December 15th 2017 the then SSG Miami Marlins traded one of the literally biggest players they had ever had in franchise history. RF Giancarlo Stanton and RP AJ Ramos were traded to the SSG Los Angeles Dodgers for 1B Adrian Gonzalez, SS Erisbel Arruebarrena, 1B Sam Jones, RF Willie Holland, 2B Mario Rodriquez, SP Dan Ibarra and RP Chuck Pohl. A trade that had at the time the most players dealt in SSG league history, Stanton had been on the block for a few weeks and had a number of suitors interested in acquiring his talents. In the end GM Jerry Rascop of the LA Dodgers had the payroll and asset mix finalize a deal with GM Nate Brooks of the Marlins. Now after 3 years we will look at where all parties involved in the deal have ended up.
To the Dodgers:
RF Giancarlo Stanton: Stanton has had 3 season with the Dodgers and has been everything they hoped for offensively. Slugging 132 HR in the regular season including leading the league with 46 in 2019, Stanton has been the power bat that was expected to anchor the middle of the order in LA. Stanton has a combined 18.3 WAR in the 3 season and has not dipped below a .921 OPS rating either. The big man has also played very solid defense manning the right field for the Dodgers making only 4 errors in 3 seasons and a respectable 25 assists. Stanton has also made the all star game each season since his move from the Marlins and is the reigning 2020 NL Silver Slugger. Locked in for 4 more season at $29 million for 2021 and 2022 and then $32 million in 2023 and 2024, the Dodgers will be hoping for continued production from the 31 year old over the remaining four seasons.
RP AJ Ramos: AJ Ramos was the other piece of the deal that the LA Dodgers received back in 2017. The veteran closer at the time had just finished the season with 33 saves and a sparkling 1.95 ERA for the then Marlins. GM Nate Brooks “I was honestly surprised I wasn’t getting much action on the Ramos front that offseason. Ramos had some good season with Miami but that season was by far his best.” Ramos became the Dodgers primary closer in 2018 and 2019 and had 34 and 33 saves those seasons respectively. Signed for 2021 with a team option for 2022, Ramos looks to have lost the closers role last year but should remain an effective weapon out of the Dodgers bullpen even at age 34.
To the Marlins (Now Aurora)
1B Adrian Gonzalez: Adrian Gonzalez had a storied career in general and specifically in LA. A 4 time Gold Glove winner at first base and 2 time silver slugger, Gonzalez was in decline by 2017 when he was acquired by the Marlins. In the 2017 season Gonzalez only played 61 games and made 136 plate appearances with a meager 2 HR to show for it. Clearly a salary move for the season, the Marlins never let Gonzalez near their 40 man roster that year. “I felt terrible for Gonzalez as a player and person to have his career end the way it did with the Marlins, but we had no intention of having him play and were unable to facilitate a move somewhere else” GM Brooks commented. Gonzalez would end up retiring after the 2018 season.
SS Erisbel Arruebarrena: Arruebarrena was another salary consideration at the time of the trade between LA and Miami. He had been signed to a large deal in 2015 but had not played any meaningful games since 2014 for the Dodgers. Arruebarrena would quietly have a decent 2018 campaign for the Marlins playing 64 games and swatting in 5 HR in a reserve roll while dealing with some injuries and playing part of the season in AAA. Surprisingly he would retire that offseason at age 28 which took the Marlins front office by surprise. “We had intended to bring Arrubarrena back at a lower price if he was interested in playing. I thought he could build upon his season and be an effective bench player for us. I was impressed with him in the clubhouse as a leader and he played competent defense for us that season.” GM Nate Brooks reflected. Arrubarrena seems to be permanently retired now at age 30 as he has played no known pro baseball since 2018.
1B Sam Jones: Jones was one of a number of prospects that the Marlins received back for Stanton and Ramos. The 6’7″ infielder was viewed as an important piece of the deal from the Marlins scouting staff. With a potential power rating of 60 at the time of his acquisition, Jones looked to be a solid choice to man first base for the Marlins in a few years. 2018 and 2019 were great years for Jones at AA slugging in 27 and 31 homers before being promoted to “the show” for the 2020 season. Jones had an average first year in the big leagues in 2020, with 22 HR and an OPS+ rating of 120. He played well defensively and will be looked upon to continue to bring the thunder for a light hitting Aurora squad. Jones should have some more help around him this year that will help the young hitter have a bit less pressure put upon him. Jones has 2 more years before he hits arbitration with the Aurora.
RP A.J. Vanegas: A.J. Vanegas was a hard throwing prospect in the Dodgers system who had looked great in 2016 and 2017 at the advanced A and AA levels. With a plus fastball that tops out at 97MPG and exceptional slider, Vanegas looked unhittable at times in the minors and had shown the ability to close out games. 2018 saw Vanegas again pitch well at AA however he struggled mightily at the MLB and AAA levels with a gruesome ERA of 8.14 in AAA. Vanegas was removed from the 40 man roster at one point and looked to be a lost piece going forward. In 2019 however, injuries to the major league relief corps would bring A.J. back to the Marlins bullpen after showing decently back in AAA. 2020 saw Vanegas able to keep the ball in the stadium more although his BB/9 and K/9 rates still show an average reliever. A great work ethic has kept Vanegas through his trials and tribulations and he will be looked upon to be a important piece in the Aurora bullpen for the 2021 season.
RP Chuck Pohl: Pohl was an 8th round pick out of high school when selected by the Dodgers in 2016. Playing in rookie ball in 2016 and 17, Pohl caught the eye of Marlins scouts as an uptick in his velocity generated some optimism that he could develop into a bullpen piece. 2018 saw Pohl get into 27 innings and produce quite well with a 1.02 ERA but a 1.58 WHIP at Short Season A ball. Pohl would be promoted to the Marlins Greensboro A team to finish the season. During winter ball Pohl suffered a torn Ulnar Collateral ligament injury that would sideline him for most of the 2019 season. 2020 saw Pohl come back and pitch effectively in Greensboro and Jupiter (A). He will look to continue his rise at double A this year and could be a fit if injuries strike the 40 man roster. Pohl hasn’t pitched a whole lot but has time on his side as he is still just 23 years old.
2B Mario Rodriquez: Another Dodger draft pick from 2016, Rodriguez was selected one round after Pohl in the 9th round. A light hitting second baseman, Rodriguez looked to have good contact and plate discipline at bat while being an average defender at second base. Arm strength was a concern which would limit him to playing second in the infield. While Rodriguez had 2 good season with the Dodgers minor league system, his move to the Marlins system was anything but. Struggling in 2018 and 2019, Rodriguez was looking like a candidate to be released. 2020 saw him given one more chance in the Marlins system and injuries led him to being promoted to AA and AAA. While not turning any heads, Rodriguez played well enough to be kept as minor league depth for the upcoming 2021 season. Now 26, he will most likely be a career minor leaguer at this point going forward.
RF Willie Holland: Outfielder Willie Holland was the second major prospect that the Marlins acquired in trading Stanton and Ramos. A first round pick in 2015 for the Dodgers, Holland was viewed as a power bat with great offensive skills and enough ability to hold down an outfield spot. Holland showed real potential in 2016 and 17 in the rookie league with excellent OPS. Once moved to the Marlins, Holland seemed to regress offensively and defensively never developed at center field. Eventually Holland was used in right field and would see some time at first also. On January 1st 2019, the Marlins sent Holland back to the Dodgers for SS Lucas Tiardo. Back in the Dodgers system, the hulking 6’6″ Holland has now made the 40 man roster and seen some time at the big league level in 2019. Holland will most likely be a depth piece for the Dodgers seeing callups as injuries strike.
SP Dan Ibarra: Our last player acquired by the Marlins was 2017 second round pick SP Dan Ibarra. A starter in college out of Miami state, Ibarra had 3 plus pitches and a fourth developing curveball. Ibarra would pitch 20.2 innings for the Marlins affiliate Batavia Muckdogs before being traded with RP C.C Lee for C Max Pentecost of the Toronto Bluejays. At the time Marlins fans were livid that the Marlins would move the then #61st ranked prospect in baseball for a relatively inexperienced catcher. Ibarra would spend a year in the Blue Jays system before being traded to the Texas Rangers in a big trade involving former Marlins RF Marcell Ozuna and OF Michael Choice. While named the #59 ranked prospect for 2020, Ibarra struggled at A and AAA while finding a bit of a groove at AA. Ibarra still has the potential to turn into a back of the rotation starter but time is starting to tick on the 24 year old.