Unpopular trade may turn out right for Marlins
“What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right.” — Howard Cosell
MIAMI — The words of Howard Cosell, the late broadcasting legend, can certainly apply to the Marlins’ controversial 12-player trade with the Blue Jays two offseasons ago.
Few moves in any sport created as much negative backlash as what the Marlins received for dealing several high-priced, popular players after the inaugural
season at Marlins Park.
Here’s a refresher for one of the most criticized deals in recent MLB history.
On Nov. 19, 2012, Miami completed a deal that sent Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for Henderson Alvarez,
Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Yunel Escobar, Jake Marisnick, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino.
As unpopular as the trade was, Marlins’ ownership insisted it was the right thing to do.
Yes, the trade was a money purge, ridding Miami of $163.75 million in guaranteed salaries owed through 2018. Yes, the trade made the club younger, and in the short-term meant more losing. That clearly happened with a 100-loss campaign in 2013. And to the Marlins, yes, the deal was necessary because it helped reset the culture in a clubhouse in need of changing. Mike Redmond replaced Ozzie Guillen as manager, and the organizaiton now has a “team first” mentality.
Why rehash one of the darkest days in Marlins’ history today? Because of how that blockbuster continues to influence the roster overall as we head into 2015.
Four players directly involved in the deal remain: Alvarez, Hechavarria, Mathis and Nicolino. Alvarez, an All-Star in ’14, is a top of the rotation fixture.
Hechavarria was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop. Mathis is a highly-respected backup catcher, and Nicolino was the Organizations Top Minor League pitcher last season.
Apply the six degrees of separation theory to the trade, and seven more players with links to the Toronto trade are now with the organization — infielder
Derek Dietrich, right-hander Jarred Cosart, right-hander Mat Latos, second baseman Dee Gordon, right-hander Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and outfielder Austin Wates.
Each of these players is connected, either directly or indirectly, to the Blue Jays’ deal.
Haren’s situation remains up in the air, because he is considering either retiring of requesting a trade to a West Coast team. But Cosart and Latos are
projected to be in the rotation. Gordon will be the starting second baseman, while Dietrich, Rojas and Wates will be in Spring Training competing for bench
Cosart and Wates, for example, were acquired in July from the Astros in a package of players that included Marisnick. Enrique Hernandez was also part of that trade. At the Winter Meetings a few weeks ago in San Diego, Hernandez was part of the trade with the Dodgers that brought in Gordon, Haren and Rojas.
Taking it a step further, moving the $163.75 million off the books, also gave the Marlins the financial flexibility to sign Giancarlo Stanton, their MVP-
candidate, to the richest contract in North American sports history — 13 years, $325 million.
It’s often said, you can’t measure the true impact of a trade until three or four years later. In the Marlins’ case, that big deal, as unpopular as it ws at the time, may end up being right after all.
Six degrees of Marlins trade with Blue Jays
Nov. 19, 2012
To Blue Jays: RHP Josh Johnson, LHP Mark Buehrle, SS Jose Reyes, C John Buck, INF Emilio Bonifacio
To Marlins: RHP Henderson Alvarez, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, C Jeff Mathis, INF Yunel Escobar, OF Jake Marisnick, LHP Justin Nicolino, RHP Anthony DeSclafani
Dec. 4, 2012
To Rays: INF Yunel Escobar
To Marlins: INF Derek Dietrich
July 31, 2014
To Astros: OF Jake Marisnick, 3B Colin Moran, RHP Francis Martes
To Marlins: RHP Jarred Cosart, INF Enrique Hernandez, OF Austin Wates
Dec. 10, 2014
To Dodgers: INF Enrique Hernandez, LHP Andrew Heaney, RHP Chris Hatcher, C Austin Barnes.
To Marlins: 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Dan Haren, INF Miguel Rojas
Dec. 11, 2014
To Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani, C Chad Wallach
To Marlins: RHP Mat Latos
— Joe Frisaro