Will the additions Marcell Ozuna in Atlanta and Starlin Castro in Washington further cause problems for the Miami Marlins in the National League East?
While we have done a good job of celebrating what the Miami Marlins have done this off-season in free agency and with trades that will benefit the team for the future, a few moves by their National League East counterparts have me a bit concerned.
I was ready to handover the National League MVP to J.T. Realmuto prior to last season. Given that the last two MVP award winners played for the Marlins prior to their award-winning seasons – meaning Giancarlo Stanton before he joined the New York Yankees and Christian Yelich before he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers – it seemed only fair to expect another trophy being placed on the mantle of a former Marlins slugger.
Now, two moves that have been made that should affect the Marlins and the division.
it was reported ys=esterday that Marcell Ozuna has signed with the Atlanta Braves, cushioning the loss of Josh Donaldson. A couple of weeks ago, Starlin Castro signed a contract with the Washington Nationals. While I don’t expect either player to become the league’s best player, they have the ability to help their teams contend for the playoffs and a World Series berth.
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Miami did not want to make a run at Ozuna because it would have cost them draft compensation. If there’s one thing the Derek Jeter has done since he’s taking over as team CEO and co-owner, is accrue draft talent and used the trade deadline to further expand the minor-league system.
Losing draft picks for the Marlins is like losing large sums of cash for the New York Yankees. Draft capital is what is going to set this team apart from others five years down the road. Ozuna would cost the team too much and in the end – they did not pursue their former power hitter.
Since the Braves lost Josh Donaldson, it only made sense that they tried to replace his bat with somebody who could produce the same kind of numbers. Ozuna never felt completely comfortable in St. Louis after he was traded prior to the 2018 season in return for Sandy Alcantara and a plethora of minor-league prospects.
Now he comes back to the same division as the Marlins and should fit perfectly in the middle of the Braves lineup.
I think I’m a little more concerned about Castro as he led to Marlins in home runs and RBI last year and proved to be a leader in the clubhouse and on the field. If he has the same kind of influence with the Nationals, who lost Anthony Rendon in free agency, then it’s a bigger win for the World Series champions than just gaining a solid and dependable bat. Castro’s ability to play 162 games and remain injury free is something the Marlins will sorely miss, as well as his versatility to play both second and third bases.
The Marlins have capable players to step in and fill those shoes like those, but they must produce. Isan Diaz gets the full-time start at second base this year. The team has plenty of outfield prospects who can play multiple positions. The team also signed Corey Dickerson this off-season to provide power in one of the corner outfield spots. So there is balance to be had.
It remains to be seen if that balance is going to help the Marlins approach 75 to 80 wins this season/ In the meantime, veterans who have played in South Florida and have been instrumental in the teams recent history will have a better shot at playing for the World Series and those who are sitting on the bench or playing every day for the Marlins in 2020.