Miami Marlins: How do you solve these problems?


Raise your hand if you are a Miami Marlins fan who expected the team to get out to a 3-10 start?

Both of my hands were stuck securely below my desk, as I was one of the most hopeful and optimistic enthusiasts throughout the offseason.

Yes, the team is 3-10, and in response to my last piece, it’s almost time to start panicking. The Marlins front office may be doing just that, as rumors have surfaced of a possible managerial change. Ahh…Just what the Marlins needed, more instability and midseason panic moves!

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In all seriousness, it’s far too early to fire Mike Redmond, but there are certainly some big problems on this roster, the most glaring of which is the pitching staff.

As a whole, the staff has produced a league worst 5.10 ERA. Quite simply, the starters aren’t getting deep into games, the bullpen has been overused and ineffective, and the offense has been inconsistent.

Now, the hard part. The team must find a way to remedy their pitching struggles, and the answer is bigger than Jose Fernandez. Yes, his return will help, but until then there are still at least two starters in the rotation who need to be replaced. Mat Latos has struggled, but he is at least improving from start to start. Henderson Alvarez could be out another two weeks, and the team has no impact, big league ready pitching prospects.

Not only does the system lack pitching depth, it lacks any quality depth at all. J.T Realmuto, the system’s best position player was just called up. His promotion was a result of Jarrod Saltalamacchia striking out every time he sniffs the plate, and Jeff Mathis getting injured. In just 29 plate appearances, Realmuto has looked good, hitting .286/.313/.429 and driving in a pair of runs. Time will tell whether he’s ready for a full season in the big leagues, but either way he’s likely an upgrade.

Essentially, the Marlins aren’t going to find a new catcher at this point in the season. Pitching is the biggest problem, and it should be their focus. The answer is unclear, and unfortunately it may have to wait until the offseason. The upcoming starting pitcher free agent class includes Jordan Zimmerman, Johnny Cueto, David Price, Jeff Samardzija, and Yovani Gallardo, to name a few. The system doesn’t have enough depth to go after a Cole Hamels trade, and they would be unlikely to pursue him even if they had the resources.

The team now faces a big question: how do we make this team work, without making a major addition? Justin Nicolino might be given a shot at the big leagues if he continues to succeed in Triple-A, and Jose Urena was recently called up. The two are considered the most big league ready pitching the team has, and there aren’t many other options.

The dream scenario for this team? They re-discover their one-run fortune from 2014, when they were 35-29 in those situations. So far in 2015? they’re 1-4. That number could turn out to be a curse for this team, especially if the starters cannot get deep into games.

What would I do? For starters, don’t fire the manager. It really won’t fix anything; he might not make the best in-game decisions, but it’s not time for desperation mode yet. I would move David Phelps to the Bullpen, call up Nicolino, and either demote, trade or DFA Brad Hand (I’m sick of him.) I would pray Alvarez and Fernandez could finish their rehab overnight, because honestly there’s not much this team can accomplish without those two.

Once those two are activated from the disabled list, the rotation could look something like this:

1. Jose Fernandez
2. Henderson Alvarez
3. Mat Latos
4. Dan Haren
5. Justin Nicolino/Jarred Cosart

This would look much better than what they’re currently dealing with, and would take some stress off of the bullpen. Nicolino may not make a big impact right away, but he deserves a chance at some point this season to prove his big league potential.

Regardless, the front office needs to think of something, and fast.

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Next: Morning Catch: Redmond on the hot seat?

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