One baseball analyst praised the Marlins for their trade last week with Houston, giving the team a high mark on the deal. Another gave a thumbs-down to the Marlins, saying the Astros “cleaned up.”
There seemed to be no early consensus on the seven-player swap.
But if the deal turns out to be like most, it could take several years to fully assess a trade in which the Marlins — breaking from their norm — dealt prospects for young big-league talent.
By acquiring right-hander Jarred Cosart, the Marlins achieved their stated goal of obtaining a “controllable” starting pitcher, one whose free agent years are in the distance.
“We knew that going into the starting pitcher market that it was going to be costly, and we definitely paid a lot to get these players,” said Michael Hill, Miami’s president of baseball operations.
But did the Marlins surrender too much in sending outfielder Jake Marisnick, minor-league third baseman Colin Moran (the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft) and its Competitive Balance pick (No. 31 overall) in next summer’s draft?
ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law thought so.
“The Astros absolutely cleaned up here, especially if, as I suspect, they wanted to rid themselves of Cosart for character reasons in addition to the gap between his talent and his performance,” Law wrote in a Baseball Insider piece for ESPN.com.
In addition to Cosart, the Marlins also received outfielder/second baseman Kike Hernandez and minor-league outfielder Austin Wates from the Astros.
One major-league talent evaluator, who spoke for this story only on the condition of anonymity, also thought Houston got the better of the deal.
“The Marlins gave up their No. 2 and No. 3 prospects and a first-round draft pick?” he said. “Why? This makes no sense. I expect this to be universally panned for the steep price Miami had to pay here. I’m not sure now Miami thinks they can compete by trading away high draft picks when they are the best value for adding high-end talent to a system.”
But not everyone condemned the Marlins.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman ranked the Marlins 15th, out of his 15 trade deadline “winners.”
Jim Bowden, the former major-league general manager who is now an analyst for ESPN.com, gave the Marlins a B-plus in his grades of GM’s at the trade deadline.
The Marlins “made one of the best deals at the deadline,” wrote Bowden, adding that Marisnick was blocked by the Marlins’ outfield of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich and stated Moran is “overrated.”
Though Law favored the Astros over the Marlins in the trade, he liked the deal from this aspect:
“The [seven-player] trade between the Astros and Marlins was the most interesting one of [Thursday] because, unlike most of the other deals at this exciting deadline, it included actual prospects — minor-leaguers and very young big-leaguers going in both directions — at a time when you have to pry prospects loose from most teams with a crowbar and a tube of silicone,” Law wrote.• No Marlins reliever has ever led the team in wins.
But that statistical footnote could change this season if Mike Dunn continues to record wins. With nine victories, the late-inning lefty holds a one-win lead over Henderson Alvarez, who leads Marlins starters. Tom Koehler has seven wins, two less than Dunn.
Alvarez, though, is on the disabled list at the moment, providing Dunn with an opportunity to pad his lead.
Pittsburgh’s Roy Face established the major-league benchmark for relief wins when he went 18-1 in 1959.
COMING UP• Tuesday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (2-3, 4.15 ERA) at Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Charles Morton (5-10, 3.54), 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
• Wednesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (7-8, 3.70) at Pirates LHP Jeff Locke (2-3, 3.77), 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.