Miami Marlins are Out of Strikes

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Earlier today my fellow Marlin Maniac author, Sean Millerick, shared his thoughts on the current state of the Miami Marlins. I will present my nearly polar-opposite point of view. 

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The Marlins have operated as a low payroll organization since their inception in 1993, except the 2012 season (that team had a league average payroll).

This low-cost philosophy has lead to various salary dumps, bargain basket free agent signings, and in turn a slew of losing seasons. However, as shown by the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, and various others, a low payroll can be overcome in today’s MLB.

The most recent trade motivated by financial alleviation was met by more backlash from Marlins fans, and rightfully so. The Marlins unloaded four veterans with relatively high salaries for essentially nothing but financial compensation. Now, this would be an acceptable move if the Marlins operated as a transparent organization and had the rationale to back it up.

But alas, these are the Marlins, and nothing is ever straight forward or coherent.

The Miami Marlins do not deserve the benefit of the doubt, and they certainly do not deserve your sympathy. Jeffrey Loria can cry broke all he wants, but the fact remains that he continues to promise a commitment to a winning team.

That commitment has not shown in recent years, and if the Marlins really are incapable of paying a $100 million payroll, then signing Giancarlo Stanton to the richest contract in the history of professional sports was probably the wrong idea. If $65 million, with 25% of that being paid by other teams, is all Loria can muster, then I fear what lies ahead when the hefty part of Stanton’s contract kicks in.

With the structure of Giancarlo’s deal, the Miami Marlins have the most payroll flexibility in the first 4 years, after that he makes 25+ million per year. By that logic, and with the current structure of the roster, it would make sense to go all in during the first 4 years and do whatever it takes to field a winning team. Making trades for salary relief, and acquiring lower value free players (Martin Prado, Dan Haren) in trades, rather than paying for good ones, is hardly a reflection of max effort.

In response to the injury excuses, Marlins fan Michael Martinez put it best:

Every team deals with injuries, and while the Marlins dealt with their fair share, so did the St. Louis Cardinals. What’s the difference between the two teams? Well as of today, it’s 24 wins.

The Marcell Ozuna situation continues to be a subject of debate, but there really shouldn’t even be a discussion. The issue for me isn’t that Ozuna is still in AAA, it’s that he got sent there in the first place.

The comparison to Kris Bryant and the Cubs is completely different because Ozuna had already established himself as a more than capable major league outfielder. He hit 23 home runs in 2014 and played great defense in center field. I think he should have been allowed more time to figure things out, especially since this was already a lost season for the Marlins.

If the Marlins ever want to hang with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the New York Yankees, rather than have those two teams pay 25% of their payroll, they’re going to have to start writing some checks. The Marlins currently hold one of the worst farm systems in baseball and a whole crew of high injury risk players.

They have some serious work cut out for them this offseason if they want to be relevant in 2016 and beyond. It starts with the money and ends with an actual commitment to winning rather than a scavenger hunt for low-cost players.

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Next: Look Both Ways Before You Jump Off The Bandwagon

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