With 2013 firmly in the books, we begin our look ahead at 2014 with a Marlins style State of the Union address. In the coming weeks we will preview each player that figures to be a part of the 2014 Marlins season, but right now, we wanted to take a moment to discuss the current status that the Marlins find themselves in.
2013 saw the Marlins post 100 losses for only the second time in their history. Obviously not a great finish, but there is hope for the future. Following a 2012 that saw payroll more than double from the previous year, yet lost 93 games, it was apparent that owner Jeffrey Loria was not happy. He traded away his high-priced players for cost controlled prospects that could be groomed.
A year later, that trade isn’t looking so bad. The Blue Jays were unable to use the players acquired in the Marlins trade to make a jump in the American League East, and Miami is in better position for the future.
I have to admit, I was like most fans when the trade happened. I was angry and frustrated at Loria’s apparent lies. The fact remains, we have to remember what market we are playing in, and be smart about it. Miami currently has one of the worst T.V. deals in MLB. They consistently struggle to get fans into the seats on a regular basis, even resorting to buy one ticket get one free offers for opening day last year.
I am not saying that Loria shouldn’t open up the purse strings a little more, he should, but those of you wanting to become the free spending Dodgers, Yankees or Red Sox, don’t hold your breath. We aren’t positioned in a market like that currently. We need to be smart with our signings and focus on developing players, smart drafting, and filling in the gaps with relatively low-cost options.
The good news for Marlins fans is that it can be done. Look to our neighbors in North Florida. The Rays consistently contend with a payroll that we will be closer to in 2014. For the Marlins to be successful, they have to become the National League version of the Rays and the Oakland Athletics. Fortunately they are currently in position to do just that.
They need to lock up some of their young talent for multiple years while they are still cheap. It might cost them more in the short-term, but the long-term payouts will be wonderful. They need to offer Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich these contracts. They also need to make a decision regarding Giancarlo Stanton and his future with the organization. Either enter into talks with him, or trade him. Don’t continue to drag that situation around like a noose.
With just a few shrewd moves like this, the Marlins could be even further along in the building process. The good news for Marlins’ fans is that there is hope. The Marlins have two top talents that are very young. The hardest part for any organization is finding the building blocks for the franchise to lay their foundation on. Miami has that with Fernandez and Stanton. The question in 2014 remains whether the Marlins can overcome their own stubbornness to accept their place in the market and take the next step to build a competitive team on a budget for years to come.
What do you think about the Marlins current state? Do you think they are heading in the right direction? Are you optimistic about the future? Let us know in the comments below and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!