Manager Don Mattingly could face his biggest test as manager of the Miami Marlins this coming season. Can he will this team to a playoff berth?
Just as Jeff Passan wrote on his Twitter account today, this is a really big week for Major League Baseball. It’s also a big week for the Miami Marlins.
“For more than two months, Major League Baseball has been plotting a comeback. No week has been more important to the game returning than the upcoming one,” he writes.
There must be some movement between the League office, the owners, and the players if there is to be a season, no matter how long or short it is. The plan talked about the past two weeks has been a season beginning in July that lasts 82 games and has an expanded playoff season. If a resolution cannot be reached, then those plans might be thrown out the window.
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Hopefully, a calendar year without baseball is not in jeopardy.
The Miami Marlins are still working to prepare for the 2020 season as if an agreement can be struck, with the organization beginning to allow players back to their training facility to begin the process of getting into playing shape.
Still, as I look at the tarot cards, this is a long process and may take longer than originally anticipated
Per a report on SI.com, “Major League Baseball told players their prorated salaries would contribute to an average loss of $640,000 for each game over an 82-game season in empty ballparks, according to a presentation from the commissioner’s office to the union that was obtained by The Associated Press.”
Yikes! That’s a lot of money to lose and the potential of there not being any minor league baseball this season further sacks A, AA, and AAA owners in the wallet. The damage already done to this game cannot be repaired right now.
As the Marlins wait patiently with 29 other MLB teams, the focus changes to manager Don Mattingly and how he will pick up where he left off in Spring Training. Can the Miami Marlins surprise the baseball masses by playing above their heads and making the playoffs for the first time since 2003?
Here are a few predictions for Mattingly in 2020.
A .500 Finish
After four seasons in Miami where Mattingly has won no more than 79 wins in any one season, a .500 record with 41 wins might seem like a victorious season.
In reality, it would be.
As a manager in Los Angeles, the former Dodgers skipper won no less than 82 games in five seasons. That is a stark contrast to what has been happening in South Florida. After signing a two-year contract extension and being asked to wade through the rubble of the rebuilding project the past two seasons, can Mattingly make a winner of this roster?
There is a good chance the Miami Marlins could come out of the gate as they did in Spring Training and blow the roof off Marlins Park. A little momentum would be good for Mattingly’s young horses. He has a better starting rotation, better lineup, and better pitching staff than he has had in the past two seasons.
It is up to the coaching staff to keep these players moving in the right direction. Winning 41 games, or more isn’t really out of the question.
Winning the Series with the Yankees
Wouldn’t that be something? The former Yankees hero, facing his old team as part of the same division because of baseball realignment, gets the best of Gotham? It’s the kind of movie script we all love to read and watch.
There is something about a Marlins-Yankees rivalry that gets me a bit excited. There is a history without there being history. Mattingly played there. Jeter is revered as one of the all-time greats. Jorge Posada and Dick Scott have ties to both organizations. It’s almost like this should have happened sooner.
Jeter helped advance the legend of Yankee Stadium. Now he and Jeter are building their own legend and have a chance to not only face New York but also Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Watching either one of them face Sandy Alcantara’s fastball late in a game might be hero-worthy.
Just think what can happen if Mattingly returns to the Bronx and beats up his former team? The Marlins are just inexperienced enough and hungry enough to make that happen.
Winning the Manager of the Year
It would be the biggest thing to happen in Miami since the team won the 2003 World Series over, you know it, the Yankees.
This isn’t Josh Beckett on the mound, but seeing the Marlins readjust to everything that has happened since March and make the playoffs or break .500 would be one of the best jobs of Mattingly’s career. And because he is doing it after having talented All-Star players the first two seasons in Miami only to have them traded away, makes this season special.
There is a lot to like about the Miami Marlins as a young team with speed, depth, pitching, and defense. This is the season where Mattingly has a chance, in a short window, to put all of that together and show he can take a team that has risen from ashes (cure the movie music) and leads them out of the division cellar.
If Mattingly can do all of that, then he deserves to be the Manager of the Year.