Marlins Scenario No. 1: Twenty CCs of Cash- Stat
Twenty million dollars. Throw that on top of the current payroll projection for 2017, and you will be just about at the MLB average payroll. Seems like a reasonable request for anyone looking to repair an organization’s relationship with their city, and to boost attendance in a newly acquired ballpark. Salary inflation would eat into some of that, but even that small of an uptick makes landing a bonafide No. 1 or No. 2 caliber free-agent starting pitcher a real possibility.
And that’s the type of move a new owner would have to take. Immediately erase any association with the practices of the past. Putting aside the possibility that the next owner just wants to make bank Loria style, expect money to be spent adding on the existing corp of young talent. Even if some of those pieces lose some luster this season, you can be sure that after trading them for MLB ready talent, money will be spent on proven MLB ready replacements. Basically, if the Marlins move Marcell Ozuna to get that young pitcher they need, you can be sure it’s because they have just signed Carlos Gonzalez, J.D. Martinez, or Andrew McCutcheon. Or at least Jayson Werth‘s beard.
That seems to be the expectation of many a Marlins fan, and many more pundits. Trading players is fine, just so long as you pay for replacements or make upgrades elsewhere if a young prospect is ready to go. It’s even a reasonable one.
What’s more, when stacked against the club’s history, it’s an essential one. If those turnstiles are going to see more people push past them then any of the previous fifteen seasons have, it will take more than a name change at the ownership level. It will take some semblance of the ownership level actually caring about what the fans think.
That pretty much starts, and ends, with a willingness to try as much as the average team to win. Consider 2004, when the Marlins were defending that second world championship. They launched their title defense with a payroll war chest smaller than twenty-five other teams. Put in even starker terms, in a year where the average payroll was just over $68 million, Loria spent $42 million. The Fish spend just the average that year, and they probably have both Pudge and Derrek Lee back with team. Thinking about what could have been in that season, or a handful of others, if just that average payroll had been spent is enough to keep fans up at night.
Doing just that much, consistently, would win back many a fan who swore off the team.