The Miami Marlins will walk into the offseason ready to improve the organization in areas of need.
In a few short days, the Miami Marlins 2019 season will come to an end and that’s when the real business of baseball begins for this organization that is trying to play with the big kids.
A team with a small payroll is about to get even smaller as veterans are jettisoned off the roster, either with expiring contracts or released because the front office is unwilling to take on exorbitant amounts of money while planning for the future.
The Marlins should still make a few moves in free agency, although they won’t be the earth-shattering kind that makes this roster an instant playoff contender. Still, it will be Derek Jeter and Michael Hill at the ready to entice youngsters and modest-priced veterans to enjoy the sun and fun of South Beach while not having to deal with state income tax.
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The only thing more appealing would be winning baseball, which is still at least one year away.
Jeter solved his biggest problem last week by retaining Don Mattingly for the next two seasons while he still works to repair a dismantled roster and a defiant fanbase that wants a winner.
The Marlins averaged just over 10,000 fans per game this season, around the same number as last year when the roster parlayed 64 wins out of makeshift lineups and rookies who were getting their feet wet in the shallow end of the baseball diamond.
Yes, there was progress this season. Not enough to get overly excited about. The record is not indicative of change on the mound or in the field. And those veterans with expiring contracts will be shown the door. We can only pray the team decides to retain Martin Prado, who’s play has been limited because of injuries. The retention of Miguel Rojas is a step in the right direction.
Still, decisions must be made over what happens when the final out is made later this week. It’s a topic Jeter must answer.
"“We don’t ever sit down and say, ‘Look we’re not going to go over this particular number, because we’ve got people coming off the payroll.’ Our job is to make our team better,” Jeter said Friday, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.“Having said that, especially since the trade deadline, we have guys that are on the brink that are coming, and they’re coming quick,” Jeter said. “So you want to make sure you give them enough time to continue to develop, but you also don’t want to block anyone.”"
There is no doubt this has been a frustrating season for everyone concerned. Jeter has expressed it in the media. Fans have expressed it with their lack of support. Writers have expressed it in how they cover the team. There must be a change. The direction may be a bit stilted from the original plan.
The Marlins need help at first base, in the outfield with the lack of a power hitter, in the bullpen at several positions and potentially in the rotation with the need for one steady veteran to lead the charge. It means there could be a few surprises we don’t see coming but will impact the 2020 season.
"“We’re going to sit down here and talk about our plans moving forward,” Jeter said. “Every offseason we figure out how we can make our team better. If there’s a situation where we can make our team better, whether it’s best through free agency — we’ve done it at the trade deadline acquiring players —we’re going to do it.”“We don’t ever sit down and say ‘Look we’re not going to go over this particular number because we’ve got people coming off the payroll.’ Our job is to make our team better.”"