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Recent trades reshape Miami's farm system

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Trading Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna in a span of a week made the Marlins one of the focal points at the Winter Meetings, and it also dramatically reshaped the organization's top 30 rankings, according to MLBPipeline.com.

The three deals brought in 10 players, including projected starting second baseman Starlin Castro, plus three of Miami's top five prospects, including right-hander Sandy Alcantara (No. 1).

MIAMI -- Trading Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna in a span of a week made the Marlins one of the focal points at the Winter Meetings, and it also dramatically reshaped the organization's top 30 rankings, according to MLBPipeline.com.

The three deals brought in 10 players, including projected starting second baseman Starlin Castro, plus three of Miami's top five prospects, including right-hander Sandy Alcantara (No. 1).

Going back even further and looking at the overall picture, the Marlins' wheeling and dealing started on June 26 when slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was traded to the Rays. It marked the first of seven trades that have netted the organization 20 players, with 12 in the top 30 prospect rankings.

"The front-liners in a majority of those deals have been starting pitchers," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.

Video: Michael Hill discusses trading for Sandy Alcantara

After finishing 77-85, the organization made it clear sweeping changes were necessary to infuse talent into all levels of the system. Chief executive officer Derek Jeter has repeatedly stated each move is strategic in an attempt to build a sturdy foundation from the bottom up.

That's why in the Ozuna trade to the Cardinals, which was announced on Thursday, Daniel Castano was included. The left-hander projects to open at the Class A level, while Alcantara is a candidate to be in the Opening Day rotation.

"Pitching will be a focus," Hill said. "It was obviously an area where we were a little short. But, I always speak that you can never have enough depth across the board."

Video: Mayo on Marlins' prospect haul in Ozuna trade

In MLBPipeline.com's new rankings, five of Miami's top 10 prospects came in trades going back to July: Alcantara, right-hander Jorge Guzman (No. 2), outfielder Magneuris Sierra (No. 5), right-hander Nick Neidert (No. 7) and right-hander Merandy Gonzalez (No. 10).

Video: Callis on Marlins acquiring Guzman's electric arm

Others in the top 30 are outfielder Brayan Hernandez (12th), infielder Christopher Torres (14th), right-hander Zac Gallen (15th), right-hander Brandon Miller (25th), right-hander Pablo Lopez (27th), outfielder Ricardo Cespedes (28th) and lefty reliever Caleb Smith (29th).

The trading started with Hechavarria going to the Rays in late June and Miami bringing in outfielder Braxton Lee, who could be a fourth outfielder in 2018, as well as right-hander Evan Clark.

Video: Prospect Braxton Lee discusses his two-hit game

The Marlins dealt reliever David Phelps to the Mariners on July 20 for Hernandez, Miller, Lopez and right-hander Lukas Schiraldi.

The Marlins sent closer AJ Ramos to the Mets on July 28 for Gonzalez and Cespedes.

"Going back to our July trades, when our relievers were at their highest values, we felt like we took advantage and maximized the value for David Phelps and for AJ Ramos, and bringing quality pieces into our organization," Hill said. "I think that will be a theme when you think about how we manage our roster and try to make the most of our assets and give ourselves every opportunity to make smart decisions in our trades."

On Nov. 20, the Marlins completed a Minor League deal of right-hander Michael King, plus $250,000 of international signing pool bonus money to the Yankees for Smith and first baseman/outfielder Garrett Cooper.

Video: NYY@TOR: Cooper singles up the middle to plate a pair

The recent flurry of trades started on Dec. 7, with Gordon and $1 million in international pool money going to Seattle for Neidert, Torres and right-hander Robert Dugger.

The Stanton trade was announced on Monday at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with Miami adding Castro, Guzman and infielder Jose Devers.

For Ozuna, Miami acquired Alcantara, Sierra, Gallen and Castano. Sierra will compete for an Opening Day spot, and he is a future leadoff candidate. Gallen projects as a back-of-the-rotation-caliber starter.

Video: Michael Hill on Marlins acquiring Magneuris Sierra

"We tried to make the best trades that we can, given our trade partners and maximizing the value they have in their systems," Hill said. "We're trying to make smart deals to allow us to continue to add depth."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, Sandy Alcantara, Merandy Gonzalez, Jorge Guzman, Nick Neidert, Magneuris Sierra

Marlins expand NRI list with three additions

Outfielder Ortega, infielder Adames, righty Wimmers headed for big league camp
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The stockpiling of roster depth continues for the Marlins, who have signed three more players with big league experience to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

Outfielder Rafael Ortega, infielder Cristhian Adames and right-hander Alex Wimmers are the latest non-roster invitees who will be in camp when Spring Training opens in mid-February.

MIAMI -- The stockpiling of roster depth continues for the Marlins, who have signed three more players with big league experience to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

Outfielder Rafael Ortega, infielder Cristhian Adames and right-hander Alex Wimmers are the latest non-roster invitees who will be in camp when Spring Training opens in mid-February.

Ortega, 26, was in the Padres system this year, appearing in 121 games in Triple-A and posting a slash line of .317/.383/.468 with six home runs and 53 RBIs. He struck out 49 times and drew 46 walks while stealing 26 bases.

In 2016, Ortega appeared in 66 games with the Angels, his last big league experience.

Adames, 26, played in 12 games for the Rockies, going hitless in 13 at-bats. At Triple-A Albuquerque, his slash line was .263/.317/.461 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs.

Mostly used at second base, Adames played some shortstop, third base and first base.

Wimmers, 29, was a first-round pick of the Twins in 2010, and he made his big league debut with Minnesota in 2016.

The right-hander threw 7 1/3 innings in six relief appearances with the Twins in 2017, posting a 4.91 ERA. He struck out seven and walked eight. But control wasn't an issue in 47 1/3 innings at Triple-A.

Wimmers had a record of 7-3 with a 3.23 ERA, striking out 48 and walking 11.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, Cristhian Adames, Rafael Ortega, Alex Wimmers

Fish feel they added impactful talent for Ozuna

Potential frontline starter Alcantara, center fielder Sierra among 4 prospects in trade
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- To make an impactful move that would reshape their system, the Marlins had to part ways with one of their most productive players. The tradeoff, the organization believes, is worth it.

On Thursday afternoon, the Marlins announced that All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna was headed to the Cardinals for four prospects, including three who were previously ranked in the top 13 of St. Louis' system, according to MLBPipeline.com.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- To make an impactful move that would reshape their system, the Marlins had to part ways with one of their most productive players. The tradeoff, the organization believes, is worth it.

On Thursday afternoon, the Marlins announced that All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna was headed to the Cardinals for four prospects, including three who were previously ranked in the top 13 of St. Louis' system, according to MLBPipeline.com.

Right-hander Sandy Alcantara, outfielder Magneuris Sierra, right-hander Zac Gallen and lefty Daniel Castano are headed to the Marlins.

Video: Hill on Marlins outlook going forward into 2018

The teams reached agreement on Wednesday, and on Thursday afternoon, the trade was announced a couple of hours after the Winter Meetings wrapped up.

The infusion of talent in this trade has dramatically altered the Marlins' Top 30 Prospects list, with Alcantara becoming the organization's No. 1, per MLBPipeline.com. Sierra ranks fifth and Gallen is 15th.

"As we talked in our room in Orlando, we spoke of impact," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We talked about championship-caliber talent and making that a priority as we look to make all of our deals.

"As we go through this [building process], the goal is to add championship-caliber talent to this organization that's going to put us in position to win a championship. You do that with elite talent, upper-echelon talent."

Video: Mayo on Marlins' prospect haul in Ozuna trade

Alcantara, 22, has a fastball that touches 100 mph, and he made eight relief appearances for the Cardinals in 2017, posting a 4.32 ERA with 10 strikeouts and six walks in 8 1/3 innings.

According to Statcast™, his four-seam fastball -- based on 45 total pitches -- averaged 98.51 mph. The MLB average for the pitch was 93.19 mph.

Sierra, 21, saw action in 22 big league games for St. Louis, batting .317 with a .359 on-base percentage. A speedster, Sierra projects to play center field and bat leadoff.

Video: Michael Hill on Marlins acquiring Magneuris Sierra

Alcantara and Sierra will compete in Spring Training for Opening Day roster spots. However, the Marlins will not rush their development as they are part of a bigger picture -- to be part of the organization's future.

Ozuna, 27, is two years away from free agency, and he was projected to make just under $11 million in arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com. A two-time All-Star, Ozuna is coming off a career year, batting .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs.

"There's no question that Marcell Ozuna is a tremendous talent," Hill said. "You look at the return we were able to get for him, you see how talented he was.

"As we started our offseason, the goal is a consistent one, we need to improve our overall talent, improve our depth. When you think about Marcell, a four-plus [year] Major League service outfielder, two years away from free agency, we just felt this was an opportunity to maximize our return."

Hot Stove Tracker

The Marlins have made three major trades in a week, starting with Dee Gordon going to the Mariners on Dec. 7, followed by reigning National League MVP Award winner Giancarlo Stanton being dealt to the Yankees on Monday for Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers.

Video: Callis on Marlins acquiring Guzman's electric arm

After moving roughly $340 million off their books, the Marlins have no urgency to trade any more core players from the '17 roster. There are rumblings that outfielder Christian Yelich does not want to go through a rebuild, and there's speculation he could be traded.

"Christian Yelich is a three-plus [year] Major League service outfielder for the Marlins under control for the next five years," Hill said. "I'm extremely excited that he's part of our organization."

Hill added he likely will soon touch base with Yelich.

Castro projects to replace Gordon at second, and Guzman is another hard-thrower with top-of-the-rotation potential. Like Alcantara, Guzman's fastball reaches 100 mph.

Guzman is ranked second on the revised Marlins Top 30.

"The starters we brought back [from the Cardinals and Yankees], we feel as they continue to develop and they reach their potential, these are pieces that can lead a rotation," Hill said. "Mid-to-upper 90-mph fastballs are just the start of it."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins

Marlins focus on depth with big Meetings moves

Stanton, Ozuna deals part of organization's new direction
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins bookended the Winter Meetings with moves designed to reshape the organization's future.

As Miami bid farewell to All-Stars Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, it welcomed seven players via the two high-profile trades to strengthen its overall depth.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins bookended the Winter Meetings with moves designed to reshape the organization's future.

As Miami bid farewell to All-Stars Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, it welcomed seven players via the two high-profile trades to strengthen its overall depth.

The Winter Meetings opened on Monday with the announcement that Stanton was dealt to the Yankees for Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers. And on Thursday, Miami finalized a deal that sends Ozuna to the Cardinals for Magneuris Sierra, Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano.

Video: Mayo on Marlins' prospect haul in Ozuna trade

"We're on our way," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We came in with some goals of what we wanted to try to get accomplished. We understood what was in front of us. When we first met at the [General Managers Meetings in November], there wasn't as much clarity as to what the build was going to look like and the pieces you were going to get back, or the pieces you're even going to move at that point. Since then and now, things have obviously become more clear, and we've been able to add some depth to the organization, some quality talent to the organization."

Tweet from @Marlins: Heading home from Orlando with a 4x All-Star & future #Marlins: INF Starlin Castro, RHP Jorge Guzm��n, INF Jos�� Devers (NYY); OF Magneuris Sierra, RHP Sandy Alc��ntara, RHP Zac Gallen, LHP Daniel Castano (STL); RHP Elieser Hern��ndez (HOU), RHP Brett Graves (OAK) in Rule 5 Draft! pic.twitter.com/sDDFAgU39r

What's next
By trading Dee Gordon, Stanton and Ozuna in the span of a week, Miami created vacancies in the outfield and the lineup. Christian Yelich and Braxton Lee, who has no big league experience, are the only outfielders on the 40-man roster.

The Marlins will also explore trade options for Yelich, although there is no urgency to move the 26-year-old. But if the organization feels he will not be receptive to its rebuilding efforts, it may opt to deal him for what would promise to be a big haul.

Hot Stove Tracker

Although Castro, at least for now, is the projected starter at second base, there is a need for a leadoff batter to replace Gordon, who paced the Majors with 60 steals in 2017.

Parting with Stanton and Ozuna moves 96 home runs off the roster, so adding some power hitters to the system will be a priority.

Video: Mattingly on losing Stanton's presence in lineup

"Our focus here is not to just add pitching, but to increase our overall depth," Hill said. "While we do this, we have to get ready for 2018. That's part of the process as we look at ways to get better and build our organization and create a situation we can compete year in, year out. We have to be mindful of what's around the corner, and that's 2018."

As part of the Ozuna trade, the Marlins are bringing in Sierra, who plays center field. The 21-year-old is the logical choice to lead off, but is he ready to be a big league regular?

Rule 5 Draft
Miami selected right-handers Elieser Hernandez (from the Astros) and Brett Graves (A's) in the Major League phase. It picked catchers B.J. Lopez (D-backs) and Sharif Othman (Yankees), first baseman Will Allen III (Tigers) and right-hander Brandon Barker (Orioles) in the Minor League phase. The Marlins lost righty Tyler Kinley to the Twins in the Major League phase and lefty Carlos Diaz to the A's in the Minor League phase.

Marlins' Rule 5 Draft picks to get shot at rotation

GM's bottom line
"This is the direction we are taking, and we're committed to it. We're going to build this thing the right way, from the ground up. We have to stay committed, because when you get off of that path, that's when you empty out your system. For an organization like the Marlins, we have to be able to reach into our system. It has to be a constant and consistent feeder for our Major League team. There is no way for us to be sustainable and have an opportunity year in and year out to be successful if we don't have a deep and productive Minor League system." -- Hill

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins

Marlins' Rule 5 Draft picks to get shot at rotation

Miami selects right-handers Hernandez, Graves in Major League phase
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins struck Rule 5 Draft gold at the Winter Meetings in 2005, when they selected Dan Uggla off the D-backs' roster. At the time, the franchise was going through a restructuring period, and Uggla eventually developed into an All-Star second baseman.

Did Miami uncover another Rule 5 Draft gem on Thursday? The organization certainly hopes so, with the selections of two right-handed pitchers -- Elieser Hernandez and Brett Graves -- in the Major League phase of the Draft. The Marlins' 40-man roster is now full.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins struck Rule 5 Draft gold at the Winter Meetings in 2005, when they selected Dan Uggla off the D-backs' roster. At the time, the franchise was going through a restructuring period, and Uggla eventually developed into an All-Star second baseman.

Did Miami uncover another Rule 5 Draft gem on Thursday? The organization certainly hopes so, with the selections of two right-handed pitchers -- Elieser Hernandez and Brett Graves -- in the Major League phase of the Draft. The Marlins' 40-man roster is now full.

2017 Rule 5 Draft results

The picks, which come at a cost of $100,000 per player, were not merely formalities. Miami plans to give both a legitimate shot at winning a rotation spot during Spring Training.

:: Rule 5 Draft coverage ::

"Both selections are starting pitchers," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We're going to give them an opportunity to start and compete."

The Marlins also selected catchers B.J. Lopez from the D-backs and Sharif Othman from the Yankees, plus first baseman Will Allen III from the Tigers and right-hander Brandon Barker from the Orioles, in the Triple-A phase, with a price tag of $24,000 on each pick.

Miami lost right-hander Tyler Kinley to the Twins in the Major League phase.

Dealing with Rule 5 Draft picks is always tricky, because players selected in the Major League phase must make the Opening Day roster and stay on the active roster the entire season. They can't be optioned to the Minor Leagues for any additional development or if there are other roster-related issues.

But with the Marlins redirecting, there will be more organizational patience. If either or both Major League phase picks shows promise, they could break camp with the big league squad. If not, they must be offered back to their original club.

"As I said, we will look to acquire talent and build depth in our organization through every means," Hill said. "The Rule 5 Draft is an opportunity where you can access players you don't normally have the ability to access and give an opportunity. Pitching and building pitching depth is something that is always at the forefront for us, and adding as much as we possibly can."

Hernandez was selected off the Astros' roster. The 22-year-old from Venezuela combined for a 5-5 record with a 3.68 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings between Rookie-level and Class A Advanced in 2017.

"We saw him late, and he finished strong," Hill said. "Three-pitch mix, very composed, clean delivery. We like his ability to maintain his delivery and repeat and throw strikes."

Graves, 24, was taken in the second round of the Major League phase. He went 1-1 with a 4.47 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings between Class A Advanced and Double-A last season.

"If you look at him, year over year over year, the spin rate on his curveball ranks among the highest in Minor League Baseball," Hill said. "He got better from '15 to '16, made a big jump. From '16 to '17, he made even a greater jump, well-above-average curveball. We think it's an out pitch."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins

Marlins view Realmuto as key piece of rebuild

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The reshaping of the Marlins' roster remains a work in progress, but one of the projected building blocks of the franchise is catcher J.T. Realmuto.

One of the most athletic players in the Majors at his position, Realmuto had a standout 2017, batting .278 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs. The Marlins consider the 26-year-old their version of perennial All-Star Yadier Molina in St. Louis.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The reshaping of the Marlins' roster remains a work in progress, but one of the projected building blocks of the franchise is catcher J.T. Realmuto.

One of the most athletic players in the Majors at his position, Realmuto had a standout 2017, batting .278 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs. The Marlins consider the 26-year-old their version of perennial All-Star Yadier Molina in St. Louis.

Hot Stove Tracker

"I love J.T.," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday morning at the Winter Meetings. "He's a guy that I think all of our players have so much respect for, the way he plays the game, the toughness he brings, who he is as a person and who he is as a player. It's probably not fair, but I laid a little bit of a Yadier Molina tag on him because I think he's that kind of guy."

Video: Mattingly discusses the changes within the Marlins

As part of its restructuring, Miami has already parted with reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner Giancarlo Stanton and second baseman Dee Gordon, who paced the Majors in stolen bases.

Stanton was dealt to the Yankees on Monday, while Gordon was traded to the Mariners on Thursday. Additional moves are likely, raising the importance of the Marlins having the remaining players buy into the changes.

Realmuto has long had the reputation of being a natural leader.

"When you're facing the Cardinals and Yadier Molina is behind the plate, you're not happy about it," Mattingly said. "You don't like it. You know he's involved in that game and he's going to direct it.

"We feel J.T. can be that guy. He's not there yet, but we think this guy will step up leadership-wise, has a chance to take steps forward in leading your pitching staff and a guy that you can win a championship with."

Video: NYM@MIA: Realmuto hits a walk-off homer in the 10th

Arbitration-eligible for first time, Realmuto appeared in a career-high 141 games in 2017, and his OPS was a personal best .783.

If Miami made Realmuto available, he would command a hefty return on the trade market. But the organization is committed to building around the Oklahoma native, who was its third-round pick in 2010.

Mattingly is entering his third season with the Marlins, and he reminded everyone that keeping the status quo wasn't working. In 2017, the club finished 77-85, marking its eighth straight losing season.

The struggles prompted Miami to part with popular and productive veteran players.

"For me, I'm excited about what's going on, with an understanding of kind of the fans and what the perception is from the outside," Mattingly said. "We're going to build this organization from the bottom to the top, and it's going to be consistent and we're going to stay with it -- it's an exciting time for me from that standpoint.

"Again, you recognize the disappointment in the fans. It seems like there's been a lot of negative. I look back at what Houston was able to do a few years back and where they're at right now. We needed a reset. It wasn't working. What we were trying to accomplish and the way we were doing it, trying to win, it just wasn't working. And we had to get a model going that was sustainable, a chance for us to build something that we could have success on a yearly basis, be able to compete."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto

Jeter deserves time to forge new era in Miami

Astros, Royals also underwent difficult rebuilds before finding success
MLB.com @RichardJustice

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter deserves a chance to show he can do this thing the way he thinks it should be done. Does anyone believe he's enjoying this part of the process?

These past few days may be the toughest Jeter will ever have as the Marlins' CEO. That's because he understands the importance of talent and how difficult it is to acquire it.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter deserves a chance to show he can do this thing the way he thinks it should be done. Does anyone believe he's enjoying this part of the process?

These past few days may be the toughest Jeter will ever have as the Marlins' CEO. That's because he understands the importance of talent and how difficult it is to acquire it.

To trade Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees and Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals (as has been reported) in a span of a few days is the start of a new reality for rebuilding a baseball team in South Florida.

Video: Cards acquire Ozuna from Marlins in reported deal

Here's the point: Jeter has credibility in this game, maybe as much as anyone who has ever played. He's smart and driven to be successful at this second chapter of his professional life.

By the time Jeter and New York businessman Bruce Sherman closed on the $1.2 billion purchase of the Marlins, they had a blueprint. To build something lasting and to gain some payroll relief, they would have to take a step or two back to position themselves for better days.

Jeter is hoping against hope that this is the last time South Florida baseball fans have to go through this kind of thing. And so, this is where the new era of Marlins baseball begins.

To criticize Jeter at this point is not entirely fair. But that's what agent Scott Boras did Wednesday morning at the Winter Meetings, taking issue with the choice to move Stanton rather than fortifying the roster around him.

"You have a community down there that has a tremendous outfield, a new ballpark," Boras said. "They have an excitement that they grew to know. They suffered tremendous tragedy and loss with Jose [Fernandez, who died in a boating accident in September 2016].

"As a community, they bonded around that team. And it was really wonderful to see the reaction after the loss of Jose, the connection the community had with that team.

"You heard the players on that team say, 'If we could add pitching … '"

Boras said these kinds of trades are bad for the game. He said that if Jeter and Sherman didn't have enough money to run their franchise, they shouldn't have been approved to own the club.

OK, slow down.

The Marlins are not the first club to undertake a stark reconstruction. The Astros just won the World Series after spending three years doing the very same thing.

Video: Hill chats about the current state of the Marlins

The Royals went to the World Series in back-to-back seasons (2014-15) after a long, tough rebuilding process. Neither Astros owner Jim Crane nor Royals owner David Glass enjoyed the tough times.

When their teams had turned a corner, they understood that they had done the right thing. When Houston lost 111 games in 2013 -- general manager Jeff Luhnow's second season on the job -- he got a license plate that read: GM 111.

"I wanted to be reminded of those 111 losses every morning when I got in the car," Luhnow said this week.

When the Astros won Game 7 of the World Series last month, it was their 112th victory of the season.

"I'm getting a new license plate," Luhnow said.

Video: Luhnow tells story of his custom license plate

In fact, Jeter himself has firsthand experience with this kind of process. He was part of a massive rebuild that Yankees underwent in the early 1990s, drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in 1992 after the club finished 71-91 the year before. Around that same time, the Yanks signed and developed the likes of Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, and a dynasty was born. Like many clubs, the Marlins are simply hoping to build a sustainable winner based on consistent acquisition of talented amateurs and Minor Leaguers. The trades of Stanton and Ozuna are just part of that, and Boras knows that as well as anyone.

Marlins general manager Mike Hill was asked Wednesday afternoon about Boras' comments, and he took the high road.

"[Boras] has the right to speak his mind," Hill said. "I have more important things I want to try to accomplish. We have an organization that we have to build, and that is what we're charged to do while we're here at the Winter Meetings. No need to comment on rumors or comment on anything that doesn't really pertain to us trying to make ourselves better and do the job we need to do."

Video: Hill analyzes team's decision to trade Stanton

Here's the thing about that: Nothing is guaranteed. Rebuilding is painful. But to paint an overly rosy picture of where the Marlins were overlooks that they've had eight straight losing seasons and haven't been to the postseason since 2003.

Boras isn't necessarily wrong, but if this truly is the last time the Marlins are rebuilt, if Jeter uses these trades to build a great foundation, then it will have been worth it. The agent's near view and the club's long view won't always match up.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins

Likely out for '18, Volquez released by Marlins

Righty, who threw no-hitter in June, could return on Minors deal to finish Tommy John rehab
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins cleared a 40-man roster spot on Wednesday by releasing right-hander Edinson Volquez, who is questionable to pitch in 2018 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

The 34-year-old was Miami's Opening Day starter in 2017, and he threw a no-hitter against the D-backs on June 3 at Marlins Park. But he experienced discomfort in his throwing elbow, and had surgery to repair his ligament on Aug. 4.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins cleared a 40-man roster spot on Wednesday by releasing right-hander Edinson Volquez, who is questionable to pitch in 2018 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

The 34-year-old was Miami's Opening Day starter in 2017, and he threw a no-hitter against the D-backs on June 3 at Marlins Park. But he experienced discomfort in his throwing elbow, and had surgery to repair his ligament on Aug. 4.

Recommended recovery time for Tommy John surgery is in the 12-14-month range.

President of baseball operations Michael Hill said the Marlins have reached out to Volquez's agent, and the club is open to signing the right-hander to a Minor League contract so he can continue his rehab with the organization.

"We'd like to re-sign him and keep him in the fold and continue his rehab and see by the end of the summer where he's at," Hill said.

Video: 2017 MLB Awards: Best Performance - Volquez

Miami's roster is now at 38.

Last December, Volquez signed a two-year, $22 million contract with the Marlins, and his salary for next year is $13 million. The Marlins are still obligated to pay the remainder of his deal.

"When you're dealing with Tommy John rehab, it's its own entity," Hill said.

Volquez went 4-8 with a 4.19 ERA in 17 starts. In 92 1/3 innings, he struck out 81. The highlight of his season was the fifth no-hitter in franchise history in early June, when he blanked Arizona, 3-0.

Volquez made his last start on July 5, and he went on the disabled list on July 7 with left knee tendinitis. During his rehab, he experienced a ligament tear in his throwing elbow, and Tommy John surgery was recommended.

A major reason the Marlins struggled to a 77-85 record is because their starting pitching didn't hold up. Volquez had a history of durability, and he was part of the Royals' 2015 World Series championship team.

"We agreed to stay in touch," Hill said. "Hopefully he will be ready to re-sign and continue his rehab."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Edinson Volquez

Mayo: Marlins improve farm system with trade

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After trading away one outfielder in a deal that was criticized for the lack of impact prospects it netted, the Marlins get higher marks for the trade of a second outfielder, completed on Thursday afternoon.

Miami's trade of Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees on Monday yielded only one prospect who cracked its Top 30 Prospects list, but the organization improved its farm system in the haul it brought in for Marcell Ozuna. Two of the prospects, outfielder Magneuris Sierra and right-hander Sandy Alcantara, were in the Cardinals' Top 10. Right-hander Zac Gallen was just outside of it. All three will be firmly in the Marlins' Top 15.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After trading away one outfielder in a deal that was criticized for the lack of impact prospects it netted, the Marlins get higher marks for the trade of a second outfielder, completed on Thursday afternoon.

Miami's trade of Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees on Monday yielded only one prospect who cracked its Top 30 Prospects list, but the organization improved its farm system in the haul it brought in for Marcell Ozuna. Two of the prospects, outfielder Magneuris Sierra and right-hander Sandy Alcantara, were in the Cardinals' Top 10. Right-hander Zac Gallen was just outside of it. All three will be firmly in the Marlins' Top 15.

• Trade finalized: Ozuna dealt for Cardinals prospects

The fourth prospect headed to Miami, 23-year-old lefty Daniel Castano, was a New York-Penn League All-Star in 2017, when he went 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 starts for State College, recording 81 strikeouts and 13 walks.

After getting Jorge Guzman from the Yankees in the Stanton deal, the Marlins added another power arm in Alcantara. Like Guzman, Alcantara can get it up to triple digits on a regular basis, just like he did during the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game. He can maintain his velocity deep into starts and late in the season. Alcantara's second-best pitch is his changeup, which he'll throw around 90 mph and will flash above-average. The 22-year-old will show a feel to spin a breaking ball, but his curve and slider often blur into each other and they lack consistency.

While Alcantara does have as much easy velocity as perhaps anyone in the Minors, and as much upside as any arm in Miami's system, the one thing that causes a pause is his struggles with command and control. It's not just the walks (3.7 BB/9 in the Minors), but his command in the zone has caused him to be more hittable than he should be, especially given his power stuff. Alcantara gave up 9.0 hits per nine in Double-A last year, and while he generally got good reviews for his work in the AFL (he came in as MLBPipeline.com's No. 24 prospect there), he had some of the same inconsistencies that have plagued him elsewhere. He did make his big league debut last year, pitching out of the Cards' bullpen and touching 99 mph, with some feeling that might be his eventual home.

Video: STL@SF: Alcantara fans Posey for his first career K

If the Marlins were looking for a strong defender to patrol the big center field in Marlins Park, they may have found their man in Sierra. Like Alcantara, Sierra jumped from Double-A to make his big league debut in 2017, and he went 19-for-60 (.317) in his first taste of the highest level. Sierra is a plus defender, one with tremendous instincts and range, not to mention a plus arm.

At the plate, Sierra has shown a knack for making consistent contact, albeit without much power. He did improve his walk rate a bit in 2017, something he'll need to continue to do to settle in as a table-setter atop Miami's lineup. For now, seeing Sierra contribute mostly with his defense while settling into the bottom of a big league lineup might make the most sense.

Video: STL@NYM: Sierra smacks a two-run single to center

Gallen gives the Marlins a third prospect in this deal who should contribute in the big leagues in 2018. While Alcantara has a really high ceiling, Gallen's high floor is what makes him an interesting pitching prospect. The 2016 third-rounder out of the University of North Carolina pitched his way across three levels, up to Triple-A in his first full season of pro ball. He proved to be durable, compiling 147 2/3 innings along the way, and lived up to advanced billing in terms of his command and control, walking just 2.1 per nine for the year.

In terms of raw stuff, Gallen doesn't jump off the page. But he does an excellent job of throwing his low-90s fastball down in the zone with good life. Gallen's changeup has the chance to be a plus offering, and while he throws his cutter/slider too much at times, it's effective and gives him a third at-least-average pitch to attack hitters with. It's not the type of stuff that says "front-line starter," but he does seem to be a safe bet to reach his potential as a No. 4 or 5 starter. And Gallen should be able to do that in the very near future.

Castano was selected by St. Louis in the 19th round of the 2016 Draft out of Baylor University, and he is 11-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 26 career appearances (25 starts).

Detractors might argue the Marlins didn't manage to wrest one of the Cardinals that appear on the overall Top 100 Prospects list in this deal, perhaps a valid point given the year Ozuna had in 2017. But there is no question this deal added depth to a system in need of a talent infusion.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Winter Meetings interview with Don Mattingly

MLB.com

Q. Don, how would you kind of categorize kind of the direction that you're seeing the organization going as this team kind of goes?

DON MATTINGLY: For me, I'm excited about what's going on, with an understanding of kind of the fans and what the perception is from the outside. But to know actually what our direction is and to know that we're going to sustain that and we're going to build this organization from the bottom to the top and it's going to be consistent and we're going to stay with it, it's an exciting time for me from that standpoint.

Q. Don, how would you kind of categorize kind of the direction that you're seeing the organization going as this team kind of goes?

DON MATTINGLY: For me, I'm excited about what's going on, with an understanding of kind of the fans and what the perception is from the outside. But to know actually what our direction is and to know that we're going to sustain that and we're going to build this organization from the bottom to the top and it's going to be consistent and we're going to stay with it, it's an exciting time for me from that standpoint.

So it's been busy. Again, you recognize the disappointment in the fans. It seems like there's been a lot of negative. I look back at what Houston was able to do a few years back and where they're at right now. We needed a reset. It wasn't working. What we were trying to accomplish and the way we were doing it, trying to win, it just wasn't working, and we had to get a model going that was sustainable, a chance for us to build something that we could have success on a yearly basis, be able to compete.

We're like every other club that comes here. You may look at some more seriously than others, but we're trying to build a team that has the opportunity to compete for a World Series on a yearly basis.

Q. Do you get the sense that more could be coming before you build it up? Meaning core pieces?

DON MATTINGLY: I think that's the part of working with Michael, working with Derek. Again, you're going to make decisions. Some decisions we know have been unpopular but have really reset the organization from the standpoint of -- from a financial standpoint. I think now it's at a point where you're still moving in a direction and building something. But it's going to be more baseball decisions.

This is about building the best team that we can build starting from our scouting and developing players. This is a we from the bottom up. We know that we need all our factors to be on the same page kind of in lock step on where we're going, consistency, kind of a consistent march to being a great organization.

Q. Did you talk to G at all during the process or after the trade was official?

DON MATTINGLY: I texted back and forth with G through the course of the winter. Obviously, he won a lot of awards, congratulations type thing. Sent him a text the other day as I watched the press conference. I told him New York's a great place to play. Again, I think you -- you're never as a manager sitting there and even going to act like you're going to be better or we can fill that spot right now -- a guy that hits 59 homers, drives in 130-something runs.

But on the back side of that, you recognize it still didn't work, and it wasn't working. We haven't been able to put a winning season together in a while. So there needed to be a change. And I know the fans of South Florida have been through this, but this is going to be different. This is a new group. You hope they'll have some patience with the new group because I think the difference is going to be there's going to be a sustainable model that's going to be consistent with decisions based on continued development, continued growth, putting together an organization that has a chance to compete year in, year out.

Q. How important is it going to be to get the players, those that are remaining and they have to go through some rough times, to then provide the leadership and to stay with the program? What challenges do they have?

DON MATTINGLY: We're still building this, what it's going to look like in this coming season, and I think there's a timing of that. When you start to know who your guys that you're going to lay your hat on and you talk with them about what we're going through and what we look at and lay that out with them.

I don't think that timing is now. I think there's a misconception of you want to have communication with your players and you want to lay them out and know what the expectations are for them, hold them being accountable to their job and us being accountable to them. That doesn't necessarily mean we're asking their opinion on what moves we should make. That's not what this is all about.

But there will be a time with your core guys that you know you're going to -- you can lay your hat on, that you're going to have to have some communication with and talk with. Lay it out and explain what we're trying to do. And then at that point, you're hopeful that they're going to be able to see that light.

That's the way I look at it. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, that we're going to go through some stuff, but I believe in what we're doing and where we're going to get to. And that's what they have to believe, and they have to be on board with.

Q. I don't want to put you on the spot because things could happen above you in this process, but J.T. Realmuto is a guy that kind of fits that mold. You mentioned him earlier. What do you see in him?

DON MATTINGLY: I love J.T. I honestly love a lot of our guys. J.T. -- and I talked about this a little earlier. He's a guy that I think all our players have so much respect for, the way he plays the game, the toughness he brings, who he is as a person and who he is as a player, and I kind of laid -- it's probably not fair, but I laid a little bit of a Yadier Molina tag on him because I think he's that kind of guy.

When you're facing the Cardinals and Yadier Molina is behind the plate, you're not happy about it. You don't like it. You know he's involved in that game and he's going to direct it.

We feel J.T. can be that guy. He's not there yet, but we think this guy will step up leadership-wise, has a chance to take steps forward in leading your pitching staff and a guy that you can win a championship with.

Q. With last year going with starting pitching, how tough was that with you as a manager with not having depth when guys went down or underperformed? What was that like for you last year with that rotation?

DON MATTINGLY: You know, it is what it is. When you're going through it. My thought is we've got to find a way to win a game. There's no time to complain about, hey, I wish I had Kershaw and Greinke and all these guys. You don't. So I think when you're in that, you're trying to find ways to win a game. Last year we were offensively built. We're trying to encourage our guys, hey, we've got to score eight, and we've got to score eight, and we've got to put up runs. That's just the way it is.

So I think when you're in that period, you're realistic, when you look at it from afar or when you back away from it. But you never want your players thinking, hey, we can't win because of this. We can't whine about how we don't have this or we don't have that. You have to find a way to win a game, and that's where you're at as a manager. When you're going through a season, you're going to -- you're in a battle to just get your guys ready to play, and that's what you try to do during that.

But when you step back at the end of the day and you look at the end of the season, you go our chances weren't real good. Our chances, when you throw that out there every day -- and you don't want to downplay your guys. It just didn't work out, right? Some things that we tried to do. We had some injuries. Guys didn't bounce back. Guys that we were kind of counting on didn't step forward, and it didn't work.

Q. With Derek, you've obviously known him a long time as a person and a player. What's that transition been like these past couple weeks?

DON MATTINGLY: There's not been a ton of interaction. We had meetings in the winter and really what I expected, him laying out to us where we're going, how we're going to get there, and how -- again, laying out to us that we're going to have a plan, and we're not changing. We're sticking with it. We'll make adjustments. I'm sure there will be adjustments in how you're going to get there. But it's what I expected.

Q. He's taken a lot of heat, criticism.

DON MATTINGLY: I understand.

Q. How do you see that? Is it fair? Unfair? How do you see what's going on with that?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, I know what goes on from the inside, so I know it's unfair. But I think, if you look at -- Derek may be the first to admit, hey, I would do some things maybe a little differently. I don't know that. But I kind of look back to Derek's first year in pro ball. He makes 58 errors -- 50-something errors at shortstop, and we know what happened after that.

He's got a lot on his plate, a lot going on, a lot happening very fast, but I fully expect any adjustments that he has to make or that he thinks he has to make, we're just going to move forward. We're not going to look back. We're going to keep our eye on the prize and where we're going, and we'll make the adjustments as an organization.

I have to make adjustments as manager. Mike Hill has to make adjustments. I'm sure Derek, in his own mind, will make the adjustments that he has to make.

Q. Don, you said from the inside the criticism is unfair. Why is that?

DON MATTINGLY: Just because I have more information than you all. As I watched the trade rumors and what's going on with stuff, through even the Giancarlo and different stuff, as I read, it's like are we just making things up? Because they weren't close. A lot of them had so much information that was wrong. So I know the truth in a lot of these matters. It's not for me to talk about. A lot of times you understand you take the high road. You're not going to go out and dispute everything that comes out because you waste all your time doing that, but I know the truth. I know what really happened in situations. It's not for me to talk about. If somebody else wants to talk about it, they can.

But it's not something that you sit here -- you know, you don't have time or energy for that, to fight all that. It's just you keep your eye on the prize. Where are we going as an organization? Let's not worry about all the stuff on the outskirts. Let's keep our mind on where we're going and what we're doing and what we're building. That's what we have to do.

We've added 19 new players to this organization since the trade deadline last year. Nobody has once said anything about that. But this build has started. It started before the new ownership even took place. We knew what was in front of us with David Phelps trade, the A.J. Ramos trade, Hechavarria trade.

There's been a lot going on, and we've been steadily adding players to our system, and that's our belief. We have to be able to win and sustain through development, getting the best players into our system, developing them in a way that we feel like we're creating or help them to be championship caliber players.

It's been going on. So I mean, we're just going to stick with it.

Q. Don, talk about the challenges of keeping a player. In your career, you stayed with your organization. Derek Jeter, the same. Giancarlo, eight years as a Marlin. The challenges of keeping a superstar on a team like Miami for a career, how can --

DON MATTINGLY: There's challenges. Seeing Paul Molitor walk off this stage before I came on, he's in Minnesota. They do the same things. They have to build from within. So it's really hard to be able -- with today's marketplace, to be able to go out and do -- to be able to sustain for your organization a deal. Some of the deals that you can do.

We know we have to develop our players and we have to build through our minor league system. So it's extremely hard in our market, but that's what it is, and that's the challenge of being a Miami in our market is that we have to be better at developing our players. We don't make -- we can't make mistakes and then be caught in a situation that now we're strapped and it holds our organization back.

So we have to be good at developing and be able to take that young player from the Dominican or from wherever, from Cuba, get him into our system, help him be a major league player, help him be a championship player. That's the challenges of Miami.

So it's really hard. It's a lot harder here than it would be in a New York or an L.A. or a Boston because they have the resources to be able to absorb certain things. We don't have the resources to be able to absorb those things.

Q. Don, you're in a unique position because you know Stanton the player so well and you know what it means to be the star player for the Yankees. Does his personality match up to handling everything that's about to come to him in the Bronx?

DON MATTINGLY: G handles himself great. G is a no maintenance player for me as a manager. He basically is at the ballpark, he's ready to play. You don't have to worry about him being there. He's going to be in shape. He's going to be ready to go.

The one thing you always say about New York is you can't be afraid of the field.

Q. Can't be afraid of what?

DON MATTINGLY: You can't be afraid of the field. You take care of your business on the field, everything works out. And G can really play, obviously, and he's going to be fine.

Q. Joe Maddon talked about his time in Tampa, saying he sort of enjoyed the challenge of being in that division when everybody was spending money. He thought there was this thing with players that he will fight for you and get your ABs. Is there sort of that whole idea now with you that the door's open, come get your innings pitched, come get your ABs? Let's find out who wants to play the right way.

DON MATTINGLY: I'm right there. Again, I'm so excited about what we're trying to do and being a part of helping a young player grow into a major league player. You say it in a way that play the game the right way. It's about going about your business, how to help them prepare, how to help them go through the process of being a championship-type player.

I'm excited about what we're embarking on. So, again, I understand the disappointment of the fans in Miami, and I see the negativity that's been going on around us. That's a little -- it's one of those things you look at and don't quite understand, but maybe it's from what's happened in the past, and that's where you just encourage fans to know this is a different time. It's a different group. Give us a shot.

Q. Don, in the near term, how do you think you'll be evaluated as a manager from the front office?

DON MATTINGLY: I don't know. I don't know. And I don't worry about things like that. You go out and do my job the best way I can. I love where I'm at. I love what I'm doing. It's for somebody else to judge what they think -- you know, if you're the right guy for that. Again, I love what I'm doing. I love this game. I just keep moving forward, never look back, in that sense. So we'll see. If they don't like the job that I do, then they'll get another guy.

Q. Generally, it's wins and losses, but obviously you guys are kind of doing something different here.

DON MATTINGLY: Again, we don't plan on losing. We plan on winning. I'm not going to talk about losing. I'm going to talk about winning games. And that's not going to stop. It's never going to be different. I don't care what's going on.

We're going to talk about winning. We're going to be a competitive club from the standpoint of we're going to play the game hard. We're going to play it right. There's going to be competition for our guys to be a major league player. We're going to build an organization that says, hey, if you don't want to play the game the right way, we've got another guy coming, and that's the way it's going to be.

It's going to be a competitive world within the Miami Marlins organization.

Q. How many teams mentioned the last couple minutes, Joe Maddon's Rays before they got to the World Series, the Astros, they lost a lot as they were trying to build something. That's oftentimes just part of the reality of a build. How do you help guys get through that when in the clubhouse, obviously, winning is the goal?

DON MATTINGLY: I think you go through the process of winning. You prepare to win a game. You prepare to have a winning season. You prepare yourself as a player. We continue to coach. We continue as a manager to win a game. We're going to empower our coaches to continue to teach, develop, prepare to win games. We have to teach the process, and we have to build the process, help them grow into that.

We don't ever back off away from, again, worrying about what happened yesterday or what they think might happen tomorrow. It's win a game today. It's be ready to play. It's pretty simple honestly. You just don't give in to saying -- I'm never going to say we're going to be awful. We're not going to win. Never.

I've told players over the years I never, ever went into a game thinking we're going to lose. I don't care what the matchup is. I don't care who's pitching for their side and who's pitching for our side. I never, ever went into a game as a player or a manager or a coach thinking we're going to lose today. I think we're going to win.

Q. Don, speaking of winning, Buck is an old colleague of yours, old teammate of yours.

DON MATTINGLY: He's just old, isn't he? He's getting old.

Q. Fifth oldest manager.

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, he is old.

Q. What's the most important lesson you learned as a player playing for him that you've brought into managing?

DON MATTINGLY: The thing that Buck had a view of was he had a good vision of who could play and who couldn't. To me, he knew exactly what he wanted in that locker room, the type of player that he wanted. That's what -- it's one of things -- he did a lot of things when he came in. He changed -- we were not playing very well as an organization.

Buck really was the first piece of stability of the New York Yankees. He was the guy that set the tone for what went on there. Joe came in after that, obviously, with a great group of players and did a tremendous job, and then Joe Girardi really followed that up.

So Buck started that train. Buck came in and put all the preparation stuff. We were going to prepare. We were going to do this. We were going to do that. If we don't have the right guy, we're going to move him on. Buck had a great vision for young players and what he wanted.

Q. Your experiences and what you feel of Gary Denbo brings to this organization?

DON MATTINGLY: That's another thing, we've put some new eyes in this organization. Derek bringing in Mr. Denbo, who is basically the architect of all of those great young players that the Yankees have in their system.

Again, that's our model from the standpoint of we're going to develop players. We're going to get as many good players in our system as we can layer after layer, where they're going to have to compete and fight to get through the organization, but we're going to help that player be the best player he can be.

That's Gary's specialty. He's a tremendous worker, has a great knowledge of what it takes, and very confident in where we're going with Gary Denbo.

Q. When you were a player in the early '90s and Gary is a minor league coach, did you know him?

DON MATTINGLY: I really didn't. I met Gary more after I was retired. I would go back to -- you know, go to Spring Training, and then I would go like AAA and instruction league and things like that, and Gary was the hitting coordinator at the time. So our interaction came through that, where I learned about Gary, and obviously he just kind of went on and grown and grown and grown from there. So that's where it started.

Plus he's from Indiana and really can't be that bad if you're from Indiana. You know he's going to be good. So that's where it started.

Q. You said that Stanton, obviously, is on the field what he has. Just off the field in terms of handling the media, he's been a guy -- just like Joel kind of asked you. If terms of dealing with that part of it, the extra part of it, what do you think he'll do?

DON MATTINGLY: As long as he'll be himself. It's the one thing that's tough because you're going to struggle at some point. New York is not a great place to struggle. The one thing about New York, for me, I loved playing there because it's kind of a no excuse town. But when you struggle for -- you could have had a good year or two. That's behind you. They want now. So you're struggling for ten days, you're going to have to live with it, and I think how you handle that is the important thing.

Although, again, as long as he's himself, continues to take care of his business on the field -- struggling in Miami is not like struggling in New York, but I think he'll handle -- he's a good person. He handles himself fine. So he'll be fine.

Q. To go back to J.T. real quick, to have a catcher with that well rounded skill set, why is that so valuable and so hard to find?

DON MATTINGLY: He's a leader. I think you look at a lot of the manager out there, ton of catchers. The game runs through that guy. He sees the game from right here, and everything's happening right in front of him. He knows that pitcher. He knows who's coming up, who we're going to pitch around a little bit. We're not going to let this guy beat us. And he has to be that guy that takes charge and runs that. There's times he needs to walk out that mound and makes sure that guy -- he sees something in that guy's face or that guy's eyes, he has to be the guy that takes charge of that and knows what's going on.

So it's a huge role. You get that guy behind the plate, it's just a huge advantage for me as a manager because he's basically a manager on the field. So as he develops -- again, back to A.J. We brought A.J. in as an investment -- and A.J. knows this, so I'm not like looking at this badly. It was an investment into J.T. and to his growth and helping him develop as a player. We think that was -- for me, that's money well spent because I feel like he took steps forward.

Does he need to continue to grow? We all do. You need to get better and better and better all the time, but we feel like that's there with J.T.

Q. You spent some time with Ichiro. How was he with you?

DON MATTINGLY: Ichiro is great. He's one of my favorites of all time. He's sneaky funny. But I mean, he's just such a professional. I got to watch him when I was doing the hitting in New York and watch him as a younger player in Seattle. Just tremendous, just so much fun to watch, the artistry and just who he is. I can't tell you how much respect I have for this guy, the way he prepared, the way he gets ready.

I think he was great for our club, for our guys seeing that professionalism and how he worked every day and continued to go through the process and just didn't look at -- just nose to the grindstone, work, work, work, prepare, prepare, prepare. I think he was really great for our players. To me, he's one of the best players I ever saw play. A different type player than a Giancarlo or a lot of different guys. But in his right and what he does, he was just an artist.

Q. Some people say that he could homer pretty much any time he wanted to?

DON MATTINGLY: I don't know about that, but I don't think anybody can homer any time you want to. He probably could have hit more. It's kind of like a Boggs-type thing where Wade took his hits, but he probably could have hit more homers if he wanted to take more chances. That's just not what his game was.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins

Marlins lose analytics director Pare to Braves

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins are in the market for a new point person for their growing analytics department now that Jason Pare has accepted a position with the Braves as assistant general manager of research and development.

Pare had been Miami's senior director of analytics the past two seasons, but he has decided to move on and reunite with new Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulous. The two previously were together with the Blue Jays.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Marlins are in the market for a new point person for their growing analytics department now that Jason Pare has accepted a position with the Braves as assistant general manager of research and development.

Pare had been Miami's senior director of analytics the past two seasons, but he has decided to move on and reunite with new Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulous. The two previously were together with the Blue Jays.

"It was a tremendous opportunity for him, and we wish him the best," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.

Miami is currently searching for a replacement.

"Dan Greenlee will oversee some of the analytical modeling workout," Hill said. "Our architect, Mike Copeland, will handle a lot of the back-end computer systems work, until we can find a replacement."

Greenlee was recently hired as director of player personnel.

Pare provided input in some of the Marlins' early offseason plans, but once the Braves' position was pending, he was not involved in the process.

In recent days, the Marlins made two major trades, sending Dee Gordon to the Mariners and Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees.

As an organization, the Marlins have been relying more on advanced data in recent years, and Pare had a seat at the table in personnel decisions.

"It's a part of our game," Hill said. "It's a voice at the table that you have to have, and you need to listen to. There's so much data out there. You just want to make sure you're incorporating it into your decision-making process, and it's another tool and opportunity to help us make better decisions."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins

Jeter, Hill talk Stanton trade, moving forward

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With their objectives seemingly at odds, the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton formally parted ways on Monday with the announcement that the reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner was dealt to the Yankees for Starlin Castro and two prospects.

The blockbuster trade, agreed upon on Saturday, became official on the first day of the Winter Meetings. Stanton, who paced the Majors with 59 home runs last season, will wear No. 27 for the Yankees, and the Marlins are no longer on the hook for the $295 million remaining on his contract. Miami also received right-hander Jorge Guzman, whose fastball routinely touches 100 mph, and infielder Jose Devers. The Marlins believe they are now better positioned to restructure from top to bottom.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With their objectives seemingly at odds, the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton formally parted ways on Monday with the announcement that the reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner was dealt to the Yankees for Starlin Castro and two prospects.

The blockbuster trade, agreed upon on Saturday, became official on the first day of the Winter Meetings. Stanton, who paced the Majors with 59 home runs last season, will wear No. 27 for the Yankees, and the Marlins are no longer on the hook for the $295 million remaining on his contract. Miami also received right-hander Jorge Guzman, whose fastball routinely touches 100 mph, and infielder Jose Devers. The Marlins believe they are now better positioned to restructure from top to bottom.

• Michael Hill's press conference

"Giancarlo made it clear midway through 2017 that he did not want to be part of a rebuild," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "As a new ownership group came in, they were made aware of that, and we started the process of accommodating him."

Video: Stanton talks about his eight seasons with Marlins

The Marlins are under new ownership, and chief executive officer Derek Jeter said he had conversations with Stanton, including in person, before talks with the Yankees heated up late last week.

"One thing that I understand is you don't want to have someone that does not want to be with your organization," Jeter said during a conference call. "He signed his contract, a well-deserved contract, he had a no-trade clause in his contract. He earned it. He negotiated it. From that standpoint, it is what it is. So we met with him. We talked with him, we spoke with him of our plans going forward in the future, and he wanted to continue his career elsewhere."

As part of the transaction, if Stanton doesn't opt out after the 2020 season, the Marlins are responsible for $30 million of the remaining portion of his contract.

"It gives us some flexibility," Jeter said. "The blueprint of the organization is we have to increase our talent pool at the Minor League level. In order to be sustainable year in and year out, you have to have a pipeline of players that you're able to use at the Major League level. That's something we need to address as an organization. This allows us to add talent."

Video: Hill analyzes the process of trading Stanton

The Marlins continued their roster overhaul on Wednesday, trading All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals, according to a source. Ideally, the club would like to retain center fielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto. But that could change if the Marlins receive a tempting offer.

Riding a string of eight straight losing seasons, the Marlins made the uncomfortable decision to trade the franchise's all-time home run leader.

"What we're trying to do here is to build it the right way," Hill said. "You can't throw money at the situation that we're in right now. Obviously, we had a situation where we had the reigning National League MVP, we had a number of players that were productive, but we won 77 games."

Said Jeter: "The fan base has been through quite a bit. For us here, we haven't been winning. So if you haven't been winning, then it's time to make a change. In order to make a change, there's going to have to be some moves. There may be some unpopular decisions at times."

Video: Jeter on rebuilding a winning franchise in Miami

The front office will listen on all players.

"We will look at every opportunity to make this organization better," Jeter said. "That's the bottom line."

Video: Hill very happy with Marlins' return for Stanton

Castro, a four-time All-Star second baseman, batted .300 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs. Signed through 2019, Castro could either stay and replace Gordon at second base or be traded.

Guzman, 21, was the Yankees' No. 9 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. He is now No. 3 on Miami's list. The right-hander posted a 5-3 record with one complete game and a 2.30 ERA in 66 2/3 innings over 13 starts at Class A Staten Island, with 88 strikeouts.

Devers, 18, hit .245 with nine doubles, three triples, one home run, 16 RBIs and 16 steals in his first season of professional baseball, split between the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League Yankees.

"We're going to invest and build in this organization, the right way, so we can year in and year out be able to compete," Jeter said.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Hill's Winter Meetings press conference

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