Holding onto the rest of the roster is defensible given a good process is in place. A mix of rebuilding core through trades and supplementing with free agents is imperative to build around Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto. Has the organization devised an informed and sustainable vision to compete with the core? -- @aburritobro
The day the group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter took ownership, it made it clear it had a vision to restructure the organization and noted that the process would require patience. Trading Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon cleared about $340 million off the books. Obviously, dealing the reigning National League MVP Award winner and two other players who have been All-Stars is not popular. But the reality is the team finished 77-85 with Stanton and Ozuna having career years and Gordon a strong season.
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The intention is to retain Yelich and Realmuto, but both have indicated they may not be comfortable being the remaining core pieces in a restructuring plan. Assuming they are back -- and as of now I expect that to be the case -- the plan is to build from the bottom up. No shortcuts. Be as deep as possible from the lower levels and have enough talent to seriously contend, not just be a fringe Wild Card club.
Sure, the Marlins could have kept the club together and tried to add pitching through free agency. And maybe it would have worked -- if everything went right. Still, there would be a lack of organizational depth in case of injury or underperformance by any core players.
The vision is along the lines of what clubs like the Astros and Cubs did by breaking things down and building back up. The Phillies, Braves and Rays are in the process of doing the same thing.
Why would the Marlins want to hold onto Yelich and Realmuto if they are wanting to redirect in the upcoming season? Why not trade both players as well as Justin Bour, Dan Straily and Jose Urena? -- Alex L., Oklahoma City
So many factors go into when and why trades are made. The plan was to move Stanton and Gordon. Those commanded the most focus and got done pretty much at the Winter Meetings. Ozuna to St. Louis made sense since the two clubs regularly spoke regarding Stanton, who, of course, went to the Yankees. Frankly, barring a change in direction, those were the major trades. Yes, Yelich could be dealt, especially if he expresses a desire not to be part of Miami's plans. Same with Realmuto. But those two are controllable for the Marlins and are seen as building blocks. Still, the team is open to listening on everyone. They could be moved when the time is right. If the club remains disciplined, it could deal other players at a later date, when the market is right to net the best return.
As for Straily, the Orioles are known to have interest. But he too could be a July trade candidate. For Bour, there are a bunch of first basemen on the market. Urena isn't in arbitration yet. It makes zero sense to deal him now.
How does a team like the Yankees, with winning seasons, find a player like Aaron Judge? Hopefully, the new ownership in Miami will find these kinds of players. -- Gary R., Rochester, N.Y.
A lot of teams missed on Judge, who was selected by the Yankees with the 32nd pick in 2013. That said, Yelich, Stanton and Ozuna were all homegrown by the Marlins, as are Realmuto, Urena and more. It isn't like the Marlins haven't had success bringing in players.
The key now is Gary Denbo, the Marlins' new vice president of player development and scouting. Denbo, for those unfamiliar, was previously with the Yankees, and he's credited -- in part -- for the development of Judge, Gary Sanchez and others in New York's system. Eight Yankees affiliates made the postseason in 2017. Denbo is a big part of what the Marlins are building, so player development in Miami is in capable hands.
We haven't heard a lot about Bour. Is he on the trade market? He has big value, especially since he is getting less than $1 million. -- Akivan, Miami Beach
In arbitration this season, Bour's salary will rise significantly from the $552,500 he made in 2017. You're not hearing him in trade talks because the Marlins aren't looking to move him. He hit 25 home runs last year, which is the most of any returning player.
The market is also loaded with first basemen, and the return for Bour likely wouldn't be substantial. Perhaps in July that may change.
Do you see Tayron Guerrero making the roster this year? -- @jason_beland
Guerrero is an interesting prospect. Tall and rangy, he's listed as 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, and his fastball reaches the upper 90s. Guerrero logged two innings in his only Major League appearance, which came with the Padres in 2016. In '17, the right-hander appeared in the Sirius XM Futures Game at Marlins Park. The issue has been throwing enough strikes. In 36 1/3 innings between three levels, he struck out 40 and walked 29. Guerrero could be a valuable relief option if his command improves. Spring Training will indicate if he is figuring things out.