Fans of the Miami Marlins have been promised time and time again that the team has no “plans to rebuild”. It’s a message the fanbase has heard before, believed before, and fell for before. It was the message from the front office in August, as the team slumped their way to the end of a disappointing season – one that followed a winter atop the headlines: new stadium, new manager, new shortstop, new pitcher, new uniform. The new Marlins.
It seems that things don’t change.
Word first became public Tuesday evening that the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays had agreed upon what would turn into a twelve player blockbuster deal which would drastically reshape the rosters of both teams. In the single move the Blue Jays would find their new starting shortstop (Jose Reyes), second baseman (Emilio Bonifacio), and a pair of starting pitchers (Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson) who’ll slide into the top of their rotation alongside Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. Add in John Buck and suddenly Toronto has the insurance to handle dealing either J.P. Arencibia or Travis d’Arnaud in a deal to address another need. While the Marlins dumped a significant portion of their roster (Giancarlo Stanton is now the only player remaining on the roster who started for the Marlins on Opening Day 2012.), they did receive a handful of prospects who should help towards the rebuild that they have surely decided must take place.
Marisnick is a 21 year old center fielder with the defensive abilities to stay in the position long term and has averaged just short of 30 stolen bases over his three seasons in the minor leagues after being taken in the 3rd Round of the 2009 Draft. The 6’4”, 200 pound right-hander has also shown some decent power, hitting 76 doubles, 18 triples, and 26 HR in 307 minor league games. Marisnick reached Double-A for the first time this past season but struggled with the promotion, batting just .233/.286/.336 with 16 extra base hits over 247 plate appearances to finish out the season. Long term he should be a reliable defensive center fielder with the occasional power, think Mike Cameron but ratchet things back a notch or two. Marisnick was ranked as the 67th best prospect in baseball heading into the 2012 season and 3rd best in the Toronto organization.
Nicolino, on the other hand, is a left-hander starter that the Blue Jays took in the 2nd Round of the 2010 Draft who’ll turn 21 next week. He’s thrown 185.1 innings over the past seasons, reaching Class-A this past season, and posted a 16-6 overall record with a 2.09 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 1.7 BB/9. He’s been said to possess a strong changeup with good command (similar to Buehrle) with a still-developing curveball and was ranked as the Blue Jays’ 5th best prospect heading into 2012. Alongside Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez he considered one of the better pitching prospects in Toronto’s minor league system.
Miami is also receiving 22 year old right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who went 11-3 with a 3.37 ERA and 1.382 WHIP over 123.0 innings at Class-A this past season, his first professionally.
The remaining four players – Adeiny Hechavarria, Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, and Jeff Mathis – heading to the Marlins in the deal all have experience at the Major League level. Hechavarria is the most interesting name of the group, as the Cuban native is likely first in line to take over as Miami’s starting shortstop next season. He appeared in 41 games for Toronto towards season’s end, batting .254/.280/.365 over 137 plate appearances. Roles for the others are tougher to predict.