Despite the changes in the front office, to the 25-man roster and the team’s farm system, the Marlins are moving in the right direction.
Just like thousands of Miami Marlins fans, I was angry and skeptical of the changes the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman had in store for the organization and the community in South Florida.
After seeing the front office dismantle the team, “giving away” talents like Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich, I was none too pleased with the direction this team was headed.
But after writing for the past year about this organization, seeing the changes in personnel and taking a deeper look into the improvements from Single-A ball up to the Major League level, this blueprint Jeter talked about last year before the start of Spring Training is working.
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It may take a few more years, but these Marlins will be contenders and could challenge for a World Series title before 2025. I realize it’s a pipe dream now, but I truly believe that to be true.
I may not be the only one who has seen change for the better. While the Marlins lack the star power of years past, the reality is there was plenty of personal success, but the organization wasn’t winning.
- No winning season since 2009
- No playoff appearance since 2003
- A lack of direction from the ownership group lead by Jeffrey Loria
- Attendance has been one of the worst in MLB
Those stikes against a small market team spell disaster as bigger organizations with deeper pockets continue to get better with each season. Now, there is a light at the end of this very dark era of Marlins baseball. It’s only flickering now, however, it should shine brighter by 2020.
"“The front office has been focused primarily on restocking a depleted farm system, which it continues to do, and is making strides in that direction. The Marlins also have spent a lot of resources improving the Minor League facilities, including their academy in the Dominican Republic,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com."
The Marlins will part with catcher J.T. Realmuto in the coming weeks it would appear. The move will signify the last connection between the past of “core” players on a roster manager Don Mattingly inherited in 2016. And with the move, change will continue. As Frisaro points out, the changes to this organization are not just cosmetic on the roster, but within the organization to make the baseball experience in south Florida better.
"“Another offseason project includes numerous enhancements to Marlins Park. Much of what they have done this offseason has not been focused on traditional player moves that impact the Major League club,” he adds."
The Marlins are likely to lose another 85-90 games in 2019. The youthfulness of the roster will still have time to grow. Jeter and company may add a few more veterans to the clubhouse while trading away Starlin Castro’s contract and seeking to find more youth in the outfield. Pitcher Dan Straily will once again become a wanted man at the trade deadline.
There are plenty of pitching prospects in the minors to get excited about. It’s all part of Jeter’s master plan, one that didn’t look to be possible 12 months ago.
"“It’s important to note that the organization has been dealing with revenue issues for a long time. Attendance — even with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and others — ranked in the bottom five in the Majors. The current TV contract expires in 2020, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a new deal is in place before then. That deal could bump the local TV contract from around $18 million a season to $80 million,” Frisaro explains."
The Marlins more than likely will make a move toward signing her-priced free agents next offseason as the neophytes on the roster learn to play on the MLB level. This means Lewis Brinson, Brian Anderson, and Sandy Alcantara must all take the next step.
If a player’s development between year one and year two of his career is supposed to be the biggest jump, then can the same thing be expected of this franchise. It has worked for the Astros, Cubs, Indians, and Braves. Why not the Marlins?
"“It’s all part of a broader plan to strengthen the entire organization, while infusing as much talent as possible to all levels,” writes Frisaro. “The whole process requires patience. Even if 2019 is another 95-plus loss season, as long as the Marlins continue to make the right decisions in drafting and player development, fortunes on the field can swing as soon as ’20.”"