Not everything went exactly as planned for Miami. They pumped up their ridiculously low payroll to accommodate the contracts and talents of shortstop Jose Reyes, closer Heath Bell, starting pitchers Carlos Zambrano and Mark Buehrle and outspoken skipper Ozzie Guillen. They also moved into a flashy new stadium, compared to their previous venue and otherwise. So, that, coupled with the previous All-Star stalwarts such as Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson, and you seem to have the recipe for a sneaky-division-contender/ wild-card-contender.
But as stated, things didn’t necessarily go as planned. So, when the trading deadline rolled around and with the Marlin’s collective brass neck’s hurting from looking up at other teams in the standings, they decided to make some moves.
Anibal Sanchez probably wasn’t the flashiest name on the market. But, when it’s all said and done he’s probably the best starter that was dealt during this season of trading (not named Greinke .)
So, the point is that he was going to get some kind of significant return. He was packaged with Omar Infante for, you guessed it, a significant return: ace prospect Jacob Turner, Futures Game participant Rob Brantly and AA pitcher Brian Flynn.
Turner has the potential to be a tremendous pitcher. Marlins fans should be happy with this one. At best he’s going to be that tremendous pitcher with a “plus” fastball, curveball and changeup. At worst, he’s going to be a back end of the rotation arm with good stuff. Either way, he’s going to contribute in Miami soon. Brantly is another possible Major League caliber player moving forward. He’s described as a solid catcher with the potential to be a starter, but probably is a solid back-up at worst. Flynn, last but not least, has a very strong fastball in the upper 90’s and oodles of control. You can do the math with the potential on that one.
So, that’s the return for Sanchez and Infante. Infante, truth be told, is a quality big leaguer who I, as a Tigers fan, have no qualms about seeing in the starting lineup on a daily basis. But let’s focus on Sanchez. He probably demanded a little more trade-wise than Infante. Which brings me to this point- Sanchez was acquired in a brilliant trade for one Josh Beckett.
See, in the end the fallout of that trade was Josh Beckett going to Boston for Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez. Who, incidentally, was also traded this trade deadline.
The former All-Star was shipped off to Tinsel Town for pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough, both of whom are righties. McGough projects as a relief arm, but Eovaldi could be the big name here. He’s got a strong fastball that can hit triple digits and mixes a change-up and slider that are both solid pitches.
So, here’s the point I’m trying to stress here: all of this is because of Josh Beckett. Beckett was dealt to Boston along with third baseman Mike Lowell and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota to the then-Florida Marlins for, among others, Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
Beckett was coming off a then-career-year in which he posted then-career highs of 15 wins, 166 strikeouts and 2 complete games.
With a shrinking payroll and the urge to get younger, the Marlins sold high and dealt him to Boston for the previously mentioned package. Which in retrospect was a great return.
Ramirez went to three All Star Games, won a pair of Silver Sluggers and joined the 30-30 club. He also won the 2006 Rookie of the Year as well as the ’09 batting title. His other accolades include leading the league in runs scored in 2008 and finishing second in MVP voting the next year.
Sanchez isn’t a slouch either, after tossing a knowhitter. (See what I did there?) No, after tossing a no-hitter in 2006, every season since in which he has started at least 18 games, he has posted an ERA of under 4.
That’s the retrospective return there, but what about this return’s-return?
You’ve got at least two rotation guys who have the potential to be front-line starters with Turner and Eovaldi. McGough could sneak into the bullpen talks in the future. Flynn could be a back end of the rotation starter/swingman type and Brantly might be a future starter, or as stated, at the very least a solid backup. So, almost seven years later, albeit unintentionally, the Marlins are still reaping the benefits of an earlier trade:
Josh Beckett, the gift that keeps giving.