Aside from the slow moving Free Agent market, the biggest story of the 2017-2018 offseason has been the complete dismantling of the Miami Marlins.
The fan base in South Beach is used to seeing their stars shipped elsewhere, but new owner Derek Jeter is getting plenty of hate for trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. The team’s strength—it’s outfield—is now gone and the payroll is slashed.
Looking to get the team back to profitability, Jeter and the ownership group are taking a difficult road for a team so used to being built up just to get torn down again.
The expectations are very low for the Marlins in 2018. They have a skeleton of a lineup along with few dependable answers on the mound. It’s a period of transition in Miami and transition is always tough.
2017 Record: 77-85
2017 Moneyline Record: -6.44 Units
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 84-67-11
Current World Series Odds: +80000
Current Odds To Win NL: +40000
Current Odds To Win NL East: +7500
Regular Season Win Total: 64.5
Until a late season collapse, the Marlins were in the mix for the NL Wild Card in 2017. They had an offense ranked fifth in the NL in runs scored, but couldn’t pitch well enough to stay relevant into September.
Overall, the pitching yielded a 4.82 ERA, the third worst in the NL ahead of only the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets.
Despite the weak pitching, the Marlins finished second in the NL East and looked to be just a couple arms away from contention. Rather than add those arms to the payroll, however, the Marlins went in the other direction.
Heading into 2018, the Marlins are a team with far more holes than answers.
After putting up 778 runs last year, Miami will see a stark decline in its offense in 2018. J.T. Realmuto—subject to his own trade rumors—is one of few returning stars. The catcher is good on both sides of the ball, with a 109 OPS+ and strong defense. Justin Bour also returns. The first baseman hit .289 with 25 homers in 108 games last year.
Beyond those two, the rest of the lineup is new or in an expanded role. Derek Dietrich takes over atop the order and slides to the outfield while J.T. Riddle is the everyday shortstop from day one. The team is now counting on Martin Prado to be healthy and productive. He played in just 37 games last year and has been an afterthought on this team for a couple years.
Starlin Castro at second is an interesting piece. He showed no desire to be part of another rebuilding team and comes over from a Yankees’ squad that made it to Game 7 of the ALCS last year. He’s a talented player, but his motivation is a question.
The outfield is really where the team is different. The whole outfield is replaced. Dietrich is in left the other two spots are being filled by Cameron Maybin and Lewis Brinson, the key return in Christian Yelich trade to Milwaukee. Maybin is a familiar face, back after years away. Brinson is a highly touted prospect with plenty of upside.
There are a few pieces in this lineup, but in total, it’s quite a downgrade from the collection of hitters the team featured in 2017. Instead of being in the top-5 in the NL in runs, they’ll fall much closer to the bottom of the barrel in 2018.
On the pitching side, the team didn’t digress nearly as much, but they didn’t improve from the third worst ERA in the NL.
Dan Straily remains the most reliable starter. He had 10 wins and a 4.26 ERA in a team leading 181.2 innings last year. Those are okay numbers for a No.4 starter, but not what you want at the top of the rotation.
Straily and Jose Urena are the top guys in 2018. Urena out pitched Straily in 2017 and has better stuff, but is less reliable. He did win 14 games with a 3.82 ERA, however.
Not top of the rotation arms, but Straily and Urena are quality Major League pitchers. Unfortunately, they’re joined in the rotation by questions.
Wei-Yin Chen will be back at some point after a UCL tear. He was a solid mid-rotation starter a couple years back in Baltimore, but it’s been a different story since coming to Miami. As for the other options, Dillon Peters should get a chance. He’s a highly touted prospect, but showed control issues in a cup of coffee last year. Beyond him, Odrisamer Despaigne, Adam Conley, Caleb Smith and Justin Nicolino are options, but none of them inspire much confidence. It’s basically a throw numbers against the wall mentality in hopes that someone will overperform expectations.
Behind the rotation arms, the bullpen provides little reassurance. Brad Ziegler is a good veteran arm, but he’s 38-years old and declining. Kyle Barraclough is another late inning option. Unfortunately, two arms does not a bullpen make.
The Marlins just don’t have enough on the mound or in the field. Their strength—the outfield—is gone. Their power is gone and their optimism is gone.Miami is at the start of another rebuild in hopes of a brighter future, but that’s a difficult pill for fans—and players—to swallow. This is not a good team and won’t be a good team for some time.
|Baltimore Orioles||Baltimore, Maryland||Oriole Park at Camden Yards|
|Boston Red Sox||Boston, Massachusetts||Fenway Park|
|New York Yankees||New York City, New York||Yankee Stadium|
|Tampa Bay Rays||St. Petersburg, Florida||Tropicana Field|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Toronto, Ontario||Rogers Centre|
|CENTRAL||Chicago White Sox||Chicago, Illinois||Guaranteed Rate Field|
|Cleveland Indians||Cleveland, Ohio||Progressive Field|
|Detroit Tigers||Detroit, Michigan||Comerica Park|
|Kansas City Royals||Kansas City, Missouri||Kauffman Stadium|
|Minnesota Twins||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Target Field|
|WEST||Houston Astros||Houston, Texas||Minute Maid Park|
|Los Angeles Angels||Anaheim, California||Angel Stadium|
|Oakland Athletics||Oakland, California||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum|
|Seattle Mariners||Seattle, Washington||Safeco Field|
|Texas Rangers||Arlington, Texas||Globe Life Park in Arlington|
|EAST||Atlanta Braves||Atlanta, Georgia||SunTrust Park|
|Miami Marlins||Miami, Florida||Marlins Park|
|New York Mets||New York City, New York||Citi Field|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Citizens Bank Park|
|Washington Nationals||Washington, D.C.||Nationals Park|
|CENTRAL||Chicago Cubs||Chicago, Illinois||Wrigley Field|
|Cincinnati Reds||Cincinnati, Ohio||Great American Ball Park|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Miller Park|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||PNC Park|
|St. Louis Cardinals||St. Louis, Missouri||Busch Stadium|
|WEST||Arizona Diamondbacks||Phoenix, Arizona||Chase Field|
|Colorado Rockies||Denver, Colorado||Coors Field|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Los Angeles, California||Dodger Stadium|
|San Diego Padres||San Diego, California||Petco Park|
|San Francisco Giants||San Francisco, California||AT&T Park|
March 29-April 1: vs Chicago Cubs
April 2-3: vs Boston Red Sox
April 5-8: at Philadelphia Phillies
April 9-11: vs New York Mets
April 13-15: vs Pittsburgh Pirates
April 16-17: at New York Yankees
April 19-22: at Milwaukee Brewers
April 23-25: at Los Angeles Dodgers
April 27-29: vs Colorado Rockies
April 30-May 2: vs Philadelphia Phillies
After the tremulous offseason, the Marlins could use the good press that comes with a hot start. With Miami starts off at home, they get back-to-back playoff teams to start with the Cubs and Red Sox. From there, the schedule eases up a bit. They have the Phillies, Mets and Pirates for three straight. All three teams ended with worse records than the Fish in 2017. Of course, none of those three teams dismantled to the extent of the Marlins—though Pittsburgh may have come close.After playing four of its first five series at home, the Marlins then hit a cross-country road trip, taking on the Yankees up in the Bronx, the rebuilt Brewers in Milwaukee and the Dodgers out in Los Angeles before returning home. That’ll be a particularly interesting road trip as the Marlins will square off against a couple familiar faces in Giancarlo Stanton with the Bronx Bombers and Christian Yelich with the Brew Crew.
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