We’re less than two weeks away from the 2017 MLB Draft, where futures of the 30 franchises across the nation have a chance to improve their future. Though the draft is absolutely a vital building block, nowadays it seems that the best tool in a team’s rebuilding kit is the trade.
The Cubs did it. The Yankees, Brewers, Braves and Padres are doing it. The Miami Marlins need to start as soon as possible.
The Marlins threw caution to space with the Giancarlo Stanton contract, which still owes the enigmatic slugger a stomach-churning $285 million dollars over another 11 years, not even accounting for what remains of this year’s $14.5 mill.
He can opt out after 2020 and save the team...and himself. It’s likely his only chance to play anywhere else until his mid-30’s when he’s either bought out, coming close to the end of his deal or we’ve reached the point in American history where spot starters and backup catchers are making $15 million a year.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the Marlins were able to lock up centerfielder Christian Yelich two seasons ago for seven years at under $50 million. (He really needs to fire his agent.)
Stanton owns the largest contract in the history of sports —making A-Rod’s renegotiated 2008 deal with the Yankees look more like Jhonny Peralta’s 4/$53 million— and is untradeable.
Adversely, Yelich stands as one of the most coveted, cost-effective talents in the league, but the Marlins will surely hold onto him unless they receive a package akin to something the Angels would seek for Mike Trout.
Miami picks 13th in the MLB Draft this June, but their recent endeavors into the draft have left quite a bit on the cutting room floor.
They quickly traded Colin Moran (2013) and Josh Naylor (2015), Tyler Kolek (2014) underwent Tommy John surgery last year and Braxton Garrett (2016) isn’t turning too many heads.
Our own John Sickels ranked Garrett his 158th overall prospect in his annual Top 200 list, the only Marlins prospect to cameo.
As far as inventory goes, the Marlins are in a tough spot. The tragic death of Jose Fernandez over the off-season derailed any progress the team was making towards contention, and the 2017 season has unfortunately proved that they are who we thought they were.
Actually, they’re worse. Entering May 23rd, their 15 wins is worst in the Majors. There’s really no reason to think it’s going to get better. Edinson Volquez started Opening Day.
The draft will come and go and we will enter the heart of trading season, the deadline just over a month a way when the Cubs make the last pick, and it would do Miami very well to start selling before any of this takes place or anybody else makes the first move.
The first trades always dictate the market. Last year the tone was quickly set when Drew Pomeranz (and A.J. Preller’s shady tactics) netted San Diego Anderson Espinoza. The Marlins also contributed to the proceedings, dealing Naylor to the Padres for their key stretch run rental...Andrew Cashner.
The pending sale of the franchise by vexing Jeffery Loria could see the team in a a frustrating state of stasis. But there were recent rumors that they are indeed shopping one of their best players in Dee Gordon.
Keith Law of ESPN ranked the Marlins’ farm system 29th overall (only better than Arizona, thanks Dave Stewart) and the organization doesn’t prioritize the international market. They don’t really do anything.
So whether it’s Gordon, closer A.J. Ramos, Marcell Ozuna, the injured Martin Prado, any pitcher or even talented catcher J.T. Realmuto, it’s time for a rebuild in Miami. And that time is yesterday.