The Marlins have been a bit of a problem for the Nationals in recent years.
And that’s putting it quite nicely.
Over the last five seasons, the Marlins have absolutely dominated the Nats, going 59-30 against Washington in that time frame. Even this year, with the Marlins floundering (awful pun, I know) and the Nationals taking the division title, Miami played Davey Johnson’s team tough, and ended up taking half of the 18 games between the two squads.
Those days might be over for a while, because nearly the entire Marlins roster is now in Toronto.
Right about the time that Johnson was being announced as National League Manager of the Year last night, the baseball world was reacting to a one of the biggest trades in recent memory.
The Marlins will ship starters Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, utility man Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to the Blue Jays for shortstop Yunel Escobar, four prospects and two other pieces. The trade is expected to be approved by Major League Baseball today.
Once the deal does go through, it will leave the Marlins with exactly two members of their 2012 opening day lineup and just one of their original five starting pitchers from this season still on the roster.
Infielder Hanley Ramirez was traded before the non-waiver deadline, as was starter Anibal Sanchez. Reliever Heath Bell is gone. Even manager Ozzie Guillen is out of Miami. The 2013 team will look absolutely nothing like the the high-priced 2012 squad that ownership trumpeted as the team to beat.
On his Manager of the Year conference call with reporters last night, Davey Johnson jokingly said he hoped the Marlins would throw star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton into the deal with the Blue Jays, as well. That won’t be happening, and not surprisingly, Stanton isn’t too pleased with the current state of his team.
I sure can’t blame him. Not only do the Marlins have a chance to be historically awful next season, Stanton won’t get a decent pitch to hit all year.
Obviously, as terrible as this deal is for baseball fans everywhere (especially in south Florida) and the taxpayers who trusted Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and contributed $360 million to help build Loria’s ridiculous new ballpark, it benefits the Nationals and the rest of the National League East.
While the hard-throwing Josh Johnson was always battling some kind of injury, he’s killed the Nats over the course of his career, going 9-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 18 career games against Washington. He’ll now safely be tucked away in the American League East, as will the crafty Buehrle and the dangerous, pesky Reyes.
Within the NL East, the Mets still have plenty of work to do to get back into contention, and the Marlins have essentially signaled to the rest of the league that they don’t plan on being relevant again for a few years.
This trade should make the Nationals’ trips to Miami a bit smoother and will likely eliminate the Marlins as that thorn-in-the-side team that always found a way to give the Nats issues.
It’s just a shame that it had to happen like this.