By Scott Barzilla

My colleague, Rob Kelley, already took a look at the big three team deal involving the Miami Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Oakland Athletics before from the Marlins perspective. I don’t know if I can add much to the soap opera since Rob has covered it so ably, but maybe we can look at these things from a more pure baseball perspective.

Miami Marlins Perspective

To say that the Marlins gave Heath Bell away for nothing would be an absolute insult to Yordy Cabrera, but let’s be real here. When you trade someone that was once on of the top five closers in the game you expect to get more than one minor league infielder. Cabrera was a second round pick by Oakland back in 2010. He has a .230/.297/.351 slash line at the minor league level. Let’s just say that if Cabrera is going to make it, he is going to have to start hustling.

The Marlins will pick up eight million of the 21 million remaining on Bell’s two years. So, they save thirteen million over the next two seasons. They saved all of Hanley Ramirez’s remaining contract as well. This is where I must differ from my colleague. He has accused the Marlins of bad management in this situation. They have cut and run on two different occasions, but it is still not clear as to what the mission is here.

If they simply cut Ramirez and Bell and have no plans to retool or if they include Josh Johnson in the fire sale then it is fair to question what is going on. One things is clear: they have saved a lot of money on next year’s payroll. The question is what they plan to do with it. If it turns into Alex Rodriguez then you can’t accuse them of being cheap. Stupid maybe, but not cheap.

Arizona Diamondbacks Perspective

When you consider the money coming the Dbacks way on Heath Bell, they actually come out slightly ahead on the exchange of shipping Chris Young and a little cash to Oakland. So, what are they thinking here? Simply put, they have a glut of outfielders and dealing Young is simply the beginning. For their benefit, they also get Cliff Pennington in return. So, they may have filled their hole at shortstop in addition to adding a bullpen arm.

In 2011, they added J.J. Putz to be their closer even though he had failed in New York in 2009. He did return to have a solid 2010 season in Chicago, but he had only three saves. So, some questioned his acquisition as well. Kevin Towers is most comfortable when asked to construct a bullpen. Bell could bounce back, but if he doesn’t he isn’t exactly being asked to carry the pen. They still have David Hernandez to setup for Putz and plenty of support on top of that. If Bell does return then it gives them the deepest bullpen in the division.

In 2011, Cliff Pennington hit .264 with eight home runs and 58 RBIs. It may not look like much, but the Dbacks would love that kind of production from their shortstop. Those numbers dipped to .215 and 6 home runs last season. That made him expendable, so the Dbacks and Athletics have essentially traded shortstops in the last few months.

Oakland Athletics Perspective

If the yardstick by which we measure a trade is by asking who got the best player then the Athletics likely won the deal by getting Chris Young. It’s a question as to what the A’s will do now that they have five starting outfielders (counting Seth Smith). Young is a career .239 hitter, but he averaged more than 20 home runs a season and 20 steals a season in his three seasons before 2011.

This might open the door for the A’s to deal Coco Crisp to get some help somewhere else, but when you throw in the fact that the Dbacks traded Stephen Drew to them, the Dbacks may have single-handedly filled all of the A’s holes. They had to surrender Yordy Cabrera and Cliff Pennington. I think they’ll manage.

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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