Given the importance of the Marlins’ offseason, one could have expected a lot of moves during this past week’s Winter Meetings in Indiana. However, the reality was that the Marlins made very few moves this week and did not apparently discuss a whole lot. In retrospect, this is not terribly surprising, as there were still quite a few important roster-related deadlines to discuss, especially Saturday’s non-tender deadline. However, I still would have expected a big deal to happen involving the Marlins. Instead, this is what happened.
– The Marlins dealt Matt Lindstrom to the Houston Astros for a pair of minor leaguers who weren’t in the Astros’ top 20 in their organization. The bottom line is that, a while back, the Marlins had made their decision about late-inning relief, and that decision was in favor of the younger Leo Nunez. Since Nunez was likely to be retained, it made Lindstrom expendable. And since Lindstrom was a reliever, and one who struggled in the majors last year according to traditional statistics, he was dealt for a very low price.
If Lindstrom is to succeed for the Astros, he has to go back to inducing ground balls and keeping the ball in the park. Of course, you would expect him to find this task a bit more difficult moving from Landshark Stadium to Minute Maid Park. According to Dan Turkenkopf of The Hardball Times, “The Juicebox” has a HR/FB park factor of 1.04 (four-year weighted average) compared to Landshark’s 0.99. If Lindstrom cannot do this, good luck finding his value; for two thirds of Lindstrom’s career, he’s struck out around 17% of his batters faced and walked 11%, numbers that just are not good enough to compete in the bullpen.
– As part of the Astros trade, the Marlins acquired the Astros’ Rule 5 draft pick. In the draft, the Marlins selected third baseman Jorge Jimenez from the Boston Red Sox organization. Jimenez spent all of last season with the Red Sox’ Double-A organization, where he hit .289/.366/.424, an entirely non-shabby .361 wOBA. Nevertheless, he is currently 25 years old (and he’ll be 25 for all of next season) and has not played above the Double-A level. He does seem to lack power, as he posted just a .128 adjusted ISO last season in Double-A Portland. His defense accoridng to TotalZone has bene up and down numbers-wise, and I haven’t heard anything qualitatively. It is possible the Marlins could let him compete for the starting third base job if they are able to jettison Jorge Cantu, but I would guess that this option would not be their first choice. He could be sent back.
– Speaking of Cantu, apparently the Texas Rangers had some interest in him. No problem, I’d say. If the return was Brandon McCarthy, would you go for it? I’d certainly consider it.
– Dan Uggla to either the San Francisco Giants or Baltimore Orioles rumors still swirled during the Winter Meetings, but nothing came of it. I expect a deal be done this month, after the Marlins tender Uggla a contract. But I’m pretty sure that there is no shot of seeing Uggla as a Marlin next year.