After today’s loss of the rubber match in Chicago, the Marlins are settled into the second half of the season. The all-star break is over, and it’s time to look at the late summer. The losses posted yesterday and today are once again resting on the shoulders of the offense. Failure to drive in men on base is becoming a hallmark of this ballclub. Game after game is lost with the LOB stat reaching double digits. Yet on paper, the Marlins should be in the hunt, battling with the Braves and the Mets and nipping at the heels of the Nationals.
Clearly, something is broken. With the exception of Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Ruggiano, all of the marquee players are performing below expectations at the plate, especially when the pressure is on. Hanley Ramirez, for example, is on track to notch 20 more strikeouts than he did two years ago. The team is in the bottom third of most of the offensive stats in the National league.
When so many players are performing so consistently below expectations, the next logical step might be to look at the leadership. Specifically, what is there that Eduardo Perez could or should be doing differently? The approach he’s using isn’t working. The hallmark of a good leader is the ability to identify when a plan isn’t working and adapt to the situation in a way that turns a losing strategy into a winner.
As the end of July approaches, the phone lines are heating up around baseball. Jeffrey Loria will always listen to offers, and the press is slavering to paint the Marlins as sellers. However, Mr. Loria didn’t just fall off of the tomato wagon (I know…too many Toyota ads), and built a helluva fortune as an art dealer. The chances of him getting skinned in a trade are pretty slim. The guys we really need to trade away will be tough to trade because of a combination of poor performance and lingering contract dollars. Perhaps his best move might be to sit tight on the good players having a bad year, and bring in a new hitting coach.