Call me Ishmael...
Yesterday I started off by looking at three fifths of the Marlins' rotation, their bullpen, and a couple of position players. What I learned:
- To build the rotation trifecta of Beckett, Willis and Burnett, the Marlins mixed generous portions of luck (a very high draft pick, a couple of trades that worked beyond expectations,) astute scouting (taking Beckett rather than say, Eric Munson as well as finding the other two,) and though I didn't say this yesterday, remarkably effective player development in the upper minors.
- In trades, the Marlins have shown a cutthroat aggressiveness, willing to shed salary and break ties to improve their team. They are always trading out of strength rather than desperation, i.e. you won't see them giving up a prospect for Byung Hyun Kim,and they tend to trade established big league players, even good ones like Edgar Renteria and Derrek Lee rather than prospects.
- When their player decisions aren't working for them they're willing to cut bait swiftly while the player in question's value is still relatively stable to what it was when they acquired him. For example, Hee Seop Choi was acquired from the Cubs, but not long thereafter -considering he was still developing- moved to the Dodgers to help get Paul Lo Duca and Guillermo Mota. The Marlins then filled the need for a first baseman in the offseason by signing Carlos Delgado.
- The Marlins' bullpen is cheap, transitory and rebuilt every offseason, yet also experienced and proven for the most part. Again, their moves are made pre-emptively and they don't have to do a lot of scrambling for parts as things breakdown. The Rockies are having to watch a mostly young and unproven bullpen develop and this is costing them, but they also seem to be just throwing whatever they can find at the problem and hoping it sticks.