In the wake of the Dee Gordon deal with the Dodgers, many were scratching their heads and having confused reactions to the Marlins dealing Andrew Heaney. As mentioned in other articles, fans tend to overvalue their own prospects. That said, is it possible that the Marlins were cashing out an asset at the peak of its value? The signs would indicate ‘yes’.
According to Barry Jackson, this was uttered by a Marlins official, “His confidence and mound presence were not there in the big leagues; he kind of looked like a deer in the headlights.”
Heaney only made 5 starts (7 appearances) for the Marlins but he never looked comfortable out there. Sure, he has good stuff and the jury is still very much out on Heaney but at this point, the Marlins’ clock is ticking and the window to start contending starts now. With Heaney, there were no assurances he would help the Marlins starting rotation, let alone be the guy when it came down to contending in the playoffs.
This is a stark contrast to a player like Jose Fernandez who not only looks comfortable and confident, but is a bulldog on the mound. He maintains a competitive edge and desires to keep one. Heaney, although dominant at the AA level, didn’t show that dominance on the mound afterwards. He put up good numbers at AA and even AAA, but in the bigs he was hit well and often, despite 20 Ks in 29.1 IP with a .276 BAA and 1.33 WHIP. Sure, it is a small sample size, but in his 5 starts the Marlins didn’t see what they would grade out as a star. For the #1 prospect in your organization, and 30th overall, you expect a front line starter and the Marlins just weren’t getting it. The metrics and the eye-ball test didn’t match. Even the attempt at scolding the Marlins for trading Heaney by Jeff Sullivan comes off a bit weak. After all, if Heaney was so prized by the Dodgers, why was he then flipped – within 5 hours – to the Angels for Howie Kendrick?
— Andrew Heaney (@Heandog8) December 11, 2014
This also means that the Marlins grade Dee Gordon higher than not only Heaney, but also Kendrick. The Marlins are dealing from a position of strength when it comes to pitching; and if that is any indication of their ability to judge talent, then the percentages are working in the Marlins favor of this deal. After all, they did deal Miguel Cabrera for Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. Then they dealt Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez for Jacob Turner, Brian Flynn, and Rob Brantly. None of the players they dealt for are with the team, and arguably none of them have gone on to be the impact players they were forcasted to be.
This is also the same team that drafted and developed Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez – both of which any team would love to have on its roster. More likely, the Marlins got this right in dealing Heaney when his value was at its peak. The question is, did the Marlins improve their roster by acquiring both Dan Haren and Dee Gordon (and free paychecks for them both)? That remains to be seen.