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
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.
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."
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).
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.
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.
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.
"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.