With Miami’s playoff hopes realistically finished for some time now, the Marlins can turn their attention to the next steps that need to be taken to bring themselves out of the National League cellar for next year and the future.
Expectations were considerably low entering this season as the Marlins had one of the younger teams in the majors. This past offseason saw Miami collecting every available young prospect that they could, in hopes that they could hit the jackpot with a young cheap nucleus of players. This goal netted Miami with a promising young pitching staff, a crowded outfield of prospects and young players, and not much else.
Jeffrey Loria and Larry Beinfest have some significant decisions upcoming as it is no secret that many teams are interested in Giancarlo Stanton and Stanton is not all that interested in staying in Miami. Could Beinfest trade Stanton for some infield help? Probably. Will he? Probably not. There is no indication that Loria has changed his opinion that he can re-sign Stanton long-term and Loria sees Stanton as a player that puts butts in seats, all be it few this season.
To fully understand the pain of the current infield, one needs to look no further than 3rd base. Probably the best third baseman in the Marlins organization was playing college baseball this past year in North Carolina, Colin Moran. Miami is hopeful that he can progress through the minors quickly but is no sure thing. The Marlins currently call Adeiny Hechavarria their answer at shortstop and there is no denying that his work in the field is a thing of beauty. What is also clear is that his struggles at the plate do not seem to be getting any better. Is Miami willing to sacrifice batting for fielding when that hitter struggles to an OBP around .270?
At second base there is no solution that is even promising. Donovan Solano and Derek Dietrich have manned the position so far this year but either player would be better suited as a utility infielder rather than an everyday player. Chris Coghlan is returning from injury soon and has a history that includes the position. With a crowded outfield a smart move might be to see if he can regain his rookie of the year form playing in the infield. Either way there doesn’t seem to be a long-term answer there. Logan Morrison has been one of the more consistent players for Miami this year when healthy, which he rarely has been the last couple of years. His injuries have hampered his mobility and while he has played left field in the past, his days of patrolling an outfield are surely over after his knee problems.
Every infield position could use to be upgraded if the Marlins are serious about making a playoff push in the future. The key is going to be the front office’s ability to take all of these spare parts that they have collected over the last year, and turn them into a functioning machine through shrewd trades and manuevers. What moves would you make to upgrade the Marlins this upcoming season? Let us know in the comments below!