Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – Winter 2019-2020

We had an incredible run last season. The Marlins won the N.L. East, defeated the N.L. Central champion Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, and came within one game of the World Series.

My minor league system is incredibly depleted. I am OK with that. The Marlins are going for World Series victories, not AA and AAA titles.

I want to beef up my lineup a little bit heading into the offseason. I also think there are a few spots in my bullpen that I can improve. Other than that I am interested to see how this season plays out with the Miami Marlins.

If you need to get yourself caught up on the complete 2019 season, the links are below:

A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day
March and April
MLB First Year Player Draft
June Through The Trade Deadline
August And September
NLDS 2019
NLCS 2019

Hall of Fame

Ichiro Suzuki was the lone Hall of Fame inductee this offseason. He ended his career with 3,089 Hits, 500 steals, and a .311 AVG over 20 seasons.

A New Manager

Don Mattingly’s contract ran out at the end of the season. A new change of direction may be exactly what this club needs. I decided to put an offer out to a former World Series Champion – Joe Maddon. My offer was for 3 years and $25 million dollars.

Joe Maddon decided to accept the Mets offer to be farm director.

Next I decided to go after a younger manager – Alvin Da Costa. At only 45 years old he was younger and unproven. He looked like he would be a key asset to our offensive approach moving forward.

Alvin Da Costa took the Tigers offer to be farm director.

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I next approached Gene Holbrook. At only 43 years old, he preaches speed and plate vision. I offered him a 3 year $20 million dollar deal. He accepted. The Marlins had a new boss.

Exclusive Free Agents

I had six players that I had an exclusive window to negotiate with following the season:

NamePos.Ovr.Age
Craig KimbrelCP8531
Josh FieldsRP8034
Ervin SantanaSP7937
Logan Morrison1B7332
Ryan MadsonRP6539
Troy TulowitzkiSS6935

I considered tendering a qualifying offer to Kimbrel. If another team were to sign him, I would snag another early draft pick. If he accepted the qualifying offer I’d be on the hook for a year at $18.3M.

I decided to let all of those guys walk in favor of getting a younger roster and financial flexibility.

Around the league we had a few key players re-sign for massive extensions:

PlayerPositionTeamYRSContract
Will SmithCPGiants5$52.50M
Marcell OzunaLFCardinals5$68M
Trevor RosenthalRPNationals4$33.2M
Madison BumgarnerSPGiants5$75.50M
Dellin BetancesRPYankees3$24.90M

40 Man Roster

I had to set my 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft. I was afraid of losing some of my younger prospects with more potential. I decided to remove the following guys from my 40 man roster:

NamePos.Ovr.AgePot.
Ben MeyerRP5327B
Brett GravesRP6127B
Dixon Machado2B6728C
Yadiel Rivera2B6327C
Devin Marrero3B6729C
  • Devin Marrero was claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Renewable Contracts

These are the players that were still under team control – and the contracts that I offered to each of them after the season. You have to offer a contract to a player in order to renew them the following season – if they do not accept your offer, you can renew them for 80% or more of their previous salary.

PlayerPosAGEOVRPOTYRSContractAccepted
Willians AstudilloC2877B5$8MYes
Antone CruzCF1976C4$5.2MYes
Bryce Geiger1B1975C3$2.2MYes
Chris MartinRP3375C2$1.1MYes
Alfredo MolinaRF2573C1$70KYes
Tayron GuerreroRP2971B2$920KYes
Maxwell CastilloRP2371C2$2.5MYes
Martin RiedlingRF1971D1$70KYes
Kevin TrejoRP2470C1$70KYes
Giancarlo GarciaSP2869C1$70KYes
Sandy AlcantaraSP2468B3$1.5MYes
Guillermo PerezSP2068B1$70KYes
Marshall DaleyRP2067D1$60KYes
Garrett Cooper1B2967B5$1MYes
Elliot ZimmerSP2067B1$70KYes
Alex HealyLF2466B1$70KYes
Clifton HandCF2166C1$70KYes
Phil HastingsRP1966D1$60KYes
Dan McMahanSP1965C1$70KYes
Angel PeraltaRP2365B1$70KYes
Darwinzon HernandezRP2365B3$180KYes
Julio LopezCP2464B1$70KYes
Alex MateoRP1964D1$60KYes
Randy PeraltaRP2164C1$60KYes
Willis YoungSP2360B1$70KYes
Charles Holmes1B2459B1$70KYes
Gary FernandezSP2255B1$60KYes
Rodney Tucker3B2751A1$70KYes

Everyone accepted the contracts that I offered. I was incredibly pleased with some of the deals I was able to make. Locking up Willians Astudillo, Antone Cruz, and Bryce Geiger for multi-year team-friendly deals bodes well for the future of my club.

Free Agents

Free Agency was kind of boring for me. I put together an incredibly talented Major League roster in 2019. I didn’t want to overpay for anyone – especially when there was not a player that would drastically improve my squad. I cautiously went into free agency, looking to add pieces at the right price.

PlayerPos.AgeOvr.Pot.Yrs.OfferAccepted
Nick MarkakisRF3678B1$3.7MYes
Justin Barnett3B2071C1$80kYes
Bobby CovingtonCF2271C1$80KYes
T.J. HagerCP2676B1$100KYes*
Scott RagsdaleSS2776B1$100KYes*
Babe FoxxLF2575C1$80KYes
Sandy DunlapCP2975A1$90KYes
Thad HarperRF2874C1$80KNo
Nolan EdwardsCP2774B1$80KYes
Darnell Morse2B2671B1$80KYes

I was able to add a few players to my squad prior to the Rule 5 Draft. Nick Markakis was a solid addition to my lineup – he is a great contact hitter and can provide veteran leadership for my younger players. I also take his bat away from the Braves – which will only help in the battle for the N.L. East. T.J. Hager and Scott Ragsdale were picked up with the intention of being on my bench. However, I was unable to add both players to my 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft – and lost both of them.

Significant Free Agent Signings

PlayerTeamPos.AgeOvr.Pot.Yrs.Contract
Craig KimbrelNationalsCP3185B4$20.4M
Yasmani GrandalAstrosC3187A6$65.7M
Gerrit ColeAthleticsSP2989A5$65.3M
Pedro StropRed SozCP3484B2$14.8M
Will HarrisIndiansRP3592A1$6.8M
Steve CishekDodgersRP3387B3$28.8M
Sean DoolittleRed SoxCP3391A4$40.2M
Josh DonaldsonIndians3B3491A2$22.1M

The boldest move of Free Agency was the Oakland A’s picking up Gerrit Cole for a 5 year $65.3M deal. They have their ace locked down for the foreseeable future. I was right in not giving Craig Kimbrel a qualifying offer, as his AAV is around $5M, and not the $18M I would have had to give him.

Trades

As you know by now, I am always looking to make moves to improve my roster. I was able to make a few moved to make the Marlins a much better team heading into 2020.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Adalberto Mondesi2486BTwinsWhit Merrifield31912BA
Darnell Mores2671B
Willis Young2360B
Sandy Dunlap2975ATwinsAdalberto Mondesi2486SSB
Antone Cruz1976C
Matt Dudley1960B
Nolan Edwards2774BRangersJose Leclerc2686RPB
Justin Barnett2071C
Clinton Hand2166C
Elliot Zimmer2067BPhilliesSeranthony Dominguez2584RPB
Chad Marquez2265B
Alfredo Molina2573C
Chris Taylor2977BPadresKenny Davies1974RFB
Garrett Cooper2965BCarmen Cedeno1967SPB
Dan McMahan1965CDarnell Smyth22481BC
  • I first acquired All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield from the Twins for Gold-Glove shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and a couple of OK prospects.
  • Next I had a hole at shortstop to fill. I went back to the twins. I wanted Adalberto Mondesi’s speed and glove back. I had to give up a number of significant players in order to get him back. Antone Cruz – my rookie sensation, was now a Twin. I also had to include young CF prospect Matt Dudley – a 2019 second round pick, and RP Sandy Dunlap – who I had just signed.
  • I needed to replace Kimbrel and Fields next – two players that I allowed to walk in Free Agency. I continued to beef up the youngest and best bullpen in the league by trading for Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Leclerc.
  • Chris Taylor had low morale – he wanted more playing time. While I appreciated his versatility I have a younger version of him in Kike Hernandez, and now with Johan Camargo on the bench he was a distant option. I decided to look for a younger outfield guy to have off of the bench. The Padres had minor league all star Kenny Davies on the block. He was just 19 years old – I decided this was a better direction for my franchise.
  • The Blue Jays and Giants made the only significant trade of the offseason on November 18th, 2019. The Blue Jays traded away former Marlin 3B Brian Anderson, and OF Randal Grichuk. The Giants gave up 1B Brandon Belt, SP Andrew Suarez, and RP Tyrell Jarrell.

Minor League Free Agents

PlayerPosAGEOVRPOTYRSContract
William McCauleySP2767D1$60K
Pete CrosbySP2166D1$60K
Orlando FernandezSP2064D1$60K
Fletcher SandersonSP1963D1$60K
Danny MartinSP2460C1$60K
Giancarlo TorresSP2245B1$60K
Honus CoveyC1954D1$60K
John WimberlyC2452D1$50K
John Meyers1B2059D1$60K
Hitoki Sasaki1B2454D1$50K
Richie Aviles2B3070C1$70K
Larry Isaacs2B2867D1$60K
Jered Bronson2B2346B1$60K
Ben Zobrist2B3868A2$1.1M
Mike Will3B2253C1$60K
Jon Lowery3B2347B1$60K
Troy TulowitzkiSS3569C2$1.1M
John GizziSS2657C1$60K
Henry BorbonLF1970C1$70K
Terrell PukLF1957C1$60K
Marcos BarreraCF2961C1$60K
Tommy GloverCF2258C1$60K
Jose ArrojoCF2057C1$60K
Nelson CruzRF3968A2$1.1M
Elvis GonzalesRF1861D1$60K
  • For the most part, these guys are filling out my minor league rosters. It was nice to pick up veterans Nelson Cruz, Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Zobrist. They can help out the young guys on the farm and are around if I need them later in the year.

Contract Extensions

NamePos.AgePot.Ovr.Yrs.Total Salary
Seranthony DominguezRP25B884$9.5M
Jose MartinezRF31C802$3.6M
Kenny DaviesRF19B782$2.0M
  • I basically bought out the renewable years for Kenny Davies, a bonus was his overall rating jumped from a 74-78 after his extension.
  • I was very pleased with the negotiations with Seranthony Dominguez. I have him for the next four years at a very team friendly price. His overall also improved, going from an 86-88.
  • Jose Martinez has such a good bat – I am happy to have him for the next two seasons at a discounted rate.

Prospects

RankNamePos.Pot.AgeOvr.
37Derrick MeyerCPA1867
Carlos AlvaradoCB1873
Sandy AlcantaraSPB2468
Alex HealyLFB2466
Guillermo PerezSPB2068
Carmen CedenoSPB1967
Pablo ValenzuelaCB1869
Darwinon HernandezRPB2365
  • My minor league system is definitely in a different place than it was last year. I will be curious to see how some of my draft picks pan out over the course of the next few seasons. Derrick Meyer is the only player to crack the top 50 at #37.

Where Are They Now?

Below are some of the notable players/prospects I traded away in the past to get my team to where it is at today. I will continue to track their progress – hoping none of these player turn out to be Hall of Famers.

RankNamePos.Pot.Age.Ovr.New Organization
26Cyrus ReynaRPA1974Mets
30William RyuCPA2176Blue Jays
35Tom ParkSPB2070Brewers
38Gilberto BecerraCPA2272Rays
40Lawrence JacksonSPB2675Pirates
  • Brian Chu, my former top prospect is now platooning at 2B for the Blue Jays in his first full season in the bigs. They are also starting Scott Ragsdale at shortstop, a player they snaked from me in the Rule 5 draft.
  • Antone Cruz is leading off against lefties for the Twins.
  • Clinton Hand is the everyday center fielder for the Rangers. T.J. Hager is their closer – another player I lost in the Rule 5 draft.

Up Next

We head into the 2020 season. I will take a detailed look at my lineups for the season as well as opening day. Do the Marlins have what it takes to make it back to the playoffs? Can they make it to the World Series this year?

– Buzz

Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – NLCS 2019

The Miami Marlins took down the Cincinnati Reds in 5 games in the NLDS. You can read previous installments on this season at the links below:

A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day
March and April
MLB First Year Player Draft
June Through The Trade Deadline
August And September
NLDS 2019

We now take on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League Pennant.

NLCS

The Dodgers had a great regular season – finishing with a 105 – 57 record. They also produced Cy Young Award Winner Clayton Kershaw, Batting Title holder Justin Turner, and Reliever of the Year Kenley Jensen. Oh yeah, they have also been to the previous two World Series – losing both.

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Justin Turner is definitely someone that I need to worry about, but the Dodgers also have Cody Bellinger providing pop from the cleanup spot.

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The Dodgers have a good stretch in their lineup from 2-5, all players that I need to be worried about hitting the ball out of the yard at any moment. Outside of those four hitters – I am comfortable with my pitching staff attacking anyone. We just need to be careful with Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Joc Pederson.

The Marlins lineup lived up to their expectations in the first round of the playoffs. We do have two struggling bats in the lineup with Johan Camargo and Adalberto Mondesi.

Game 1

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E

The Dodgers took an early lead in the bottom of the second. Joc Pederson hit a solo home run to start the inning off. They were able to manufacture another run with a sac fly to go up 2-0.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Justin Turner hit a solo shot to add an extra run to their lead.

In the top of the 5th, Johan Camargo got a run back for the Marlins, with a solo homerun of his own to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Dodgers.

In the bottom of the 7th Justin Turner hit his second homerun of the night, putting the Dodgers in front 4-1.

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That is how the game ended. The Dodgers brought Kenley Jensen in to close out the 9th.

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Justin Turner ended the game with two homeruns and Walker Buehler was electric on the mound. He threw 8 strong innings while only allowing a single earned run.

Game 2

After the game 1 loss I decided to mix things up and give Julio Teheran his first postseason start. He was well rested and ready to go. We had Teheran vs Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound.

Adalberto Mondesi has struggled at the plate with a .136 AVG – I gave Kike Hernandez the start at shortstop. He thrives against lefties and has the extra incentive of playing against his old squad.

With the first pitch of the game Johan Camargo singled up the middle. Christian Yelich flew out to right field. Jose Martinez lined a single up the middle. With 1st and 2nd and one out Vladamir Guerro Jr. grounded into a fielders choice. That brought Max Muncy up with 1st and 3rd and 2 outs. Muncy singled to left field scoring Camargo. Marlins up 1-0.

In the top of the 3rd Yelich hit a solo homerun to put the marlins up 2-0.

The top of the 5th started off with back-to-back-to-back singles with Yelich, Martinez and Guerrero Jr. The Marlins were somehow unable to score after that great start to the inning.

Jorge Alfaro led off the 6th with a single. Yelich came up with two outs and hit his second homerun of the game, putting the Marlins up 4-0.

Dave Johnson pinch hit for the Dodgers to lead off the bottom of the 6th and hit a solo homerun. That put the Dodgers down by three runs, and unfortunately for them – that was the only damage they could do offensively. The score remained the same as the Marlins took home the victory 4-1.

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Teheran was solid throughout the night and stayed in to finish out the game. He ended his night with 10 Ks and only allowed 2 hits.

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Christian Yelich was the difference in this game. He had an incredibly night at the plate and just about single-handedly won this at the plate for the Marlins.

Game 3

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The series was tied heading back to Miami. Kike Hernandez once again started at SS, as the Dodgers were throwing lefty Clayton Kershaw. I had Chris Archer on the mound.

The game was scoreless until the top of the 4th inning when Cody Bellinger hit his first homerun of the series, a solo shot.

With two runners on, and 2 outs in the top of the 5th inning, Cory Seager singled in a run to put the Dodgers up 2-0. The Dodgers put another run across the plate in the 6th, ending Chris Archer’s night on the mound.

In the 7th, Bellinger singled with 2 outs, bringing up Joc Pederson to the plate. Pederson hit a two run bomb to put the Dodgers up by 5.

The Dodgers scored again in the 9th, going up 6-0.

The Marlins were able to get a run back in the 9th, but couldn’t put a rally together and lost 6-1.

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Kershaw proved why he was the Cy Young winner, He went 8.2 IP with 8 Ks, only allowing one run.

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Game 4

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With one out in the bottom of the second, Jorge Alfaro homered to put the Marlins up 1-0.

In the bottom of the 3rd – with Jose Martinez on base following a walk, Christian Yelich added to the lead with a 2-run homer of his own. Max Muncy singled – and with 2 outs in the inning – Johan Camargo joined the 2-run homer club to put the Marlins up 5-0. Adalberto Mondesi double the next at bat – running Kenta Maeda from the game after just 3.2 IP.

In the bottom of the 5th, Camargo hit his second homerun of the game to put the marlins up 6-0.

In the 7th, Ender Inciarte doubled home Mondesi to add another run.

And that was all she wrote. The Marlins won 7-0 and tied the series up at two games apiece.

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Marcus Stroman threw 8 strong innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 12. Camargo was the star at the plate, with a 2 homerun performance.

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Game 5

The series was all tied up at 2-2. This was the final game in Miami before heading back to Los Angeles. It was Jameson Taillon on the mound against Walker Buehler.

In the ALCS the Red Sox were up 3-1 against the White Sox. Would we have a rematch from last years world series? I hope not.

Vladamir Guerrero Jr. led off the 2nd inning with a solo shot putting the Marlins up 1-0.

Max Muncy led off the 5th inning with a single. Jorge Alfaro put one deep, where the homerun statue used to be, to give the Marlins a 3 run lead.

In the top of the 7th, Drew Jackson put some fight into the Dodgers with a 2 run homerun of his own, cutting the Marlin lead to just one run.

In the bottom of the 7th, the Marlins had the bases juiced with just one out. The pitchers spot was up, so I brought in Kike Hernandez to hit against lefty reliever Caleb Ferguson. Hernandez drove the second pitch he saw for a double down the line, clearing the bases and giving the Marlins a 6-2 lead.

In the bottom of the 8th, Christian Yelich led off the inning with a homerun. The Marlins strung together a few singles with two outs to score another run and grab an 8-2 lead.

The Dodgers couldn’t put together a threat in the 9th. The Marlins were heading to Los Angeles with a 3-2 lead in the series.

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MLB(R) The Show(TM) 19

Game 6

It was Trevor Williams against Hyun-Jin Ryu. With a lefty facing the Marlins I once again started Kike Hernandez at Shortstop. He was hot in the playoffs so far – hitting .417.

In the American League the White Sox grabbed a win, bringing the series to 3-2 in favor of the Red Sox.

In the bottom of the first inning, Cody Bellinger made his mark on the game with a 3-run homerun.

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The game was pretty slow for a long point after that. Neither offense was able to put much together, that is until the top of the 8th inning. With two outs in the inning Jorge Alfaro singled. Willians Astudillo pinch hit for the pitcher and had a single of his own. This put two runners on base for Johan Camargo. With one swing of his bat, the game was tied 3-3. Yelich was up next and had a single of his own. The very next batter, Jose Martinez, hit a double into the right center gap – scoring Yelich from first. The Marlins were now up 4-3. It was Vladamir Guerrero Jr.’s turn next. He took the first pitch and singled up the middle, scoring Martinez from second. 5-3 Marlins.

In the bottom of the 8th the Dodgers had two runners on and only one out. In a risky move, the Marlins brought in Edwin Diaz. Diaz struck out Austin Barnes to get two outs. The Dodgers brought in Dave Johnson to hit for their pitcher. He flew out to left and the threat was over.

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With one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the 9th, Christian Yelich made a huge error on a ball hit right at him. The Dodgers had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Cody Bellinger was at the dish. He already had a homerun earlier in the game, so I gave him the free base.

Diaz was able to strike out Joc Pederson. The bases were juiced and the series was on the line. With two outs A.J. Pollock came to the plate. Pollock hit a single up the middle with two strikes, scoring both runs and tying the game. Diaz struck out the next batter, and we were going to extras.

The Marlins were out 1-2-3 in the top of the inning, and Diaz struck out all three Dodgers he faced. We headed to the 11th.

An error by Kike Hernandez and back to back singles loaded the bases for the Dodgers with one out in the bottom of the 11th. A.J. Pollock hit a deep fly ball to Center Field, scoring the runner from 3rd and giving the Dodgers a 6-5 win. We were heading to Game 7.

Game 7

We had Julio Teheran vs Rich Hill on the mound. Over in the American League the Red Sox finished off the White Sox and were headed to the World Series.

Game 7 started much like Game 6 did. In the bottom of the first inning Bellinger hit a 2-run homerun to put the Dodgers up 2-0.

Christian Yelich led off the top of the 4th with a single. A couple of at bats later Vladamir Guerror Jr. singled him home to get a run back.

In the bottom of the 5th, Justin Turner doubled to score Andew Toles and give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. After a single by Cory Seager and a walk by Joc Pederson, A.J Pollack singled to score two more runs. The Dodgers were now up 5-1.

In the top of the 6th, Jose Martinez walked, and with two outs Ender Inciarte hit a 2-run homerun to bring the Marlins back. the score was now 5-3.

In the top of the 9th the Dodgers brought Kenley Jensen in to close this series out. He retired the Marlins in order, and the game was over. The Dodgers were headed to the World Series.

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MLB(R) The Show(TM) 19

World Series

The Dodgers were once again facing the Red Sox in the World Series.

With the series tied at 3-3 they were heading towards a decisive Game 7. It was Rick Porcello for the Red Sox vs Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound.

Mookie Betts put the Red Sox up early with a 3-run homerun in the top of the 1st. The Dodgers never had a chance from that point, and the Red Sox were back-to-back World Champions.

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Up Next

We head into the offseason. I will take a look at my staff and my roster and see which ways I can improve as we head into the 2020 season.

– Buzz

Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – NLDS 2019

The regular season is in the books for the 2019 Miami Marlins. We are playoff bound, taking on the N.L. Central winning Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS. You can read previous installments on this season at the links below:

A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day
March and April
MLB First Year Player Draft
June Through The Trade Deadline
August And September

I am feeling pretty accomplished at this point. I took one of the worst teams in baseball – and after only 68 trades and free agent signings – took them to the playoffs.

NLDS

As I mentioned earlier, the Reds won their division and were pretty consistent throughout the regular season.

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The Reds only have a couple of bats that I need to worry about – Scooter Gennett provided the most power and Tucker Barnhart was the most consistent at the plate. They also have Joey Votto – who you can’t forget about. On the mound, Tanner Roark was their best arm, but Luis Castillo is the true ace of the staff.

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Honestly, their lineup is not very much to worry about. It seems just fine – but there are only a couple of intimidating bats. Outside of Votto and Gennett there is truly nobody I need to be too careful pitching to.

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Now that is a nice looking Marlins lineup. Jose Martinez, Christian Yelich, Vladamir Guerror Jr., and Max Muncy give me an incredibly tough heart of the order to get through.

Game 1

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Ender Inciarte took the first pitch of the game and lined it to right center field for a single. Jose Martinez did the very same thing with the second pitch, and the Marlins had two on and nobody out with Christian Yelich coming to the plate. Yelich flew out to right, not quite deep enough for Inciarte to tag up on. Vladamir Guerrero Jr. came up and hit a shot to the Left Fielder Jesse Winker – who made an incredible catch down the left field line. Inciarte took off from second – not expecting a catch to be made and was doubled up at second base to end the inning.

The Reds were also able to put to hits on the board in the first inning. Jorge Alfaro threw out their leadoff guy on a steal attempt, and no damage was done after that.

In the top of the second, Jorge Alfaro lined a single up the middle with one out. Johan Camargo was up next and drove a double into the left-center gap – scoring Alfaro from first to put the Marlins up 1-0.

With two outs in the bottom of the second, Matt Kemp hit a towering shot off the top of the left field wall for a double. Jameson Taillon was able to strike out Tucker Barnhart to end the threat.

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Taillon, who hit .049 on the year, led off the 5th with a single to shallow right field. Inciarte followed with a single to left field. Martinez was up next and drove a double to the right center gap with his first pitch, scoring both runners. Yelich was beaned and Valdamir Guerrero Jr. singled up the middle to load the bases with nobody out. This knocked Luis Castillo from the game, and the Reds brought in a relief pitcher.

Max Muncy grounded to Joey Votto at first base – who tried to turn two – luckily the turn was not quick enough. A run scored and the Marlins still had first and third with only one out. Alfaro next singled down the 3rd base line to score Yelich. Camargo and Mondesi both hit the ball well on the next two at bats – but they hit it directly to Reds players to end the inning. The damage was done and the Marlins were up 5-0.

The Reds were able to score in the 5th and 6th inning to bring the game a bit closer.

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In the top of the 9th Yelich drove the first pitch over the left field wall for a solo homerun – putting the Marlins up 6-2

In the bottom of the ninth Matt Kemp led off the inning with a single. Jose Alvarado was able to get a fly out and strike out the final two batters to end the game.

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Alvarado was great on the mound – only allowing a single hit in two innings of work. He was so great that the Marlins were able to save their pen for another day.

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Game 2

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The first two innings were rather quiet at the plate. The Marlins were able to get a hit in each of the first two innings, and the Reds got their first hit in the second with Yasiel Puig. That threat ended quickly when Christian Yelich made an amazing catch to end the inning.

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In the top of the third Scooter Gennett made his own web gem play – robbing a hit from Trevor Williams

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The game was quiet – until the bottom of the 5th. Yasiel Puig led the inning off with a mammoth homerun to left center field. Williams was able to retire the next three batters in order – but the Reds had a 1-0 lead.

We didn’t have much action again for the next few innings. Williams pitched a great seven innings, and wood lasted through 8 full innings – holding the Marlins scoreless.

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In the top of the 9th with one out Yelich singled to left field. On the next pitch he stole second base.

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Jose Martinez lined up the middle to score Yelich and tie the game at 1-1. Antone Cruz came in to run for Martinez. Cruz stole second on the first pitch of Max Muncy’s at bat. The next pitch was a wild pitch, advancing Cruz to third base with one out. Muncy struck out, and Vladamir Guerror Jr. flew out to end the inning, leaving Cruz stranded on 3rd base.

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Joey Votto was up to lead off the bottom of the 9th inning. Votto was up on the count 1-0 and absolutely turned on the ball, sending a shot down the right field line. The ball unfortunately stayed fair – giving the Reds a 2-1 walkoff victory.

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Williams and Wood had incredible stat lines in this pitcher’s duel:

  • Williams: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K
  • Wood: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 K
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Game 3

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With the series tied at 1-1 and heading to Miami, we had Chris Archer against Tanner Roark on the mound.

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This was a straight up pitcher’s duel through the first four innings. The Marlins were able to sprinkle a few hits here and there – and the Reds had a hit of their own. No team was able to advance a runner past second base through the first four frames.

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With one out in the bottom of the 5th inning Adalberto Mondesi roped a ball to the right-center field gap – using his speed to make it safely to third with a triple. Chris Archer came up to the plate next and struck out – bringing up Ender Inciarte with two outs and a runner on third. Inciarte lined a pitch off the hip of Roark and the ball deflected to the 3rd baseman. Inciarte was able to beat out the throw at first – scoring Mondesi – giving the Marlins a 1-0 lead.

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Jose Martinez was up next. On the first pitch of the at bat Inciarte stole second. Martinez then hit a line shot to right field, where Yasiel Puig was waiting to make an incredible diving catch, saving a run and ending the threat from the Marlins.

In the top of the 6th, the bats of the Reds finally came to life. Jorge Peraza singled to left field. Joey Votto came to the plate and did what Joey Votto does, hit a homerun to right field. This gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.

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In the top of the 7th Archer allowed a double to Puig and a walk to Kemp. There was one out – after a mound visit the boss decided to keep Archer in the game. With a 2-2 count, Archer hung a slider to Tucker Barnhart – who put it into the right field bleachers. This gave the Reds a 5-1 lead. Archer stayed in to finish the inning, but the damage was done.

In the top of the 8th Craig Kimbrel came in and got the first two guys out. Eugenio Suarez came up, and with two strikes hit a blast over the left field wall. 6-1 Reds.

The Miami Marlins were unable to string together enough hits to create a threat. The Reds took home a 6-1 victory and 2-1 series lead.

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Game 4

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In Game 4 we had Marcus Stroman vs Luis Castillo. I was surprised to see the Reds bring Castillo out again so soon, especially after his game 1 performance. He was sitting with an 11.25 playoff ERA.

I decided to sim this game – I had played the first three games and it was not working out to well for me.

In the bottom of the 3rd inning Miami scored first – getting four runs across the dish. Christian Yelich homered – scoring two runs. Marcus Stroman was able to help himself later in the inning with a 2 run single.

The Reds responded with two runs of their own in the top of the 4th. Matt Kemp had a 2-run homerun of his own. The Reds were down 4-2.

  • In the bottom of the fourth the Marlins scored twice. 6-2 Marlins.
  • In the top of the 6th the Reds scored two more runs. 6-4 Marlins.
  • In the top of the 8th the Reds scored 3 runs. 7-6 Reds.
  • The Marlins scored one in the bottom of the 8th. 7-7.

For some reason – Marcus Stroman was still in the game. He was at 132 pitches. I needed to take over. I stopped the sim and entered in the Top of the 9th. I brought in Edwin Diaz, and the Reds didn’t have a chance.

In the bottom of the 9th Max Muncy ledoff with an infield single. Johan Camargo singled after a Jorge Alfaro line out. The Marlins had 1st and 2nd with one out. Antone Cruz came in to run for Muncy at 2nd.

Adalberto Mondesi grounded to the second baseman. Double play ball. The Reds got the out at second, then threw to first. The throw was wide and Mondesi was safe. However – Cruz decided to push things and round 3rd, he tried to score from second on a double play ball. Votto was able to get the throw home in time, ending the inning.

I went back to simming because I got bored at this point. I had a headache from staring at the screen. The Marlins got out of the inning without giving up a run. I accidentally pushed the wrong button when I wanted to hit for the Marlins in the bottom of the 10th. The Marlins scored and won 8-7.

It looks like Kike Hernandez pinch hit and doubled. With two outs Yelich doubled – scoring Hernandez and tying the series 2-2.

Game 5

In game 5 we had Jameson Taillon vs Alex Wood. I decided to go with the quick manage because I was pretty burnt out at this point.

Miami scored first in the 4th inning. They put three more across the plate in the 6th to go up 4-0. They scored again in the 7th. The Reds came back with 2 more in the 8th.

Now was my time to enter the game. We were up 5-2 heading into the 9th.

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With one out – Yelich doubled down the line. Martinez was up next and struck out.

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Muncy came to the plate and absolutely wrecked a ball – hitting it deep over the right field wall. The Marlins were up 7-2 heading into the bottom of the 9th.

Taillon was still in the game – but at 111 pitches I decided to be safe and bring in Edwin Diaz to close this series out.

With a quick 1-2-3 inning it was all over – Diaz sat the Reds down in order and the Marlins were off to the NLCS.

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Up Next

We are going to follow the Marlins to Los Angeles for the NLCS against the Dodgers. Over in the American League we have a surprising ALCS – with the White Sox against the Red Sox.

– Buzz

Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – August And September 2019

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Another month is in the books for the 2019 Miami Marlins. You can read previous installments on this season at the links below:

A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day
March and April
MLB First Year Player Draft
June Through The Trade Deadline

August was an awful month for the Miami Marlins. In the midst of an already terrible month – Chris Taylor dislocated his ankle on August 25th – ending his season. Antone Cruz had been tearing it up at AAA – hitting .291 AVG with 5 HR and 22 RBI. At just 18 years old, Cruz found himself on my bench heading into the most important part of the season.

On August 29th Cruz had his coming out party. In just his third game with the club – and on the fifth at bat of his young career, he hit a homerun for his first major league hit. He came to the plate with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth – down by one run. With a runner on first and second he drove the first pitch deep into the left center field gap – in a perfect place for both runners to score and the Fish to take home the W.

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That game he would go on to be 4/5 with 2HR, 2B, 2R, and 5RBI.

After an embarrassing start to the month, in which had just 5 wins to go along with 15 losses, the Marlins finished August strong. They were winners of their last 8 games of the month – ending the month with a 13-15 record.

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Christian Yelich was now the leader in the MVP race – proving that gutsy trade to be worthwhile.

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Aaron Nola led the Cy Young race – despite Clayton Kershaw having superior numbers.

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Vladamir Guerrero Jr. Finally found himself atop the Rookie of the Year race after claiming his second Rookie of the Month award in August.

Other News:

  • Brian Chu, now the #6 prospect in baseball, found his way onto the Blue Jays. Hopefully Marcus Stroman proves his worth – or I may really regret that trade.
  • The New Orleans Baby Cakes finished the year at 68-72 – out of the AAA playoffs.
  • The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp finished at 30-40 in AA. No playoffs for them either.

September

As we entered September the Marlins found themselves at 68-67, 3 games back of the Braves and Phillies – who were tied for the division lead. The Marlins were actually further back in the wild card race now, at four games behind the Rockies. *The Rockies had a great month, they were two games under .500 at the trade deadline.

The Marlins winning streak continued into the month. Christian Yelich sustained a lat strain on September 5th and missed a few games. The win streak eventually ended against the Brewers on September 9th – ending at 15 games.

On September 29th – the last game of the year – the Marlins found themselves one game up on the Braves for the division lead. They were playing at Philadelphia. The Phillies were out of it, and I had Chris Archer on the mound. I was feeling good.

Apparently, I was wrong to feel good. Archer laster just 1.2 innings – and the Phillies took home the win 9-4. Luckily for the Marlins, the Braves lost to the Mets – giving me the division crown.

Our playoff series was against the Cincinnati Reds, who won the N.L Central with a 97-65 record.

Pitching

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Trevor Williams had a great season. He put up Cy Young numbers – and any other season he would have won it with a 17-4 record and 2.16 ERA. The rest of my rotation was pretty great as well, all starters in my staff had a sub 3.50 ERAs.

Hitting

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Christian Yelich had an MVP worthy season and makes that trade much easier to stomach. He had a .296 AVG and .390 OBP with 39 HR and 114 RBI. Max Muncy also had a great year with a .281 AVG and .379 OBP. He led the league in HR with 45 and slugging percentage at .594.

Awards

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Clayton Kershaw took home the Cy Young Award.

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Bryce Harper was the MVP. It sure doesn’t hurt to be the cover athlete for the game. I would argue that Christian Yelich ended up with superior numbers on the season.

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Vladamir Guerrero Jr. came through the win the Rookie of the Year award. He had a good debut season at the plate. I will expect his numbers to improve with the money I am paying him now.

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I had a number of players take home the Gold Glove for their positions this season:

  • Adalberto Mondesi – SS
  • Johan Camargo – 3B
  • Ender Inciarte – CF
  • Christian Yelich – RF
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The Marlins also had a good showing with the Silver Slugger:

  • Max Muncy – 1B
  • Julio Teheran – P
  • Christian Yelich – OF

Up Next

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I will go in depth with the 2019 MLB Postseason. The Marlins will take on the Reds in the Division Series – hopefully they can bring home the pennant.

– Buzz

Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – June Through The Trade Deadline

Another chunk of the season is gone for the 2019 Miami Marlins. You can read previous installments on this season at the links below:

A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day
March and April
MLB First Year Player Draft

June

The Marlins had another solid month. Thankfully, Vladamir Guerrero Jr. finally started to perform – earning the N.L. Rookie of the Month Award.

Around the league there were a couple of trades with recognizable names:

DateTeamTradesToFor
6/12Blue JaysJustin SmoakRangersDrew Smyly
6/12CardinalsJedd GyorkoDiamondbacksNick Ahmed
6/18YankeesAustin RomineRangersMike Minor

All-Star Break

The Marlins had been playing solid baseball. We came into the All-Star break with a 48-41 record. The Braves still held on to first in the N.L. East, but only by 1.5 games. The Phillies were right on our tail at 48-43.

Pitching

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Chris Archer was still having a dominant season. He led the staff in ERA, wins and K’s. Trevor Williams and Ervin Santana continued to be incredible contributors to the rotation as well. The bullpen remained pretty solid, but there was room for improvement there.

Hitting

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Max Muncy was having a great first half of the season. He was putting up great all-around numbers. Muncy was hitting for power and average – I was thrilled with what he had shown. Ender Inciarte was a great addition as a leadoff guy. Jose Martinez also had been really consistent at the plate.

Marlins All-Stars

The Marlins were only able to produce three players to the All-Star team:

  • SP – Chris Archer: 8-3, 1.94 ERA
  • SP – Trevor Williams: 11-2, 2.26 ERA
  • RF – Jose Martinez: .299 AVG, 15 HR, 45 RBI
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The biggest snub was Max Muncy. As you can see in the picture above he is tearing it up this season. While Muncy was not an all star he was selected to participate in the Homerun Derby. He put on a good showing but did not win.

Trades At The All-Star Break

Pirates

I turned to the trade block once again. My team was right on the tail of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. I felt like I was just a couple moves away from catching them and taking control during the second half of the season. The lowly Pirates were sitting 9.5 GB in the NL Central, and were willing to move the ace of their staff.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Dallas Keuchel3186BPiratesJameson Taillon2789SPA
Lawrence Jackson2573B
Gilberto Becerra2170A

This is a big gamble for my franchise. I am trading away two of my best prospects – and the man slated to be my ace at the beginning of the season. Lawrence Jackson (#26) and Gilberto Becerra (#32) also find themselves as two of the Top 50 prospects in the game.

I am comfortable trading Keuchel away at this point – he is rocking a 5-9 record with a 3.97 ERA. Jameson Taillon on the other hand is 5-7, however he has a 2.20 ERA. I also will have Taillon under team control for the next four seasons, while Keuchel can walk at the end of the year.

Mets

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Adam Liberatore3182BMetsEdwin Diaz2589CPA
Cyrus Reyna1872APhil Hastings1867RPD
Charlie Weaver1973C

The Mets were sitting at 35 – 56, 15.5 games back of the Braves. I wanted to beef up my bullpen. I talked to the Mets and told them I was interested in Edwin Diaz – the Mets are terrible, they don’t even need a closer. They came back and told me they wanted one of my top prospects, Cyrus Reyna, a Major League reliever (Liberatore), and a solid AAA OF prospect in Charlie Weaver. Reyna was ranked as the #27 best prospect in baseball at the time of this trade.

Miami has not seen a World Series since 2003 – looks like I am all in this year. I am OK with moving on from Liberatore – he has a 4.55 ERA – I will also save about $1.5M in this deal.

Brewers

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Alex Jordan2269BBrewersJosh Hader2485CPA
Fuzzy Miklich2269B
Tom Park1969B

The Brewers were sitting at 40-51, 10.5 games back of the Cubs. I just traded away my only left-handed reliever. I am in the process of compiling the best bullpen in baseball – now is the time to capitalize on it. Tom Park is one of my best pitching prospects, and the #30 prospect in all of baseball. Alex Jordan and Fuzzy Miklich are two key contributors on my AAA squad. It is hard to find a left-handed arm out of the pen like Josh Hader’s – so I took this deal.

July

Around the League

As it stands, the Marlins are at 55 – 52 on the season. They sit in 3rd of the N.L. East behind the Phillies and Braves. The Marlins are 2.5 games behind the division leading Braves. The Marlins are also just out of reach of a Wild Card spot, only 1.5 games back of the playoffs.

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Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate. Madison Bumgarner and Aaron Nola are having solid seasons, but Kershaw clearly stands out here. Chris Archer falls off of this list for the first time in 2019.

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Bryce Harper is having a pretty great season. This will be a tight race for N.L. MVP – Christian Yelich and Kris Bryant are also having impressive seasons. Justin Turner was having a great first half, but fell off the map in July.

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Drew Jackson is the surprise leader for N.L. ROY. The Dodgers Shortstop/Utility Player has had a good start to the year. Pete Alonso is putting up his expected power numbers. Fernando Tatis Jr. is becoming more consistent and living up to his hype. Jimmy Colon is no longer on the map for N.L. ROY.

Minors

There were not a ton of great performances from my minor league teams through the month of July. Kevin Chacin was the only player that truly stood out.

  • Kevin Chacin – SP (AAA): 41.2 IP, 1.51 ERA, 42 K
  • Julio Lopez – CP (AA): 10.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 11 K
  • Dixon Machado – 2B (AAA): .425 AVG, 3 RBI

Deadline Day

On July 20th Chris Archer got injured against the Dodgers. He suffered from a shoulder strain and would be out a few weeks. I decided to call up Sandy Alcantara to fill his spot in the rotation. Alcantara did well in his few starts, but this really scared me. I do not have much starting pitching depth outside of my Major League roster.

Deadline day arrived and my Marlins were sitting a few games back of the Braves still. We were within reach of the division lead, and had control of a Wild Card spot. July was a really disappointing month – and the Marlins ended the month getting swept by the Diamondbacks in a four game series.

Now was the time to really see how I could improve my squad as we continued to push towards the playoffs.

Pirates

I feel bad digging into this franchise again – but it is also kind of their fault. The Pirates put Josh Bell up on the block…

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Pedro Alvarez3273CPiratesJosh Bell26801BB
Russell Brooks2168B

Their loss is my gain. I traded away Pedro Alvarez who was not really producing at the plate – and didn’t provide me any flexibility off the bench. They also acquired Russell Brooks – I was willing to let go of him because I have Bryce Geiger at first base in AAA, who is better and younger. Josh Bell gives me some versatility off the bench and a DH option against A.L. teams.

Tampa Bay Rays

I originally contacted the Rays to get Blake Snell, but they asked for too much.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Jamie Leece2273BRaysJose Alvarado2393RPB
Samuel Guerra2164BManny Diaz2447CFD
Sam Da Silva27533BD

The Rays were 12.5 games back in the east and looking to add prospects. They were also looking for a 3rd baseman of the future. I used this to acquire another elite relief pitcher. Jose Alvarado provides me another great left-handed option out of the pen. He has an immense level of talent at such young age.

Red Sox

My roster was full – and Luis Garcia was going to be sent down after all of my bullpen acquisitions. I decided to test the market and see if I could recoup some of the prospects I had traded away.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Luis Garcia3279CRed SoxDarwinzon Hernandez2260RPB
Roger Chavez2555RFC

Darwinzon Hernandez is a decent prospect. He is relatively young and has good potential. Roger Chavez is nothing more than a roster filler for me, but maybe he will turn into something.

Blue Jays

The Blue Jays had Marcus Stroman on the block. They were way out of contention at 46-63. I decided that I was in a spot where I could beef up my rotation.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Brian Chu2472ABlue JaysMarcus Stroman2784SPB
Juan Franco2250B

Ervin Santana is in a bit of a funk because he lost a few of his compatriots on the squad. I will more him to the bullpen while his morale is down and give Stroman his spot. Unfortunately, I had to include SS Brian Chu, the #11 prospect in all of baseball.

Thoughts

I absolutely decimated my minor league system to acquire the talent I got at the deadline. I traded away MOST of my top prospects, including five of the Top 50 prospects in all of baseball:

RankNamePos.AgeNew Organization
11Brian ChuSS24Blue Jays
26Lawrence JacksonSP25Pirates
27Cyrus ReynaRP18Mets
30Tom ParkSP19Brewers
32Gilberto BecerraCP21Pirates

Although I have destroyed my minor league system in the short term, I was able to acquire some truly talented players in Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, Jose Alvarado, Josh Hader, Edwin Diaz and Josh Bell.

Around the League on Deadline Day:

Division Leaders:

A.L.N.L.
WestCentralEastWestCentralEast
A’s
(68-42)
Twins
(61-46)
Red Sox
(68-42)
Dodgers
(68-42)
Reds
(62-45)
Braves
(59-51)

Wildcard Standings:

A.L. Wild CardGBN.L. WildcardGB
Astros (62-47)Cubs (61-46)
Mariners (61-50) Phillies (57-51)
Yankees (60-49)Giants (57-51)
White Sox (59-48)Diamondbacks (57-52)0.5
Indians (58-49)1.0Marlins (55-52) 1.5
Rangers (55-54)5.0Rockies (54-56)4.0
Rays (55-55) 5.5Cardinals (50-58)7.0

Trades Around the League:

DateTeamTradesToFor
7/30RoyalsWhit MerrifieldTwinsKohl Stewart, Ramon Lozano, and Aldaberto Mejia
7/31PadresKirby YatesA’sKenny Davies, Vincent Gehrig

The Twins were able to beef up their lineup by acquiring All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield from the Royals. The A’s took the scraps that I left on the bullpen market, acquiring Kirby Yates from the Padres.

Contract Extensions:

On July 31st you are allowed to sign players on your roster to contract extensions. I decided that this was a great opportunity to lock down some of my stars. My main goal was to buy out arbitration years and get some discounted free agent years.

NamePos.AgePot.Ovr.Yrs.Total Salary
Edwin DiazCP25A923$14M
Jameson TaillonSP27A923$22M
Vladamir Guerrero Jr.3B19A875$40M
Josh HaderCP24A854$19M
Jose AlvaradoCP23B914$12.4M
Johan Camargo3B25B815$19M
Marcus StromanSP27B843$23.5M
Julio TeheranSP28B812$12.8M
Chris TaylorCF28B802$5.6M
Josh Bell1B26B752$6.2M
  • I was able to buy out the remaining arbitration years of Edwin Diaz, Jameson Taillon, Josh Hader, Chris Taylor and Josh Bell.
  • I was able to lock Johan Camargo into a five year extension – securing all of his arbitration years and one year of free agency.
  • Vladamir Guerrero Jr. signed a pretty fair contract for himself and the club. I could have just kept him on his rookie deal for next to nothing. Instead, I opted to pay him a fair amount – to keep him happy. This contracts gets him through his first two years of arbitration.
  • I just acquired Marcus Stroman – I don’t want to give up those prospects for nothing. This deal buys out his remaining arbitration year and two years of free agency.
  • Julio Teheran signed over his next two years of free agency at a steal of only $6.4M per year.

One Last Thing…

After all of the trades, and all of the contract extensions, there was one more thing that I wanted to take a look at. I wanted to beef up my lineup a little more. I did the rounds and checked in again with teams that were out of the race. Then I thought back to the Brewers, they have a former Marlin that would be a great addition to this team. I decided to check in with them about Christian Yelich

Brewers

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Josh Hader2490ABrewersChristian Yelich2790RFA
Danny Valencia3476CTerrell Cheek2354RFC
Josh Bell2680BTheo Law2451LFD

I just signed Josh Hader and Josh Bell to great contracts! However, I was in a spot where I could trade a relief pitcher, and a couple of bench guys for the new star of my team. Needless to say, I had to bring Yelich back to Miami. Done deal.

Padres

I now needed to replace Hader in my pen. I checked with the White Sox to see what they wanted for Jace Fry – too much. Next I went to the Padres and targeted their young lefty Jose Castillo.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Alden Floyd 2269BBrewersJose Castillo2380RPB
Marco Montanez2063C2354RFC
Carmen Cedeno1866B

Dang – there went my last Top 50 prospect in Alden Floyd. I am OK with this move though. Castillo is only one year older than Floyd and much better.

Minor league signings:

NameAgePos.Ovr.Pot.Yrs.Sal.
Willis Young22SP58B1$70K
Charles Holmes231B58B1$70K
Alex Healy23LF65B1$70K

One More Extension:

NamePos.AgePot.Ovr.Yrs.Total Salary
Jose CastilloRP23B845$11.5M
  • With this last extension I signed Jose Castillo through his age 28 season. I will have him for the next five years at $2.3M per year. He will become a free agent at the end of this extension.

Budget

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After all of those moves – our budget remains essentially unchanged. The Marlins made the jump into the $80M dollar range. A few of our larger contracts – Kimbrel, Santana and Madson – will be coming off the books in 2020.

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The players salaries jump a bit for the 2020 season. I am comfortable with the extensions players have signed. Looking at the list of the top salaries in 2020 – all of those players are expected to be key contributors next season.

Up Next

Next I am going to take a look at how the regular season turned out. Will the Marlins catch the Braves in the East? Will my new acquisitions perform up to expectations? Will I live to regret any of my contract extensions?

– Buzz

The Worst Destinations For A Major League Baseball Draft Pick

The 2019 MLB First Year Player Draft is coming up on June 3rd. Getting drafted by any major league baseball team is a major accomplishment.

Some organizations would be much more exciting to go to than others. Below I have ranked the teams that I would be least excited to be drafted by:

1). Chicago White Sox

The other team in Chicago. You know, the one without the history or national prestige. They did win a World Series in 2005, but everyone has kind of forgotten that took place.

I feel like I would be pretty stoked to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs. I would go around and announce to the world, “I WAS DRAFTED BY THE CHICAGO CUBS!” On the other hand, if I were to be drafted by the White Sox, I would say, “I got drafted by Chicago,” and then fake a phone call and leave before explaining that it was to the other team in Chicago.

2.) Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates are an organization that seems like it will never truly get back to being competitive. The Pirates have won the World Series five times, with their last coming in 1979. The Pirates have not won their division since 1992, when they were led by MVP Barry Bonds. Their last post-season appearance was in 2015 as a Wild Card team – they lost to the Cubs.

The Pirates have a nice stadium – but it honestly seems empty any time I see them on TV.

The uniforms are not great, and for such an old franchise they should have more of a classic look. The forced pirate font on the numbers is reminiscent of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a lesser extent.

3.) Toronto Blue Jays

Growing up, I really doubt that any boy (that is not Canadian) dreams of playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. I am sure that Toronto is a cool city to live in. Toronto just doesn’t scream “baseball town” to me.

They play in a dome – which is outdated. The Rays get an extreme amount of grief for playing at Tropicana, but is the Rogers Center really that much better? I am honestly asking, I have never been there.

4.) Detroit Tigers

There is a reason the Detroit Tigers were the worst team in baseball two years ago. At this moment, if someone said they had an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway to Detroit – I would probably say no thanks. Detroit is a pit of a city, I know it is on the way back up – but still – I have no desire to go there.

From a baseball standpoint – the Tigers were looking pretty good not too long ago. Even with the Giants destroying them in the 2014 World Series – they had a solid core of talent and their drop off is pretty inexcusable.

Comerica Park is a nice stadium, opening on April 11, 2000. The stadium is outdoors. The first and last month of the season can be pretty cruel weather-wise, but other than that it seems like an OK place to play.

The uniforms are pretty classic. There is nothing special about them – so it is hard to hate them.

The biggest knock on getting drafted by Detroit – you eventually would have to live in Detroit.

5.) Oakland A’s

Congratulations, you have been selected by the Oakland A’s. One day you will make it to the show – where you will get the opportunity to play at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum. Built in 1966, it is the only stadium left that is intended for football and baseball.

The nice thing about getting drafted by the A’s is knowing that you will likely be traded and end up somewhere else at some point in your career – at least you won’t be attached to the franchise and city for long.

Even better, maybe Oakland will finally lose the franchise. You could end up in an awesome city like Portland. Maybe this wouldn’t be the worst place to end up after all.

Honorable Mention

Baltimore Orioles – Currently a terrible organization. Saved by a cool stadium and decent uniforms.

Tampa Bay Rays – Always a competitive team, and you get to live in a city with beautiful weather. The stadium is a big knock on this franchise.

Texas Rangers – Outdoor baseball in Texas? Gross. However, this is a team that is not afraid to spend money. They are also getting a new covered stadium next year.

Kansas City Royals – The team is not good – currently. However, the city supports their baseball team – according to my visit after they had recently won the World Series in 2016. The Royals have a sweet stadium. Growing up playing RBI baseball on my Sega Genesis I dreamed of one day hitting a homerun into the fountains, just like I did back then with Danny Tartabull. (It may not have been him, but that sounds correct.)

Miami Marlins – They are currently the worst team in baseball. However, you would get to live in Miami and the stadium is pretty new.

Cincinnati Reds – Cincinnati ranks up there with Detroit on the list of “Cities That I Don’t Really Ever Need To Go To” list. However, they have a great history and awesome uniforms.

*Currently, I am a MLB Free Agent and would love to play for any of the teams listed above.

– Buzz

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