The Miami Marlins must take 57 wins and lots of promise, and build for the 2020 season. Can this team inch towards a winning record?
For Marlins fans, the postseason can be tough to watch.
While it seems everyone else has enjoyed success beyond the regular season, here are the Marlins once again sitting at home while Miami is left wondering when it will make it back to the playoffs, which was back in 2003.
My son was four years old at the time. Now, he’s in college learning about the world.
You cannot put a timetable on just when that will happen, but you can continue to ask Derek Jeter, Michael Hill and the baseball gods who are basking in the warmth of South Florida when it might happen. The Marlins fan base is a small sample of MLB’s landscape, but they are just as disappointed as any other when it comes to sitting at home as the holidays are creeping into the minds of children and families.
It seems like forever and forever is a mighty long time.
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The Marlins have plenty of work to do this offseason, looking to become small buyers in free agency while unpacking their roster once again to lower the payroll for yet another season. If the stars align and the team can approach 70-75 wins in 2020, then we might see Jeter and Hill open the checkbook and add some zeros to big contracts to entice top-level stars to make Miami their home.
Trust in the process. I know it’s a trying topic to discuss.
"“Following a 57-105 record in the second year of the team’s rebuild, expectations will begin to rise beginning next season. Manager Don Mattingly didn’t shy away from it during the Marlins’ final series in Philadelphia, saying the team needs to start turning the corner,” writes Wells Dusenbury of sun-sentinel.com."
There is a ray of hope even with fewer wins and more frustration this season.
"“Despite suffering the second-most losses in franchise history, Miami has rapidly improved its farm system and has a number of highly touted prospects close to reaching the majors,” Dusenbury adds. “While the likely target date for contention still isn’t until 2021 or 2022, the Marlins need to show incremental improvement next season to set up for a potential push.”"
I saw some of that push this season here in Jacksonville where the Jumbo Shrimp touted Jordan Yamamoto and Robert Dugger, who finished the season in Miami. Sixto Sanchez, Edward Cabrera, and Jorge Guzman were solid and could be in the rotation in the next 18 months. Timing is everything with young, strong pitching.
How the Marlins approach free agency will give us all a glimpse of how the front office will approach next season. If they look for mid-level starting pitching with Jake Odorizzi and Gio Gonzalez available or bringing back Sergio Romo to help the bullpen, then we might see some of these top pitching prospects as trade chips to acquire a big bat in the middle of the lineup.
It’s a cat and mouse game for the Marlins. Knowing when to make their first move is half the battle. Personally, I think it’s time. But money is still an issue.
"“Miami has roughly $35 million coming off the books from its $75 million payroll — fourth-lowest in MLB, per Spotrac,” Dusenbury explained. “The Marlins also clear another $22 million next offseason when Wei-Yin Chen’s contract expires. Making a financial commitment would go a long way in helping the franchise build back trust in South Florida.”"
We are counting down the day for Chen’s departure like it’s the final push toward Christmas Eve. We shall also see if those numbers change and Starlin Castro and his $16 million for 2020 remain on the books.
I think the Marlins do take a few swings at hitters and hope for a home run. Jose Abreu makes sense. So does Nicholas Castellanos. Justin Smoak could also be a name that is mentioned. The front office did well to find low-cost free agents last season right before the start of Spring Training.
They can afford to spend a little more this winter. And they should – if they are truly committed to moving forward and making significant progress over the next 12 months. Progress is something Marlins fans need to get excited about. Not wondering when the playoff push will begin. That is something that is still a few years away.