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1993 Florida Marlins expansion redraft

The third and final part in our expansion series.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at New York Mets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

By now you have read both Marty’s excellent intro to this series and Martin’s excellent job “spendthrifting” his way to a dynamic $/WAR ballclub. Now it’s time for some gluttony. As Marty touched upon in the intro, the Marlins were not in this game for the slow-burn. They were the flashes in the pan that won the 1997 and 2003 World Series without winning a single division title in their team history.

If the Rockies (and, by extension, Martin) were Ramadan, the Marlins (and, by extension, myself) were the Fourth of July. The two teams were polar opposites of each other when they entered the league, and Martin and I decided to honor our team’s modi operandi — to an extreme. Before we get into a pick-by-pick breakdown, here’s a chart similar to Martin’s to show the reader the way the draft played out for the hypothetical Marlins.

1993 Marlins Re-draft Results

Round Player Position Age 1993 Salary Career bWAR
Round Player Position Age 1993 Salary Career bWAR
1 Al Leiter P 27 $287,500 42.4
2 Vinny Castilla 3B 25 $120,000 19.1
3 Jeff Fassero P 29 $129,000 22.3
4 Darren Lewis CF 25 $172,500 9.2
5 Trevor Hoffman P 24 $109,000 28.4
6 Alan Trammell SS 34 $1,827,500 5.1
7 Lou Whitaker 2B 35 $3,433,333 12.8
8 Mike Stanley C 29 $675,000 21.1
9 Armando Reynoso P 26 $120,000 12.6
10 Geronimo Berroa LF 27 $150,000 6.6
11 Buddy Groom P 27 $120,000 7.7
12 Heathcliff Slocumb P 26 $165,000 7.4
13 Jim Leyritz 1B 29 $152,000 9.3
14 Mike Williams P 24 $109,000 4.1
15 B.J. Surhoff RF 28 $2,538,000 23.5
TOTAL 27.67 $10,099,833 231.6

First round: Florida Marlins take SP Al Leiter from the Toronto Blue Jays (42.4 bWAR)

This was my locked and loaded first pick. Leiter was an exceptionally solid pitcher from 1993-2004, winning 148 games and posting an ERA+ of 120. He would have been the perfect ace for a young team, and he actually made his way to the Marlins in real life in 1996, making the All-Star Team for the club in his first season. The Marlins and Leiter would have been an excellent partnership, and this is the peak of my draft. It may or may not go downhill a bit from here.

Second round: Florida Marlins take 3B Vinny Castilla from the Atlanta Braves (19.1 bWAR)

This pick is the most interesting of my whole draft. It forces us to think about the hypothetical question: how effective would Castilla have been outside of Coors Field? Castilla hit 239 of his 320 career homers with the Rockies and 132 of his career homers in Coors Field. Drop him into Joe Robbie Stadium for the start of his career (he had a grand total of 24 plate appearances for Atlanta before the expansion draft) and does he gain the confidence to be a great major league hitter. Coors be damned, this is still a player who hit 126 homers and had 370 RBI over an absurd three-season stretch from 1996-1998. Given how much WAR has been known to punish hitters in Coors, is it possible that he could have actually been worth more for the Marlins? That seems like a stretch, but I think he still would have been a strong MLB third baseman if the Marlins had taken him instead of Colorado.

Third round: Florida Marlins take SP Jeff Fassero from the Montreal Expos (22.3 bWAR)

A solid pitcher for the better part of the next decade, he’s not exactly what a team would imagine building around, however. It is quite telling that even with the benefit of hindsight, the field of players to draft from thins out to Jeff Fassero by the sixth overall pick. Fassero was never an All-Star, but he did finish ninth in the Cy Young race in 1996. He and Leiter would have made a solid 1-2 punch in the rotation. Solid for an newly-created expansion team (that isn’t the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks).

Fourth round: Florida Marlins take CF Darren Lewis from the San Francisco Giants (9.2 WAR)

There were hardly any decent centerfielders available in our redraft, so I wanted to pounce early (the centerfielder Martin ended up with slipped through the spreadsheet cracks the first time, just like the next player I get to draft). Teams did a very good job of protecting solid outfielders in general, in fact. The only decent ones who were available were extremely expensive, and I was saving my money to splurge on a couple veterans (hold that thought). Also, I had a friend in middle school named Darren Lewis.

Fifth round: Florida Marlins take RP Trevor Hoffman from the Cincinnati Reds (28.4 bWAR)

As was just noted, Hoffman slipped through the cracks on the spreadsheet the first time, or he likely would have gone earlier. You probably don’t need much of a description of who Hoffman is, but it is interesting to note that he had the second-best $/WAR of anyone taken in our redraft (Martin’s first overall pick, Javy Lopez, was first). It is also interesting to note that although we all think of Hoffman as a Padre, he was actually taken by the Marlins in the 1993 expansion draft, but he was traded to San Diego partway through the season, having pitched only 28 games in his Marlins career. Hopefully he would play a few more for Florida after this hypothetical redraft. He did manage to net the Marlins Gary Sheffield in his trade out of town.

Sixth and seventh rounds: Florida Marlins take SS Alan Trammell/2B Lou Whitaker from the Detroit Tigers (5.1 and 12.8 bWAR)

Here’s my aforementioned splurge. This one seemed a lot more fun in my head than it did after I saw the final numbers for Martin and me. Trammell and Whitaker were both legends by 1993, only left unprotected because of their place on the aging curves at ages 34 and 35, respectively, and their ‘massive’ contracts (combined over $5 million). The Marlins almost certainly wouldn’t have splurged to move the Tigers dynamic duo down south from Detroit, but I like to think the jersey sales and ticket sales of a brand new team landing a (should-be) Hall of Fame double-play partners would make the risk worth it. As far as the on-field product is concerned, Trammell had an excellent 1993 season (138 OPS+; 4.2 bWAR) before fading considerably, while Whitaker played three more seasons posting an OPS 30 percent higher than league average, but he played an average of less than 100 games for those final three seasons. Like I said, this idea seemed more fun before I went through with it.

Eighth round: Florida Marlins take C Mike Stanley from the New York Yankees (21.1 bWAR)

Here’s another player more expensive than all but one of Martin’s picks, but the Marlins were indeed approaching the expansion draft with a mindset of spending more than the thrifty Rockies. Stanley was the ultimate hindsight pick, having never posted more than eight home runs in any of his seven seasons before 1993, and then leaving the yard a combined 149 times over his next seven seasons. It wasn’t just the homers, he was worth 1.2 net bWAR over his first seven seasons compared to 19.4 bWAR over the next seven seasons. Gotta love drafting from the year 2017.

Ninth round: Florida Marlins take SP Armando Reynoso from the Atlanta Braves (12.6 bWAR)

This was right around the point I realized that Martin had officially won the draft.

Tenth round: Florida Marlins take LF Geronimo Berroa from the Cincinnati Reds (6.6 bWAR)

And this was right around the point where I said we should do a 1997 redraft so I could redeem myself, at least somewhat.

11th and 12th rounds: Florida Marlins take RP Buddy Groom from the Detroit Tigers (7.7 bWAR)/RP Heathcliff Slocumb from the Chicago Cubs (7.4 bWAR)

I didn’t want to use high picks or much money on relievers, especially after landing Hoffman. Three of my last five picks are relievers, and that’s only because I wanted to save a goofy name for my last pick. These were strictly $/WAR selections. Not much to analyze here.

13th round: Florida Marlins take 1B Jim Leyritz from the New York Yankees (9.3 bWAR)

This pick gave me all sorts of emotions. The first was the joy of growing up a Yankee fan and having Leyritz’s game-tying homer in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series being one of the five most defining memories of my baseball childhood. The second was the distraught and feeling of betrayal upon hearing the news about Leyritz being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular homicide in his post-playing days. The final was haunting image of Leyritz sobbing in court and the ensuing battle of incredibly confusing emotions: somehow feeling sorry for a man who seemed to be getting off easy in the court system but was clearly not getting off easy in his own mind, and the realization that life can be very, very complicated. Ok, um, back to baseball.

14th round: Florida Marlins take RP Mike Williams from the Philadelphia Phillies (4.1 bWAR)

Williams is the perfect boring, but efficient pick needed after spending on $5 million on a pair of 30+ middle infielders and devolving into a discussion about human nature in the previous write up.

15th round: Florida Marlins take RF B.J. Surhoff from the Milwaukee Brewers (23.5 bWAR)

I had to end with one more splurge. As noted earlier, the outfielders available were a terrible group, and Martin was threatening to really pull away in terms of total WAR drafted (despite my Marlins spending way more money). If the Marlins were truly looking to build a quick contender, Surhoff was the best bet on the board, as he was on the most solid producers in the entire pool of players, topping out as a five-win player (and All-Star) in the 1999 season.

As noted during the draft, I’m not angry with this team, just a little disappointed. I love the idea of the Detroit retirement home in the middle of my infield, but I didn’t truly realize how expensive it was until I saw the final numbers. Leiter and Castilla would be a nice combo for years to come, unless, of course, management had anything to say about it as Marlins ownership is wont to do. Similar to those two, Hoffman would have been a Marlins legend if this version of the Marlins was kept together longer than the actual club.

Now we just have to see if we can figure out the 1997 draft.

Jim Turvey is a new face to Beyond the Box Score. He also writes for DRays Bay, Call to the Pen, RotoBaller, and Insider Baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @FantasyBaseTurv.