With all due respect to Richard Braughtigan, the Marlins have received a ton of flak the last couple of days following their "blockbuster" (Don't you love that word? Kind of like "scandal," people just love to throw it around) trade with the Blue Jays.
Well, I kind of like what the team did.
Just to recap, Miami traded the following players since the All Star break (Annual Salary in parens):
That is twelve players, or 48% of their Opening Day Roster of 2012. It is also around $85 million in payroll.
Truth is the team let good of a pretty good core of playing corps, and because of this the Fish have indeed received--so it seems--a lot of cries of foul. Commissioner Selig himself is reviewing the final swap between Toronto and Miami.
But, if you asked me, Miami took a bold step, turning a page and closing a chapter that in the view of the team's management simply did not work.
How can I say this, you ask? Well, to start, as noted this cluster of players were indeed among the core of Miami's Opening Day 25-man roster last year, and that team finished with 69 wins and 93 losses, 29 games behind the NL East Champ Washington Nationals.
On the other hand, if we use Washington and Tampa Bay as examples, by making these trades Miami got a jump of sorts on just working internal draft picks. And, if we look to Kansas City, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Seattle as examples of teams who are both trying to build via a similar model, and on the verge of having what at worst is interesting, and best is a competitive team.
Oh yes, there also those pesky Oakland Athletics who dumped dogs like Gio Gonzalez and Carlos Gonzalez and Dan Haren and Kurt Suzuki over the past years, and suddenly not only won the AL West, but might have a solid core to play in what has now become the toughest division in baseball despite the presence of the Astros.
So, let's see what the Fish received in exchange (salary for Major Leaguers; Round Drafted for prospects):
Mind you, the Marlins minors are not so deep, but the team does have one of the best young power hitters in Giancarlo Stanton, and though the Miami plan does push housecleaning to a previously unexplored extreme, well, no guts, no glory.
Miami starts 2013 with sort of a clean slate--and maybe core rotation of Ricky Nolasco, Jacob Turner, and Nathan Eovaldi, I think it is a reasonable bet that Miami wins 69 games again next season, and if that is the case, halfway through 2014 we should see whether the players coalesce into a team.
There are many ways, indeed to build a team. Similarly, prospects don't always pay off. But, speaking as one who likes to think outside of the box, I applaud what Miami is trying to do. In the end, at least it will be more fun to watch the team develop than to watch the same stars struggle and fail and wonder why.
PS: It will also be interesting to take a look at Toronto halfway through 2014 and see exactly what the money bought.