The Miami Marlins 57 wins in 2019 were a step back from the 64 games they won in 2018. Can this team make noticeable changes in 2020?
It was an emotional moment on Sunday afternoon. An embrace between Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, two veterans who may not be on the same field together in 2020. The Miami Marlins will have a roster full of changes next season. Both veterans will more than likely be playing somewhere else.
In a perfect world, the Marlins keep Prado on the roster in some capacity, possibly as a coach. Castro and the team come to some agreement so he remains at third base and mentors Isan Diaz. But in a business of money and low budgets, that may not happen. Those are the struggles of playing in Miami where money means everything and the front office must turn things around before it can open its wallet to bring in high-priced players.
While there were only 57 wins to show for their efforts this season, there were changes for the better this season. Records are important but always don’t tell the entire story. Miami will be a team on the rise, but it still may take two seasons to get there. The contract extension Derek Jeter gave Don Mattingly comes with a message as well – the skipper must win.
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The Marlins sat once again in the cellar of the National League East in 2019. The front office hopes for some upward mobility next season. In order to do that, these three things must happen.
Bring in a heavy hitter – The Marlins could stand to add a potent bat in the middle of the lineup. That could come at either first base or in the outfield, or both. It all depends on whether Jeter wants to invest money in another high-priced free agent.
The Marlins should be active in free agency, but won’t go after a $100-million contract player. There are a few names out there that would fit Miami’s profile and give them home run potential with one swing of the bat.
Yasiel Puig comes to mind. Yes, there is baggage with his temperament, but he can play both at first base and roam the outfield.
“If teams aren’t turned off by his history of controversial behavior, they might be turned off by his track record of inconsistent production. He hasn’t been a true star-caliber performer since 2013 and 2014,” writes Zachary D. Rymer of Bleacher Report.
Another name to consider is Nicholas Castellanos of the Chicago Cubs. Castellanos is a right fielder who could be a nice addition and add some pop as well.
"“If the Marlins are in a mood to spur their rebuild and generate fan interest with a big signing, they could do worse than a Miami native who makes loud noises in the batter’s box,” Rymer adds."
Personally, I would love to see the Marlins make a move to bring back outfielder Marcell Ozuna, a player who did not want to leave Miami in the first place.
Find a veteran starter – This is where it could get tricky for the Marlins. Give their current situation with an overabundance of starting pitching prospects and the need for power hitters, this could mean the team makes a deal this offseason.
Who would get dealt and which free agent or starter would the Marlins deal for? Pitchers tend to get high-priced deals because they are over-valued. There are a few out there to consider. Start with Felix Hernandez who will become a free agent this offseason and should be seen as a low-risk, high-reward pitcher.
The veteran was a rock in Seattle and has a chance to be a very good fourth or fifth starter in Miami. The Marlins need this, having made the decision to live and die by youth and inexperience.
Jake Odorizzi is another name that comes to mind. There is nothing striking about him as a starter other than he is solid. In 2019, he posted a 15-7 record and a 3.51 ERA. He could be a nice pickup, but there will be competition for his services. At 29-years-old, there is still enough left for him to be a part of the rotation for at least two seasons.
The Marlins won’t push Sixto Sanchez, their top prospect, sooner than he is ready. Edward Cabrera is still a year away from making the Majors. Nick Neidert may win a spot in the rotation or begin the season at Triple-A Wichita.
Yes, that looks weird writing that.
I think Hernandez is the best option where the team signs him to a minor league deal and see what happens.
Find a true closer – The Jose Urena experiment crashed and burned when he returned from the Injured List in September. I believe he will be dealt this offseason. The trade that sent Sergio Romo to Minnesota will pay off for the Marlins in time, but it did not help the specialist role with the MLB team.
I don’t think the Marlins look to add a free agent closer, but there could be some options within the organization to look at. I once thought Sandy Alcantara would fit that role, but it is now proven he is the team’s ace of the future. He just needs run support and a steady cast of starters around him.
Jorge Guzman could be another option, but time is holding him back. Guzman was solid as a starter at Double-A Jacksonville but could become a reliever because of numbers and how the team foresees his future.
Guzman has been compared to Aroldis Chapman because of his power behind his fastball that continues to reach the high 90s on the gun.
Another option would be Ryne Stanek, who came over at the trade deadline. The coaching staff gave Stanek an opportunity to pitch in closing situations and did not have the kind of results they were looking for. He could still walk into Spring Training and have a chance to win the job.
Another name I believe the team should consider in Jarlin Garcia, who was a starter in the team’s farm system before moving to a relief role and then to the Majors in the bullpen.
Garcia was once viewed as a top-five prospect and has a solid command of his pitches, He can serve as a long-reliever, set-up man or closer out of the pen.