Over the past couple months, the Marlins have made three trades that have been intended to change the design and focus of this team. Been reading reaction from Marlins’ fans as these moves have happened and it seems many believe the Marlins are starting another “fire sale”. Well, I’m here to try and dispel that very notion by explaining each move the Marlins have made thus far this offseason.
The Florida Marlins trade 1B Mike Jacobs to the Kansas City Royals for RP Leo Nunez.
Before this offseason began, Larry Beinfest had made it quite clear that he wanted to return to the model that won them the World Series back in 2003: pitching, defense, speed. Over the past couple seasons, it became quite evident that Mike Jacobs was not going to fit that mold. So, with Gaby Sanchez waiting in the wings at first base, the Marlins placed him on the trading block. The Royals, desparate for power, jumped on Mike Jacobs, giving up a quality young bullpen arm in Leo Nunez.
Many people throughout baseball may see his low strikeout ratio and think that he really isn’t suited for the late innings. Well, even though he does have a low strikeout ratio, his WHIP is even lower than his strikeout ratio. Leo Nunez, only 25 years old, possesses a great slider and nice low-to-mid 90s fastball that he can control very well and move around the zone. Given more experience, I believe that he could become a terrific setup man.
The Florida Marlins trade SP Scott Olsen and LF Josh Willingham to the Washington Nationals for IF Emilio Bonaficio, minor league pitching prospect P.J. Dean, and minor league prospect Jake Smolinski.
To be honest, been finding it quite difficult to try and understand this move by the Marlins as I believed the Marlins could have netted far more for both players. When the trade first went down, many Marlins fans were irrate, admittedly including myself. But, after sitting on this trade for a while and trying to logically reason out this trade, I think that only time will tell.
The Nationals certainly have improved their ballclub through this trade as they acquire a young, durable left-handed starter to bolster their weak rotation and a terrific run producer and team leader in Willingham. Have to give Jim Bowden credit for pulling off a steal.
But, the Marlins, trying to remodel their team back to the 2003 World Championship days, acquired a guy who provides both great speed and above average defense in Emilio Bonaficio. This young prospect intrigues me with his tantalizing speed and sound defense. About the only element he is missing is consistency at the plate. If he can develop that, he could turn into a young Luis Castillo and really provide the Marlins with a nice lead-off option that would allow the Marlins to keep Hanley Ramirez in the middle of the order.
In regards to the two prospects the Marlins obtained, don’t know too much about them other than that Smolinski is an 18-year old hitting machine that really doesn’t have a position. In my mind, Smolinski would be better suited as a DH in the American League once he develops.
The Florida Marlins trade RP Kevin Gregg to the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitching prospect Jose Ceda.
Remember when the trade went down. Could not believe that the Cubs would give up such an amazing arm in Jose Ceda for a reliever who appears to have been overworked and starting to slowly decline.
Towards season’s end, Kevin Gregg wore down and blew saves in very pivotal games for the Marlins. By mid-September, Kevin Gregg lost his closer role to Matt Lindstrom and could never regain the title. Unlike the 2007 season, Kevin Gregg walked more batters and gave up more which eventually caught up to him at the end of the season as he had to work unnecessarily hard in order to close games out.
Now he goes onto the Cubs to replace Kerry Wood in the bullpen. Wish him the best. But, the Marlins got an amazing talent in Jose Ceda in return. Featuring a high-90s fastball that can reach the century mark, he displays the talents of a future All-Star closer. Through reading scouting reports, Jose Ceda has been compared to an Armando Benitez in terms of stature and intimidation. Standing 6’4″ tall and weighing around 265lbs, he intimidates batters at the plate with his wicked fastball. Needs to work on his change-up and needs a bit more control, but he’s not far from joining the Marlins bullpen and could be a few short years away from closing for the Florida Marlins.
As the Marlins make more moves this offseason, I will provide analysis on them here on my blog. Sometime tomorrow, I will have a blog detailing where the Marlins should go from here and give you some trade proposals to comment on.