And that was just before that club went out , and lost to Atlanta, 7-1 on Wednesday, sinking the season record to 45-53.
“It’s time for it to stop being the plague of the Marlins,” center fielder Justin Ruggiano said. “Hopefully none of us are giving up in here.”
Trading Ramirez was partly a salary dump. The Dodgers were the only interested team that agreed to absorb the $38 million of his remaining contract. There were baseball reasons to let Ramirez go, but let’s keep track of that saved $38 million.
The Marlins are obliged to spend that on players, on a better team. Owner Jeffrey Loria’s old, penurious reputation must not resurface. He will be held to his assurance that a new ballpark would mean legitimate player payrolls. That is another reason why this week’s two trades had better not blossom into what fans might call a fire sale.
It is a fine line that can separate moves meant to slash payroll and moves meant to improve a team, and the Marlins must be careful to stay on the right side of that line.
Relief pitcher Randy Choate departs with Ramirez in the trade. Arriving from L.A. are two young pitchers: Rookie Nathan Eovaldi, who immediately enters Miami’s starting rotation, and minor-leaguer Scott McGough.
Should fans like to have seen the Marlins get more in return? Ideally, yeah.
But there is logic evident in this week’s trades, including the earlier one in which Miami dealt pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to Detroit for three young prospects. (Sanchez’s contract is expiring and he would have been lost to free agency with nothing in return).
It is no coincidence that Miami in the two trades has acquired five prospects, all ages 21 to 23, four of them pitchers.
The cupboards of the Marlins’ farm system had grown bare through the years, and if your homegrown young talent isn’t there, the wave diminished to still water, sometimes you have to go get other teams’ prospects.
Had the Marlins’ minor-league system been ripe with majors-ready talent there might have been the luxury to seek veterans in these trades.
Reality steered these deals instead.
The reality that this franchise needed an influx of top prospects.
The reality that this was not a successful team that deserved to be kept intact.
And, ultimately, the reality that it was time to let Hanley Ramirez be somebody else’s headache.