It's not that the Marlins haven't done this before. At this point in their franchise's history, the Marlins should know how to trade away their veterans and get prospects in return to begin another rebuilding process.
Their recent deal with the Tigers accomplished just this, acquiring three players, including two significant prospects, in exchange for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.
Which makes their most recent deal, sending All-Star Hanley Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate to the Dodgers for prospects Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough, all the more puzzling, and frankly, bad for the future of the team.
Not to knock Eovaldi and McGough, who we'll get into in a minute, but Ramirez is a multiple-time all-star and former batting champion in the prime of his career, and is locked up for two more seasons after this. Sure, he hasn't been the same player this season and last that he was for the previous six, but given his reputation, he has "change of scenery" written all over him.
Hanley Ramirez was only on the factitious market for a brief period of time, given that just less than two weeks ago, the Marlins were buyers in this market. The Dodgers ended up with Ramirez because they were the only team willing to take on his entire contract, tweeted Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, and by doing so, didn't have to part with as much in prospect value.
But that marks a strategy by the Marlins that won't sit well with fans who have been asked to support a re-branded team and a new ballpark.
It's not just that they traded Ramirez. In fact, the argument could have been made, given the negative impact of Ramirez's sulking on his performance, that Ramirez had more value as a trade chip than as an actual player. That strategy could even have been spun towards the fan base to show that this is not the "fire sale" that the team has done in the past, but rather a simple re-load for next season, especially if the team got back major league-ready talent in return.
But they didn't get the kind of impact talent in return for Ramirez to justify that kind of spin, solely because they went to the bidder willing to take his contract off of their hands.
Eovaldi is a nice prospect. He's a hard thrower that has some major league experience, both this year and last, and technically doesn't even qualify as a prospect any more. In 91 innings in the majors, he's posted a 3.96 ERA, but has fanned just 5.6 batters per nine innings despite a fastball that reaches the upper-90's.
The knock on Eovaldi is his changeup, which he will need to complement his fastball and plus-slider if he wants to remain a starter. Some scouts believe he profiles better as a late-inning reliever, which given that he will be trying to develop his changeup on the fly in the majors, might be the end result. If he remains a starter, he could be, at best, a mid-rotation starter.
McGough is much-less heralded as a prospect, and profiles as a middle-reliever at best.
This is not the kind of return an organization needs when trading a centerpiece-type player. Ramirez has been the face of the Marlins franchise for a half-decade, and while trading him is not necessarly a flawed plan, getting a poor return in order to save money signals that the Miami Marlins haven't come that far from their Florida Marlin ways.