Winter Meetings Update: Miami Marlins Edition
When you think of the Miami Marlins a number of things come to mind. Most people think of one of the cheapest owners in professional sports. Others might think of fraud or other vaguely legalistic terms. I think of bulimia. No organization has been better at binging and purging over the years than the Marlins. Well, the 2015 version seems to be in full binge mode after a very active Winter Meetings.
In order to capture the full extent of their latest binge we must go back to the record contract given to Giancarlo Stanton. The star right fielder will earn $325 million through the year 2027 or the apocalypse, whichever comes first. No one can doubt that Stanton was the best position player in the National League last year and he likely would have won the MVP award had he not been beaned in the head with a few weeks left in the season. Even with the slugger and a group of nice young players, no one saw the Marlins as a serious threat until they left the Winter Meetings yesterday.
Their activity began when they traded top prospect Andrew Heaney and three lesser prospects for second baseman Dee Gordon and pitcher Dan Haren. Of course, Heaney was flipped to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. Please check out the site for the coverage of the deals affecting the West Coast teams. There are rumors that Haren may later be flipped as well. He has voiced his desire to finish his career near his California home. Even if he stays with the Marlins, this will likely be his last season.
In terms of fantasy impact, Haren barely registers on the Richter Scale. He is a third or fourth starter at best in this day and age which means he will likely go undrafted in most leagues. However, he is one of those starters that is worth monitoring if he makes it to the waiver wire. Miami is a good place to pitch and the Marlins have some good offensive players to provide run support.
Gordon might have been a surprise to leave Los Angeles, but if you know anything about Andrew Friedman you can’t be that surprised. Even with his all-star campaign a year ago, he still only had a .326 OBP. If you are playing in a standard 5×5 league then that may not matter as much. He led the National League with 64 steals and managed to score 92 runs a year ago. If he develops patience at the plate and young players like Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich continue to develop, he should continue to be a strength in the runs scored department.
Yet, the most interesting part of the Gordon dynamic might be his opportunity to return to his natural position at shortstop. Adeiny Hechavarria was a below replacement level performer with the bat the past two seasons. The Marlins do have a couple of second base options if they want to shift Gordon to short. He won’t be shortstop eligible at the beginning of the season, but he might get that eligibility before the end of April.
The most impactful deal for the Marlins would have to be the trade that brought Mat Latos from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Chad Wallach and Anthony DeSclafani. 2014 was an injury riddled campaign for LAtos, but he still sported a 3.25 ERA with a 2.85 strikeout to walk ratio. He will slot in at the top of the rotation until Jose Fernandez is able to return from Tommy John surgery. Latos is a traditional number two starter and that is where he will spend the majority of the 2015 season.
Furthermore, Miami is a better place to pitch than Cincinnati, so we could see a resurgence in his numbers that could approach his time in San Diego. But there must be some caution with Latos as he lost about two miles per hour off his fastball last year.
Latos is in his last year of arbitration, so he will be a free agent following the 2015 season, so he plays into the Marlins bulimic nature. Odds are good that he will be one and done in Miami, so the Marlins are hoping everything will come together.