MLB Trade Deadline Provides Hope and Opportunity for Miami MarlinsBy
The Marlins haven’t been into the playoffs since 2003. Yet on this day nine years ago, the would-be World Series Champion Marlins was actually in the same position as this year’s Marlins squad.
The 2003 Marlins were five games out of the Wild Card behind the Phillies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers. They were also tied with the Expos and Cardinals.
The 2012 Marlins are six games back, tied with the Diamondbacks and trailing the Mets, Dodgers and Cardinals.
The 2003 Marlins fortified their bench and bullpen with the mid-season acquisitions of closer Ugueth Urbina and outfielder Jeff Conine. Those trades helped propelled the Marlins to the postseason and eventually the World Series. If the 2012 Marlins wish to make it there this season, they will have to do the same before the The MLB non-waiver trade deadline.
The Miami Marlins have Anibal Sanchez, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Choate and Carlos Lee going into free agency after the season. Zambrano has a 4.22 ERA and a 6.50 K_9 rate but is 31 years old, meaning the Marlins won’t likely get enough in return to warrant a trade. They absolutely need to keep Choate (9.13 K_9, 6ER) and they already acquired Lee, making trading Anibal Sanchez their best chance to get either Ryan Dempster of the Cubs or Cole Hamels of the Phillies.
Sanchez is 28 years old, has made every start, and has a 4.12 ERA and a 7.99 K_9 rate. With Sanchez’s age, anyone who acquires him would undoubtedly try to sign him to a long term deal. He and maybe one extra prospect could be enough to land one of the two aces. Dempster (1.86 ERA) is having the best season of his entire 15-year career. Given the uncertainty of Hamels’ availability and how expensive he would be if he was, Dempster would be the optimal rental ace to take a chance on.
They would also need to beef up their “closing committee.” Getting Jonathan Broxton (22/26 Saves, 2.14 ERA) from the Royals would be just as impactful to the Marlins playoff chances as Urbina was in 2003. Being a free agent at the end of the season and on a team that’s closer to last place than the playoffs, Broxton would be inexpensive. A grade B pitching prospect should be enough to acquire him which, given the Marlins amount of pitching depth in the system, shouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice.
Unfortunately, improving their lineup through trades would be most difficult for the Marlins. With most of their positions established, there isn’t much wiggle room for them to operate in the trade market. Justin Ruggiano (.385/.452/.736) has been a delightful surprise this season and having Giancarlo Stanton (.284 AVG, 19 HR, 50 RBI) back from injury will be a major boost.
At this point, bringing in another ace and closer is the best the Miami Marlins can do before the trade deadline. If they want to replicate their 2003 playoff push, doing nothing is not a viable option.