This could prove to be a very exciting off-season for the Miami Marlins, if one is willing to don a pair of rose colored glasses.
It’s no secret that the Marlins are working with a low payroll, prospects that are just a season or two away from being major league ready, and a beleaguered fan-base.
MLB.com reports Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill as saying:
“I would say, we’re open to everything,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said on Wednesday afternoon. “We’re not closing any doors with opportunities for us to get better.”
It’s enough to give a glimmer of hope, but is that hope for the upcoming season, or further down the road? During the 2019 season, offense was abysmal. Less than four runs scored per game and 146 home runs in an age where the long ball is plentiful reflect the fact that some changes ought to be made.
The obvious solution is to pick up a bat off the free agency market. Typical for the franchise, there’s plenty of pitching talent to leverage in exchange for someone like Nick Castellanos or even loose canon Yasiel Puig, but less cash on hand to do so. If Castellanos, for example, is pursued, the Marlins should do everything in their power to ensure the fit is right. We can’t afford to make a mistake when payroll is so low.
When the off-season started, there were a number of players in the free agency market with ties to Miami. Jose Abreu, Cuban born White Sox infielder, was of interest to the Marlins but now that he’s accepted the White Sox’s offer, Abreu is off the table. Signing Castellanos is an interesting thought process, especially considering he has a sentimental history with the Marlins being his hometown team.
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The elephant in the room is Yasiel Puig, who made a splash in his rookie year in 2013. He was traded to Cleveland this past season and would reunite with former skipper Don Mattingly if the front office decided to pick him up. His antics might make for good television, so to speak, and his stats are solid. Might be a good mix, but his presence in the clubhouse might be chaotic for his predominantly young potential teammates.
Going back to Michael Hill, I’m inclined to draw attention to the last line of the sound byte from earlier: “We’re not closing any doors with opportunities for us to get better.” As much as that inspires hope, it inspires fear, too. A fan-base that is willing to trust change (do we really know any different?) is one thing, but don’t abuse that trust. Would we give up Sandy Alcantara or Caleb Smith for an opportunity to achieve mediocrity in a stop gap year? What about Jorge Alfaro, and Brian Anderson? Shouldn’t we invest in them? If nothing and no one is safe, this statement highlights what could be an unpredictable and shaky off-season.