Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Florida Marlins Play the Trade Game

A few days ago I posted that the Oakland Athletics were making waves this offseason on the West Coast. Well folks, the waves are not exclusive to the Oakland. Over here on the East Coast, the Florida Marlins have been making their own waves though the reaction to the waves have been anything less than positive. The Marlins have made three trades with the biggest being the trade of second baseman Dan Uggla to the division rival Atlanta Braves. Before I go into that trade, allow me to shed light on the other two trades that went down earlier this week.

- Andrew Miller to Boston
When the Florida Marlins traded starter Dontrelle Willis, first baseman Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers for Dallas Trahern (minors), Burke Badenhop, Eulogio de la Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo in 2008, shockwaves were felt throughout the majors. If I'm not mistaken, Andrew Miller was deemed to be the jewel of Tigers' prospects that were shipped to South Beach.

According to the Andrew Miller page on the official North Carolina athletics page Miller in 2006 was chosen as Baseball America National Player of the Year and won the Roger Clemens Award winner as nation's top collegiate pitcher. Miller was also a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Brooks Wallace Award. In addition, Miller was chosen to the Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, NCBWA and Rivals.com first-team All-America. While at North Carolina, Miller set North Carolina's single-season (133) and career strikeout records (325).

His production at North Carolina led to his being picked by the Detroit Tigers with the sixth overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft (ahead of current major-leaguers Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum among others). His massive potential led to a call up in August of 2006 just months after being drafted. In two seasons with the Tigers, potential remained just that as Miller compiled a 5-6 record with a 5.69 ERA in 21 games. Miller struck out 62 and walked 49 while giving up 81 hits for a WHIP of 1.749.

After the trade to Florida, Miller's troubles continued. From 2008-2010 Miller accumulated a 10-20 record with an ERA of 5.89 in 58 games. Miller struck out 176 while walking 125 and giving up 256 hits for a WHIP of 1.732. After running out of Minor League options, Miller was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Dustin Richardson.

In Richardson, the Marlins get a 26-year old left-hander who two seasons with Boston accrued a 0-0 record with an ERA of 3.31 in 29 games. Richardson struck out 12 while walking 14 and giving up 18 hits for a WHIP of 2.020. Meanwhile, Miller will join the Red Sox and his North Carolina teammate Daniel Bard. Maybe this change of scenery will prove more successful to Andrew Miller.

- Cameron Maybin to San Diego

Another piece to that big 2009 trade was outfielder Cameron Maybin who after a breakout season of sorts was traded by the Marlins to the San Diego Padres for relievers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. Since I wasn't very familiar with these players, I decided to look to my twitter log for some insight.

According to the Twitter feed of Mickey Koke from the Friarhood blogpage dated November 13, I got the following information on the players involved in the trade:

The #Padres lost two solid arms in Webb (the centerpiece of the deal) and Edward Mujica. Having said that, the #Padres did not give up their top arms in Bell, Adams, Gregerson and Freri. Very solid deal for a 5-tool Of with loads of potential that is still ONLY going to be 24 in April.

Ben Badler of Baseball America also states the following about Maybin on his Twitter feed:

Does Maybin's swing have holes? Sure. Worth taking a chance on a 23-y.o. CF w/ a .325/.401/.477 AAA line in 486 PAs last 2 yrs? Absolutely

From what I can tell both teams benefited from this exchange. The Padres get a 5-tool, 24-year old outfielder who has tremendous potential while the Marlins get two relievers who help to shore up their bullpen. Webb was 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 54 games. He struck out 44 while walking 19 and giving up 64 hits for a WHIP of 1.407. Mujica went 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 59 games. He struck out 72 while walking only 6. Mujica gave up 59 hits for an impressive WHIP of 0.933. In the short term I think the Marlins have the edge with this trade. We'll have to see how Maybin plays this season with the Padres.

- Dan Uggla to Atlanta

In the big trade to rock the baseball world today was the trade of second baseman Dan Uggla to the division rival Atlanta Braves for infielder Omar Infante and pitcher Mike Dunn. It was reported that the Marlins were trying to sign Uggla to a 4-year 48-million dollar extension which Uggla rejected. It is believed that Uggla was looking for a deal in the 5-year 71-million dollar range.

From what I've read, the general consensus believes that the Marlins basically gave away Uggla and to a division rival no less. Uggla has been an offensive force for the Marlins from the second base position who in 5 major league season is hitting an average of .263 with 32 Homeruns and 97 RBI. Uggla is good for about 161 hits a season (35 2B/3 3B/32 HRs) and an OPS of .837 (.347 OBP/.488 SLG). Uggla is also a consistent player having played an average of 155 games per season. Economically, the deal might benefit the Marlins more.

Had they not traded Uggla now, they might have ended up trading him during the season with risking losing him after next season if they didn't deal him. According to J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics.com:

I estimate Uggla’s play to be worth $11 million in 2011, while collecting a salary of $9-$10 million in his final year of arbitration. I estimate Infante to be worth $5.5 million with his salary contractually set at $2.5 million. Dunn is expected to be worth $800,000 with an estimated salary of just over the league minimum of $400,000. The values reveal that the Braves become a better team, but they will be paying for it. Infante will be in the last year of his contract, while Dunn still has five years of service time left...Infante will immediately fill Uggla’s hole in the lineup, and while I don’t expect him to repeat his 2010, he’ll do a fine job on a reasonable contract. Dunn’s performance projection has wide variance; he could become a regular reliever or never make a big-league roster again. He’s a junk bond that the Marlins are willing to gamble on. When the Marlins open their new stadium in 2012, they’ll have salary room to add a player or two and be on the fringe of contention as they seem to be every year.

Alden Gonzalez in his blogpost You can't really blame the Marlins this time from Gonzo and "The Show" also believes that the Marlins did the right thing in trading Uggla. This opinion goes against the general consensus who believe that the Marlins are once again selling off their best players. Time will tell on that one.

On the Atlanta Braves side, the deal shores up a big hole the Braves had with second base. Watching Brooks Conrad make error after error in the NLDS against the Giants proves that the Braves needed help and Uggla will be a defensive improvement. Uggla also helps bolster the Braves lineup and moves into the lineup with such hitters as Heyward, McCann and a (hopefully) healthy Chipper Jones. Hopefully the Braves can resign Uggla to a deal or risk losing him to free agency after the 2011 season.

Already the financial freedom for the Marlins has translated to results for the Marlins with the signing of catcher John Buck to a 3-year 18-million dollar contract. Maybe the Marlins will still be in the hunt for a few more players this offseason. Still it is hard to think that the Florida Marlins couldn't have gotten "more" from other suitors for Uggla throughout the league.


For Further Reading
- Click Here for Alden Gonzalez's article from MLB.com on the Andrew Miller/Dustin Richardson trade
- Click Here for Corey Brock and Joe Frisaro's article from MLB.com on the Cameron Maybin trade to the San Diego Padres
- Click Here for Mark Bowman's article from MLB.com on the Dan Uggla trade to the Atlanta Braves
- Click Here to read J.C. Bradbury's article Breaking Down Uggla for Infante and Dunn from Sabernomics.com
- Click Here to read Alden Gonzalez's article You can't really blame the Marlins this time from his blogpage Gonzo and "The Show"
-Click Here for Joe Frisaro and Alden Gonzalez's article from MLB.com on the signing of John Buck by the Florida Marlins
- Click Here to access The Friarhood.com

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