The Marlins are used to big trades. The franchise has time and time again cast their fanbase aside and pulled transactions out of nowhere, usually including some of their best players. These fire-sales have come both after successful seasons and horrendous ones, mid-season or seemingly at random moments in time. To predict what this team will do at the deadline might be a bit of a fool’s errand, as even during the most celebrated moments in franchise history Marlins were cast overboard.
In 1997, after winning their first World Series (in just their fifth year of existence) ownership decided to blow up the team, trading star players Moises Alou, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, Bobby Bonilla and Charles Johnson over the next six months, acquiring young talent in the process. A.J. Burnett and Derek Lee would be the fruit of this trade-labour, both turning into stars (but not all-stars, unbelievably) in their own right.
More from Call to the Pen
- Philadelphia Phillies, ready for a stretch run, bomb St. Louis Cardinals
- Philadelphia Phillies: The 4 players on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore
- Boston Red Sox fans should be upset over Mookie Betts’ comment
- Analyzing the Boston Red Sox trade for Dave Henderson and Spike Owen
- 2023 MLB postseason likely to have a strange look without Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals
Burnett and Lee would be a big part of the next championship team in Florida, when the Marlins again won the World Series in 2003. Lee would be rewarded with a ticket to Chicago, where he would continue to garner MVP votes and finally get to his first (and second) all-star game. His 2005 season is still one of the greatest in Cubs history, finishing with a 1.080 OPS and taking a real run at the Triple Crown (which he would end up missing, finishing first in batting average but second in home runs and seventh in runs batted in).
The surprising moves wouldn’t end there, as in 2005 the team dealt ace Josh Beckett to the Red Sox, slugger Carlos Delgado to the Mets, and speedster Juan Pierre to the Cubs. While fans at the time hated that they were dealing their top talent away, again they brought future stars in return. Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Mike Jacobs and Ricky Nolasco all came over that offseason and would play big roles for the Marlins soon after.
At the end of 2007, the Fish would deal their young superstar Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers along with World Series hero Dontrelle Willis. During and following the 2012 season, their first as the rebranded Miami Marlins, the front office would blow it up again, dealing Ramirez to the Dodgers mid-season, and completing a blockbuster in the offseason with the Toronto Blue Jays, moving Josh Johnson along with Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes less than a year after signing them to the biggest free agent deals in club history.
The Marlins are used to big trades.
This season is an odd one for the Florida fish, with their biggest star being their worst player, and a make-shift bullpen being one of the best in the league. A team that wasn’t picked by many to be a contender finds itself two games over .500, and in a position to go out and improve a team that looks like it has a real shot at a wildcard position.
Giancarlo Stanton is currently hitting .192/.299/.415, and though there were always red flags about his performance (mainly his tendency to swing-and-miss 50% more than the league average), it would be foolish to think he won’t improve on that line down the stretch. If he ever starts performing like the 6+ WAR player he’s shown over the past couple of seasons, the Marlins would have the best outfield in baseball.
Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich are showing the rest of the league why Stanton isn’t the only Marlin on the billboards outside the stadium, as both young outfielders are having tremendous campaigns. They rank 4th and 8th respectively in WAR among NL outfielders, putting up a combined 4.6 through the first third of the season.
Though the Marlins lost 2015 batting champ Dee Gordon for 80 games earlier this year to a PED suspension, he is eligible to return July 29th, which will feel like a deadline acquisition in itself. Derek Dietrich has done admirably in his absence however, performing well at the keystone. When Gordon returns, the team will have an abundance of middle infielders, with Adeiny Hechavarria still providing excellent defense at shortstop, if underwhelming at the plate.
The bullpen has been outstanding, with six relievers coming in with an ERA of 3.38 or below. Bryan Morris is probably out for the season, but this group, led by closer A.J. Ramos, has been more than enough to get the team through late inning scenarios.
As stated above, it’s really a foolish task trying to anticipate what owner Jeffery Loria and Co. will do this season. For all we know they’re trying to move out Ozuna right now because he’ll be eligible for arbitration this offseason (no seriously, that wouldn’t be very surprising). But if they are to try and improve this summer, the team should be looking at two key areas:
Next: A Rotation Upgrade