After watching the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals, there are valuable lessons the Marlins can learn.
We are just a few days removed from the Washington Nationals hoisting the World Series trophy and the landscape of the Miami Marlins has already changed.
The front office has already made moves that will impact the 2020 roster, deciding not to bring back veterans Neil Walker, Martin Prado, and Curtis Granderson. It was also announced the Marlins did not pick up the option to pay Starlin Castro $16 million next season, therefore he is now a free agent. The move involving Castro was expected, but it still hurts the lineup because of his durability (he played all 162 games) and his swing (22 home runs, 86 RBI).
Walker and Granderson were expendable. So was Prado, but as a fan favorite, you hate to see the veteran leave and potentially play somewhere else in 2020. If the baseball gods favor the Marlins, Prado will return to the organization in some capacity next season.
"As Michael Wittman of dodgersway.com on FanSided.com writes in the same type of article here on Marlin Maniac, “The first one is that there is no given path to the World Series. The Nationals were forced to play in the Wild Card game, burned through their top two starting pitchers, and still managed to get to game seven of the World Series and win it.“The Astros, on the other hand, had the best record in baseball yet like the Dodgers they were challenged in the division series. Houston survived and went on to make the World Series but ultimately lost.”"
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The Marlins were nowhere near challenging for a playoff berth, more taking the stance this is still a work in progress that might take longer than expected. Baseball has not been kind of the fans here in south Florida for the past 16 years. But like every other team that watched the Nationals celebrate this past week, there is always next season.
Here are three things the Marlins can take away from the Nationals World Series victory.
Starting pitching matters – Wittman pointed out teams need to solid starting pitchers to win a World Series title. The Marlins may have that in Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith. They also have young arms in their minor league system who could prove to be better than this duo on the parent club.
It’s a matter of effectiveness, control, and timing.
Washington has Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. There is little comparison in the twosomes. But as Alcantara continues to develop and Smith looks to avoid the long ball next season, both pitchers could be legit 15-17 game-winners. That’s a big deal for the Marlins who need two double-digit arms to get out of the basement of the National League East.
Clutch hitting is important – The Marlins didn’t hit the ball well in 2019 and may have been the most obvious reason for their 57-105 record in 2019.
"As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote, “Upgrading the offense will be Miami’s top offseason priority. In 2019, the club was last in the Majors in home runs with 146.”"
Fans still dig the long ball. They also dig scoring runs in bunches and having key hits in key situations. It’s one of the reasons the front office brought in James Rowson from Minnesota as their new bench coach and hitting instructor.
"“The Twins set a Major League record with 307 home runs and earned the nickname the “Bomba Squad.” They edged the Yankees (306) for the homer mark,” Frisaro added."
The Marlins need that kind of success at the plate.
The Marlins should gamble in free agency – As fans watched Gerrit Cole remain in the bullpen in Game 7, waiting to see if the free-agent-to-be would take the mound to help the Astros win the series, I could not help but think the Marlins should consider opening their wallet and adding high-priced free agents to help the team balance its roster with youthful inexperience.
The front office does not need to go overboard on signing top names. This is not the New York Yankees, who feel they must have every top free agent under contract, but having a few more names on the roster would help. Offering to Rendon and Jose Abreu are solid moves that could pay off.
Adding one more arm in the rotation would be an early Christmas present.