After the dust clears and the Marlins front office surveys what has happened this offseason, did they do enough to help this team win in 2019?
I will be one of the first to tell you as a fan of the Miami Marlins, I may have been wrong in my assessment of how ownership and the front office have changed this organization in a short time.
I might also be one of the first to admit I did not want to give Derek Jeter and Michael Hill the benefit of the doubt when Giancarlo Stanton and his teammates were traded away faster than a Tayron Guerrero fastball.
Now, as a I survey the landscape of this franchise and see young talent and an improved minor league system to go along with veterans who provide stability to the clubhouse, these Marlins will rise from the baseball ashes and become competitive sooner rather than later.
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But in the mind of this writer, I wonder if they did enough this offseason while the rest of the National League East got better during free agency.
Looking at the puzzle pieces that have been dealt away since December 2017, it’s easy to understand the frustration of this fan base. New faces from new places have littered the roster and invaded Spring Training to the tune of 68 roster and non-roster players joining manager Don Mattingly in Jupiter, Florida with the hope of making the 25-man roster.
"“The sweeping changes of the past two years also have positioned the franchise to strategically add players, where necessary,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com points out."
The reality is many of the roster spots have been filled. Two outfield spots for Opening Day must be decided as well as how the rotation will set up after Jose Urena and Dan Straily. Can a noephyte edge Wei-Yin Chen to the bullpen and who will be on the outside looking in?
Regardless of the 63-98 record from a year ago, you have to like the competition down south as this team has plenty of promise to fulfill if these men learn to play as a team.
Hill, the team’s president of baseball operations said this is a franchise committed to the future and the front office will continue to make adjustments to help the Marlins get better. This will include becoming more aggressive in free agency in the future.
"“We have complete support of ownership and whatever direction we feel is in the best interests of the Marlins,” Hill said on Sunday night at Spring Training media day at the Hilton West Palm Beach.“Over the next couple of years, the Marlins are expected to be more active in the free-agent market,” Frisaro added."
When the deal was finalized to send J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia for catcher Jorge Alfaro and minor league prospects, it signaled the final chapter of the old guard of everyday stars. Now, a new novel is in the works, one where Jeter, Hill and Mattingly can write their own history with this franchise. It’s still a work in progress.
Hill and the front office have preached that from Day 1 of this transformation.
"“When that time comes, I fully expect that ownership will continue to support us in whatever we feel is necessary,” Hill said."
I believe this is the best path for the Marlins. The slow, blodding pace won’t be a fan favorite, but the end result will be a cause for celebration. It’s what this team, this community needs. What we all see now is a baseball team that has been torn apart.
Slowly, and under the plan that has been established by Jeter and his staff, the puzzle pieces are beginning to fit just right.
The only thing I still worry about is whether or not the team did enough this offseason to make an impact with the 2019 less than two months away.