Miami Marlins must be Mindful of their Unusual Fire Sale History at the Trade Deadline

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The Miami Marlins are expected to be sellers as the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline approaches. Luis Arraez has already packed his bags for San Diego. And more Fish are circulating through the trade rumor mill.

As we pass mid-June, the 23-47 Marlins are wise to capitalize on opportunities to shop moveable assets as they seek to build for the future. However, this particular franchise must excersize a level of caution as they consider selling players directly after a surprise 2023 postseason berth.

The Marlins, more than any franchise in sports, is famous for fire sales. The club followed up their first ever World Series championship in 1997 by moving stars like Al Leiter, Moises Alou, Kevin Brown, and Jeff Conine. They followed up with trades sending Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, and ultimately, Mike Piazza, out of South Florida.

It is incredibly uncommon for a club to trade away so many key assets on the tails of a championship. However, the Marlins have more than one such occurrence in their brief franchise history.

Miami (then Florida) won its second World Series in 2003. Then between 2005 and 2006 traded assets including Carlos Delgado, Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell, and Josh Beckett. Lowell and Beckett would go on to win another Chip with Boston in 2007.

Then, in 2012, the Marlins held yet another fire sale after being unusually aggressive with their payroll. The franchise build expectations amongst the fan base that they were committed to building a legitimate contender. Then traded superstars Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Josh Johnson, in addition to players like Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, and Gaby Sanchez.

So what does this odd history have to do with the modern-day Marlins? Most notably, it creates an uncommon relationship between the franchise and its fans.

Miami’s tendency to trade key players in promising moments has led to much scorn and frustration. Now, after the club appeared to be building a contender around Eury Perez, Sandy Alcantara, Jazz Chisholm, and others, the Fish have followed up a magical postseason berth with yet another sale.

Much of the team’s fortune can be blamed to devastating injuries to their elite rotation. However, if another stable of key stars are indeed moved, another exciting season will be marked by moving multiple fan favorites.

For better or worse, Arraez had become an exciting draw in South Florida, with many fans calling him their favorite player. Mashers like Josh Bell and Jake Burger, both of whom were key contributors down the stretch in 2023 also connected with fans, as did stars like Tanner Scott and Jesus Luzardo.

The Fish should absolutely look to trade their more seasoned assets for younger pieces. Yet, they must also weight how many players can be moved without bringing up the same heartburn and disappointment that has often plagued the franchise. Otherwise, the relationship between Miami and it’s fans could be further strained.

The club, especially their new ownership and management, must be mindful of these dynamics as the trade deadline approaches.

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