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Monday, December 05, 2005

Fish sale

The AP is reporting that the Florida Marlins are in the midst of a "fire sale," which in baseball is code for "they've given up because they cannot afford to compete."

Call me unconvinced.

First, keep in mind that the Florida Marlins have won two World Series titles in the past decade and they have some great young talent. Miguel Cabrera is one of the best hitters in the National League. He's 22 years old

Dontrelle Willis is one of the best pitchers in the NL. He's 23.

OF Jeremy Hermida (21) has enough talent to join Cabrera on many future All Star teams.

To date, the Marlins have primarily traded a bunch of players past their prime: 1B Carlos Delgado (33), 2B Luis Castillo (30), 3B Mike Lowell (31) and pitcher Guillermo Mota (32).

Delgado is the lone star on this list. Castillo has no power and his speed is going. Lowell had a horrible year. Mota failed as a closer after going to Florida from LA.

The only young, very talented player they've dumped is Josh Beckett (25), and he has a long history of injuries that have severely limited his innings pitched. Still, I could imagine him winning a Cy Young Award for the Red Sox. He's talented.

What did the Marlins receive in return? Well, a bunch of young players, including a few with genuine star potential:
For Castillo: The Minnesota Twins gave them pitchers Travis Bowyer (24) and Scott Tyler (23).

For Delgado: The New York Mets sent 1B Mike Jacobs (25), RHP Yusmeiro Petit (21) and INF Grant Psomas.

For Beckett, Lowell and Mota: acquired SS Hanley Ramirez (21), RHP Anibal Sanchez (21), RHP Harvey Garcia (21), and RHP Jesus Delgado (21) from the Boston Red Sox.
From that list, Petit and Ramirez are the big prizes, though Jacobs had quite a debut with the Mets last year after a great year at AA. 3B Posmas is at least a year away, but he had an outstanding 2005 at Hagerstown.

I expect Jacobs to start at first and Ramirez to start at short. Petit will likely join the rotation. Would that mean the Marlins have thrown in the towel?

Absolutely not. I think these deals make the Marlins competitive in 2006 and beyond. Their GM Larry Beinfest should be commended, not condemned. Hopefully, he can pull off a couple of more trades before people catch on that he's reloading the team. Apparently, they are trying to deal OF Juan Pierre (28) and C Paul Lo Duca (33). Great! Neither is likely to play on a playoff team if they remain in Florida. They aren't that good.

The pitchers, by the way, are harder to predict. Bowyers was very hard to hit in AAA, but was kind of wild. Sanchez had great strikeout to walk (k/bb) ratios at two levels and looks like a solid starting prospect. Garcia and Delgado did fairly well and are young. Of course TINSTAAPP.

Update: I've just learned that the Marlins dealt Lo Duca Sunday to the Mets for pitching prospect Gaby Hernandez (19). The kid is very hard to hit, had 3/1 k/bb ratios and gave up very few homers. Bingo!

Who said Moneyball was dead?

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