Dustin Richardson Claim Resembles Marlins Brass’ Lack of PatienceBy
At the very least, Dustin Richardson‘s destiny with the Marlins could have been summed up with a five-letter meme that most refer to as “LOOGY.” Following a trade in which the Marlins acquired Richardson for the often injured and wholly inconsistent Andrew Miller, Dustin Richardson wasn’t expected to be the answer for the Fish. He wasn’t expected to be an impact reliever nor did they think he would ever halt an 11-game slide should one come about (see what I did there?). But with his past success in the higher levels of the minors whether it be in the Red Sox organization or that of the Marlins, envisioning Richardson as a potential set-up man — granted he has underwhelming stuff — shouldn’t have been considered crazy to say the least.
Of course, that’s all over now as Richardson has since been claimed off waivers by the Braves, automatically giving us writers the ability to declare the Red Sox champions of that trade. The problem for me, however, is how much this move resembles recent and past Marlins organizational move flops. In other words, this certainly wasn’t the first time the Marlins have been too quick to give up on a player, even if his potential was forseen as a solid Major League bullpen arm at best. I’m not saying the men in charge of making the respective moves are idiots (well, not all of them at least), but the patience of many within compare to the patience of three-year old children.
Dustin Richardson aside, the Marlins have been way too quick on giving up Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and other Major Leaguers as well, such as Josh Beckett, Josh Willingham, Miguel Cabrera, and more. Each one of the mentioned subtracted players beholds a different story, and I use emphasis on “different.” The Marlins seem to constantly think that subtraction always ends up in their favor, which is why they haven’t shown reluctance to part with pieces that can impact their future. Sure, they got a ton out of Miguel Cabrera and Josh Beckett while they were wearing Fishstripes (with respect to SB Nation’s fantastic Marlins blog), but were absolutely in no rush to move either. Cabrera I understand, because should he have remained in South Florida for another year he would have been exposed to free agency, and the Marlins would have almost certainly been unable to keep him. Similar situation with Beckett. However, the Marlins could have won the whole entire thing — which is the highest of goals for anybody in baseball — if either one had remained on the team for an extra year. In fact, they could have received two draft picks at the same time.
If 2011 has been any indication, the Marlins flopped on the Maybin trade. Not so much because Webb and Mujica aren’t pitching well — they certainly are, and the Marlins did a good job acquiring the duo in the Maybin trade — but giving up on Maybin (especially now that he’s playing well and starting to look like what the Marlins expected from him at the time of his Florida arrival) was a premature move, and his play in San Diego this season has made it very clear. In 232 plate appearances with the Padres, Maybin has been above average, sporting a wRC+ of 109 and earning his team 1.8 wins in the process.
And this brings us back to Richardson, who the Marlins stocked in their New Orleans pen to begin the year and hadn’t used since. To reiterate, I don’t think Richardson could have provided a ton of value to the Marlins pen, in fact, I’m sure of it. But they didn’t use him in a single appearance while he struck out 9.34 batters per nine innings and sported a 3.66 ERA in 32 Triple-A innings, 32 innings that could have been well utilized in a Marlins pen that has played a major role in their recent struggles. Those struggles have been well documented, and include a stretch in which they had lost nineteen out of twenty games. I’m not trying to say the Marlins display unwillingness to make impact moves whether it jeopardizes the team’s payroll or what have you, but holding on to a cheap young player, a hard throwing pitcher, or a marginal left-handed set up man such as Richardson shows they give up on their players way too quickly.