The time is right for the Miami Marlins to make a move in the National League East this coming season.
The time has come. The kid gloves are off and the Miami Marlins are ready to take the next step in this evolution of baseball in south Florida. Moving forward is what is on everyone’s minds as the club prepares for the start of Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida starting next week.
Baseball is back and hopefully better than ever in Miami. The third year of Derek Jeter’s rewrite of this franchise took a bit of a turn as the front office focused on adding veteran players this offseason who will provide an upgrade at the plate. Jeter, Michael Hill, the team’s president of baseball operations and manager Don Mattingly hope it also means more wins in 2020.
"“It’s getting to that point where it’s kind of time, as we talked about the build and trying to get up this hill,” Mattingly said via MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.“We’re starting to feel like you’re getting to the top of the hill, and it’s going to be a little more gravity behind us moving forward and having an opportunity to truly start competing with teams in our division, which we know is rough with the things teams are doing and where they’re going.”"
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The stronger footing on the foundation Jeter started to set after he took over the team late in 2017 has evolved into something the MLB landscape is taking note of. Should the progress lead to a significant jump in wins this season, it might become a blueprint other franchises will follow in the future.
Should and could are the important words here. Will it happen is yet to be seen.
The feeling in Miami is there is plenty to get excited about with this roster now that the starting pitching staff is healthy and a year older. The lineup is aided by more power at the corner infield positions and in the outfield. There are veterans who could make an immediate impact off the bench. And there are holdovers who could become young superstars.
"“We’re looking at it like it’s time to start moving forward,” Mattingly added. “A lot of guys we think are going to be part of the future are moving to that Triple-A range and have been through Double-A. Knowing that they’re right there, obviously, hitting the roster this year with some guys, and more guys to come.”"
Jeter has played his cards as closely as possible. We all know his intention to build this team through the minor leagues and the MLB Draft while finding puzzle pieces in free agency (like Corey Dickerson) and at the MLB Trade Deadline.
So far, the outlook has gotten brighter each season the former New York Yankees star has been at the helm of this operation.
The National League East figures to be one of the best in baseball this season with so many offseason moves made by the other four division rivals. The Marlins did not make the same kind of splash moves as their opponents, but they could be just as important to how the race to the playoffs pans out.
As Joe Frisaro pointed out, this is an organization that wants to move closer to a .500 season than where the Marlins have been the previous two campaigns.
"“The Marlins’ combined record in 2018-19 was 120-203 (.372 winning percentage). In that span, they ranked last in the Majors in runs (1,204), home runs (274) and slugging percentage (.366),” he added.“Their pitching has been more promising, but still inconsistent. Their ERA was 4.75 the past two years, 23rd overall, and their 1,220 walks were the second most of the 30 teams.”"
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Even a little improvement will go a long way toward future success this coming season.