FanGraphs Audio: Dave Cameron Analyzes All Baseball

Episode 277
FanGraphs managing editor Dave Cameron analyzes all baseball — and, in particular, the part of baseball concerning how the Marlins have made a mistake by abandoning all hope so far as the 2013 season is concerned. Also: both guest and host make multiple unsubstantiated claims regarding the art world. Also-also: Your 2013 Blue Jays, Toronto.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

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Audio after the jump. (Approximately 29 min play time.)

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Perspective from a Mariners fan — it’s funny, just before Carson posed this question, I was thinking about it from kind of the opposite perspective: how the Marlins’ history has informed (or, more accurately, mis-informed) their expectations. The Marlins have a short history punctuated by two “out of nowhere” Word Series wins. Instead of the experience of building a quality core that takes some time and luck to jell, of winning seasons without postseasons (or early exits), of adjustments around the edges of a roster like what the Giants did the past postseason, or the long slog of trying to do all those things and falling short, the Marlins’ experience was wildly different. The history that guides the Marlins is one in which anything is possible in any given year, in which there is no need to really build a franchise because you can throw one together and win it all seemingly as easily as you can crash to nearly a hundred losses. So when you do crash, just blow the whole thing up and throw together a new set of players — who knows?

I don’t know if this really is the perspective of Loria and the Marlins FO (after all, only one of those championships came in their era), but I can’t help thinking they probably have a more distorted view of what it takes to build a winning team than most. Then again, I can’t help but think that they have only moderate interest in building a winning team at all, since they have demonstrated a willingness and ability to earn a profit while fielding a losing one.


The Marlins did not win the world series out of nowhere. They built talented teams around young talent that they spent years drafting and developing. Twice. Then they turned around and jettisoned those same players, saving millions of dollars and rewarding their fans with an awful on-field product. Twice. Then they hustled the city of Miami into funding a new stadium, signed high-profile free agents and presented themselves as a contender in a division without an obvious favorite. Now those player are gone and the Marlins are looking at yet another season of irrelevance.

The Marlins are not playing baseball lottery. They are intentionally cutting payroll, forfeiting their chances to field a winning team in the process. The entire history of the franchise has been defined by cheapskate ownership valuing revenue sharing income over baseball success. The fact that they have won two world series is a serendipitous circumstance, not an example of intelligent franchise management. It’s a shame for the fans, for the talented players drafted by the system, and for anyone who has to spend time even thinking about them.

Perhaps the Marlins were a long shot to win the division in 2013. Nevertheless, ownership has made it very fucking plain that they have no interest in even competing, unless the players that they field win in spite of them. That’s the outcome I’m hoping for.