The Miami Marlins need more offense in 2019
By David Levin
If the Miami Marlins trade All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto during the offseason, they will lose their biggest power source on the current roster. Regardless of Realmuto’s trade demand, the team needs more offense in 2019.
What would a Miami Marlins lineup look like next season without J.T. Realmuto? It’s not a stretch to say this lineup could be weaker than it was in 2018. It’s also not a lie that replacing a backstop the caliber of the first-time All-Star will be hard to manage. The Marlins were weak on offense this past season. Making a deal to send Realmuto elsewhere would only cause more issues with run production.
It’s an issue the Marlins front office looked to address long before the news of Realmuto’s desire to leave the sun and fun of South Florida. Playing small ball only works for a period of time before a big bat and some intimidation in the middle of the lineup is needed.
"“Whether Realmuto stays or goes, a major Marlins offseason initiative is to improve the offense,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com."
The numbers don’t lie. Miami was a bad ballclub last season in terms of production. You cannot win games if you cannot score runs. In 2018, the Marlins ranked last in the Majors in runs scored (589), home runs (128), doubles (222) and slugging percentage (.357).
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Derek Jeter’s plan of moving slowly, plodding along to make the future bright took a huge hit last season as fans stayed away from the ballpark, hoping to see a winning product instead of a mesh of youngsters and veterans trying to make it work on the basepads. We all know a 63-98 record doesn’t win much except questions about when this franchise will turn around?
Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill are trying to make that happen, but success takes time, or so they say.
"“I think we are going to be open to however we can make this organization better, and look for ways for us to do that,” Hill said at the General Managers Meetings get underway in Carlsbad, California."
The names out there don’t blow anyone away – so far. Matt Adams, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Neil Walker. Cabrera could be a nice pickup for the right price.
There is a chance Daniel Murphy could be on this team’s radar. A trade or two could bring in a prospect with potential or a veteran bat well past his prime. There is money to spend this offseason – at least more than last. Payroll is manageable with the team somewhere between $90-100 million in 2019.
The usual suspects on the roster, Derek Dietrich, Martin Prado, Garrett Cooper, and Peter O’Brien will all be given a chance to win the first base job. But none strike fear in opposing pitchers like Justin Bour did with his Paul Bunyan stature. There is a balance of speed and defense on this roster, but the lack of a power hitter, someone who can change the complexity of the game with one swing is ever-evident.
The Marlins have a solid nucleus of pitching for the future. Finding puzzle pieces in the minors to provide more run production will take a little more time to develop. Hill said the team is moving forward with their plan of developing young pitching for the future. Still, bats in the minor leagues will have to come forward at some time.
"“We like the young starting pitching that we have, and have coming,” Hill said. “We like where we’re at from a pitching-depth standpoint. But we know we need to score more runs and improve our offense. I think that will be a big part of the conversations we have.”"
Until the Marlins can find ways to improve their run production, the young pitching will be wasted. Balance should be the franchise’s main concern this offseason and during the 2019 season as well.