Miami Marlins GM simulation: First trade in (fake) hot stove

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 18: Reliever Brad Ziegler
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 18: Reliever Brad Ziegler /

It’s not a secret that the Miami Marlins are looking to cut payroll this offseason. In my first move as acting GM of the team, I moved an ugly contract.

The Miami Marlins appear to be narrowing in on a deal to trade Giancarlo Stanton in real life. I was willing to do the same as the general manager, but wanted to explore other options as well. First on the chopping block were some of the heftier contracts to underperforming players.

Brad Ziegler was near the top of the list in this category. Of the big three contracts, Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa, and Martin Prado, Ziegler’s would be the easiest to move. But that’s not to say that unloading Ziegler wasn’t going to be a monumental task.

After pitching Brad Ziegler to literally every team I came in contact with, I finally found a taker. Brad Ziegler became a Chicago Cub.

There are very few numbers that suggest Brad Ziegler had a good season in 2017. All the traditional numbers, and most of the advanced stats suggest he was pretty awful. Miami fans who watched the entire season will recall he pitched better as the teams closer.

His ERA was 4.79, he pitched in only 47 games, and he hit six batters. On top of that, his ERA+ was 85 (100 means league average), his WHIP was an astonishingly high 1.553. The only number that suggests Ziegler pitched decently was his FIP, which was 3.79.

Perhaps this is what allowed me to move him. There is some data to suggest that the defense played poorly when Ziegler was on the mound, and that his ERA should have been much lower.

After a number of rejections, I was finally able to get someone interested in Brad Ziegler.

The deal for Ziegler

Ziegler was traded to the Chicago Cubs, whose general manager was for out simulation was Jacob Misener. Jacob reached out to me wanting to know what bullpen/starting pieces were available. I pushed Ziegler and Tazawa, also mentioning that Justin Nicolino could be an option.

He came back asking on Ziegler, Nicolino, Kyle Barraclough, and Dan Straily. I wasn’t willing to send either Barraclough or Straily to Chicago, and so the deal zeroed in on a package involving Ziegler and Nicolino.

I was willing to part with Ziegler for pretty much nothing, I just wanted his salary off the books. If Justin Nicolino, a pitcher whom I personally regard as a bust at this point, needed to be sacrificed to lubricate the deal, that was fine.

He mentioned that he only wanted Nicolino, but I wanted any deal to include Ziegler. There was no incentive to move only Justin Nicolino.

We settled on a deal that sent Brad Ziegler (and his $9 million dollar contract), and Justin Nicolino, and returning two players in the Cubs top 30 prospect list. Wladimir Galindo and Jose Paulino.

Galindo is a corner infielder who figures to make it to the pro level as a first baseman, possibly a left fielder. Throughout his brief career, he’s shown a penchant for working the count and getting on base. Last season he slashed .290/.350/.432 at the single-A level. He is the 25th overall prospect in the Cubs system.

Paulino is a 22-year old left-hander who can touch the mid-90’s with his fastball. He’s working on his secondary pitches, but projects to remain a starter throughout his career. Paulino is ranked 29th ranked player in the Cubs system.

Both of these players would likely rank in the high 20’s, possibly as high as 15th in the Miami Marlins system.


So the first deal I made in the simulation cut $9 million in payroll, and brought back two players who would possibly be top 25 prospects in the Marlins system. The real loss here is Justin Nicolino, and calling that a “real loss” is a judgement call.

What do you think of the first trade? Did I undervalue Nicolino? Did I overvalue either of the two prospects heading to Miami? Reach out to me on Twitter and give me your honest opinion. I want to hear from you!