Those who opposed this deal did so solely based on their personal feelings for Jeffrey Loria. Few, if they were objective evaluators, could find fault with the deal itself. The only criticism, which is really warranted and perhaps somewhat inexcusable, is the fact that the Marlins made a major deal with just one team instead of shopping all of the parts out to other teams. They may have received more in return had they broken this deal up into parts and traded with other partners. Then again, that may have been more complicated and could have doomed the move the Marlins were seeking.
Which brings us to the final evaluation of this deal – was it simply to unload money or to reload the Marlins clubhouse with talent at a sane value?
The Marlins brass kept repeating this over and over – that the deal was not so much about money as it was about cleaning house and starting over. A bold plan that if done by other franchises with more credibility and a better reputation would have been weighed with adjectives like “genius” or “forward-thinking”.
Now that we have a bit more distance in time to clarify the emotion and let things settle a bit, what has this deal really done?
Let’s start with run differential. The Marlins rank 28th in baseball currently with -51.0 runs. The Blue Jays? 29th with a -55.0 run differential. Neither team is killing it, to be sure, but when compared to last season, the Marlins have drastically improved (-115.0) while the Blue Jays have only modestly improved (-68.0). Sure, it is early, but if the Marlins pitching holds up, then it looks like they improved right there alone.
Next, let’s look at Batting Average on Balls in Play. The Marlins? Currently .265 for 28th while the Blue Jays are .261 for 30th in all of baseball. Neither team is improving from last year’s averages (Marlins .289 while Blue Jays were .281). So it appears that is another area the Marlins are better than the Blue Jays at the moment.
What about Runs Per Game? Well, Marlins are the lowest in the league with only 2.74 RPG, down from 3.76 last season. The Blue Jays are currently 28th with 3.45, also down from their last year average 4.42. Although the Blue Jays are doing better than the Marlins, they are still down about as significantly from their previous season average as the Marlins. Will those figures improve? We shall see.
That is a look at the offensive side of the ball, neither team impressing too much, but what about pitching? Marlins have a better WHIP (1.332 for 23rd) to the Blue Jays (1.451 for 29th). Miami also has a staff ERA of 4.11 (21st) to Toronto’s 4.74 ERA (29th).
Ultimately when you look at the record, there is not much separation either. The Marlins are 10-22 while the Blue Jays are 11-21. Sure, the Blue Jays suffered injuries to Jose Reyes and now Josh Johnson, but the Marlins have suffered their share of injuries (Adeiny Hechavarria, Giancarlo Stanton – twice, Jeff Mathis, Jake Marisnick). Remember, this was a deal that a lot of the pundits said would vault Toronto right to the top of the AL East and into contention. Meanwhile Boston continues to shock and win and the best piece in the trade with the Marlins is John Buck, who is killing it with the Mets for some unknown reason. Included as an almost throw-in for R.A. Dickey, Buck was dealt along with Travis D’Arnaud.
The Marlins now have a healthy Hechavarria returning, who his a grand slam today against the Phillies but continues to show great defensive brilliance. Jake Marisnick is healthy and getting hot at AA Jacksonville. Justin Nicolino continues to get some work at A Jupiter. Jeff Mathis is working his way back while Henderson Alvarez looks to restart his rehab after having some setbacks.
It looks like the Blue Jays are the ones taking a dive in the standings. That could have been the Marlins this season again and for that price tag, would the Marlins fans be coming out to games for a 11-21 win team? Perhaps the Marlins did make the right call after all.
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