LOS ANGELES, February 22, 2013 — The Miami Marlins went through a major metamorphosis before the 2012 season. They changed their name from “Florida” to “Miami,” moved from the football stadium to their own new ballpark and signed some of last year’s top free agents. The team went from doormat to contender in the National League East almost overnight.
Unfortunately, the team didn’t perform as well as expected on the field. Perhaps the reason for this was that the players were scared of the ridiculously obnoxious flying marlins in centerfield. Regardless of the reason, management began to dismantle the team faster than a chop shop mechanic would a freshly stolen sports car.
First blood was drawn when they gave away star shortstop Hanley Ramirez and southpaw reliever Randy Choate for essentially nothing to the Los Angeles Dodgers. They stripped themselves of a few more parts before the trade deadline and went on to finish with an abysmal record of 69-93, which was good enough for a last place finish in the National League East.
After the season ended, they fired their polarizing manager, Ozzie Guillen, which was surprising only because he had three years left on his contract. Just when you thought this team couldn’t out do itself, things took a real turn for the ridiculous.
They traded Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonafacio, John Buck AND cash to the Toronto Blue Jays, but when you look at their return they really just gave those players away. From Toronto, they received minor leaguers and some underachieving Major Leaguers.
The Marlins managed to curtail their madness and stop themselves from trading their young phenom, Giancarlo Stanton. Of course, he is slated to make less than $500,000 in 2013, which is peanuts in baseball these days. It is no surprise that Stanton is staying put…for now.
The former second round pick in the 2007 draft is a bona fide superstar who is shackled to the Marlins only because of his age, 23. Stanton hit 37 homeruns, while driving in 86 RBIs and scoring 75 runs with a .290 batting average in just 123 games in 2012. Giancarlo will be eligible for arbitration next season and should get a hefty bump in salary, but not quite the bump he will likely receive when he becomes a free agent in 2017, if he stays healthy.
Unless they are wowed by an offer, it appears that Stanton will remain adrift in the ocean, clinging to the driftwood that was the S.S. Marlins. Judging by the previous trades, once Giancarlo Stanton gets into the seven figure salary range, it should not be hard to wow the Marlins with an offer of a few low level prospects and a bag of balls to rescue Stanton from Miami.
The sky is the limit as far as what the youngster can accomplish on the field. Hope of another World Series championship anytime soon is merely a pipe dream for the remaining fans of Miami. The team will go from a franchise record $111 million payroll at the start of 2012 to about $39 million in 2013. To put $39 million in to perspective as far as baseball teams go, Alex Rodriguez is owed $28 million in 2013.
For now, Giancarlo Stanton can only be jealous of the $11 million owed Ricky Nolasco in 2013. Not because he wants more money, although surely he does, but more because that $11 million contract will probably be Ricky Nolasco’s ticket out of Miami. Stanton has to continue to perform on the field so that the Marlins will either be forced to pay him a lot more or trade him. If I were a betting man, and indeed I am, I would bet the latter over the former. That is, after all, the way of the Marlin.
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