The Miami Marlins have plenty of offseason questions to address. Here are three bold predictions as the team moves toward the 2019 season.
The Marlins aren’t slowing down just because the 2018 regular season has come to an end. Despite a 63-98 record, a last-place finish in the National League East and a team that has recently released key members of the coaching staff, Miami continues to remain a franchise in the news.
Part of the interest lies in what the organization will do next. Part of it centers around Derek Jeter, who remains the face of this organization. The team has shown great interest in Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa, Jr., and Sandy Gaston. And above everything else, when your sports team is in south Florida with connections to celebrities like DJ Khalid, it’s a good bet the franchise is making news somehow.
Today, we are focusing on the Marlins and the future. What does 2019 hold for manager Don Mattingly and his team? A lot more losses and hopefully some improvements along the way. Will the playoff drought continue? Probably?
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Will the string of losing seasons stretch toward 2020? Almost assuredly.
There is optimism with a young core of players to build around and an ownership group not worried about the present but confident the future looks bright.
They might need to remind fans about the game plan a few more times to make them feel more at ease.
If the Marlins want to make some changes for the better next year, here are three bold predictions to follow. Hopefully, some will lead to a better record and more fan support next season.
Make a run at Matt Harvey
I know – the Marlins want to get younger and rely on rising talent. But this move might not be bad given the team still needs veteran arms while Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Richards and potentially Zac Gallen all settle in for the long haul. Matt Harvey could help here.
Harvey said he would sign with any team in the Majors with the exception of the New York Mets. At 29 years old, he still has a chance to turn his career around. This could be a low risk-high reward type of situation should he sign a two-year deal with Miami.
The Marlins must decide if they will keep Dan Straily another season or trade him for prospects. Wei-Yin Chen is great at home, bad on the road. Jose Urena figures to start on Opening Day. A veteran like Harvey lets the organization continue to bring young pitchers along slowly.
Promote Tayron Guerrero to Closer
The Marlins used a “closer by committee” approach for the final month of the season. The season started out with Brad Ziegler in control, shifted to Kyle Barraclough that fizzled out and now is an open competition.
Barraclough was traded this past week to Washington for international pool money.
Tayron Guerrero is a big kid with a plus-fastball who is intimidating on the mound by his size alone. He should be in the mix with Adam Conley, Drew Steckenrider and Drew Rucinski. Miami does not figure to look outside the organization for their everyday ninth-inning specialist.
There is a thought – at least on my end – that Alcantara would fit this role well, as would Jorge Guzman in a few seasons. For now, Guerrero would be the best fit, should he continue to improve during Spring Training.
Make J.T. Realmuto a Lifetime Marlin
I get what the Marlins are doing here. But if you don’t have a solid veteran to build around, the process you are starting has no meaning. J.T. Realmuto is a big deal in Miami and one of the most under the radar players in the Majors.
The Marlins say they will offer the All-Star a contract this offseason, hopefully with the idea of making him a Marlin for life. Personally, I would pump the breaks on that happening. But the team needs to step up to the plate on this one, nonetheless.
This is the second season Realmuto is arbitration eligible and made $2.9 million in 2018, which is paltry by today’s standards. There is no backup able to take his place on the field, at the plate or in the dugout.
The Marlins must make this happen.