Once upon a time, the Marlins were big sellers, not big buyers. Their reputation took years to recover from their last big sell-off, but are firesales sometimes justified?
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Nate tackled the question of when it makes sense to be a seller in the article reproduced below, which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on November 22, 2005.
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February 24, 2011 1:30 pm
Hunter Pence's payday inspires an argument on who comes in last among the ranks of teams' best players.
Earlier this week, Astros right fielder Hunter Pence won a precedent-setting arbitration case against his career-long club, earning a record $6.9 million award as a second-time-eligible position player. On the face of it, Pence’s payout might not seem surprising: the 27-year-old netted an All-Star nod in 2009, and offers an alluring combination of power and speed, having hit exactly 25 home runs to go along with at least 10 steals in each of the past three seasons.
The problem with Pence is that he’s at best a complementary player in a good lineup. Most clubs would be happy to have him audition for a supporting role, but he would be miscast as the leading man in a championship-caliber production. Any reference to Pence as a “star right fielder” owes more to the memory of his fluky 2007 debut and the conspicuous flaws of his talent-deprived teammates than his own on-field exploits. From 2008-10, NL right fielders as a group produced a .266/.341/.443 triple-slash line, comparable to Pence’s .278/.330/.466 performance, although the Astro’s unremarkable offense was bolstered by above-average work in the field and on the bases.