In my first trade of this simulated offseason, I traded Brad Ziegler to the Chicago Cubs. The second trade delivers more of a sting to the fanbase.
With Brad Ziegler no longer pitching for these hypothetical Miami Marlins, one major cost-cutting hurdle is out of the way. But there was no getting around it, someone near and dear to Marlins fans needed to be traded.
The second trade I made in this simulated hot stove did exactly that. Dee Gordon had the most value of all the high-priced players I was looking to move. A number of teams inquired, but ultimately I went out and found a trade partner.
The deal I made with the Pittsburgh Pirates solved a few problems for the Miami Marlins. In addition to getting back a direct replacement, it also brought in a promising young pitcher.
Dee Gordon played well in 2017 and held decent value going into this offseason. There are a couple of things working against him though. His contract is high. He’ll make $10.5 million this year, will be 30 by the time baseball season starts, and doesn’t take enough walks.
Gordon is the spark plug to the Miami Marlins offense, but his production isn’t difficult to replace.
What the Miami Marlins gave up
Dee Gordon was the headlining name in this trade, but other players were sent off as well. There are two players that I didn’t want to trade: Nick Wittgren and Chris O’Grady. Of those two players, Wittgren is far and away the bigger loss.
Toothy throws the ball hard, and I didn’t plan on moving him. But ultimately, I viewed the bullpen as the best place to use MLB players to facilitate trades. The attrition had to come from somewhere. With no shortage of arms in the pen, I was a willing to part with a controllable player to help shed a big salary.
Chris O’Grady emerged nicely in 2017 and was a compelling subplot midway through the season. But ultimately, keeping him around would be a more sentimentality than anything else. He’s not a long-term answer to anything.
Wittgren and O’Grady had little to do with moving Dee Gordon, or what I wanted to get back from the Pirates. It was about who I wanted to get out of a Miami Marlins uniform. I am pleased to announce that Junichi Tazawa was included in this trade.
The outgoing package from Miami: Dee Gordon, Nick Wittgren, Chris O’Grady, Junichi Tazawa.
What the Miami Marlins got back
This deal was appealing to me as general manager for several reasons. Not only did it get rid of a lot of salary, but it brought back promising, team controllable MLB players.
Chad Kuhl: The Pirates gave up a very good, young pitcher in this trade. Chad Kuhl still has two years of team control before he hits arbitration. He’s proven to be a durable, and capable of pitching effectively late into the season.
Kuhl posted a 4.35 ERA in 2017 and started 31-games. He walked too many batters, though, which led to an inflated 1.468 WHIP. If he can cut down the walks and maintain his K-rate, he’ll give Miami a chance to win every fifth game for years to come.
Adam Frazier: Kuhl is a coup for the Miami Marlins pitching staff, but this is the player that really excites me in this trade. Adam Frazier will only be 26-years old when the season starts, and similarly has two years of team control before hitting arbitration.
He can play any position on the field, but he’ll be playing second base full-time for Miami. On top of being younger and cheaper, he posted better numbers than Gordon in OBP, K-rate, walk-rate, and SLG%. He brings more power, comparable defense, and gets on base more.
Frazier won’t run as much, and that should mean more runs for Miami.
Daniel Hudson: Similar to Tazawa, an overpaid, underperforming reliever. Critically, Daniel Hudson is a little younger, paid about $1.5 million less, and was better season in 2017. He would be easier to move in a trade with another team at a later date.
This was likely my only chance to move Tazawa, I had to take it.
Dee Gordon is gone, Toothy is gone, and so is one of the feel good stories of 2017, Chris O’Grady. But so is Junichi Tazawa. In return, the Miami Marlins get a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter, and simultaneously improve and get cheaper at second base.
Hudson is an improvement in every way over Tazawa, but he isn’t part of the long-term plan either. He’s just easier to trade later on than Tazawa would be.
Be sure to let me know what you think of this trade. Was it fair to both sides? Did I get ripped off? Did the Pirates get ripped off? Let me know! Reach out to me on Twitter about it. The good, the bad: I want to hear it all.