Off the Bench


Your new look Marlins

Posted in MLB by offthebench on November 28, 2005

In a span of about 48 hours, the Florida Marlins pulled off trades that sent their best pitcher still under contract (Josh Beckett), their top power hitter (Carlos Delgado), and the face of the franchise since 2000 (Mike Lowell) to other zip codes. What they got in return was a number of interesting prospects to go superstar in the making Miguel Cabrera.

Looking at the Delgado trade, The Fish got Yusmeiro Petit, Mike Jacobs, and Grant Psomas from division rival New York. Petit will be 21 next season and while he doesn’t throw hard enough to be a staff ace (according to prospect guru John Sickels), he has an excellent track record – 346 IP, 250 H, 75 BB, 429 Ks – 2.76 ERA. He could spend next season in Triple A.

Jacobs is a catcher who will probably spend 2006 splitting time with Josh Willingham if the Marlins can dump Paul LoDuca (which appears to be more a question of when – not if). He’s 25 and while he put up excellent numbers during his cup of coffee at Shea, there is a concern that Jacobs doesn’t have the plate discipline – striking out 23% percent of the time during his 6-year career.

According to Sickels, Grant Psomas could be a real sleeper. The shortstop hit .301/.399/.517 with 20 homers this year between two levels of Class A. It’s probably to early to tell what this guy could do in the majors, but at 23 he has some time.

As for Beckett and Lowell (plus Guillermo Mota), Boston sent over four prospects: Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia. The prize of this deal is Ramirez, who has about as much athletic talent as anyone. After looking good early in spring training for the Sox, the shortstop was sent back down to Double A where he struggled – putting up a .271/.335/.385 in 465 ABs. He’s just 22 and hasn’t spent any time in Triple A. If I were the Marlins, I’d start him at Double A with a quick jump to Albuquerque when he gets hot.

Anibal Sanchez has just over 200 innings of minor league experience, but is consider one of the best pitching prospects in the Boston system. In 40 starts, Sanchez has allowed just 149 hits while striking out 259. He spent last year in Double A and should start there for the Fish in 2006.

Jesus Delgado was moved to the Greenville (A) bullpen in 2005 and put up decent, but my no means good, numbers. The biggest issue was the walk total – giving up 39 free passes in 72 IP. The 69 strikeouts proved that if he can refine his command, he could be a useful member of a major league bullpen.

Harvey Garcia was another pitcher in the Greenville bullpen. He should better command than Delgado (18 BB in 44+ IP), but proved to be more hittable (49 hits). Garcia did strikeout 54. Sickels has stated he needs to add another put to his plus fastball.

Of course we’ll need to wait a couple of years to see just who “won” these trades, but my first impressions are favorable given what the Marlins are trying to do. They feel they need to reduce payroll plus the guys they traded do have some question marks.

Josh Beckett is eligible for salary arbitration and should make between $4 million and $5 million next season. Beckett threw a career high 178+ innings, but concerns over his pitching arm forced Florida to include Guillermo Mota. Mike Lowell continued his excellent work at the hot corner, but saw his offense drop completely off the map. He is owed $9 million each of the next two seasons. Delgado put up a moster year offensively, but he is 33 and scheduled to make $48 million over the next three years.

The Marlins wont compete to a division title in 2006, but they probably feel (and I would agree) they are in a better position to compete in 2007.

Could the Marlins have done better? Who would you have gone after?

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