The Miami Marlins are shedding players and salary as if they were an Eskimo that was just dropped on the beach at Pompano. This week, the Marlins shipped off Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez, while only receiving a pittance (an unheralded long reliever and several prospects) in return.
The prevailing wisdom is that the Marlins are gearing up to be major players in the free-agent market this fall, in order to find something to supplant Jose Reyes, Giancarlo Stanton and other young players.
However, I see two reasons why this strategy is doomed to fail:
More Teams Involved this Time: As I see it, the Marlins are going to have a lot of competition for free agents, with at least three National League teams that sat out the 2012 free agent bonanza coming in strong for 2013.
The Dodgers have new ownership led by Magic Johnson and Sam Kesten, who reportedly want to build a baseball dynasty from a team that was impoverished on Opening Day. The Cubs have been reported to be in a similar fire-sale move, and their basement position makes it almost a certainty that Theo Epstein is going to try to make a move for a big-name player. The Phillies have been in panic mode due to this year's "use-Lifebuoy-soap-and-still-stink" finish, and will likely search for a big-time free agent to complement their anemic, aging bats.
Not as many people on the market: At the beginning of the season, it was thought that a number of solid players would be on the market. Since then, many of these players have signed multi-year deals, capped off by Cole Hamels' recent $144 million deal, which ESPN reported was reached this morning.
The upshot of this is fewer good players on the market this offseason.
In conclusion: More teams vying for fewer free agents means that the Marlins' attempt to build a contending team through free agency will prove futile.