Archive for Marlins

The Worst Called Strike of the First Half

As is tradition during the All-Star break, yesterday I wrote about the worst called ball of the first half. Per usual, it was a called ball on a pitch more or less right down the center of the zone. It always has to be that kind of pitch, given the method behind the research in the first place. Called balls like that aren’t very common — there’s no reason for them to be very common — but they always exist. Or, at least, to this point, they have always existed. Baseball has always given me something.

When you write about the worst called ball, it’s also obligatory to write about the worst called strike. The worst called ball is the ball closest to the center of the strike zone. The worst called strike is the strike furthest from the nearest edge of the strike zone. I don’t look forward to this post as much, because the balls down the middle are just funnier to me. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn, or nothing to appreciate. Every bad call is special. Let’s look at the call that’s been the most bad.

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Oh Hello, J.T. Realmuto

In recent memory alone, the conduct of Marlins owners has been defined largely by questionable judgment, from the purchase of a team whose payroll they could not afford to the alleged pocketing of revenue-sharing monies that should have been put towards improving the on-field product. They have claimed to be based in the British Virgin Islands in hopes of taking a court case to arbitration and even sued season ticket-holders and vendors.

Legal aficionado Sheryl Ring addressed the absurdity of what the Marlins are doing:

That’s right: the Marlins obtained a judgment against a season ticket holder using as leverage the fact that his attorney suffered a heart attack. They then attempted to take away a building he owns to collect on that judgment — and all because he didn’t want to renew his season tickets.

[…]

Because, consider: the Marlins haven’t sued just their fans; they’ve also sued ballpark concession vendors who, due to low attendance, were unable to stay in business and thus renew their contracts or pay the $2 million entry fee charged by the team.

What makes that tactic strange is that those lawsuits include claims against companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection, which means that the team is engaged in expensive litigation against entities that may have little or no ability to pay back the amount the team says it’s owed.

You could say that the Marlins are conducting a peculiar type of experiment: what happens when a team alienates its fans to such a degree that no one is left to watch.

As images like the following reveal, the experiment appears to be working.

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Brian Anderson and Hope for the Marlins

This image represents an exception to the rule of Anderson’s outfield defense.
(Photo: Keith Allison)

Not every franchise is in a position to enjoy the present. Each year, 10 clubs qualify for the postseason, meaning 10 fanbases experience some form of pleasure. The supporters of the other 20 teams, however, are necessarily forced to contend with various levels of discontent. Some are able to recall recent success, if not much hope for the near future. Those who follow the Giants and Royals belong to this category. Others, like those in San Diego or the south side of Chicago, endure the present while waiting for an Astros- or Cubs-style turnaround. For these fanbases, “[The] Past and to come seem best; things present [the] worst.

One club that is forced to dwell only on the past and future is the Miami Marlins. They certainly have past glories: they’ve won the World Series in their only two playoff appearances. Their present, however, is just as certainly is bleak. Since 2011, the club has endured a spending spree that went nowhere; the resulting sell-off; the death of a bright, young talent; another firesale; a deteriorating relationship between management and their best player; and… yeah… it’s rough for the Marlins.

That said, there are some reasons for hope in Miami. All those sell-offs and losing seasons have allowed the club to acquire some promising prospects. In the low minors, the upper minors, and even at the major-league level, there are players in the Marlins’ system about whom analysts and fans can get excited. Going into the season, the two players expected to have spend the most time with the Marlins were Lewis Brinson and Brian Anderson. Brinson has struggled thus far, to the tune of a .188/.231/.347 slash line, a 54 wRC+, and -0.4 WAR (All-Star campaign notwithstanding). Brian Anderson has had a more successful debut, however, giving Marlins fans their first taste of hope for a brighter future.

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The Fringe Five: Baseball’s Most Compelling Fringe Prospects

Fringe Five Scoreboards: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013.

The Fringe Five is a weekly regular-season exercise, introduced a few years ago by the present author, wherein that same author utilizes regressed stats, scouting reports, and also his own fallible intuition to identify and/or continue monitoring the most compelling fringe prospects in all of baseball.

Central to the exercise, of course, is a definition of the word fringe, a term which possesses different connotations for different sorts of readers. For the purposes of the column this year, a fringe prospect (and therefore one eligible for inclusion among the Five) is any rookie-eligible player at High-A or above who (a) was omitted from the preseason prospect lists produced by Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com, John Sickels, and (most importantly) FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel* and also who (b) is currently absent from a major-league roster. Players appearing on any updated, midseason-type list will also be excluded from eligibility.

*Note: I’ve excluded Baseball America’s list this year not due to any complaints with their coverage, but simply because said list is now behind a paywall.

For those interested in learning how Fringe Five players have fared at the major-league level, this somewhat recent post offers that kind of information. The short answer: better than a reasonable person would have have expected. In the final analysis, though, the basic idea here is to recognize those prospects who are perhaps receiving less notoriety than their talents or performance might otherwise warrant.

*****

Austin Dean, OF, Miami (Profile)
Selected by Miami in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of a Texas high school, Dean appeared — when Eric Longenhagen published the Marlins list in February of 2017 — to have fallen into a sort of prospect netherspace, possessing too little footspeed and athleticism for center field but too little offensive ability to sustain a corner-outfield role. The Marlins’ assignments appeared to indicate a lack of enthusiasm, as well: after passing all of the 2016 and -17 seasons at Double-A, Dean began the present campaign there, as well.

In this case, however, Dean quickly earned a promotion, producing a strikeout rate and isolated-power mark that still rank second and sixth, respectively, among the 97 total Southern League batters to record at least 80 plate appearances. The early returns at Triple-A have been promising for a player in his first exposure to a new level. In particular, Dean’s contact skills have translated well: among batters with 50 or more plate appearances, Dean’s strikeout and swinging-strike rates place in the 91st and 97th percentile. Meanwhile, he’s produced roughly league-average power numbers. While the offensive burden of a corner-outfield role remains high, Dean could probably survive with slightly less power on contact than most given his bat-to-ball skills.

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Lies We Tell Ourselves About the Marlins

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about lying and liars, a fascination perhaps borne of our larger moment. We lie for all sorts of reasons: to get out of parking tickets, to settle the blame for muddy messes on our siblings, to defraud and defame. But we also lie to spare; our deceit can be a tool of kindness. An act of pardon. At the end of a long week, we tell frazzled partners that we think their hair looks good, actually. You’ll find work soon. I just love your meatloaf, mom. Sometimes, we reserve those niceties for ourselves and our bad baseball teams, setting down little pavers that make otherwise rough paths traversable.

After all, maybe that prospect has figured something out. Maybe all of our guys will stay healthy. This might be the year. We know on some level we’re fibbing or at least making a wish — projections and playoffs odds are so insistent with their pokes and prods toward reason — but in the beginning of the season, we can get away with it. Those smaller lies let us believe a bigger one: that there’s a reason to watch our dumb teams every day. That we ought to go to the ballpark. That this isn’t all just a waste of time we might otherwise have spent outside, pulling weeds. We do ourselves this kindness; we let ourselves enjoy baseball.

The Marlins are a bad baseball team. They’re projected to win a meager 66 games. The White Sox and Reds are actually each expected to do worse, but Chicago is rebuilding and Cincinnati is bad in a quietly polite, Midwestern way. Miami announced its mess months ago. And yet. The Marlins might be last in Major League Baseball in average attendance, but someone is going. They’ve talked themselves into something. And so if you’ll allow, I’d like to guess at a few of the lies I suspect have been told about, and possibly to, the Marlins, the fibs and half-truths the faithful, such as they are, have employed to spare themselves hopelessness and keep muscling through bad meatloaf.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Giancarlo Stanton

I enjoy spy films. The who thieving the what on behalf of which government shifts around film to film, but many of the best examples of the genre feature a training montage wherein a grizzled veteran, who has seen things, teaches an optimistic new recruit, who is excited about patriotism, an important lesson: the most believable lies hue closely to the truth. Telling an asset an elaborate backstory is a great way to blow your cover. The lies become hard to keep track of; the subterfuge buckles under the weight of imaginary relatives and school trips. Before long, our young spy has accidentally called his fake aunt “Peggy” instead of “Rhonda” and it all comes crashing down.

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You Can’t Blame Tanking for the Lack of Competitive Teams

Tanking is a problem. Professional sports like baseball are built on the assumption that both sides are trying to win. Organizations putting forth less than their best efforts hurts the integrity of the sport and provides fans with little reason to engage. That said, the perception of tanking might have overtaken the reality of late. Competitive imbalance is not the same as tanking. Sometimes teams are just bad, even if they are trying not to be.

Tanking concerns are not new. Two years ago, just after the Astros and Cubs had turned their teams around, the Phillies were attempting to dismantle their roster by trading Cole Hamels. The Braves had traded multiple players away from a team that had been competitive. The Brewers, who traded away Carlos Gomez, would soon do the same with Jonathan Lucroy after he rebuilt his trade value.

The Braves, Brewers, and Phillies all sold off whatever assets they could. Two years later, though, those clubs aren’t mired in last place. Rather, they’re a combined 54-37 and projected to win around 80 games each this season in what figures to be a competitive year for each. While the Braves and Phillies could and/or should have done more this offseason to improve their rosters, neither resorted to an extreme level of failure, and the teams are better today than they would have been had they not rebuilt. While accusations of tanking dogged each, none of those clubs descended as far as either the Astros or Cubs. None came close to the NBA-style tank jobs many feared.

One might suspect that I’ve cherry-picked the three clubs mentioned above, purposely selecting teams with surprising early-season success to prop up a point about the relatively innocuous effects of tanking. That’s not what I’ve done, though. Rather, I’ve highlighted the three teams Buster Olney cited by name two years ago — and which Dave Cameron also addressed — in a piece on tanking.

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Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer… and Caleb Smith?

Through the first month of the season, no starting pitcher has struck out more batters per nine innings than Gerrit Cole. Cole is a talented pitcher whose fastball sits at nearly 97 mph. He also seems to have made some improvements since joining the Astros. His appearance at the top of the strikeouts leaderboard isn’t a surprise.

Next on that same list is reigning National League Cy Young-winner Max Scherzer. Scherzer is routinely considered one of the three best pitchers in baseball. Last year, he recorded the 13th-best strikeouts-per-nine mark ever. His appearance near the top of the strikeouts leaderboard isn’t a surprise.

After those two, one finds Marlins pitcher Caleb Smith. Smith is left-hander who was acquired in the offseason in a trade featuring international pool money from the Yankees as New York went after Shohei Ohtani. Smith neither throws 97 mph, nor has he won a Cy Young Award. It would be fair to characterize Smith’s performance so far this season as surprising.

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Jarlin the Marlin and Hidden No-Hitters

The 2018 Marlins have had precious little about which to cheer so far, and the forecast calls for more of the same. The performance of 25-year-old lefty Jarlin Garcia has been an exception, however. In the first two starts of his big-league career, Jarlin the Marlin* threw a hidden no-hitter — no hits allowed over a span of 27 outs, stretched across multiple games — via six hitless innings against the Mets on April 11 followed by 4.1 hitless innings against the Yankees on Tuesday night. Garcia was hardly perfect, scattering eight walks across those two starts, but joining Bartolo Colon and Shohei Ohtani in an exclusive club — the other pitchers to throw hidden no-hitters so far in 2018 — is close to perfection itself.

*His name is actually pronounced HAR-leen, which puts him behind teammate Starlin Castro in that pecking order.

Prior to his seven no-hit innings against the Astros on Sunday, Colon had gone the last 2.2 innings of his three-inning relief stint on April 10 without allowing a hit. Ohtani’s last 4.2 innings of his April 1 outing against the A’s were hitless, as were his first 6.1 in the rematch a week later. He and Garcia thus share the season high of 33 outs without a hit recorded.

Like any reputable speakeasy, you won’t find the Hidden No-Hitter Club on Google Maps, but the club itself isn’t that exclusive (a point which I’ll address momentarily). But first, consider Garcia. Unlike Colon and Ohtani, with whom you can’t help but be familiar if you’re reading this, he’s hardly a household name. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Dominican-born southpaw isn’t a rookie, having spent all but the first couple weeks of last season in the Marlins’ bullpen, from which he made 68 appearances to the tune of a 4.73 ERA and 4.23 FIP. He jumped to the majors from Double-A Jacksonville, where over the course of 2016 and early -17 he totaled all of 80.1 innings, mostly as a starter; he missed 10 weeks in mid-2016 due to a triceps strain, and entered last season with mixed reviews as to whether he was even one of the top 10 prospects in one of the game’s worst farm systems.

As a reliever, Garcia held his own through the end of August (2.91 ERA, 3.74 FIP), then allowed nine runs while retiring just three hitters in his first two September appearances. In all, he struck out a modest 18.7% of hitters while relying upon a combination of a four-seam fastball that averaged 94.7 mph, a slider that produced a 14.5% whiff rate and a .194 AVG/.242 SLG when put in play, and a changeup that produced a 21.7% whiff rate and .129 AVG/.258 SLG when put in play (data via Brooks Baseball).

With nothing to lose but another 100 or so games, the Marlins decided to return Garcia to the rotation for 2018, and while the results have been superficially encouraging, neither his .096 BABIP nor his 2.6-point K-BB% mark (16.9% K, 14.3% BB) are sustainable. But until he’s just another guy getting knocked around in a Marlins’ uniform, his performance is at least worth celebrating. In terms of predecessors, I’ve struggled to find a parallel for his hitless first start, which ended after 77 pitches because manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Juan Nieves saw signs he was laboring.

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Job Posting: Marlins Baseball Operations Analyst Intern

Position: Miami Marlins Baseball Operations Analyst Intern

Location: Jupiter, FL

Description:
The Baseball Operations Analyst Intern will assist Baseball Operations decision-making through the analysis and research of baseball information. The specific day-to-day responsibilities of this position will revolve around analyzing data to answer baseball-related questions. A competitive candidate will possess an established foundation of statistical, programming, and database skills. The position will report to the Director of Analytics.

Responsibilities:

  • Research, develop, and test mathematical, statistical, and predictive models to support Baseball Operations in player evaluation, roster construction, and game tactics.
  • Develop data pipelines and visualizations to increase efficiency of the Baseball Operations department.
  • Expand upon Marlins analytical strategy by improving existing resources and creating new data models, metrics, applications, and reports.
  • Perform ad-hoc research projects as requested and present results in a concise manner.

Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated baseball research and strong technical ability.
  • Ability to communicate baseball analytics concepts to individuals with diverse baseball backgrounds, including coaches, scouts, and executives outside of analytics.
  • Understanding of and passion for the game of baseball.
  • Strong familiarity with current state of baseball research.
  • Strong work ethic, attention to detail, and ability to self-direct.
  • Ability to work extended hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Suggested Education/Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in an analytical field such as statistics, engineering, applied math, physics, computer science, or operations research.
  • Meaningful work experience with relational databases and SQL, as well as experience with R, Python, or another statistical software required.
  • Understanding of and experience with machine learning and other advanced forecasting techniques is strongly preferred.
  • Experience with a scripting language (e.g. Powershell, Ruby, Perl) or web development strongly preferred.
  • Ability and desire to learn other programming languages as needed.
  • Baseball playing experience a plus.

To Apply:
Please email materials (resume, cover letter, research, etc.) to marlinsanalyticsjobs@gmail.com.


The Marlins Are Claiming to Be British

I love the Miami Marlins. I love them because I love baseball and thinking about baseball. I also love them, though, because I love the law and thinking about the law. At this moment in history, no source is more dependable for simultaneously providing raw material on both fronts — baseball and the law — than the Miami Marlins. Whatever that organization’s flaws, they are not uninteresting.

I’ve written here on multiple occasions about the lawsuit the City of Miami and County of Miami-Dade has filed against Jeffrey Loria for purportedly denying them what they believe they are due of the net proceeds from the $1.2 billion sale of the Miami Marlins to the Derek Jeter/Bruce Sherman ownership group.

Surprisingly, the case now offers a new twist — specifically, the Marlins have suggested that the dispute should be heard by an arbitrator, not state court. And to do that, the Marlins are claiming to be a citizen of… the British Virgin Islands.

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The Marlins Will Sue Almost Anyone

The relationship between fans and the franchises for whom they root is something I’m going to examine over the next few weeks. The Marlins provide a case study in how to cultivate tension in that relationship.

The Marlins had themselves an eventful offseason, trading away Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, and Christian Yelich, among others. The fire sale was so extensive that the MLBPA filed a grievance against the team for misuse of revenue sharing, a development that I discussed here.

But that’s not all. As I’ve also noted, the City of Miami and County of Miami-Dade are suing Jeffrey Loria for purportedly denying them what they believe they are due of the net proceeds from the $1.2 billion sale of the Miami Marlins to the Derek Jeter/Bruce Sherman ownership group. The latest developments in that case include a request from the city for Loria’s tax returns in discovery — and Loria’s attorneys own request that the dispute be heard in arbitration rather than in court.

And even that’s not all. The offseason has also produced a minor fracas featuring Marlins Man, whose real name is Laurence Leavy, a successful Miami attorney best known for his steady presence behind home plate at every Marlins home game. After the Marlins rejected his most recent offer to renew his season tickets — $200,000 over three years — he declared himself a free agent and is expected to “sign” with, of all teams, the Detroit Tigers. Marlins representatives had what could be characterized as an interesting response to Leavy’s six-figure offer.

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Top 29 Prospects: Miami Marlins

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Miami Marlins. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

Marlins Top Prospects
Rk Name Age High Level Position ETA FV
1 Lewis Brinson 23 R CF 2018 60
2 Monte Harrison 22 A+ CF 2020 50
3 Jorge Guzman 22 R RHP 2021 50
4 Brian Anderson 24 MLB 3B 2018 50
5 Isan Diaz 21 A+ 2B 2019 50
6 Braxton Garrett 20 A LHP 2021 50
7 Magneuris Sierra 21 MLB OF 2018 50
8 Sandy Alcantara 22 MLB RHP 2018 50
9 James Nelson 20 A 3B 2021 45
10 Nick Neidert 21 AA RHP 2018 45
11 Trevor Rogers 20 R LHP 2021 45
12 Edward Cabrera 19 A- RHP 2021 45
13 Braxton Lee 24 AA OF 2018 45
14 Brian Miller 22 R CF 2020 40
15 Chris Torres 20 A- SS 2021 40
16 Jose Devers 18 R SS 2022 40
17 Dillon Peters 25 R LHP 2018 40
18 Pablo Lopez 22 A+ RHP 2019 40
19 Zac Gallen 22 AAA RHP 2019 40
20 Elieser Hernandez 22 A+ RHP 2018 40
21 Garrett Cooper 27 MLB 1B 2018 40
22 Jordan Yamamoto 21 A+ RHP 2020 40
23 Colton Hock 21 A- RHP 2020 40
24 Joe Dunand 22 A+ 3B 2021 40
25 Thomas Jones 20 A- OF 2022 40
26 Robert Dugger 22 AAA RHP 2020 40
27 Brayan Hernandez 20 AAA CF 2021 40
28 Jordan Holloway 21 A RHP 2020 40
29 Tyler Kolek 22 A RHP 2022 40

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2012 from Coral Springs HS (FL)
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 65/65 50/60 60/55 50/55 60/60

Brinson has loud physical tools: plus raw power, plus speed, plus arm strength, and the ability to play center field despite mediocre instincts. He didn’t hit for as much power as was expected at hitter-friendly Colorado Springs in 2017, but scouting reports on the raw power, and Brinson’s ability to get to it in games, remain strong. Provided he’s able to make continuous adjustments — and he’s exhibited the ability to do that on his ascent through the minors — Brinson has 25-homer potential. He has had several soft-tissue, lower-body injuries during his career, including multiple hamstring issues, one of which ended his 2017 season. He’s still a plus runner underway but doesn’t reach top speed as quickly as he once did.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Lee’s Summit West (MO)
Age 21 Height 6’3 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 30/55 60/60 45/50 80/80

This is what it looks like when things start to click on the baseball field for a premium athlete: a .272/.350/.481 line split between two levels, 51 extra-base hits (including 21 homers), and 27 bases stolen at a 87% success rate. Harrison has always had late-bloomer traits. He was a multi-sport stud — not multi-sport athlete, multi-sport stud — in high school and only committed to baseball full time after turning pro. In parts of three pro seasons entering 2017, Harrison missed time with a hamate fracture and broken leg, which prevented him from getting the reps he needed and diluted the way his tools looked on the field when he was.

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What the MLBPA’s Grievance Means

On Tuesday, the Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance against four major-league teams: Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. Specifically, the MLBPA contends that these four teams are violating the collective bargaining agreement by misusing their revenue-sharing money.

To understand the implications of the union’s grievance, we have to begin with the language of the CBA itself. Article XXIV(A) of the CBA states that “[a]ny Club seeking a distribution from the Commissioner’s Discretionary Fund [that is, the revenue-sharing money] shall submit a request in writing to the Commissioner. The written request must include, but need not be limited to: (i) the amount requested; (ii) the use(s) to which the Club intends to put the requested distribution; and (iii) an explanation of how, in the Club’s view, the requested distribution should improve the Club’s performance on the field” (emphasis mine).

Later on, the CBA is even more explicit:

[E]ach Club shall use its revenue sharing receipts (including any distributions from the Commissioner’s Discretionary Fund) in an effort to improve its performance on the field. The following uses of revenue sharing receipts are not consistent with a Club’s obligation . . . to improve its performance on the field: payments to service acquisition debt or any other debt that is unrelated to past or future efforts to improve performance on the field; payments to individuals other than on-field personnel or personnel related to player development; payments to entities that do not have a direct role in improving on-field performance; and distributions to ownership that are not intended to offset tax obligations resulting from Club operations.

It’s that language on which the MLBPA is hanging its hat.

Now the MLBPA’s grievance will go before an arbitration panel, not a court. The rules of private arbitrations like this are generally set by the parties themselves. That can lead to some interesting quirks, like the fact that the commissioner himself serves as arbitrator in certain proceedings that are appeals from his own decisions (the interest-of-the-game clause and the like). In this case, the grievance hearing will be conducted in accordance with the Rules of Procedure laid out in Appendix B of the CBA.

Those Rules are pretty lengthy, so here are the pertinent bits: the legal rules of evidence don’t apply, the arbitration panel sets its own standard of proof (in other words, how much evidence one side needs to present to win), and it’s possible to avoid a hearing altogether just by both sides agreeing to submit legal briefs. Also, there are three arbitrators: one selected by the MLBPA, one selected by MLB, and a neutral third party who is usually a lawyer with some experience in conflict resolution and who serves as the panel chair. That means that, as a practical matter, it’s the panel chair who decides these cases.

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An Update on Miami-Dade’s Suit Against Jeffrey Loria

So far, at least, Jeffrey Loria’s defense against the suit filed by Miami-Dade related to his claim of no net proceeds in his sale of the Marlins isn’t going so well. Loria’s lawyers attempted to argue that the summary they turned over to Miami-Dade was legally sufficient under the stadium contract and that no further explanation was necessary. Judge Beatrice Butchko disagreed, contending that Loria’s summary was “a problem.”

Here’s why that matters: because, on a basic level, it’s never a good sign for a defendant when the judge suggests that his case has “a problem” at the beginning of proceedings. And here’s why else: the court also vacated the previously set deadline for Miami and Miami-Dade to object to Loria’s numbers — and, more importantly, opened discovery. Which means Loria now has to start turning over his financial and supporting documents to Miami-Dade attorneys.


Miami-Dade Is Suing Jeffrey Loria

At the end of last week, I explained how Miami could possibly get back some money from Jeffrey Loria by filing an accounting suit and seeking to freeze the $50 million still escrowed from the sale of the club. On Friday, Miami-Dade County did exactly that, asking for Loria to explain his “fuzzy math” and asking the court to freeze the escrowed monies.

It’s still not terribly likely that Miami-Dade gets back anything close to its investment, although there is a good chance that the County could get something. And depending on what the protective order in this case looks like, it’s possible that Jeffrey Loria could be compelled to open his books.


How Miami Could Still Get Its Money from Jeffrey Loria

Jeffrey Loria found multiple avenues by which to torment the people of Miami.
(Photo: Jared)

In 2009, the City of Miami and County of Miami-Dade agreed to pay for 75% of a new stadium for Jeffrey Loria’s Miami Marlins. The projected stadium cost was $645 million, so Miami and Miami-Dade — or, more technically, Miami and Miami-Dade taxpayers — agreed to cover up to $480 million of stadium-building costs, largely from from hotel taxes. (According to some reports, Miami and Miami-Dade ended up paying about $347 million.) Miami and Miami-Dade also agreed not to receive any of the money from the stadium at all. No money from ticket sales, no money for concessions or naming rights. All Miami and Miami-Dade got in return was a guarantee that, if Jeffrey Loria sold the team, they would get a percentage of the net sale proceeds.

In October 2017, Jeffrey Loria did sell the Miami Marlins — for $1.2 billion. Under the terms of that stadium deal, Miami and Miami-Dade are entitled to 5% of the net sale proceeds. So good news for Miami and Miami-Dade, right? Well, not this time: Loria has told them he actually lost money on the sale of the team. So despite that gaudy list price, Miami and Miami-Dade stand to get nothing at all.

On the surface, Loria’s claim seems pretty implausible. After all, he bought the then-Florida Marlins in 2002 for $158 million, $38 million of which was a loan from Major League Baseball. Even after accounting for paying back the loan, that’s still a difference of over a billion dollars. Remember, though, that according to the stadium deal, Miami and Miami Dade agreed to receive 5% of the net proceeds (i.e. profits), not gross proceeds (i.e. the sale price), in the event of a sale.

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How Bad Will the Marlins Outfield Actually Be?

No matter what you think about the Marlins’ rebuild, there’s no getting around the fact that they’re rebuilding. Or, to put it in Derek Jeter’s words, building. The Marlins had what might’ve been baseball’s best outfield, but it’s been completely dismantled, and then some. Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was traded. Outfielder Marcell Ozuna was traded. Outfielder Christian Yelich was traded. Infielder Dee Gordon was traded, and moved to the outfield. You could say the Marlins have traded four starting outfielders, then, which doesn’t seem like something that’s normally possible, but here we are, and the regular season is going to be rough.

From the Marlins’ perspective, 2018 hardly matters anymore. That is, in terms of major-league success. It’s going to be a bad season, and all they’ll care about is player development, and making more moves. I don’t think the Marlins much care if they win 50 or 60 or 70 games. This being a season like any other, though, we can still analyze the Marlins, for our own fun. I’m sure the team understands the numbers will be ugly. Just how ugly might they be?

This post is interactive. Following the text will be one single poll.

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Effectively Wild Episode 1174: Season Preview Series: Dodgers and Marlins

EWFI

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the new spring training camp for free agents, return to the topic of why so many high-profile free agents remain unsigned, discuss Todd Frazier’s contract with the Mets, and talk about whether a proposed “Tank Tax” is a solution in search of a problem. Then they preview the 2018 Dodgers (19:54) with LA Times Dodgers beat writer Andy McCullough, and the 2018 Marlins (1:02:11) with Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson.

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The Nationals’ Lack of Urgency Is a Problem for the Marlins

The Marlins have already had what would be a record-setting sell-off. Not only have they completely dismantled arguably the best outfield in baseball; they’ve also traded away a quality second baseman about to move to center. So, in a sense, the Marlins’ teardown has involved the trading of four starting outfielders, and there’s only so much meaningful selling left to do. Dan Straily could get something, sure. Justin Bour is better than his pretty much non-existent reputation. Yet the one jewel left is J.T. Realmuto. He’d be the ticket to one last Miami blockbuster.

Realmuto is a catcher who turns only 27 years old in a month and a half, and he’s got another three seasons of club control. As a player, Realmuto is incredibly valuable, and, even more, he’s expressed an interest in getting the chance to play for someone else. Even though Realmuto’s actual leverage here is low, the Marlins wouldn’t hesitate to grant his wish, should the right offer come along. And, say, wouldn’t you know it, but the Nationals could use a quality backstop! Matt Wieters probably shouldn’t be that guy. Miguel Montero isn’t likely to be that guy. The Nationals have been included in catcher rumors all offseason long.

It seems like there should be a reasonable fit. And maybe something here will actually happen. It’s just that there’s a stumbling block: The Nationals are already perhaps too good.

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Job Posting: Marlins Software Developer Positions

The Marlins are hiring a Head Software Developer and a Software Developer.

Position: Head Software Developer

Position Summary:
The Head Software Developers will be responsible for creating the code that power the applications used by the entire Baseball Operations department. Opportunities for full stack and skill specialists exist at this time. The successful applicants will work in a collaborative, result-oriented, team environment.

Essential Functions:

  • Writing clean, concise, modular code
  • Backend – Java 8, Spring, SQL
  • Frontend – web fundamentals (HTML, JS, CSS), Angular, Bootstrap, jQuery
  • Build tools – Maven for Java; Gulp (or similar) for JS

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Proficiency in more than one of the stated development skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communications, decision-making, and organization skills
  • Passion to learn and create

Suggested Education & Experience Guidelines:

  • Experience with agile development lifecycle
  • Experience with source control
  • Development experience in other languages such as .NET / C#, Python, and R
  • Experience working in a development team
  • Degree in Computer Science or Information Systems, or equivalent job experience
  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience

Bonus Experience:
Experience with Mobile iOS development – Objective C & Swift

To Apply:
Please email materials (resume, cover letter, etc.) to marlinsanalyticsjobs@gmail.com.

Position: Software Developer

Position Summary:
The Software Developers will be responsible for creating the code that power the applications used by the entire Baseball Operations department. Opportunities for full stack and skill specialists exist at this time. The successful applicants will work in a collaborative, result-oriented, team environment.

Essential Functions:

  • Writing clean, concise, modular code
  • Backend – Java 8, Spring, SQL
  • Frontend – web fundamentals (HTML, JS, CSS), Angular, Bootstrap, jQuery
  • Build tools – Maven for Java; Gulp (or similar) for JS

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Proficiency in more than one of the stated development skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communications, decision-making, and organization skills
  • Passion to learn and create

Suggested Education & Experience Guidelines:

  • Experience with agile development lifecycle
  • Experience with source control
  • Development experience in other languages such as .NET / C#, Python, and R
  • Experience working in a development team
  • Degree in Computer Science or Information Systems, or equivalent job experience
  • A minimum of 1 year experience

Bonus Experience:
Experience with Mobile iOS development – Objective C & Swift

To Apply:
Please email materials (resume, cover letter, etc.) to marlinsanalyticsjobs@gmail.com.