Do you remember this trade? On July 31, 2019 the Miami Marlins traded starting pitching prospect Zac Gallen to the Arizona Diamondbacks for middle infield prospect Jazz Chisholm Jr. It was simple logic… The Fish needed hitting help and had a pitching surplus, while Arizona needed pitching and had hitting to spare. Let’s look at the trade and see who is currently coming out ahead.
The Miami Marlins made a blockbuster trade that gave The Fish a superstar slugger.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. debuted for the Miami Marlins in the shortened 2020 season and hit .161/.242/.321 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI. This was a pretty bad debut in 21 games and 56 AB’s. Chisholm followed that up with a .248/.303/.425 batting line in 124 games/464 AB’s in 2021 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI. This was a better performance and opened up a possibility for further improvements to follow that up.
This season turned out to be the breakout season that the Miami Marlins were hoping for from Chisholm. In 34 games and 124 AB’s Chisholm is batting ,290/.341/.581 with 7 home runs and 27 RBI. This is the type of performance that turns a young player into a superstar and that’s exactly what happened with the 24 year old Chisholm. The Fish needed a superstar hitter and Chisholm is exactly that.
What about Zac Gallen? Gallen debuted for the Miami Marlins in 2019 and started 7 games, delivering 36.1 innings of 2.72 ERA/3.57 FIP ball. Upon the trade to Arizona, he started 8 games and delivered a 2.89 ERA/3.65 FIP in 43.2 innings. Gallen had 10.8 K.9 and 4.1 BB/9 for the season in total. In 2020, Gallen started 12 games and delivered a 2.75 ERA/3.66 FIP in 72 innings with 10.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. It appeared as if Gallen was ready to break out, though his FIP’s weren’t that of an ace.
2021 turned out to be a step back for Gallen, as he started 23 games and pitched 121.1 innings. How did he do? 4.30 ERA/4.25 FIP with 10.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. Let’s just say this wasn’t too good. Gallen has so far followed that up this season with a 2.22 ERA/2.78 FIP with 8.7 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 8 games and 44.2 innings. Gallen’s strikeout rate is down, but he’s back to putting up ace numbers with a matching FIP for once.
Who won this trade so far? The Miami Marlins so far received 4.4 bWAR from Chisholm, while Arizona received 7.5 bWAR from Gallen. This means that so far Arizona won by 3.1 bWAR. I do think that it’s early however and that The Fish will “catch-up”. I think that Chisholm is ultimately a better player, in fact this season he’s beating Gallen 2.0 bWAR to 1.4 bWAR. Either way you look at it both teams received what they wanted from this blockbuster trade.