern emerged. Loria could be swayed by impulse and impatience, according to people familiar with the club’s inner workings. And his cast of trusted lieutenants, just as eager to chase a winner, did him no favors by consistently misjudging the team’s talent. Those issues hastened a string of miscalculations.
Believing themselves to be contenders in 2015, the Marlins looked to upgrade before the season, when they sent Germán along with Garrett Jones and Nathan Eovaldi to the Yankees for a package of David Phelps and Martin Prado. At the time of the trade, the Marlins viewed Germán as a future reliever, and Yankees GM Brian Cashman seemed to agree, calling the right-hander a “lottery ticket.” But what Cashman didn’t say until years later is that the Yankees considered Germán the top pitching prospect in the Marlins’ system, recently telling The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that Germán was included only because of an insistence in also acquiring Phelps. While both Phelps and Prado were useful pieces, it mattered little as the Marlins finished in third place.
Germán, 26, is enjoying a breakout for the Yankees this season with a 9-1 mark and a 3.43 ERA.
In 2016, the Marlins once again saw themselves as contenders. So when they began the year 41-38, they doubled down by trading for closer Fernando Rodney. They’d hoped to emulate the Royals, who had ridden their “super bullpen” to a victory in the World Series. Though Rodney had a 0.31 ERA at the time of his acquisition from the Padres, there was ample evidence to doubt the sustainability of his performance. He was also 39, another red flag for regression. But under Loria, working on a tight budget was standard operating procedure, and Rodney’s price proved too enticing. He had a base salary of $1.6 million on a contract that expired at season’s end. He was cheap. According to a source, that’s what ultimately swayed the Marlins to relent, when Padres general manager A.J. Preller would not come off his demand for the promising righty named Paddack, who happened to be on a 15-inning hitless streak at Low-A Greensboro.
Rodney’s ERA shot up to 5.89 during his three months with the Marlins, who faded from contention.
Paddack, 23, looks like a future star with the Padres, confounding hitters with a lethal changeup. He debuted earlier this season, pitching to a 1.93 ERA in his first nine big-league starts.
“At the time, I was young,” Paddack said. “It didn’t really cross my mind until you see what could’ve been. Especially (since) they’ve been struggling a little bit this year, too. All the Marlins fans are pissed off, obviously. I would say it’s cool to say I was one of the guys who could’ve been a special part of that team or whatever. But I think everything kind of lines up for itself.”
However, even when things lined up for the Marlins, it wasn’t enough to save them from themselves.
As part of their failed playoff push in 2016, Miami bolstered its pitching staff by acquiring Andrew Cashner, Tayron Guerrero and Colin Rea from the Padres. But when Rea got injured in his first start with his new team, the clubs amended the deal. That meant that the Marlins would get back one of the four players it had moved in the deal, a live arm named Castillo. He wasn’t destined to stay.
Castillo had initially arrived in a trade from the Giants in 2014, though according to a source, the Marlins’ decision-makers were never truly convinced that he’d ever make the leap from being a thrower to being a pitcher. They’d pegged him as a reliever, at best. Nevertheless, Castillo remained a popular target for rival teams. And just six months after getting a mulligan on a trade, the Marlins dealt Castillo again. This time, he was sent to the Reds for righthander Dan Straily, who spent the next two seasons as a somewhat useful but below-average innings eater.
Castillo, 26, is 5-1 with a 2.45 ERA in the starting rotation for the Reds. These days, he’s viewed as their undisputed staff ace.
Every decision alters the one that follows, and there’s no telling what would have flowed from those choices. It’s possible that some of these players needed a change of scenery to unlock their potential. It’s also possible that no franchise would have been able to recover from the death of Fernández. As The Athletic’sJayson Stark documented earlier this year, the tragedy changed everything, a reality that cannot be understated.
“It was painful,” Loria told Stark. “You invest a lot of your guts and your heart in people, and then they disappear. I’ve experienced that before in my life. And it just crushed me. It crushed everybody. No one was ever the same after that. You saw how the players reacted. There were a thousand people there at the funeral. He was the heart and soul of the community. … We had great players on that team. But because of his personality and his charisma, he was the center of the team, the fulcrum of the team.”
Given the loss of the franchise’s heart and soul, retroactively cataloging years of decisions may be little more than a thought exercise. But it illustrates just how much talent the Marlins had accumulated, and how close they’d come to having the team that they’d always wanted. By simply securing the talent, they’d accomplished the hardest part of assembling a dynasty. Then, all of it slipped away. No team bats 1.000 when it comes to trades. Few teams hit near .000. For a period, the Marlins were seemingly one of those.
Consider DeSclafani, who was shipped to the Reds for a veteran arm in Mat Latos. The Marlins would ultimately move Latos as part of a salary dump — the same year they acquired him — when their playoff push never materialized. With Cincinnati, DeSclafani has a 4.12 ERA in four seasons. It’s not flashy, but it’s good enough to rank as a league-average pitcher, precisely the kind of arm that good teams value for depth.
Then there was the tale of Trevor Williams, traded to the Pirates in 2016 for a pitching guru, Jim Benedict. Williams had been deemed expendable by Loria’s inner circle, a source said, who believed that over time, Benedict would groom plenty of other comparable replacements. A year later, Benedict would be fired by new ownership, never having produced the steady of stream of live arms that had been envisioned.
Williams, 27, has posted a 3.67 ERA in 78 games since debuting in 2016 with the Pirates.
By the fall of 2017, Loria was gone, having sold the club to Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman. Though president of baseball operations Michael Hill remains, most of the old decision-makers would be replaced by new ones, who set about paring down salary and initiating a teardown. Stanton, Ozuna and Gordon were shipped off. Reports emerged that Yelich had grown disgruntled with the situation, and he was soon traded to the Brewers despite being in the middle of a team-friendly deal. Realmuto made it clear he would not sign an extension. Last offseason, he was traded to the Phillies.
With the moves, the Marlins replenished their farm system. It’s still too soon to make any real judgments. Maybe, unlike the first wave, the second will pay off.
In the meantime, at ballparks all around the league, many of those who were cast aside are thriving.
“All I can say is that everyone who has gotten out of there has done a lot better and is a lot better off,” said Dietrich, who entered Tuesday’s game with a .993 OPS as a valuable utilityman for the Reds after he was cut loose by the Marlins this winter. Dietrich hit three home runs Tuesday night to bring his season total to 17. His previous high with Miami was 16, and it’s not even June.
In Cincinnati, he’s teammates with Castillo and DeSclafani, who admitted that what transpired in Miami still comes up in conversation. “It’s crazy the talent that they did have,” he said.
Last month, Castillo and Paddack crossed paths at an April series, acknowledging their shared history with a fist bump. “We weren’t super close, but I knew he was a heck of a ballplayer,” Paddack said. “We always held each other accountable. But now, what could’ve been …”
Earlier this month, another such reunion took place behind the batting cage prior to a game in Philadelphia, where Realmuto and Yelich greeted one another with a hug. Both had endured years of toiling before sparse crowds. Now, they find themselves in the cauldron, playing meaningful baseball every night. Realmuto is the catcher of the Phillies, leaders of the National League East, who announced their intention to win by awarding a 13-year, $330 million megadeal to Bryce Harper. Yelich is the core of the Brewers, who will spend the summer engaged in a battle for supremacy in baseball’s deepest division.
“It brings out the best out of you as a player,” Yelich said. “And it’s definitely a welcome change.”
In five seasons with the Marlins, Yelich posted an .800 OPS with 59 homers. He never made an All-Star team. Since coming to the Brewers, he has a 1.037 OPS with 55 homers. He’s an All-Star and an MVP. This year, he’s striking out less, walking more, and somehow hitting for more power. He has made fools of those who predicted regression. Theories abound to explain this spike. At Miller Park, he’s playing in a cozier hitters’ environment than he had in Miami. He’s also playing for higher stakes. Finally, his breakout has increased scrutiny about his increased launch angle, a discussion that he calls “so tired.” He insists that his growth has been the product of his “natural evolution” as a hitter.
“I think I’d still be doing a lot of the same things that I’m doing now if I were still in Miami,” Yelich said. “It’s not like we were trying to win a division and it just unlocked a whole new level of ability. I made some adjustments, I learned myself and my swing, just tried to get better every day, and that’s what happened. If I were still a Marlin, I feel like I would still be playing the same way. It’s just how it all worked out.”
Dennis Lin and C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic contributed to this report.
I hate everything
Jose dying changed everything
And loria/Sampson’s desire to deplete our already meh farm system for bullshit trades on their way out
Sandy must have read me suggesting we send him down a few weeks ago, another strong start so far today
Monday is JJ Bleday day!
Big for next draft if we can’t out-tank Baltimore