Maybe you didn’t notice, but the Marlins shed players and payroll this past offseason to net prospects to fill their roster for years to come. It was a hopeful move, to create promise for the future, but it has been met with great cynicism and distrust from Marlin fans who cite Loria’s past as a prologue to any future here in Miami. Yet, there is one deal that does seem to definitely be working out in the Marlins’ favor – and it isn’t one that most fans really know about.
Back in October, the Marlins got rid of the failed experiment that was Heath Bell. The Marlins signed the closer to a 3 year, $27M contract and hoped to have Bell’s success repeated in Miami where he grabbed 40+ saves for the Padres from 2009-2011. Let’s suffice it to say, it didn’t work out, so the Marlins dealt him to Arizona in a three team trade that netted the Marlins A’s prospect, Yordy Cabrera.
In Yordy Cabrera, the Marlins were able to get a raw hitter with power but poor pitch selection. The Lakewood High standout was drafted in the 2nd round by the A’s back in 2010, but it took a $1M signing bonus to persuade him from heading to college. Heading into the 2012 season, he was rated as the #5 prospect by FanGraphs in the A’s system but a need for more seasoning with pitch selection was noted. Also, his lack of range means he projects more to be a 3rd baseman instead of a SS – and we have seen this transition time and time again in baseball.
In 2012, his numbers were not very impressive. He hit 3 home runs in 220 ABs, and struck out at a 30% rate (68Ks in 220ABs). The A’s scrapped him to the Diamondbacks who then flipped him to the Marlins. Right now, though, Cabrera is showing tremendous promise – the power that he is projected to have is surfacing. He is currently hitting .269 with 3 home runs, with the last two coming in his last two games. He also has been able to cut his Ks down; he currently has 7Ks in 52ABs which is 13%.
In this deal, the Marlins shed Heath Bell’s contract – about $13M over this season and the next. His inability to get hitters out and dropping velocity meant the Marlins would have been locked into a bad deal. They got a young prospect in return that they hope can show enough promise to help create a sustainable option for 3B in the future. We wrote an article earlier that showed that the Marlins’ options for 3rd base were strictly internal at this point. Among those options are Zack Cox, Derek Dietrich, and now Yordy Cabrera. If Cabrera can continue to keep his K rate lowered, and his power numbers up, he could make the jump to AA later in the season.