Miami Marlins: Offseason Plan How to Add Offense Like the Astros

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No one would have expected the Miami Marlins to have this bad of a season. We believed at worst they were going to underachieve and finish perhaps a few games under .500 for the 2015 season.

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The 2015 Miami Marlins needed everything to go perfectly for them to make the playoffs. When everything did go wrong, it isn’t exactly shocking that the season has gone the way it did.

The glaring weakness in the way that Marlins constructed their roster was in completely ignoring the importance of depth, in both the short and long-term, in building a successful organization. By making the moves that they did during the winter, they thought would take them over the top and give them a legitimate chance at the making the playoffs, they sacrificed every last ounce of depth in the organization.

Turning Kike Hernandez and Austin Barnes into Dee Gordon was a bad move because it got rid of so much depth and versatility. The Jarred Cosart trade was similarly shortsighted because it gave away depth both in the near-term in Jake Marisnick and in the long-term in Colin Moran.

The team would be better off at this point with Hernandez, Barnes, Marisnick and Moran as key parts of their future but since they’re all gone they need to shift their focus on bringing some cheap option

The Marlins have to be creative at this point and progressive too. Something that they usually aren’t. In order to be competitive in 2016 the Marlins have to be creative and progressive something that they definitely aren’t.

The Houston Astros have a nice core of star players that create the majority of their offense. However, they also brought in some nice complimentary pieces that have taken the roster to the next step.

Similarly the Marlins have a nice core highlighted by their three young star outfielders – Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich.  J.T. Realmuto who has shown that he is a very good offensive catcher, posting a .696 OPS and 29 XBH on the back of a .282 BABIP and a 3.9% walk rate.  If he becomes more patient and that BABIP rebounds some he can easily be in the mid .700s in OPS.

Derek Dietrich will also undoubtedly be in the Marlins plan for the 2016 season in some way.  This is largely warranted by a very robust .258/.367/.484 slash line and 7 HR in only 147 PA. Dietrich is also walking at nearly a career high for his entire professional career at 9.5%.

The talented outfield, Dietrich, and Realmuto are the keys to this offense moving forward. Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechevarria will do what they can, but they aren’t keys in creating runs.

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Miami Marlins make somewhat notable move with Garrett Hampson
Miami Marlins make somewhat notable move with Garrett Hampson /

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  • The Miami Marlins aim this offseason should be to sign good players to reasonably priced deals that could help them win the short-term. Their biggest dilemma since has been getting solid production from third base.

    Martin Prado hasn’t helped putting up only a .668 OPS, while only chipping in with 1.2 WAR. If they don’t trade Prado he would be best served as a super utility man, playing wherever he is needed given injuries, days off or matchups. That would be the best way to maximize his value.

    This leaves Derek Dietrich to play third base full-time, but he would best served by a platoon with a right-handed hitter, to maximize run production at the position.

    The Mets Juan Uribe is a free agent at the end of the season and he would be a perfect complementary piece to play at third base, alongside Dietrich.

    Uribe in his last three seasons has a wRC+ of at least 100 every year against versus left-handed pitchers, as well as hitting a good amount of fly balls, and posting solid power numbers with an ISO over .200 in both 2013 and 2015.

    Dietrich similarly hits right-handed pitchers better than lefties posting a 108 wRC+ in his career and a 141 in 2015.  This year alone Dietrich has a 43.4% fly ball rate against righties and a .238 ISO.

    It is always handy to have players that have extreme platoon splits to exploit their strengths against the other teams’ weaknesses.

    Another positive of a platoon is that the Uribe in this case would only face lefties about 25% of the time which still allows for Dietrich to play almost every day.

    There are two fairly good first basemen who will become available this winter, Chris Davis and Edwin Encarnacion.  Encarnacion player option he could exercise to opt out and chose to become a free agent.

    There are two obvious weaknesses with both of those players. Davis outside of his 53 HR season has only had 2 seasons that he has been a 2 win player. Largely thanks to his terrible defense which sums up to -6 DRS and -1.9 UZR at first base.

    The Marlins don’t need to spend money on another defensively limited first baseman who strikes out too much ahem (Michael Morse). The power is tantalizing but it is so circumscribed by the negatives that I wouldn’t take a chance on him 

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    Encarnacion, similarly, has slowly become the Blue Jays primary DH and has played less and less first base. Even in the time that he has spent there, it has amounted to a series of negative DRS and UZR seasons. This is even more worrying coupled with his spotty injury history

    An intriguing player that the Marlins should consider, given that the Brewers opt to let him leave: Adam Lind.

    Lind isn’t a flashy player and he honestly doesn’t also have a sparking defensive record, but I love his process.  He has walked at a rate above 8% every year since 2012 and he also strikes out relatively little at around 19% for his career.  The Marlins need more players that will walk more and strike out less. Lind, unlike Davis, doesn’t strike out at 31% for his career.

    Another strength of Lind is that he has a career 130 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers and has an OPS of at least .900 against righties every year since 2012.

    Lind would also be considerably cheaper to sign than either Davis or Encarnacion.

    Signing Lind would allow the Marlins to trade Justin Bour for some more depth to help them in rebuilding the farm system bit by bit.

    The Marlins have been victimized this year by having to play a mix of Ichiro Suzuki and the surprisingly competent Cole Gillespie in the OF in the absence of Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna.

    A fourth outfield is usually the last thing that fans think of as important in terms of building a good roster but it is very important because of the depth it creates. Chris Young will be available, great fourth OF, rakes against lefties.

    Chris Young, the outfielder not the pitcher, in his time with the Yankees has proven that he can be a nice piece with an OPS of .876 in 2014 followed by a .793 OPS this year.  This is largely thanks to an extreme split against left-handed pitching which amounts to a 191 wRC+ with a .652 slugging percentage, .304 ISO, a 50% FB rate and 14.9% HR/FB rate.

    Chris Young rakes against lefties and is a decent option if the Miami Marlins want to give Ozuna or Yelich a day off every once in a while.

    Uribe, Lind, and Young will all be very cheap to sign and they could all add some very necessary patience, power and approach to a team that needs it.  The current core is solid, but what they need is to find more of these complimentary pieces that are the difference between being successful during the course of a 162 game season.

    A good lineup would like this

    1. Christian Yelich, LF
    2. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
    3. Derek Dietrich, 3B
    4. Adam Lind1B
    5. Marcell Ozuna, CF
    6. J.T. Realmuto, C
    7. Adeiny Hechevarria, SS
    8. Pitcher
    9. Dee Gordon, 2B

    Bench- Tomas Telis, Juan Uribe, Miguel Rojas, Martin Prado

    Follow Marlin Maniac on Twitter @MarlinManiac for all your Miami Marlins news, opinion and analysis!

    Next: 10 Breakable Milestones for Giancarlo

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