Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Talkin' Baseball, Part 2

So here's the second in a 2-part post about the Marlins and how did NOT buy the World Series in 1997. In the first post I looked at the position players and here are the pitchers.

SP: Kevin Brown. Signed as a free agent before 1996 season.

SP: Alex Fernandez. Signed as a free agent before 1997 season.

SP: Al Leiter. Signed as a free agent before 1996 season.

SP: Livan Hernandez. Broke into Majors with Marlins in 1997.

SP: Pat Rapp. Was with the Marlins since the 1993 season.

SP: Tony Saunders. Broke into Majors with Marlins in 1997

RP: Antonio Alfonseca. Broke into Majors with Marlins in 1997

RP: Dennis Cook. Signed as a free agent before 1997 season.

RP: Rick Helling. Received in a trade during 1996 seasons.

RP: Mark Hutton. Received in a trade during 1997 season.

RP: Felix Heredia. Broke into Majors as with the Marlins in 1996

RP: Rob Nen. Acquired in a trade from Texas in 1993.

RP: Kirt Ojala. Broke into Majors with the Marlins in 1997.

RP: Jay Powell. Broke into Majors with the Marlins in 1995.

RP: Rob Stanifer. Broke into Majors with Marlins in 1997.
The thing that jumps out at you is that of the 6 starters, 3 were free agent signings. But 2 of them were signed the year BEFORE the Marlins won it all. Nobody complained that the Marlins bought their 3rd place finish (16 games behind division winner Atlanta) in 1996. For 1997 the Marlins signed free agent pitcher and hometown hero Alex Fernandez. But I don't have to remind you that the MVP of the 1997 World Series was Livan Hernandez, the rookie pitcher.

Also instrumental in winning a lot of those games was closer Rob Nen who had already been a Marlin for 4 years, he had been traded for during the inaugural year. So which free agent relief pitcher did the Marlins "rent" for their championship run? Dennis Cook, the 35 year old journeyman middle reliever, that's who.

Anybody that says the Marlins "bought" the World Series is just relying on the accounts of traditionalists, probably Cub and Red Sox fans that had been battling futility for decades at the time. An in depth look at it shows that Dave Dombrowski did a fine job in growing talent from within the organization, trading for valuable pieces and topping it off with a couple of free agents. It's a shame that that team didn't get a chance to defend its crown. They didn't "buy" that team but they certainly sold it.

5 comments:

Michael said...

Gee, you mean that the bench players and bullpen of the Marlins weren't high-priced free agents? Wow, they really must have been homegrown after all!

Or, we could look at the players who were important contributors to the team and see how they were acquired. I'll define important contributors as players with double digit wins or homers:

Charles Johnson - drafted by the Marlins

Jeff Conine - acquired by the Marlins in the expansion draft.

Bobby Bonilla - high-priced free agent.

Moises Alou - high-priced free agent.

Gary Sheffield - acquired by the Marlins in a trade

Kevin Brown - high-priced free agent

Alex Fernandez - high-priced free agent

Al Leiter - medium-priced free agent.

So the '97 Marlins were a good assemblage of young talent paired with "a couple of free agents" only if "a couple" equals five.

Henry Gomez said...

Mike,

I wrote what I wrote and I stand behind it. Your narrow definition of who was valuable and who wasn't doesn't wash with me. The Marlins don't win the 97 World Series without Livan Hernandez, Rob Nen, Edgar Renteria and Craig Counsell. None of which where high priced free agents. Of the 5 free agents you mentioned 2 were already on the club. Is adding 3 free agents to a decent club considered "buying" the World Series?

Many clubs have have spent a lot more money than 1997 Marlins only to miss the playoffs.

No, the argument that the Marlins somehow cheated their way to championship or took the easy way is a fallacious one made people who don't understand why it is that their team never seems to be competitive.

Henry Gomez said...

Oh, I get it now. Braves fan. That explains it.

Enrique said...

Hard core Braves fan , did you call my name Henry

Robert said...

Nice series of posts Henry, and going back to my comment to part 1, I agree with you that "buying" a team is nothing more than trying to assemble the best possible players to win a title. That's what every team does. It wasn't Dombrowski's fault that the Braves, Cubs, and Red Sox (at least until 2004), with arguably better talent at times, are perennial chokers on the big stage.