With the 2018 season in the books, what does the 2019 season have in store for the Miami Marlins? Can they become a winning ballclub next year?
When I look back on the 161 games over the 2018 Miami Marlins baseball season, I see progress, hope for the future and plenty of disappointment.
I speak of that from a fan’s perspective. As a lover of the game of baseball, it’s hard to watch a franchise become a reclamation project when there were puzzle pieces in place to build around. No matter how many times the media, myself included, pointed out the old blueprint wasn’t yielding success, the decision to tear everything apart and start fresh seemed excessive.
Especially when you see the results of other teams who acquired top Marlins talent this offseason. Look no further at the fact Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Christian Yelich will win the National League MVP this season after falling one home run short of the Triple Crown.
More from Marlins News
- Miami Marlins are pursuing Michael Conforto
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
- Miami Marlins can’t afford to botch this trade
- Miami Marlins news: the New York Mets are a risky threat
- Miami Marlins keep missing out on stars
Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t as prolific with the New York Yankees this season as he was in Miami last year, but I am sure this team wouldn’t pass up the 38 home runs and 100 RBI he hit in pinstripes.
The 63-98 record the Marlins posted is a reminder that this franchise is a long way from contending for playoff berths and World Series rings. It’s a harsh message that owner and CEO Derek Jeter is moving at a slow and plodding pace, making sure the right players are the right fit.
He is hoping his “game plan” works, much like the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and Atlanta Braves have all shown the way in recent years.
If not, there may be more of a mutiny of fans in South Florida than we all thought there could be.
Manager Don Mattingly said after losing 1-0 in 13 innings to the Mets on Saturday, he talked about what this team needs to find success. Pitching seems to be the topic on everyone’s mind, but the former player took another approach in talking about the future in winning terms.
"“I talked about it the other day,” Mattingly said. “What do we do? We go 13 innings, 12 scoreless and don’t put a run on the board. If you can’t score, you’re not going to win games. And you can’t just count on your pitching to shut people out on a daily basis.”"
That means Lewis Brinson needs to mature at the plate. It means a first baseman must come along. It also means the Marlins might need to open the wallet and sign a big-name power hitter. But by doing that, you alienate the fan base who would still love to see Stanton and Yelich in the middle of this lineup.
The Marlins hit a meager 128 home runs this season. If Miami decides to bring in a power hitter for the middle of the order, Manny Machado would be a nice addition and put butts in the seats in Marlins Park.
Per Kevin Kraczkowski of Marlins Maniac, Brinson is the guy this team wants to build around.
"“Through the season, Brinson slashed .198/.239/.338 with 11 homers and 42 RBI. He drew 17 walks in 403 plate appearances, versus 120 strikeouts,” he wrote. “That’s a 4.2 percent walk rate, a 29.8 percent whiff rate, and 7.06 strikeouts per walk. These numbers need to climb north. His per-plate-appearance metrics ranked last amongst qualified Marlins in every category.”"
Some things are a no-win situation. That’s Marlins baseball. That’s been the way for 15 years now. It looks like it will continue that way for a few more years before this organization can stop treading water and look above being mediocre.
Right now, things look bad but optimistic. The Miami Marlins need to be better than that.