MLB Trade Deadline Analysis: Did Marlins Do Enough?

Jul 31, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Andrew Cashner (48) looks on from the dugout during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Andrew Cashner (48) looks on from the dugout during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been a rough week for Marlins fans.

You know it is when the off day was the most productive day so far.

Thanks to some of today’s results, despite a painful sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, the Marlins enter play this weekend in firm possession of a Wild Card spot. But as thoughts turn toward dreams of October, let’s take a look at the other lackluster chapter of the past four days: the lack of a Deadline Day transaction.  Despite a fair amount of buzz that a final move was coming, Monday saw no final call for reinforcements to build on the team’s biggest win of the season (that win is why Miami is in the playoffs heading into play Friday night).

Did the Miami Marlins do enough to upgrade the roster, when all was said and done? Let’s take a look.

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It’s a tough question to answer, really.  So much excitement came out of that win Sunday, rip-your-shirt-off-and-scream type stuff that made you almost completely forget that it was almost thrown away.  That more than anything fueled the desire for another deal. Well, that and the fact that one of the pieces acquired earlier in the week was apparently broken.  And like any self-respecting kid knows, if you’re given a broken toy, you obviously get to have another one.

What fans didn’t count on was the parents just taking store credit, and promising to make it up to them later on down the line.

That’s what Luis Castillo is, by the way. Store credit. Whether it’s this August or this November, he’s being dealt. He’ll never pitch for the Marlins.  Of course, I also said he’d be traded Monday.

Moving on though.  At first glance then, the answer would be no.  Seven days ago, the Marlins traded for two starting pitchers, the upgrade they’d been seeking and a fill-in for the injured Wei-Yin Chen.   Six days ago, the fill-in broke, and the Marlins were once again faced with either having to make a trade or pretend they had an internal solution.  Five days ago, the upgrade was everything you hoped he would be, and hopes soared. Four days ago, the Marlins traded the broken pitcher back for arguably the second best piece in the original agreement, with time to spare to restabilize that rotation.

And the rest is history. History that, for many, feels like missed opportunity.  I’d encourage you to take a step back though, and look at the whole picture. The amount of talent being injected into this roster is actually pretty impressive.

These are the Marlins we’re talking about, and this year’s Marlins at that.  The farm system is never deep, because they play their best players young.  They have to as a small market team.  This season though, there was even less than usual to work with due to multiple failed moves from the previous season. Dollars are precious (the more cynical may prefer hoarded).  But the biggest difference between this year’s club and last is that this time, the front office has a team worth believing in.

Which they clearly do. So much so that they traded way early, not even July yet early, to bring in Fernando Rodney to bolster the bullpen. They also traded for a starting pitcher with No. 3 upside- an established veteran arm that could pile up innings.  If both moves happened this weekend, you wouldn’t have expected anything to happen Monday. You’d just be happy.  These aren’t the pre-2016 Yankees we’re talking about.  Expecting more than that is a big ask of this club.

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Plus, that’s not even all the moves.  By the strict definition of just “adding talent at this time of the season”, the Marlins just added a Gold Glover caliber forming batting champion* and a power hitting first baseman.  Effectively, two starting position players on top of the pitching adds, additions that make the bench deeper and give the other team a lot more to think about.

Yes, at first, I was pretty upset.  Pretty upset with this past series as well.  Won’t lie to you, my couch pillows have seen and heard some things these past four days.  And having not been this close in so long, a part of me wants to say they absolutely could have done more.  Who needs a farm system anyway? Sell the Suns and the Zephyrs to the Phillies and be done with it.

At the end of the day though, the Marlins have spent the past week getting better, not worse.  This club has dealt with plenty all year, all while not playing its best baseball. As a group, they fight for it.  Another lackluster week, and you could start to worry. But until then, this team still has the look of one that might have just enough to do something we haven’t seen since….well, it escapes me at the moment exactly how long ago it was.

Ask a Cubs fan.  They probably know.