COMMENTARY - David Schoenfield, ESPN Senior Writer, pulled no punches when he talked about teams winning and losing at the MLB trade deadline.
The Miami Marlins were amongst those who lost in their bid to improve their major league roster and challenge for an NL East title. While the move to acquire Fernando Rodney in the middle of July was seen as a solid acquisition, the trade the team made with the San Diego Padres last week, the one where the franchise has already traded Colin Rea back to the team he was sent from, seems to have blown up in the organization’s face.
In doing so, Miami traded some of its power for the future in 2015 first round draft pick, first baseman Josh Naylor.
Rea got injured and Andrew Cashner is unlikely to make much of an impact down the stretch, and he cost them their best -- and perhaps only -- high-upside prospect in Naylor. And all for what is likely a run at the wild-card game because they're unlikely to catch the Nationals.
I had the same feeling when I read about the trade with the Padres. While Cashner might offer some help in the rotation, would he be the impactful player this team needed? There were others the team could have traded for, including Clay Buchholz and Drew Pomeranz – but it did not happen. Whether the price was too high or the team did not like its options, I am convinced this move will hurt the franchise more than help it this season and for seasons to come.
In Naylor, the team lost a valuable bat. While he is a Single-A player, you cannot take away the fact he was only a little over a year in the team’s farm system – a system that is not as deep as others when it came to making deadline decisions. Miami has a nice lineup with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour – who has recently been on the team’s disabled list. While acquiring pitching is important to the stretch run in the majors, finding solid power in the minors and growing talent is equally vital.
It was certainly a swing and a miss for this franchise. If Miami hopes to become players in free agency, they had better take more effective route to improving not only their major league roster, but also provide depth at the minor league level.
The MLB trade deadline is supposed to make the contenders stronger and the pretenders better in the future. The Cubs and Giants got better. The Texas Rangers got a lot better. Now chasing the Nationals could be a pipe dream and the wild card might be the only option to get to the postseason. I wonder what would happen has Buchholz come down I-95 to south Florida or the team had pulled the trigger on Pomeranz the same time they grabbed Rodney.
Now we will never know.
There are still plenty of ways for this team to improve its lineup and acquire pitching. But the best moves have already been made. They weren’t made by this ball club and they certainly can hurt the organization in the future.