After acquiring veterans and ponying up the cash for higher priced players, the Miami Marlins gave fans a glimmer of hope with false promises of a potential Wild Card berth or division championship. But instead, the 2015 version of the Miami Marlins flopped hard.
In the offseason, the Fish decided to go all in, ditching their rebuilding strategy in favor of acquiring veteran players. Dan Haren, Mat Latos, Dee Gordon, Martin Prado, and Mike Morse all found themselves headed to South Beach. Prospects Andrew Heaney, Anthony DeSclafani, and Austin Barnes all departed in trades. Miami’s farm system was demolished and dropped in almost all rankings to one of the worst in baseball.
Jun 18, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (right) talks to Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (left) during the third inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
With a dead system, a team in need of talent, and the league’s lowest payroll, 2016 can go in multiple directions.
The first involves going out and signing high priced luxury free agents, solidifying the rotation with veterans and adding thunder to the unheralded Miami offense. With Loria’s current strategy and his reputation, this option seems unlikely. The Fish have always been a franchise defined by frugality and this trend will more than likely continue, leading us to option number two.
Option two consists of a total rebuild; completely blowing up the existing roster and replenishing the farm system by trading off MLB assets to acquire young prospect talent. Miami’s number one prospect is pitcher Tyler Kolek, who is years away from the majors. He’s also the Marlins’ only Top 100 prospect, and even that’s questionable after a season in Single-A defined by struggles.
The Marlins also received poor return on investment by not acquiring a top 30 prospect in exchange for Mat Latos and Dan Haren, two players who were traded for bright talent within the Miami system. Instead, Miami got rid of salary with nothing in return, making the two acquisitions essentially valueless.
So how will the Marlins go about a radical rebuild?
They could trade off veterans Martin Prado and Tom Koehler for competent prospects and Marcell Ozuna for either a young controllable player or a couple of decent prospects to establish a foundation for the farm system.
The next step would be to develop what young talent Miami does have. The Marlins own three MLB-ready pitching prospects in Adam Conley, Justin Nicolino, and Jose Urena. If the Marlins give those pitchers some time to develop and continue to utilize Jose Fernandez, the pitching staff should be above average.
Once the system is rebuilt, the Marlins can think about making a World Series run once again, but it’s going to take patience. But in the end, it can pay off if the Marlins front office makes the right moves and does the right things. Let’s hope they head in the right direction and progress forward, not fall backwards.
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