The Miami Marlins In 2016: Contenders Or Pretenders?

The Miami Marlins have not had a winning season since finishing 87 - 75 in 2009. With some deft maneuvers and the right allocation of team salary - this club could contend in the NL East with Atlanta and Philadelphia both rebuilding. With a suspect ownership group I am not sure they will be bolster the club any bit.

The Miami Marlins have not had a winning season since finishing 87 – 75 in 2009. With some deft maneuvers and the right allocation of team salary (like the latest Chen signing) – this club could contend in the NL East with Atlanta and Philadelphia both rebuilding. With all questions pointing to how Jeffrey Loria will behave if they were in contention halfway through, it will be an entertaining season.

Hunter Stokes (Featured Writer) 

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The Marlins finally threw down some money on a relevant Free Agent in the past week when they signed LHP Wei-Yin Chen.  The former Oriole received a 5 YR deal worth $80 MIL – that also has a Vesting Option for a 6th year.

Financially speaking, Chen will only earn $14 MIL of that pact in 2016 – thus bringing the Fish to about $77 MIL total team salary to start the campaign.

Miami is one of the middle of the pack teams in the National League – much like the Arizona Diamondbacks are.  These teams should be predicted to be just around .500.  The rest of the clubs should be well north or south of the even record mark.

Jose Fernandez will still have an innings limit on his arm in 2016 - so if the team wishes to participate in pennant baseball, the club will likely have to conduct a trade halfway through the year for a prominent starter.

Jose Fernandez will still have an innings limit on his arm in 2016 – so if the team wishes to participate in pennant baseball, the club will likely have to conduct a trade halfway through the year for a prominent starter.  The clubs rotation was one of the weaknesses in the 2015 campaign, and was further hampered by only seeing Fernandez for 64.2 IP in recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

One of the reasons why I like the Marlins to potentially surprise people is because of Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton.  You have a potential MVP and Cy Young Award both present on your squad, but the onus will be on them to remain healthy for a year.

These 2 gentlemen have rarely been on the field at the same time since mid 2014.  Stanton has had a multitude of injuries while Fernandez underwent Tommy John Surgery half way through the 2014 campaign.

If Stanton were to play 150 games, I am confident he would club 45 – 50 HRs and add 100 RBI.

If Fernandez were to pitch a full year, I am thinking he could really help Miami contend for a playoff spot.

This club was actually not that bad on offense last year, with 1B Justin Bour, (with a .800 OPS, 23 HRs and 73 RBI in 409 AB), Dee Gordon leading the league in BA (.333), Hits (205) and SB (58), Martin Prado and Adeiny Hechavarria both batting .281 and Christian Yelich at .300.

If you can cultivate the talent of Marcell Ozuna to the lineup, and see an internal improvement from J.T. Realmuto, then there would be a nice well rounded offensive presence for Don Mattingly and the coaching staff.

All of the positional players are between the ages of 23 and 27 currently except for Martin Prado.  This bodes well for the next few years. 

Wei-Yin Chen's arrival in Baltimore was almost inline when the club was turned around. He went 46 - 32, with a 3.74 ERA in a tough offensive oriented AL East Division

Wei-Yin Chen’s arrival in Baltimore was almost inline when the club was turned around. He went 46 – 32, with a 3.74 ERA in a tough offensive oriented AL East Division.  Signing him as a #2 pitcher is a perfect move.  Chen has a HR rate of 1.2/per 9 IP which is sure to go down with Marlins Park as his home base.  He doesn’t walk much and his good defense should be able to help him out of jams.

Fernandez is an ace, and Wei-Yin Chen should benefit from leaving a tough AL East – to a down trodden NL East.

The depth of the Starting Pitching will need to have several upturns from the rotation put forth in the 2015 year.  Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart and Justin Nicolino must be better in 2016.

The good news with their salary where it is might be that Jeffrey Loria could be convinced to spend some money at the Trade Deadline should they be in contention at that point.

If $100 MIL is the max the organization to spend, it could prove a lot of means to an end – by paying some incoming players for just 3 months.  You could absorb about $50 MIL worth of contracts at that point.

Dee Gordon just signed a 5 Year extension worth $50 MIL after a year in which he led the National League in BA, SB and Hits, was an ALL - Star and took home his first gold glove. As a premiere table setter, Gordon could help the Marlins take the next step as a competitive club in the duration of this pact. His double team partner of Hechavarria is also a Gold Glove Caliber fielder, and improved his offense at the plate. The Fish are above average in a lot of positional positions and have a couple of premier players as well.

Dee Gordon just signed a 5 Year extension worth $50 MIL after a year in which he led the National League in BA, SB and Hits, was an ALL – Star and took home his first gold glove. As a premiere table setter, Gordon could help the Marlins take the next step as a competitive club in the duration of this pact. His double team partner of Hechavarria is also a Gold Glove Caliber fielder, and improved his offense at the plate. The Fish are above average in a lot of offensive and defensive positions and have a couple of premier players as well.

Starting Pitching and another Reliever would be an immediate need in my view.

Although the club could still bring in a veteran starter like Doug Fister.

Another angle would be to sign an extra OF like Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson or Will Venable.  The team could be positioned to trade Ozuna, who is not on the ‘Christmas Card’ list of team owner Loria.

You have to think the Marlins should be able to fatten up on the Braves and Phillies for 38 games this year, and the Rockies, Reds, Brewers and Padres should also provide a great launching for a decent record.

Really how this club fares against the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets will determine whether they are in the mix for a playoff spot, or saddled with mediocrity for one more year.

Of course if things go sour in the first 3 months, all hell could be on the horizon.   I would think that even a Jose Fernandez deal may be on the table at that point.

Jeffrey Loria has had a quick trigger finger with the managers and players in his organization for the whole time he has owned the club.  If this club is above .500 into July it would be nice for him to acquire some players and add payroll. 

I say with the squad as presented right now, they are a 81 – 83 win team.  That would not define them as contenders in a premiere National League where 7 teams could win 90 games. 

The Marlins would also not be classified as pretenders either if they muster a record of better than .500 for the first time since 2009, as they may be able to internally improve each of the next few seasons as the core nucleus grows together. 

It will still be up to the brass to add players to fold in order to compete with the upper echelon clubs. 

Stanton has light tower power - and should lead the NL in Homers if he can remain healthy for a whole year. While it doesn't lock up a postseason berth having an MVP type season - coupled with a CY Young caliber pitcher on the field, it should translate in a chance to contend for the year.

Stanton has light tower power – and should lead the NL in Homers if he can remain healthy for a whole year.  In 2015 he clubbed 27 HRs in just 74 Games and was hampered by a broken hand for some of those games.  While it doesn’t lock up a postseason berth having an MVP type season – coupled with a CY Young caliber pitcher on the field, it should translate in a chance to be an over .500 club for the year – and if all the moves hit lucky, maybe they have an outside chance at a playoff spot.

** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of bbba.work and their other members***

A Big thanks goes out to our featured writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

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Posted on January 20, 2016, in MLB Reports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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