The Marlins clearly made a deal with the Blue Jays that was fixated on the future. Most have different opinions about the direction of that future, whether or not it is a bright one, but the Marlins modus operandi right now is to bolster their assets in the minor leagues and build back up what they have repleted.
It was widely reported that the Marlins were dumping salary in the deal with the Blue Jays, but under reported that they took back some salary with Yunel Escobar, the talented but maligned SS. He is slated to make $5M this upcoming season, with two years of team options after that, adding lots of flexibility to any team that acquired him. Fish Stripes did a pretty good breakdown of his trade value, even assessing whether or not the Marlins got fair trade in return claiming that the Marlins sold low with Escobar.
I think it is safe to say that the Marlins did sell a bit low with Escobar at this point because they were looking to get their house in order more so than play up any trade value that may come their way with Escobar in the upcoming season. It seems trade value will peak when teams are in need of talent for the playoffs, which would come at the trade deadline. But imagine the Marlins building a solid team defense, winning with younger talent, and then shipping off what could be a critical piece in the middle of the season – that may be damaging again to the perception of this team’s direction.
Then again, this was a deal that the Marlins targeted Hechevarria as their SS for the future. Escobar added more value to the deal, but didn’t fit with what the Marlins are trying to do. This begs the question, did the Marlins get the deal they wanted with the Blue Jays, or did the Blue Jays? Josh Johnson is going to hit his peak at this point of his career and the Marlins dealt away his services. With Nolasco requesting a trade publicly, through his agent, you have to wonder why the Marlins kept him and dealt Johnson. A better scenario would have been to keep Johnson and send Nolasco, and then to have gotten Brett Lawrie instead of Yunel Escobar. Lawrie would have fit the 3B job and could have been penciled in as a starter; instead the Marlins traded Escobar to get back marginal prospect Derek Dietrich who may project out as a 3B down the line.
If the Marlins didn’t get fair value in return for Escobar, then they didn’t get fair value in return for the group they sent off to Toronto. The Marlins should be trying to get back a surplus but instead, seem to be coming up a bit short. With the trade of Miguel Cabrera back in 2007 and the Hanley Ramirez trade this past year, the Marlins do not have a lot of equity in how they deal and will have to do a lot more to repair their tarnished image to their fan base and the rest of the league.