Let’s continue our look at trades made during the simulated offseason. The goal of this particular trade was to unload a player acquired elsewhere.
In a previous trade I made, I sent Dee Gordon to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Part of that deal also sent Junichi Tazawa and his $7 million payroll hit up the coast as well. But while unloading his contract, the Miami Marlins were forced to take on another.
During our discussion, the Pirates GM said they already had “an overpaid, underperforming right-hander.” Fair enough. I proposed a swap. “Perhaps they both just need a change of scenery.” I am unaware of anyone who would prefer to live in “the steel city”, over “the sunshine state”, but I digress.
It was enough to send Tazawa to Pittsburgh. In return I got Daniel Hudson. I set my sights on trading him next.
I was already engaged in talks with the Colorado Rockies about Junichi Tazawa at this point, but they were lukewarm. Understandably, they didn’t want to shell out $7 million for a player who performed as poorly as Tazawa did in 2017.
Hudson was due $5.5 million. When I traded Tazawa and got Hudson back, I only shed $1.5 million off the payroll. It all needed to come off. He pitched a little better, made a little less, and was a little younger. He proved much easier to sell.
Once I told them that I was willing to swap Hudson instead of Tazawa, negotiations started to pick up steam. The deal was going to be a minor one, another salary dump for the Miami Marlins. But it would be huge relief in payroll.
What the Miami Marlins gave up:
Unlike other trades, the player whose salary I was looking to shed was the main piece of the trade. But that doesn’t mean the Rockies didn’t need a little convincing. They were looking for a backup catcher. I had just the guy.
I sold them Tomas Telis. In my email, I described Telis as follows:
"“Tells is a 27-year old switch-hitting catcher. His bat got him to the big leagues but he is solid behind the plate as well. With JT Realmuto being one of the centerpieces of the rebuilding, he isn’t going to see much playing time no matter what he does. Still has several years of team control.”"
To be honest, I have little faith in Tomas Telis. He reminds me of a switch-hitting Ramon Castro. I knew I wanted to sign a cheap, veteran catcher in free-agency anyway. Telis figured to bounce between AAA and the pro-club, that wasn’t worth keeping $5.5 million on the books this year.
What the Miami Marlins got back:
I was sending the Rockies a $5.5 million dollar price tag and a catcher I wasn’t going to use, I was perfectly fine getting a ham sandwich in return.
I inquired on a number of players, some of whom I knew were out of reach. My hope was that by asking high, the players who were still too valuable would seem less valuable by comparison.
James Farris: James Farris currently ranks as the 21st pitcher in the Colorado Rockies system. Farris is a reliever who figures to be ready to make a push for the MLB in 2018. To this point, he’s yet to crack the big leagues. He’ll be 26 when the 2018 season rolls around.
Farris throws in the 92-94 mph range but can touch 96 when necessary; he has an effective three-pitch mix that includes a slider and a changeup.
Last season, Farris managed a 1.45 ERA and a 0.857 WHIP in AA. His numbers spiked in AAA, his first appearance at that level, but not so much as to be concerned. He strikes out a lot of batters, and would compete for a spot on the 25-man roster out of spring training.
Justin Lawrence: Justin Lawrence is also a reliever, albeit a little further off. He’s currently rated the 27th prospect in the Rockies system, and isn’t expected to be ready until 2020 at the earliest.
He pitched A-ball last season, and he downright embarrassed opposing batters. He runs the ball up to the plate in the upper-90’s with regularity, and he does so throwing from a difficult to read angle. His fastball has considerable sink, meaning a lot of groundouts.
A trapezius injury ended his season in 2017, but it isn’t considered serious and he shouldn’t be affected by it moving forward. His 1.65 ERA and 0.857 WHIP are remarkably similar to the numbers James Farris put up, and equally impressive.
In this trade, the Miami Marlins cut $5.5 million and sent a fringe backup catcher to the Colorado Rockies. In return, the Marlins got two prospects from the top 30, one of which will compete for a spot in the bullpen in 2018.
Ostensibly, Farris would compete to replace the spot surrendered by Nick Wittgren.
What do you think of this trade? Let me know. I want to hear from you on twitter. The good, the bad, all of it. Tell me what you think, and be sure to check out the other simulated trades.