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Expectations for the Miami Marlins

A season ago the Miami Marlins made the postseason in a full season for the first time since 2003. They secured the 5 seed in the national league, finishing with an 84-78 record. However, at their peak last year, Miami was second in the entire NL at 41-26. This means that they scuffled down the stretch a little bit, and I believe that likely was a significant reason for the fish getting swept in their wildcard series with with Phillies. Overall, last years team showed a great deal of grit and heart. And while the Marlins may not have the most household names in the league, they have a whole bunch of guys that love to do whatever it takes to win.

So what changed this offseason?

The largest concern for Miami heading into the season is that really almost nothing changed. At least almost nothing good. There was a re-tooling of the front office that saw former GM Kim Ng, who was responsible for the additions of Jake Burger and Josh Bell at last years deadline, be replaced by past Tampa Bay GM Peter Bendix.

Additionally, the Marlins lost their top power bat in Jorge Soler. Soler clubbed a team high 36 homeruns last year and how do the Marlins replace that power? They go out and sign Tim Anderson, who had one of the worst seasons we have ever seen from an everyday starter. Not to mention he hit one homerun in 493 at bats. This is a guy, who, for his career averaged a homerun every 34 at bats, and he hit one, in 493. Wow. Sooo.... not great news yet. But never fear, we traded for Christian Bethancourt! If you are wondering who that is, I am too! Okay not really, but you get the point. Miami lost a true difference maker this year in Soler, and for the most part has not added anyone to fill that role.

So what needs to happen?

If this team wants to make its way back to the playoffs in 2024, there are 3 main things that must happen.

  1. Jazz needs to stay healthy and finally dominate the way we have seen in sample sizes. He is a true star that has never had the opportunity to shine because of injury. He has never surpassed 95 games in a season and he was STILL one HR shy of a 20/20 campaign (20 homeruns, 20 stolen bases). Also, he began to look far more comfortable in centerfield at the end of last season after moving out of the infield for the first time in his life. He recorded three outfield assists to no errors in the final month of the season. Overall, the Marlins are going to need a true sparkplug in their lineup, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. is their best chance at that.

  2. The starting rotation needs to get healthy. The Marlins will already be without their ace, Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara. So while everyone knows the strength of Miami is their pitching, some youngsters will really need to step up. Miami currently has 3 starters on the shelf and the season hasn't even started yet. Edward Cabrera, Eury Perez and Braxton Garrett are supposed to be this teams 2-4 starters, but instead the front five looks like this: LHP, 26 y/o Jesus Luzardo, LHP, 28 y/o AJ Puk, LHP 26 y/o Trevor Rogers, LHP 24 y/o Ryan Weathers, and RHP 25 y/o Max Meyer. In order for Miami to win enough games to find themselves back in the postseaon they will desperately be needing to win with their back of the rotation arms.

  3. Finally, and this goes for every team. They need to stay away from the injury bug. Miami has already suffered an enormous loss this year with Sandy and they cannot afford to lose anyone else. Injury history does not look good for this Miami club, but if they can get a little luck on their side, then perhaps they can get through the year without any more gut punches.

Overall, this team is not super talented. But baseball is an incredible sport and anything can happen. If Arraez hits .350 again, if Tim Anderson has a bounce back year, if Avi Garcia doesn't make me want to hate baseball, or if Jazz finally has an MVP caliber season, this Marlins team may just find themselves playing in October once again.

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