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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grantland: There’s Shrewd, There’s Genius, Then There’s Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria

Jonah Keri says we should marvel at the spectacle of greed here:

Thing is, the Marlins weren’t going to win with the players they had, at least not for the foreseeable future. Last offseason, they signed Reyes, Buehrle, and Heath Bell while narrowly whiffing on Albert Pujols, breaking the bank in an attempt to build an exciting, winning team as they moved into a new ballpark. After all that, they won 69 games, finishing second to last in the National League in runs scored while allowing more runs than all but four other NL clubs. Free agents tend to produce their best results early in long-term deals, while they’re still at or near their prime, then fall off in later years. The Marlins got productive Year 1 performances from Reyes and Buehrle, bundled them with a talented but hugely injury-prone pitcher in Johnson plus a couple of fungible veterans, and cashed them in for some intriguing prospects, plus the GDP of a Pacific island nation in salary relief.

The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, marlins

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   1. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4302563)
I don't find the argument that the Marlins weren't going to win with the team they had convincing. Now it became more convincing when they first started selling off everyone with a pulse during and immediately after the season. But until then, this was a team that could have easily bounced back with a playoff run if just a few things had gone right.
   2. The District Attorney Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4302611)
   3. Cooper Teenoh Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4302673)
Johnson's a good bet to hit the DL at some point and Buehrle's getting old, with the very real possibility of regression in the rugged AL East.

This is a little bit lazy. The only team in the AL East that had a "rugged" offense was the Yankees last year - the Sox were only 13 runs better than average, and the Rays and Jays were below average.

AL Ranking of East Division clubs by OPS+: 2 (Yankees), 5 (Rays), 10 (Orioles), 12 (Red Sox), 13 (Jays)

It would be better for Buehrle if he could face the Jays, but he should be fine.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4302786)
Oh, c'mon now, Buehrle's been getting old since he threw his first pitch. He's just further proof that god is left-handed.

Anyway, LHP, expansion era, ages 31-33, at least 500 IP, <6 K/9 ... the 5 guys just ahead of and behind of Buehrle in ERA+ and their 34-36 performance:

Wells: 664 IP, 110 ERA+
Bannister: toast
Kaat: 805 IP, 114 ERA+
Zahn: 632, 98
Rogers: 543, 100 (his age 36 was his one terrible season between 33 and 42
Black: 485, 91
Liebrandt: 573, 105
Osteen: 365, 91 (done at 35)
Lee: toast
Splittorff: 417, 98 (includes the 81 split season)

I skipped Wood since he was a knuckleballer.

As with any pitcher's comps, there are some horror stories in there. Bannister had a down year at 33, got hurt at 34, missed all of 35 and couldn't make it back. Lee was terrible and (it seems) already hurt at 33 so not necessarily a great comp. I don't know what happened to Osteen but will note that he regularly threw 250 IP from ages 24-33 so the arm may have just given out. Wells, Kaat and Rogers remained effective pitchers long after 36.

Looks to me like a healthy Buehrle will give you 500-600 IP at a 100-110 ERA+ for the next 3 years. The injury risk seems pretty standard.

And put me down with Voros. The Marlins certainly had their flaws but, other than Bell's bad season, their "high-priced" acquisitions (which seemed pretty reasonably priced to me) were not the problem.

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