Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng pulled the coup of the offseason last December when she heisted AL batting champion Luis Arraez from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for pitcher Pablo Lopez. While Lopez has been just an average starter for Minnesota, Arraez is threatening to hit .400.
Beyond that, Arraez is a large part of the reason why the Marlins, at 47-34, are in a playoff position at the season’s halfway point.
How much of the credit for this revitalization does Ng deserve? Has the arrival of Arraez been the principal cog, or have smaller personnel changes also played a role?
Grading the Miami Marlins at the midway point of the 2023 season
What follows is a mid-term assessment of Ng’s personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the Marlins’ performance.
The standard of measurement in Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by the Marlins front office impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved (or worsened) the team’s status this season.
A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:
1. By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.
2. By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.
3. By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.
4. By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.
5. By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.
Here’s how Ng stacks up by those five yardsticks.