The slow offseason of the Miami Marlins is about to heat up. Here are three questions the team must answer for the upcoming season.
Piggybacking off what I wrote earlier today, the best thing to Miami Marlins could do is add enough puzzle pieces to its existing game plan that would make sure this organization has a winning record in 2020.
While that is about as certain as me winning the Florida Lottery, what the front office does do this offseason will have a great impact on how this ball club fares next season. At least four of the five starting spots in the rotation are taken. It looks as though the left side of the infield is set. There is plenty of depth in the minors to provide a potential spark if given the opportunity.
And believe it or not, this is a team, should young arms continue to produce and players remain healthy in the batting order, that could approach 75 wins without making a single move in free agency or trading any puzzle pieces during the winter.
Yes, I am a believer in the Miami Marlins blueprint that continues to move forward.
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While I agree with many of the decisions the front office, namely Derek Jeter and Michael Hill have made this past year, I’m still concerned about hitting, scoring runs, and bullpen depth. Just based on those issues, and the fact that we have not seen the Marlins make any moves yet in the past two weeks of significance, there are still plenty of questions fans have for the front office.
These three questions must be answered before the beginning of February.
Which big names are signed? Looking at who is available right now, it’s a good bet Miami will make a run at Nicholas Castellanos, who has been the number one target of the organization according to many sources. The power hitter can play third base or one of the corner outfield positions. Signing him would mean Brian Anderson plays third base and becomes the team‘s No. 3 hitter in the lineup.
While Jeter will not discuss who the team envisions on the roster next year, you have to believe the South Florida native is a prized target on Miami’s short list.
Who will be the closer? Marlins do you have internal candidates to choose from when looking at the specialist position. I do think the team makes another run at Sergio Romo, who has expressed interest in coming back to play for Jeter and the team. But there are other names to consider.
Drew Steckenrider was injured almost all of last season. He figures to be part of the mix, as he was considered the potential closer before Romo was signed this past off-season. Ryne Stanek is another name to watch. He was used in the same role on a few occasions towards the end of the season after he was traded from Tampa Bay.
He did not have great success but that does not mean the team will give up on offering him the chance to win the job in camp.
Jose Urena is still a man without a true position in the Marlins bullpen. There really is not a place for him in the rotation because of depth. I could see him become a true set-up man in late earnings. I could also see him being traded this off-season or non-tendered.
Urena failed miserably in his opportunities after September 1 last season. I don’t see Miami going out and spending a large amount of money at the position, but I do see them spending money to find reliable, veteran arms. Another name to watch is Jarlin Garcia who could be a surprise pick but a good one coming out of the pen.
How short is Don Mattingly‘s leash as the manager? It’s going to be the $64,000 question even before the team gets to camp in February. I am a big proponent of keeping the Marlins skipper as part of the organization. He has been part of this reconstruction which has not been fair to him in trying to build a winner in the last two seasons.
When he did have talent, as was the case in 2016, he almost got Miami to the playoffs, which would’ve been the first time since 2003.
It’s hard to look at Don Mattingly’s lack of success as his fault other than the game he calls and decisions he makes, which is questioned from time to time. But because he was fleeced of an organization which became much younger in a short amount of time, he was given another two-year contract to try and be part of the success of Jeter’s plan.
I do think that if he starts out slow, shows a penchant for misusing his bullpen, or the team lacks run support, then Jeter could make a decision before the All-Star break.