Ah, yes. The joy of another turbulent, disappointing, and oh-so-typical Miami Marlins’ season. If the feeling of hopelessness isn’t familiar to Marlins’ fans by now, you probably don’t get too invested. Well, some of us do, and in times like these all we can do is hope for the future.
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Yes, in 2012 I told myself that 2015 was going to be the year, that the Marlins had gone out and re-stocked the farm system, there was hope.
Now? The Marlins don’t have any farm system, but what they do have is a mediocre top-level roster that lacks any credible depth at all.
So what you see is what you get with the Miami Marlins. But we know all about how bad the Marlins have been this year, I’m here to search for any bright spots to give fans hope for 2016 and beyond.
Of course, the center of the Marlins universe is the man himself, Giancarlo Stanton. If he ever manages to play a full season, he could hit 60 home runs. That’s not really in question anymore, the only question is whether or not he can avoid stray baseballs, and invest in one of those bats that doesn’t slam into the palm of your hand.
If Giancarlo Stanton is the cornerstone of this organization, Jose Fernandez has to be 1A. The surefire ace for years to come, he has looked like every bit of himself in his 2 starts post Tommy-John Surgery. Yes, 2 starts is a microscopic sample size, and he might get hurt again, but I’m trying to stay positive here.
Christian Yelich has climbed out of his early season rut and looks like the hitter we saw in 2013-14. He’s under contract for 6 more seasons, and should be an above-average player for a long time.
So that’s three guys.
Dee Gordon is pretty exciting, and he might be good for a overachieving first half every year. For whatever reason, he’s developing a knack for hot starts. Maybe the Marlins could develop some plan where Gordon starts every game for the first two months of the season, then they bench him for the rest of the year. Who knows?
Anyhow, the Marlins have roughly 3 and a half players to build around, 4 if you’re counting Marcell Ozuna. The farm system is dry, and both of their recent first round picks are probably 4-6 years away from the majors.
They have no real trade chips that they would consider trading, so the most viable market for upgrades will have to be through free agency.
The starting pitching will have to come by way of mercenaries, but that doesn’t solve the Marlins’ perpetual infield struggles.
Catcher is currently a development project with J.T Realmuto, and it’s far too early to give up on him.
Second base and shortstop are occupied by the surprisingly okay Adeiny Hechavarria, and Dee Gordon, who we’ve already covered. Both of those guys are under team control for a long time, and the Marlins will probably target Hechavarria next for a long-term deal (Uff).
First base is the big black hole. The Marlins made Michael Morse 16 million dollars richer over the offseason to do essentially nothing. He’s not going to fetch anything on the trade market, so the Marlins will be on the hook for $8 million next year, and they’re going to have to find another first baseman.
But wait! Justin Bour you say? Yes, Bour has been a very nice surprise this season, worth 0.8 fWAR in 188 plate appearances, hitting 10 home runs with a .500 slugging percentage.
God knows what he’s going to do after the All-Star break, and into 2016. Hopefully, he keeps it up, but the Marlins shouldn’t count on him doing so.
Chris Davis is the only notable free agent first baseman going into next season, and it’s no secret the Marlins could use some more power in their lineup.
Who knows, the Marlins are the biggest Wild Card Franchise in the history of sports, so this offseason we’re all just going to buckle up and see what happens.
For now, let’s extract what little joy there is to be had in the rest of 2015.
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