The Miami Marlins are entering the third year of their much-publicized ownership turnover/rebuild process in 2020.
Longtime fans railed against yet another “fire sale,” and publicly lambasted new face of the franchise Derek Jeter. Three years in and the results have not been good at the major league level.
But that’s not to say this newest rebuild is failing. The minor leagues are looking better than they have in years. Bruce Sherman and Jeter’s plan isn’t to compete for just one World Series title, its to put a solid, competitive, marketable product in play year-in and year-out.
Part of the problem is that the Marlins ownership group – from Wayne Huizenga through John Henry and into Jeffrey Loria – has always put a moratorium on competitive windows. That is, once that window is closing, its time to pack it in and give up with some hope for the future, four to six years hence.
When Jeter and company took over, it looked like more of the same thing was happening again. The fanbase responded in kind, widely panning the moves that cost the franchise key fielders Dee Gordon, J.T. Realmuto, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Giancarlo Stanton.
Losing those offensive stalwarts hurt, but the Marlins resultant retooling of their minor leagues can’t be ignored anymore. For those five players mentioned above, the Marlins acquired Nick Neidert (11), Christopher Torres, Robert Dugger (24), Will Stewart (27), Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez (1), Monte Harrison (5), Jonathan Yamamoto, Isan Diaz, Lewis Brinson, Daniel Castano, Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Magneuris Sierra, Jorge Guzman (16), Jose Devers (10), and two years of Starlin Castro.
Of those 17 players only Castro and Gallen are gone, and Gallen was further flipped for #4 rated prospect Jazz Chisholm. Only Castro and Alfaro weren’t prospects at the time of their acquisition, and seven others have played with the parent club.
Further considering the state of the farm, a further influx of talent arrived over the course of the last two drafts. J.J. Bleday (2), Kameron Misner (9), Connor Scott (14), Nasim Nunez (15), Will Banfield (19), Evan Fitterer (21), Osiris Johnson (23), Tristan Pompey (26), and Peyton Burdick (29) have entered the system between 2018 and 2019.
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In addition to the previously mentioned trades and the last two drafts, the Marlins have also gone hard into their international signing period, picking up Victor Victor Mesa (13), Jose Salas (20), and Victor Mesa Jr. (28). More recent trades have yielded Jesus Sanchez (3) and Lewin Diaz (12), while the rule 5 draft just turned up Sterling Sharp (22).
That’s 22 current members of the Marlins Top 30, as rated by MLB’s Pipeline. More than a few of these could be ready for the majors as soon as this season, so maybe its time for us to start talking with our time and our wallets. We have been last in attendance for the past two seasons, and in 2017, when the Marlins were still in competition, we only ranked 27th in the majors. Not a whole lot better.
Do you think that Jeter and Co. are on the right track? I do. Let me know what you think in the comments below, on Twitter and Facebook, and at the great and underappreciated message site marlinsbaseball.com.