Target No. 1: Luis Robert, OF
Sure, the Miami Marlins do have one of the best outfields in baseball. In terms of theoretical talent, perhaps the best. Although it seems fair to require everyone to play 145 plus games together before going that high.
But a talented group it is, and one in which no one is even capable of becoming a free-agent until 2020. Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich are locked up long-term, and Marcell Ozuna remains one of the more intriguing bargains in the game.
So why am I plugging 19-yr old outfield prospect Luis Robert as a must for the Marlins to sign?
It’s all a matter of depth.
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Organizationally, we have none. Multiple trades have strip mined the farm system. The only thing that can be said “positively” of those deals is that Miami seems to have been incredibly lucky at trading players who sustained fluke injuries not long after their departure.
Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani spring readily to mind as players who should not have been traded. But, they also have not really had an opportunity to do much of anything. More often than not though, those trades have failed to produce anything close to the desired result.
Last year, the Marlins were finally good enough to warrant a mass investment. To warrant acquiring a Jose Quintana, an Aroldis Chapman, or even a Chris Sale. But that wasn’t happening with only one healthy first round pick remaining since 2011. A player who is now gone.
How could Robert Help?
Partly the club’s issues stem from having to promote talent quickly. Yelich would probably be playing his sophomore season right now if he were a Cub or a Red Sock.
Still, the problem remains. And that’s why the Marlins need to pounce on this international prize.
Adding Robert would radically change the outlook of the farm system. The move would make Ozuna even more expendable than he currently is. This would give the Marlins a chip to throw down once MLB rules allowed them to use it.
The trade for Sale that did take place last year? The centerpiece was Yoan Moncada, another star Cuban free-agent, whom the Red Sox had just acquired in 2015. Someone they acquired despite having Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, and occasional outfielder Hanley Ramirez.
Should the Marlins keep him, the Fish would potentially have another Cuban superstar to help represent the franchise going forward. If that ends up being married with the concept of a new owner, so much the better for ticket sales.