Message From Miami Music To Mets Ears

Mets fans may have just heard the best news possible: the Marlins are sellers.

Back in March, everyone and their brother was predicting the NL East to be the toughest division in the National League, and possibly the most competitive in MLB. Boy, have things changed since then.

In case you missed it, the Miami Marlins sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit for 22-year-old prospect Jacob Turner. According to all reports, the deal is just the beginning of yet another housecleaning in Miami, with rumors that Josh Johnson and/or Hanley Ramirez are next to go. With the Marlins waving the white flag, and the Phillies firmly entrenched in the cellar, the Mets’ chance of falling further in the standings is greatly diminished. Sure, only two games currently separate the Mets and Marlins, and the Mets are reeling, but the Fish are about to go belly up — it’s already bad, and it’s going to get much worse, before it gets better in Miami. They’re blowing that thing up down there.

At first I was stunned by the news; why would the Marlins pack it in? It could have been argued that they had more raw talent than anyone in the NL East — on paper. But it makes sense: yes, they do have all kinds of talent — youthful talent — and it’s not working. Maybe Ozzie Guillen is to blame, or maybe he’s the answer. The Marlins have been underachieving ever since Joe Girardi left, so maybe it’s time to change the players instead of the manager. The Fish have always had individual super talents that they’ve coddled and pampered. Coaches and managers looked the other way when simple plays weren’t executed time and time again, figuring the talent would eventually overwhelm or somehow “fix” their flawed fundamentals. Perhaps now the Miami organization is looking to cash in on those individuals, sending them packing in return for players who may better fit into a team-oriented, winning system. In other words, moves to change the culture.

Though the Marlins are writing off 2012, they’re in a great position to bolster their club quickly and also for the long-term, because some of those individual super talents may fetch them great packages of players. What team in baseball wouldn’t want Josh Johnson? How many teams can use a potential superstar shortstop (or third baseman) like Hanley Ramirez?

So what does this mean for the Mets? With the Marlins sellers, should the Mets be buyers? They more or less have third place locked up; should they settle for that or make a push for one of those two Wild Card spots? Maybe the Mets can pluC. Johnson — and Heath Bell — away from Miami. If such an opportunity arose, and it cost, say, Zack Wheeler and a few other prospects, do you do it?

On the other hand, there is concern that if the Marlins continue with a fire sale, that’s the opening for the Phillies to barge through. If the Phillies extend Cole Hamels, they might look to load up and make a serious run in the final two months. Somehow, though, I’m not seeing it. Most likely, the Phillies also become sellers, and the NL East turns into a vulture’s haven, as other clubs pick the best meat from the dying carcasses of teams out of the pennant race.

What’s your thought? Do you agree that the Marlins’ choice to sell is good news for the Mets? Or is it bad news? Or is it non-news? Do you think the Mets should inquire on anyone the Marlins are selling? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Andrew July 24, 2012 at 10:09 am
    Wheeler is untouchable!!!
  2. NormE July 24, 2012 at 10:45 am
    Based on Alderson’s non-activity to date, I would venture that the Mets will do nothing vis-a-vis the Marlins. Sandy has remained a non-player because his focus is on future years.
    He will not mortgage that future for a band-aid to try to placate some fans.

    P.S.- I don’t see the Mets as having a lock on third place.

  3. Channels July 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm
    Honestly, how is anything the Marlins do “the best news possible” for us? The best news possible for most Mets fans probably has more to do with the organization in Queens addressing its own laundry list of problems rather than reveling in any other club’s.

    That said, I wouldn’t do the Johnson+Bell-for-Wheeler+another top prospect trade. Johnson is brilliant while healthy, but this beleaguered pitching staff needs nothing short of a proven horse. A guaranteed innings-eater+ace in the mold of a CC Sabathia. I’m not sure we can count on Johnson to be a 200 inning guy year in and year out, especially with our luck.

    As for Bell, the dude’s having a horrific year. I’d rather sweat out Frank Francisco outings than pay Bell $9 million to stink the way he has…

    One name your article didn’t mention was Mark Buerhle. He might be an interesting guy for the Mets to look at if the Marlins ever shopped him. And that trade probably wouldn’t take the kind of prospects Josh Johnson would.

  4. argonbunnies July 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm
    A total firesale would be suicide for the Marlins organization. That pricey new ballpark will have 1 fan in it by the time they compete if they go that route.

    They sold high on Infante, and dealt Sanchez before his walk year. Perhaps that’s a white flag for 2012, but they’ve got to be looking toward 2013, not 2015. I suspect they won’t move their stars unless they get great packages of young guys who are ready to help and possibly be great in 2013, like Jacob Turner.

    It does raise an interesting possibility of seeing if we could buy low on guys having bad years, but Hanley and Bell are performance gambles, and Johnson’s a health gamble. I’d be happy to acquire all 3, but probably not for what the Marlins will want for them (if they’re sane, that is; if they’re just looking to dump salary before Loria pulls a Huizinga, then yes, please).

    Hey, fans who went ballistic about losing Reyes: do you want him back now if you’re responsible for the rest of his contract?

  5. argonbunnies July 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm
    Oops, shoulda checked the news before posting. Hanley’s gone… indeed, for a guy who can help soon. I was very impressed by Eovaldi’s stuff, even if he wasn’t that effective against the Mets.