Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – March and April 2019

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We are back, and just about to the regular season. If you want to catch up on the previous installments, follow the links below:

A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day 2019

Right before the start of the season I realized that I had an opportunity to lock down a few of my new acquisitions.

Contract Extensions

NamePositionAgeOverallYearsAmount
Trevor WilliamsSP26815$22.5M
Aldaberto MondesiSS23802$5.6M
Max Muncy1B28845$17M
Kike HernandezLF27835$22M
Jorge AlfaroC25772$4.2
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Trevor Williams is a solid young arm in my rotation. He is only 26 years old and an 81 overall. With B potential I am confident in giving him a multi-year deal. Locking him down for 5 years at only $4.5M a year is a steal.


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Aldaberto Mondesi is a huge key to the success of my team. He provides amazing speed on the bases and is a solid defender. His bat is not too bad, I am happy to not have to worry about him for a few years at only $2.8M per year.

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Max Muncy was the next player I wanted to negotiate with. This is an absolute steal of a deal for my team. I am able to lock him down in his prime, for 5 years, at only $3.4M per year. Even if he does not continue to establish himself as a consistent starter in my lineup, his versatility maintains that he will be an asset on my bench moving forward.

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Kike Hernandez was next, and his story is similar to Muncy’s. A 5 year deal, at $4.4M per year. If he can’t play everyday throughout his contract he will be a key contributor from my bench at multiple positions.

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I wanted to lock down my backstop and the only original Marlin that I had left. Jorge Alfaro is young, has an amazing arm, and produces pretty well at the plate for a catcher. I have my starting catcher for the next two years at $2.1M per year.

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Looking at where I stand budget wise I am in a solid spot. I have room to pick up some players around the all-star break if I am in a competitive position. I have lots of room heading into next year, and I only have commitments beyond 2020 with young and versatile players.

Opening Day

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It was the Rockies against the Marlins for Opening Day in Miami. Dallas Keuchel vs Kyle Freeland. My Marlins starting lineup was looking pretty solid and I was very confident heading into the season.

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The first three innings were uneventful. Keuchel sat down the first two batters he faced prior to giving up a homerun to Nolan Arrenado. Freeland was perfect his first time through the Marlins lineup.

In the fourth inning Keuchel retired the first two Rockies he faced before giving up a mammoth homerun to Charlie Blackmon, which put the Rockies up 2-0.

In the bottom of the fourth the Marlins finally showed some life at the plate, with two outs Jose Martinez hit a line-shot to the right fielder for an out, but it was the first time the Marlins had hit the ball clean all day.

In the bottom of the 5th, Max Muncy led off with an 0-2 single. A hit and run by Devon Travis moved Muncy to second. An infield single by Jorge Alfaro put the Marlins with runners on 1st and 3rd and only one out. Adalberto Mondesi was able to hit a choke-shot one-hopper to the second baseman. On that, Muncy scored and Mondesi was too fast for the Rockies to turn a double play.

In the bottom of the 6th, Danny Valencia pinch hit for Keuchel, ending his day on the mound. Valencia was hit by a pitch 0-2. Kike Hernandez lined out to second to bring Vladamir Guerror Jr. up to the plate. Vlad Jr. hit a line drive single to right field for his first major league hit.

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Martinez followed that with a fly out to center field, not quite deep enough for Valencia to tag up on. Muncy then hit a single through the five hole to set up based loaded and two outs. The Marlins were unable to capitalize with the bases loaded, with Travis grounding into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Valencia was left in the game, and a double-switch was used to bring in a relief pitcher in the five-spot for Devon Travis. Muncy bumped over to second base to allow Valencia to play first.

The rest of the game was pretty uneventful. The Marlins posed no true threat of scoring. The Rockies eventually closed things out with Wade Davis and won 3-1.

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Keuchel was solid on the hill, with 6IP, 3ER, 9K and 0BB. There was not too much for the Marlins to be proud about at the plate – Muncy was the only player with a multi-hit game.

April

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After the first month of the season, the Marlins are 14-15 and 2.5 games back of the N.L. East leading Braves. At this point the team is under-performing, I expect a better performance from them as the year progresses.

Pitching

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Chris Archer has been the bright spot in the pitching rotation – leading the team with a 3-0 record and a 1.27 ERA. Ervin Santana and Trevor Williams have also been solid, with sub 4.00 ERAs. Dallas Keuchel has been god-awful with a 1-5 record and a 5.45 ERA. Chase Whitley has been even worse, he has a 1-4 record and 8.03 ERA. I have faith that Keuchel will turn things around, Whitley is likely to lose his spot if he doesn’t turn things around fast.

Hitting

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Jose Martinez is leading the charge offensively. He has had a solid month at the plate with a .327 AVG. and 5 HRs. Kike Hernandez has shown some solid pop at the plate, leading the team with 7 HRs through the month of April. Starling Marte has had a terrible month and will be losing his leadoff spot (against righties), he only has a .177 AVG through his first 113 ABs.

Around The League

A pretty notable trade took place on April 20th. The Cleveland Indians agreed to send SP Danny Salazar to the Boston Red Sox for CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

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Mike Foltynewicz is leading the charge for the Cy Young Award. Chris Archer is right there with him.

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Justin Turner is hitting up a storm in the first month of the season, with a .407 AVG, 10 HR and 27 RBI.

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Looking at the top prospects in baseball, many have made their way to the Major Leagues early in the season. Of the players on that list, I have a nice surprise with Brain Chu showing up at #13. I may have to find room for him on the Marlins if he produces at AAA.

Minors

Down on the farm we have had some stand out performances:

  • Charlie Weaver – CF (AAA): .330 AVG, 2 HR, 8 RBI
  • Bryce Geiger – 1B (AAA): .325 AVG, 6 HR, 18 RBI
  • Russell Brooks – 1B (AAA): .375, 3 HR, 8 RBI
  • Julio Francisco – 3B (AA): .356 AVG, 1 HR, 10 RBI
  • Daryl Meredith – RF (AA): .358 AVG, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  • Tom Park – SP (AAA): 4-0, 0.98 ERA, 21K
  • Alden Floyd – RP (AAA): 19.0 IP, 1.42 ERA, 16K
  • Elliot Zimmer – SP (AA): 3-1, 1.80 ERA, 24K
  • Marshall Daley – RP (AA): 16.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 14K

Roster Moves:

  • Sandy Alcantara has been sent down to AA after a terrible month. He was 0-4 with a 7.13 ERA. He will be replaced by Lawrence Jackson in the rotation. Marshall Daley will be called up to AAA in his spot.

Up Next

Next we will take a look at how this Marlins team performed through the second full month of the season. The team is still in contention and is hovering around .500. Hopefully some of the arms on the staff turn things around. We also need some veteran bats to wake up – or they will be losing their spots to the younger guys down in AAA.

Feel free to comment below or on Reddit if you have any suggestions for the squad moving forward.

– Buzz

Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – Spring Training Through Opening Day 2019

In my last post about the Marlins I went into brief detail about the history of the franchise. You can find that post here. The main point that I wanted to get across was that the Marlins are no stranger to an extreme roster turnover. Nothing is out of the question with that organization and many of their decisions are for lack of a better word – questionable.

Given the opportunity – I think that I could lay the groundwork for another drastic rebuild of the Marlins.

Unfortunately, I do not have any access to the Miami Marlins front office. I am just a simple elementary school teacher. The only tool that I have at my disposal is my Playstation 4 and MLB The Show 19.

With that in mind, here is my plan for tearing down and rebuilding the Miami Marlins for the 2019 season and beyond.

Rules

  • I cannot tinker with trades. I can only offer up players, or identify players that I am interested in.
  • Players have to be played at their primary position, unless there are injuries.
  • That is all I can think of right now.

State Of The Initial Roster

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This team is not good. Looking at this lineup there are only two players that I could see building around – Brian Anderson and Jorge Alfaro. The rest are either bloated contracts with old players, or younger players that would not produce a competitive roster.

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I am a little more optimistic about the state of the rotation. We are missing a true ace on the hill – and the bullpen is lacking – but at least I have some young arms to work with here.

Budget

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We started out with $71,000,000 on the books for 2019 and only were committed to $17,000,000 for 2020. While that is still relatively low in terms of an overall salary, for the amount of talent that I had, I wanted it to be much lower.

Getting Rid Of The Bad Contracts

My first big move as the new GM of the Miami Marlins was to dump as much salary as possible. Fortunately for me the Marlins do not have many players that I deem keepable. I pretty much took whatever I could get prospects-wise for my big contracts. The first player that I wanted to get rid of was Wei-Yin Chen. He is worth $32 million over the next two years. That is insane for a 33 year old of his caliber.

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I offered Wei-Yin Chen out to the baseball universe and this was the best I could get. A 34 year old outfielder in Jon Jay and two 29 year old D potential prospect. On the bright side I was able to save $10 million for 2019 and remove $17 million from the 2020 season.

To save some scrolling space I made a number of moves in the table below that resulted in some extreme salary savings as well as obtaining a few decent prospects.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgePos.Ovr.Pot
Jon Jay3469DRaysJoe Park21C46C
Bryan Holaday3172CRaysLewis Radford183B53B
Martin Prado3567DBrewersEdgar Lopez23CF47C
Matt Albers36RP65C
David Freitas30C59D
Miguel Rojas3072DA’sJuan Franco221B48B
Adam Conley2874CMarinersMarco Montanez203B61C
Sergio Romo3680BIndiansMaxwell Castillo22RP71C
Starlin Castro2982CTwinsCarmen Cedeno18SP64B
Curtis Granderson3874CGiantsJulio Lopez23CP62B
Matt Albers3670CD-BacksSteve Garvey221B48C
Neil Walker3374CMetsRodney Tucker263B48A

Martin Prado was the only player that I was able to move for multiple players, two of which were in their 30’s. Jon Jay and Matt Albers were immediately traded once I received them, they just didn’t fit into my vision for the future of the franchise. Overall, I am pretty happy with this roster clean-out and salary dump. I was able to shed all of my heavy contracts and aging players without having to eat any of the contracts.

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Now I am at a spot where I am totally happy with my player salaries. I am down from $71M to $25M. I went from having $17M guaranteed in bad contracts to being left with $0 committed for the 2020 season.

Trading For Talent

This question gets asked often – if you were starting a franchise, which player would you want to build around?

Unlike the history of the Marlins, I envision this being a competitive and consistent team in the future. I do not want to continue the history of extreme roster turnover. With that in mind – I would want to start my franchise with the #1 prospect in baseball. That prospect being just 19 years old – Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

I went to the Blue Jays and told them I was interested. To my surprise, they came back with the following offer:

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TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgePos.Ovr.Pot
Brian Anderson2579ABlue JaysVladamir Guerrero Jr.193B87A
Trevor Richards2576B
William Ryu2074A

Of course I accepted this trade. I gave up a lot – my two best prospects and a starter from my rotation. I had the opportunity to grab a generational talent – at just 19 years old – I had to take it. Would this trade happen in real life? Probably not. I doubt the Blue Jays would trade him for anyone not named Mike Trout. Guess what? This isn’t real life, and I now have Vlad Jr.

Now that I had the building block of my franchise I needed to fill out the rest of my lineup. I wanted to target versatile players – I want to be able to have about 12 players rotate in and out of the lineup playing consistently.

I made the following additional trades:

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgePos.Ovr.Pot
Jose Urena2777CPadresFranchy Cordero24CF64B
T.J. Hager2573BDodgersMax Muncy281B78B
Peter O’Brien2869B
Franchy Cordero2465B
Austin Dean2567BDodgersKike Hernandez27LF83C
Darius Craven2046A
Andreas Escobar2666C
Lewis Brinson2462AMetsMichael Conforto26RF80B
Elieser Hernandez2367B
Austin Brice2568B
Pablo Lopez2373BDodgersChris Taylor28CF78B
Willy Ramirez2572ARoyalsAldaberto Mondesi23SS82B
Drew Steckenrider2883B
Jarlin Garcia2668BCardinalsJose Martinez30RF78C
Rosell Herrera2666B
Lewis Radford1853B
J.T. Riddle27B71PiratesAdam Frazier272B77B
Randal Johnson19B56
Patrick Potts23C70
Michael Conforto26B78PiratesChris Archer30SP83B
Rob Harris20C71Trevor Williams26SP81B
Gabby Guerrero25B67YankeesCameron Maybin31CF71C
Troy Tulowitzki34SS69C
Tommy Kahnle29RP77C
Cameron Maybin31C72GiantsGerardo Parra31RF75C
Eric Kratz38C72B
Gerardo Parra31C69AngelsLouis Garcia32RP78C

I decided to move on from Jose Urena – my best starting pitcher at the time. He was the one true salary outlier I had left. His potential was not great either, so I acquired a good outfield prospect in Franchy Cordero. I assumed Cordero would provide better trade value.

I made a ton of moves – players acquired that I deemed as on my major league roster were:

  • Max Muncy – 1B
  • Devon Travis – 2B
  • Kike Hernandez – LF
  • Jose Martinez – RF
  • Chris Archer – SP
  • Trevor Willians – SP
  • Adam Frazier – 2B
  • Aldaberto Mondesi – SS
  • Chris Taylor – CF
  • Troy Tulowitzki – SS

I obviously needed to supplement my roster some more, so I turned to Free Agency next.

Free Agency

I definitely had some big holes to fill (thats what she said) with my major league roster. My pitching staff was limited Trevor Williams and Chris Archer. Dallas Keuchel was available so I went out and saw what I could sign him at.

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Pretty great signing in my option. A former Cy Young winner to be the ace of my staff at under $6 million for a year. Obviously my next move was to grab a closer, and Craig Kimbrel was the obvious answer to anchor my bullpen.

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I feel like the salary was a bit high, but it is only for one season and I am not committed to anything long-term. I can’t complain about that. I can always flip him at the deadline for prospects if we are not competitive.

The next batch of free agents were signed to fill out my bench and my pitching staff. I wanted to keep things short-term and relatively low cost.

Major League Free Agents Signed:

NameAgePositionOVRYearsYearly Salary
Logan Morrison311B731$2.5M
A.J. Ramos32RP802$3.9M
Josh Fields33RP781$2.7M
Pedro Alvarez321B702$1.8M
Danny Valencia34RF732$2.5M
Ervin Santana36SP771$4.1M
Adam Liberatore31RP802$2.0M
Ryan Madson38RP791$3.7M
Chase Whitley29SP771$3.0M

I now have a few solid bats and veteran leadership on my bench. Morrison and Alvarez provide some pop from the left side, while Valencia will be my go to guy against left handed pitching. Santana will be a solid starter in my rotation, and the other arms fill out my bullpen pretty nicely.

Minor League Free Agents Signed:

NameAgePositionOVRYearsYearly Salary
Alfredo Molina24RF721$70K
Charlie Weaver19CF731$100K
Martin Riedling18RF741$100K
Elliott Zimmer19SP651$70K
Cyrus Reyna19RP701$90K
Bryce Geiger181B751$100K
Alex Jordan22SS681$80K
Lawrence Jackson25SP721$90K
Clifton Hand20CF641$70K
Brian Chu24SS711$100K
Antone Cruz18LF751$100K
Russell Brooks211B661$80K
Tom Park 19SP671$80K
Julio Francisco203B621$70K
Guillermo Perez19SP651$70K
Alden Floyd22RP681$70K
Gilberto Becerra21CP691$90K
Jamie Leece223B721$90K
Fuzzy Miklich22CF671$90K

There was quite a lot of talent and potential hidden in free agency. I am excited to see how Geiger, Weaver, and Riedling turn out – there is a ton of talent there with all three being under 20 years old.

More Trades

I really liked where my team was at this point, but I wanted to add a little speed to my outfield. I also didn’t have a great contact guy for the top of my lineup. I took a look at the trading block and saw that Starling Marte was listed on the block.

I decided to make these last few trades to firm up my roster:

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgePos.Ovr.Pot
Chris Taylor2877BPiratesStarling Marte30CF86B
Adam Frazier2773B
Chad Wallach27B59Blue JaysDevon Travis282B75B
Tommy Kahnle29C79
Magneuris Sierra22B63
Caleb Smith27B74RangersDelino Deshields Jr. 26CF78B
Chris Martin32RP78C

I was a little frustrated to have to include Chris Taylor in that deal. He provided me an incredible amount of versatility in my lineup. I also had to include Adam Frazier, who was slated to start at second base for me. I am pretty excited to plug in Marte at the top of my lineup and in CF though.

After losing Frazier I was able to acquire Devon Travis for a reliever, a career minor leaguer, and a decent prospect. I then sought to add some speed to my bench, as I was not able to add any during free agency. Delino Deshields Jr. provides me a solid option as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in the outfield and at second base. He can also help Vlad Jr. navigate life as a major leaguer that is the son of a former major leaguer.

Starting Lineup

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I am extremely happy with where the roster is at compared to where it started.

  • Starling Marte has great speed and contact at the top of my lineup – while also providing excellent defense in center field.
  • Jose Martinez is tremendous hitter, defense is a bit shaky but his bat should make up for it.
  • Max Muncy gives me some lefty power from the three hole and versatility on defense.
  • Vladamir Guerrero Jr. is the heart and should of this lineup in the four spot.
  • Jorge Alfaro is one of the few holdovers from the Marlins roster that I inherited. He is a solid young catcher with a decent bat.
  • Kike Hernandez provides me a ton of lineup flexibility and a good bat from the right handed side.
  • Aldaberto Mondesi provides great speed and good defense from shortstop.
  • Devon Travis is a serviceable second baseball with a good bat.

My bench provides me with some good options – especially using pinch hitters in the National League.

  • Delino Deshields Jr. will be primarily used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.
  • Logan Morrison will be used as a lefty bat off the bench, much like Pedro Alvarez.
  • Troy Tulowitzki is veteran leadership to help out my young players.
  • Danny Valencia is around to attack left-handed pitchers.
  • Erik Kratz will be used sparingly to help spell Alfaro.

Rotation

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The Marlins have much better rotation and bullpen at this point as well.

  • Dallas Keuchel is my Cy Young and the ace of the staff.
  • Chris Archer provides a consistent righty arm and necessary swagger.
  • Ervin Santana brings that veteran leadership and will do a good job eating innings throughout the season.
  • Chase Whitley and Trevor Williams will be solid back of the rotation guys.

The bullpen has some solid guys – but is a different story. It is essentially a group of rag-tag free agents. All solid arms, but none will be with the club for long. Craig Kimbrel is the marquee guy in my pen.

Analysis

As of today (May 16th, 2019), the Miami Marlins are projected to finish the season at 59-103 by FanGraphs – 27 games behind the Phillies in the NL East.

FiveThirtyEight currently has the Marlins with a <1% chance to make the playoffs. They are projected on that website to finish at 55-107.

I am pretty optimistic with where the roster that I have created is at – and fully expect my Marlins to surpass both projected win totals by the All-Star break.

Where do you think my new-look Marlins will end up in the 2019 season? What moves did you like? Which moves do you think will backfire on my franchise? Who should I target as the season progresses?

– Buzz

Fixing The Franchise: The Miami Marlins – A Brief History

The Miami Marlins have had an interesting history as a baseball organization. Formerly the Florida Marlins, their inaugural season was in 1993. They went on to win the World Series in 1997 over the Cleveland Indians – in just their 5th season of existence. In 2003, the Marlins again became World Series Champions over the New York Yankees. Their homegrown talent paired nicely with key acquisitions in both of their World Series runs.

  • Edgar Renteria – debuted in 1996 at 19 years old.
  • Livan Hernandez – debuted in 1996 at 21 years old.
  • Luis Castillo (2nd baseman) – debuted in 1996 at 20 years old.
  • Josh Beckett – debuted in 2001 at 21 years old
  • Dontrelle Willis – debuted in 2003 at 21 years old.
  • Miguel Cabrera – debuted in 2003 at 20 years old.

The Marlins have produced and acquired some incredible talent over the years, yet they rarely hang onto it for long. Looking at the game of baseball today, the Marlins have also traded away many current stars of the game:

  • Miguel Cabrera – debuted in 2003 at 20 years old. Traded to the Tigers on December 4, 2007.
  • Giancarlo Stanton – debuted in 2010 at 20 years old. Traded to the Yankees on December 11, 2017.
  • Christian Yellich – debuted in 2013 at 21 years old. Traded to the Brewers on January 25, 2018.
  • Marcell Ozuna – debuted in 2013 at 22 years old. Traded to the Cardinals on December 14, 2017.
  • Kiké Hernandez – debuted for the Marlins in 2014 at 22 years old. Traded to the Dodgers on December 11, 2014.
  • Dee Gordon – debuted for the Marlins in 2015 at 27 years old. Traded to the Mariners on December 7, 2017.
  • J.T. Realmuto – debuted in 2014 at 23 years old. Traded to the Phillies on February 7, 2019.
  • Luis Castillo (Pitcher) – acquired from the Giants on December 20, 2014. Traded to the Padres July 29, 2016. Acquired from the Padres on August 1, 2016. Traded to the Reds on January 19, 2017. Debuted for the Reds in 2014 at 24 years old.

To put the consistent turnover into perspective – the Marlins have just two players that have played more than 1,000 games for the team; Luis Castillo and Jeff Conine. The Rockies, who were an expansion team the same year, have six players that have played more that 1,000 games for their team; Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez, Larry Walker, Vinny Castilla, Troy Tulowitzki and Dante Bichette. Despite the constant turnover, the Marlins have found ways to be successful when other teams have not.

Including the Rockies (1993) who were founded the same year as the Marlins, the following teams have also yet to win a World Series: the Texas Rangers (1961), the Milwaukee Brewers (1969), the Washington Nationals (1969), the San Diego Padres (1969), the Seattle Mariners (1977) and the Tampa Bay Rays (1998).

The Marlins have a unique track-record of going all in, winning a World Series, and dismantling everything.

1997 World Series Champion Marlins

Notable Stars:

  • Moises Alou – signed as a free agent on December 12, 1996. Traded to the Astros November 11, 1997.
  • Robb Nen – acquired from the Rangers on July 17, 1993. Traded to the Giants on November 18, 1997.
  • Jeff Conine – Drafted by the Marlins on November 17, 1992 in the expansion draft. Traded to the Royals November 20, 1997.
  • Kevin Brown – signed as a free agent on December 22, 1995. Traded to the Padres December 15, 1997.
  • Al Leiter – signed as a free agent on December 14, 1995. Traded to the Mets on February 6, 1998.
  • Gary Sheffield – acquired from the Padres on June 24, 1993. Traded to the Dodgers May 14, 1998.
  • Bobby Bonilla – signed as a free agent on November 22, 1996. Traded to the Dodgers on May 14, 1998.
  • Edgar Renteria – debuted in 1996 at 19 years old. Traded to the Cardinals on December 14, 1998.
  • Livan Hernandez – debuted in 1996 at 21 years old. Traded to the Giants on July 25, 1999.

The last game of the World Series was on October 26, 1997. Moises Alou, who hit .321 with 3 HR and 9 RBI in that World Series, was traded 16 days later. Robb Nen, who earned the save in Game 1 and Game 5, was traded 23 days after the final out. Jeff Conine, known as “Mr. Marlin”, was traded away two days after that. Brown and Leiter, the #2 and #3 starters, were traded within the next few months. Sheffield and Bonilla were traded away early in the 1998 season. Renteria and Hernandez, two of their homegrown talents, did not finish the 1999 season with the club.

2003 World Series Champion Marlins

Notable Stars:

  • Derrek Lee – acquired from the Padres on December 15, 1997. Traded to the Cubs on November 25, 2003.
  • Juan Encarnacion – acquired from the Reds on July 11, 2002. Traded to the Dodgers on December 13, 2003.
  • Ivan Rodriguez – signed as a free agent on January 28, 2003. Granted free agency from the Marlins, signed with the Tigers on February 6, 2004.
  • Brad Penny – acquired from the Diamondbacks July 8, 1999. Traded to the Dodgers on July 30, 2004.
  • Carl Pavano – acquired from the Expos on July 11, 2002. Granted free agency from the Marlins, signed with the Yankees on December 20, 2004.
  • Mike Lowell – acquired from the Yankees on February 1, 1999. Traded to the Red Sox on November 24, 2005.
  • Josh Beckett – Drafted by the Marlins on June 2, 1999. Traded to the Red Sox on November 24, 2005.
  • Carl Pavano – acquired from the Expos on July 11, 2002. Granted free agency from the Marlins, signed with the Yankees on December 20, 2004.
  • Juan Pierre – acquired from the Rockies on November 16, 2002. Traded to the Cubs on December 7, 2005.
  • Jeff Conine – acquired from the Orioles on August 31, 2003. Granted free agency from the Marlins, signed with the Orioles on January 11, 2006.

The turnover after the 2003 World Series was not as immediate, but the organization followed the same pattern. Win a World Series, and cash out while each player had their highest value. Truth be told – that is not a horrible strategy.

The Marlins Today

So where are the Marlins at now? Following their World Series victory in 2003 they have not made it back to the playoffs. Their last season with a winning record was 2009, when they finished 87-75. In 2018, they finished with a 63-98 record. Last year the Marlins attendance dropped below 1,000,000 for the first time since 2002.

Currently, the Marlins have the worst record in baseball.

Where do they go from here?

– Buzz

Repairing The Roster – 2019 San Francisco Giants

I love the San Francisco Giants. I also love video games. Specifically sports video games. MLB The Show 2019 might be the best video game I have ever played.

Now, my problem with the game is, the Giants are bad.

It is very discouraging to play a video game with your favorite team when they are not talented. The Giants roster is the worst team to hit with. I played a few games in Franchise Mode and the person that showed the most power was Tyler Austin. I also hit a double with Madison Bumgarner. If my bench first baseman rated 69 overall (nice) and my ace show the most pop – there is something wrong.

I could just be bad at the game, but I am not ready to admit that. Instead, I’ll blame it on the team.

To make this team fun again, I am going to blow up the roster and see what I can do.

Rules:
– I can not sign free agents just to trade them.
– I have to put a player on the block first, then trade them to an interested team.
– I can offer to trade for a player put on the trading block by their team.
– I can’t just seek out players that I like, it has to be related to the block in some way.

Trades

AcquiredFromFor
RF – Avisail Garcia*Rays3B – Scott Baik (p)
RF- Eric Thames*BrewersSP – Derek Holland*
SS – Todd Pride (p)
1B – Max Muncy*
RP – Joe Kelly*
LF – Kiké Hernandez
DodgersRP – Mark Melancon*
C – Aramis Garcia
CF – Mike Gerber
2B – DJ LeMahieu*
RP – Dellin Betances
RP – Jonathan Holder
YankeesCP – Will Smith*
RP – Sam Dyson*
SP – Jeff Samardzija*
SP – Mike Clevenger
CP – Brad Hand
Indians2B – Joe Panik*
SP – Jose Palacios (p)
LF – Aidan Barber (p)
C – Mike Zunino*Rays1B – Tyler Austin*
RF – Michael Reed
2B – Josh Harrison*
SP – Julio Aguero (p)
TigersSP – Drew Pomeranz*
SP – Drew Waller (p)
CF – George SpringerAstros1B – Brandon Belt*
RF – José MartinezCardinalsCF – Kevin Pillar*
RF – Julio Reyes (p)
SP – Danny SalazarIndians2B – Josh Harrison*
C – Blaine Tyner (p)
3B – David Bote*
SP – Pablo Visperas (p)
CubsSP – Humberto Alfara (p)

Key: * = was on the block, (p) = prospect

Current Roster

Lineup Bench
RF – José Martinez
3B/UTIL – David Bote
2B – DJ LeMahieuC – Mike Zunino
1B – Max MuncyLF – Chris Shaw
CF – George SpringerLF/UTIL – Kiké Hernandez
RF – Eric ThamesRF – Avisail Garcia
C – Buster Posey
SS – Brandon Crawford
3B – Evan Longoria
P – Madison Bumgarner
RotationBullpen
Madison BumgarnerTony Watson
Johnny CuetoNick Vincent
Dereck RodriguezReyes Moronta
Mike ClevingerJonathan Holder
Danny SalazarJoe Kelly
Dellin Betances
Brad Hand

Analysis

The moves I made are generally unrealistic. The game values things weirdly, and the contracts are not exactly what they should be. However, this is my world as a GM, I took advantage of what I needed to.

  • The trade with the Dodgers would never have happened.
  • The Astros would not have traded Springer for Belt.
  • I can’t see that Yankees trade happening unless Betances was replaced with someone else.

Players Still On The Block

I have a few bloated contracts that I would still like to get rid of. I would really like to move the following players: Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner, and my older relievers.

Posey does not provide a ton of value in a video game, he is an old and expensive catcher. He does not have much pop, and his contact is not even that great anymore. Bumgarner and Cueto are good, but they are both $20+ million and I can perform just as well with the less expensive starters in my rotation. I would also like to unload my aging relievers for prospects; Vincent, Watson and possibly Hand.

What Is Next?

I’ll play a few games with this lineup. Hopefully the new-look Giants are more video game enjoyable. Will I make more trades? Absolutely. Should Farhan Zaidi, the Giants GM, be taking notes? You bet.

– Buzz

Should The Rams Bench Jared Goff For Super Bowl LIII?

What if I told you that the Los Angeles Rams should not start Jared Goff at quarterback in Super Bowl LIII? What if I told you there is a better option? An option that currently plays a different position. An option already on their team.

Some regard Aaron Donald as the best player in the NFL. On defense, he is a game changer. One has to wonder, would he be that impactful on offense?

Let’s find out.

I will run a full simulation of Super Bowl LIII in Madden 19. One simulation to rule them all. All I am going to do is change Aaron Donald’s position from DT to QB. I will not alter any stats or attributes.

Now starting at quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, from Pittsburgh, Aaron Donald.

First Quarter

Nothing remarkable happened in the first quarter. A few drives that led to nowhere. More punts than you would expect. However, near the end of the quarter the Patriots began to drive. We ended the quarter with the Patriots on the goal line, the Rams were able to take down Sony Michel in the backfield to set up Third and Goal.

Second Quarter

Tom Brady was able to connect with Chris Hogan for the first score of the game. The Rams fought back and were able to set up their own score on a 20 yard touchdown pass from Aaron Donald to Todd Gurley. The Patriots then responded with a 39 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to put them up 10-7 at the half.

Third Quarter

The Pats started with the ball. After a long drive Sony Michel scored on a 3-yard run. The Rams immediately responded, Todd Gurley wasn’t going to let another Georgia Bulldog outshine him. He cut through the defense and scampered down the sideline for a 63-yard score of his own. We head into the 4th quarter with he Patriots up 17-14.

Fourth Quarter

This is what we came to see. Can Aaron Donald lead the Rams back from a deficit? Will he be the first Los Angeles-St. Louis-Los Angeles quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory since Kurt Warner?

The Rams made it appear that way at the start of the 4th quarter. Donald linked up with Josh Reynolds for a 6-yard TD on a slant route. The Rams grabbed their first lead of the day 21-17. The Patriots came back with a clock-killing drive, capped off by another Sony Michel goal-line TD. 24-21 Pats. Then, against all odds, Aaron Donald drove the Rams down the field. As time expired, Greg Zuerlein kicked another clutch playoff field goal. From 51-yards out he sent it through the uprights – we are going to overtime.

OT

I don’t really know how to make this exciting. I left the simulation on and stepped away for a minute. I don’t know what happened but the Rams won in OT on a 34-yard field goal. 27-24.

Stats

What did we learn?

There are a few things we can takeaway from this experiment. Option 1 – The Rams are a solid squad. Even with a DT at QB they were able to beat the Patriots in this entirely accurate simulation. Option 2 – Aaron Donald is the real deal at QB, he is ready to take down Belichick & Brady.

If I were a gambling man, I would bet the house on the Rams.

– Buzz