To Say Marlins Will Stink After Jeter's Fire Sale Is Understatement

Mark Lathrop

Friday, December 15, 2017 5:36 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 5:36 PM UTC

In this article our MLB futures expert, Mark Lathrop, investigates the current Marlins fire sale and the Shohei Ohtani phenomenon as they relate to the betting markets.

Last winter, I wrote of the rebuilding White Sox franchise and how certain moves signaled that they were throwing in the towel for 2017. That indeed came into fruition, and their 67 wins were even lower than the subpar 69.5 total that was available in the betting markets. We have that situation playing itself out with another franchise this year, although much more obviously, in the Miami Marlins. While the White Sox moved Chris Sale, the Marlins moved the reigning home run champ in Giancarlo Stanton, who put up a 6.9 WAR season in 2017. Suspiciously with Derek Jeter at the helm sending Stanton to Jeter's former New York Yankees.

They weren’t done there of course, as the Marlins moved rising outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals shortly after. Ozuna is coming off of a 4.8 WAR season in 2017 and is only due $3.5 million for the 2018 season, which considering each “win” of WAR is worth $9 million on the free agent market is an incredible value for the Cardinals. But the biggest fish may yet to be caught from Miami in Christian Yelich.

Yelich is worth all of your top prospects and then some. He has put up 4.5 WAR in 3 of his last 4 seasons and is locked up in his contract at roughly $7 million per year through 2022. That’s an amazing value for the team that could get him, and the Marlins would be hard pressed not to shop him should they be burning the house down. A trade of Yelich should be more valuable than that of Stanton because of his contract.

The Marlins won 77 games last year and lost the NL East by 20 games. They’ve just traded away 11.7 WAR for returns that won’t affect the major league team for years. It will be interesting to see where their win total lands for 2018, but be assured it will be in the 60s.

And Another Thing …

With the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes over with him going to the Angels, it behooves us to consider just how big of a boon that was to the franchise. Just like the case with Yelich above, Ohtani’s value was going to be much greater than the club was going to be able to pay him. As a result, that excess value could make up for the albatross contract of Albert Pujols, who was paid $24 million in 2017 to put up -2.0 WAR -- and is under contract through 2021.

Ohtani is an injury risk with his recently divulged UCL strain that could result in Tommy John surgery down the road, but in the meantime the Angels just boosted their 2018 team at little cost to them. The Angels exceeded their 2017 team total by the slimmest of margins. Next year, we will have to consider not only the addition of Ohtani, but the reduction in playing time for their albatross player in Pujols when considering their team total projections.

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