Another chunk of the season is gone for the 2019 Miami Marlins. You can read previous installments on this season at the links below:
A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day
March and April
MLB First Year Player Draft
The Marlins had another solid month. Thankfully, Vladamir Guerrero Jr. finally started to perform – earning the N.L. Rookie of the Month Award.
Around the league there were a couple of trades with recognizable names:
|6/12||Blue Jays||Justin Smoak||Rangers||Drew Smyly|
|6/12||Cardinals||Jedd Gyorko||Diamondbacks||Nick Ahmed|
|6/18||Yankees||Austin Romine||Rangers||Mike Minor|
The Marlins had been playing solid baseball. We came into the All-Star break with a 48-41 record. The Braves still held on to first in the N.L. East, but only by 1.5 games. The Phillies were right on our tail at 48-43.
Chris Archer was still having a dominant season. He led the staff in ERA, wins and K’s. Trevor Williams and Ervin Santana continued to be incredible contributors to the rotation as well. The bullpen remained pretty solid, but there was room for improvement there.
Max Muncy was having a great first half of the season. He was putting up great all-around numbers. Muncy was hitting for power and average – I was thrilled with what he had shown. Ender Inciarte was a great addition as a leadoff guy. Jose Martinez also had been really consistent at the plate.
The Marlins were only able to produce three players to the All-Star team:
- SP – Chris Archer: 8-3, 1.94 ERA
- SP – Trevor Williams: 11-2, 2.26 ERA
- RF – Jose Martinez: .299 AVG, 15 HR, 45 RBI
The biggest snub was Max Muncy. As you can see in the picture above he is tearing it up this season. While Muncy was not an all star he was selected to participate in the Homerun Derby. He put on a good showing but did not win.
Trades At The All-Star Break
I turned to the trade block once again. My team was right on the tail of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. I felt like I was just a couple moves away from catching them and taking control during the second half of the season. The lowly Pirates were sitting 9.5 GB in the NL Central, and were willing to move the ace of their staff.
|Dallas Keuchel||31||86||B||Pirates||Jameson Taillon||27||89||SP||A|
This is a big gamble for my franchise. I am trading away two of my best prospects – and the man slated to be my ace at the beginning of the season. Lawrence Jackson (#26) and Gilberto Becerra (#32) also find themselves as two of the Top 50 prospects in the game.
I am comfortable trading Keuchel away at this point – he is rocking a 5-9 record with a 3.97 ERA. Jameson Taillon on the other hand is 5-7, however he has a 2.20 ERA. I also will have Taillon under team control for the next four seasons, while Keuchel can walk at the end of the year.
|Adam Liberatore||31||82||B||Mets||Edwin Diaz||25||89||CP||A|
|Cyrus Reyna||18||72||A||Phil Hastings||18||67||RP||D|
The Mets were sitting at 35 – 56, 15.5 games back of the Braves. I wanted to beef up my bullpen. I talked to the Mets and told them I was interested in Edwin Diaz – the Mets are terrible, they don’t even need a closer. They came back and told me they wanted one of my top prospects, Cyrus Reyna, a Major League reliever (Liberatore), and a solid AAA OF prospect in Charlie Weaver. Reyna was ranked as the #27 best prospect in baseball at the time of this trade.
Miami has not seen a World Series since 2003 – looks like I am all in this year. I am OK with moving on from Liberatore – he has a 4.55 ERA – I will also save about $1.5M in this deal.
|Alex Jordan||22||69||B||Brewers||Josh Hader||24||85||CP||A|
The Brewers were sitting at 40-51, 10.5 games back of the Cubs. I just traded away my only left-handed reliever. I am in the process of compiling the best bullpen in baseball – now is the time to capitalize on it. Tom Park is one of my best pitching prospects, and the #30 prospect in all of baseball. Alex Jordan and Fuzzy Miklich are two key contributors on my AAA squad. It is hard to find a left-handed arm out of the pen like Josh Hader’s – so I took this deal.
Around the League
As it stands, the Marlins are at 55 – 52 on the season. They sit in 3rd of the N.L. East behind the Phillies and Braves. The Marlins are 2.5 games behind the division leading Braves. The Marlins are also just out of reach of a Wild Card spot, only 1.5 games back of the playoffs.
Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate. Madison Bumgarner and Aaron Nola are having solid seasons, but Kershaw clearly stands out here. Chris Archer falls off of this list for the first time in 2019.
Bryce Harper is having a pretty great season. This will be a tight race for N.L. MVP – Christian Yelich and Kris Bryant are also having impressive seasons. Justin Turner was having a great first half, but fell off the map in July.
Drew Jackson is the surprise leader for N.L. ROY. The Dodgers Shortstop/Utility Player has had a good start to the year. Pete Alonso is putting up his expected power numbers. Fernando Tatis Jr. is becoming more consistent and living up to his hype. Jimmy Colon is no longer on the map for N.L. ROY.
There were not a ton of great performances from my minor league teams through the month of July. Kevin Chacin was the only player that truly stood out.
- Kevin Chacin – SP (AAA): 41.2 IP, 1.51 ERA, 42 K
- Julio Lopez – CP (AA): 10.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 11 K
- Dixon Machado – 2B (AAA): .425 AVG, 3 RBI
On July 20th Chris Archer got injured against the Dodgers. He suffered from a shoulder strain and would be out a few weeks. I decided to call up Sandy Alcantara to fill his spot in the rotation. Alcantara did well in his few starts, but this really scared me. I do not have much starting pitching depth outside of my Major League roster.
Deadline day arrived and my Marlins were sitting a few games back of the Braves still. We were within reach of the division lead, and had control of a Wild Card spot. July was a really disappointing month – and the Marlins ended the month getting swept by the Diamondbacks in a four game series.
Now was the time to really see how I could improve my squad as we continued to push towards the playoffs.
I feel bad digging into this franchise again – but it is also kind of their fault. The Pirates put Josh Bell up on the block…
|Pedro Alvarez||32||73||C||Pirates||Josh Bell||26||80||1B||B|
Their loss is my gain. I traded away Pedro Alvarez who was not really producing at the plate – and didn’t provide me any flexibility off the bench. They also acquired Russell Brooks – I was willing to let go of him because I have Bryce Geiger at first base in AAA, who is better and younger. Josh Bell gives me some versatility off the bench and a DH option against A.L. teams.
Tampa Bay Rays
I originally contacted the Rays to get Blake Snell, but they asked for too much.
|Jamie Leece||22||73||B||Rays||Jose Alvarado||23||93||RP||B|
|Samuel Guerra||21||64||B||Manny Diaz||24||47||CF||D|
|Sam Da Silva||27||53||3B||D|
The Rays were 12.5 games back in the east and looking to add prospects. They were also looking for a 3rd baseman of the future. I used this to acquire another elite relief pitcher. Jose Alvarado provides me another great left-handed option out of the pen. He has an immense level of talent at such young age.
My roster was full – and Luis Garcia was going to be sent down after all of my bullpen acquisitions. I decided to test the market and see if I could recoup some of the prospects I had traded away.
|Luis Garcia||32||79||C||Red Sox||Darwinzon Hernandez||22||60||RP||B|
Darwinzon Hernandez is a decent prospect. He is relatively young and has good potential. Roger Chavez is nothing more than a roster filler for me, but maybe he will turn into something.
The Blue Jays had Marcus Stroman on the block. They were way out of contention at 46-63. I decided that I was in a spot where I could beef up my rotation.
|Brian Chu||24||72||A||Blue Jays||Marcus Stroman||27||84||SP||B|
Ervin Santana is in a bit of a funk because he lost a few of his compatriots on the squad. I will more him to the bullpen while his morale is down and give Stroman his spot. Unfortunately, I had to include SS Brian Chu, the #11 prospect in all of baseball.
I absolutely decimated my minor league system to acquire the talent I got at the deadline. I traded away MOST of my top prospects, including five of the Top 50 prospects in all of baseball:
|11||Brian Chu||SS||24||Blue Jays|
Although I have destroyed my minor league system in the short term, I was able to acquire some truly talented players in Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, Jose Alvarado, Josh Hader, Edwin Diaz and Josh Bell.
Around the League on Deadline Day:
|Red Sox |
|A.L. Wild Card||GB||N.L. Wildcard||GB|
|Astros (62-47)||–||Cubs (61-46)||–|
|Mariners (61-50)||–||Phillies (57-51)||–|
|Yankees (60-49)||–||Giants (57-51)||–|
|White Sox (59-48)||–||Diamondbacks (57-52)||0.5|
|Indians (58-49)||1.0||Marlins (55-52)||1.5|
|Rangers (55-54)||5.0||Rockies (54-56)||4.0|
|Rays (55-55)||5.5||Cardinals (50-58)||7.0|
Trades Around the League:
|7/30||Royals||Whit Merrifield||Twins||Kohl Stewart, Ramon Lozano, and Aldaberto Mejia|
|7/31||Padres||Kirby Yates||A’s||Kenny Davies, Vincent Gehrig|
The Twins were able to beef up their lineup by acquiring All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield from the Royals. The A’s took the scraps that I left on the bullpen market, acquiring Kirby Yates from the Padres.
On July 31st you are allowed to sign players on your roster to contract extensions. I decided that this was a great opportunity to lock down some of my stars. My main goal was to buy out arbitration years and get some discounted free agent years.
|Vladamir Guerrero Jr.||3B||19||A||87||5||$40M|
- I was able to buy out the remaining arbitration years of Edwin Diaz, Jameson Taillon, Josh Hader, Chris Taylor and Josh Bell.
- I was able to lock Johan Camargo into a five year extension – securing all of his arbitration years and one year of free agency.
- Vladamir Guerrero Jr. signed a pretty fair contract for himself and the club. I could have just kept him on his rookie deal for next to nothing. Instead, I opted to pay him a fair amount – to keep him happy. This contracts gets him through his first two years of arbitration.
- I just acquired Marcus Stroman – I don’t want to give up those prospects for nothing. This deal buys out his remaining arbitration year and two years of free agency.
- Julio Teheran signed over his next two years of free agency at a steal of only $6.4M per year.
One Last Thing…
After all of the trades, and all of the contract extensions, there was one more thing that I wanted to take a look at. I wanted to beef up my lineup a little more. I did the rounds and checked in again with teams that were out of the race. Then I thought back to the Brewers, they have a former Marlin that would be a great addition to this team. I decided to check in with them about Christian Yelich…
|Josh Hader||24||90||A||Brewers||Christian Yelich||27||90||RF||A|
|Danny Valencia||34||76||C||Terrell Cheek||23||54||RF||C|
|Josh Bell||26||80||B||Theo Law||24||51||LF||D|
I just signed Josh Hader and Josh Bell to great contracts! However, I was in a spot where I could trade a relief pitcher, and a couple of bench guys for the new star of my team. Needless to say, I had to bring Yelich back to Miami. Done deal.
I now needed to replace Hader in my pen. I checked with the White Sox to see what they wanted for Jace Fry – too much. Next I went to the Padres and targeted their young lefty Jose Castillo.
|Alden Floyd||22||69||B||Brewers||Jose Castillo||23||80||RP||B|
Dang – there went my last Top 50 prospect in Alden Floyd. I am OK with this move though. Castillo is only one year older than Floyd and much better.
Minor league signings:
One More Extension:
- With this last extension I signed Jose Castillo through his age 28 season. I will have him for the next five years at $2.3M per year. He will become a free agent at the end of this extension.
After all of those moves – our budget remains essentially unchanged. The Marlins made the jump into the $80M dollar range. A few of our larger contracts – Kimbrel, Santana and Madson – will be coming off the books in 2020.
The players salaries jump a bit for the 2020 season. I am comfortable with the extensions players have signed. Looking at the list of the top salaries in 2020 – all of those players are expected to be key contributors next season.
Next I am going to take a look at how the regular season turned out. Will the Marlins catch the Braves in the East? Will my new acquisitions perform up to expectations? Will I live to regret any of my contract extensions?