Can the Miami Marlins remain competitive in a shortened season and challenge for a playoff berth in 2020?
The number 31 is going to be talked about number this season for the Miami Marlins. It’s the number signifying a winning season here in South Florida – something that has not been done since 2009 when the team won 87 games in the National League East.
Since then, plenty has changed. The organization looks nothing like it did back then. And now with a younger roster and more depth in the minor league system than this franchise has ever had, will the 2020 campaign ultimately end with more wins than losses.
You’d like to think 31 wins isn’t a hard task, but with this being a race to the finish instead of a marathon every game counts. The Marlins must overachieve to be a success in 2020. This is not how the front office planned it. This is not what Derek Jeter and Michael Hill talked about prior to the beginning of Spring Training.
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I agree with Matt Verderame, who wrote on FanSided.com that the 2020 MLB season will be madness. I hope it delivers the kind of compelling pennant races the players and the fans deserve. After the boxing match we all witnesses the past month, there is a certain amount of responsibility by MLB to make these games matter. There are changes to this season to help that along.
Now, we all wait one month to witness whether this happens.
"“Major League Baseball is planning a 60-game season to start on either July 23 or 24, and when it does, chaos will reign,” he writes. “Teams which are projected as terrible will be fighting for, and in some cases, earning, playoff berths over other squads with far more talented rosters.”"
The one question that continues to run around in my head is, “Why not the Miami Marlins?”
If the team we all saw at the beginning of Spring Training, now that the roster has thinned and veterans make up the majority of this roster can find a magic potion, this could be a historical season in South Florida. It lends to it by virtue of expecting the unexpected.
Manager Don Mattingly may have the toughest season in his time here with the Marlins, having to shuffle more players in and out of the lineup and prepare a young pitching rotation for a fast and furious type of season. If he can do this with patience and balance, he could be in line to win the NL Manager of the Year. So much was riding on the development of these young arms and the young lineup Mattingly would use by design.
Now, that all changes because winning a short season may mean a switch in philosophy to some degree. There is no doubt this is an exciting time as the Miami Marlins wade through unchartered waters. Fans can only hope the play on the field lives up to the hype.
If not, this will be a season the fans, players, the league office, and writers will want to forget quickly. For now, maybe all of us should just enjoy this ride were are about to take.