By Mike Hallihan | March 3rd, 2013
“Slashing payroll” and “fan expectations” are two things that never blend well together. That’s the exact predicament the Marlins find themselves in going into the 2013 season. After an offseason fire sale, those left on the Marlins decimated roster will attempt to win baseball games and save any kind of face they can. They will fail.
The past year was an eventful one for the Marlins… and not in a good way. They started off on a fastastic note, with some fresh free agent signings, followed by the opening of their beautiful new ballpark. Then things went downhill. After a very disappointing 93-loss season, the Marlins fired Ozzie Guillen in October, then proceeded to ignite a fire sale in which they unloaded Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle (among others) to the Toronto Blue Jays. Owner Jeffrey Loria essentially backstabbed the entire Miami community and it’s taxpayers by bailing on any momentum the team had after only one year in the new ballpark that those people basically funded.
The 2013 season won’t be one where they are going to make it up to the good people of Miami by putting a contending team on the field. As much as the decision-making was a mess, so it this current roster. Aside from Giancarlo Stanton, there are just random pieces everywhere. Enjoy the Miami Heat while you can!
We know all of the big names that the Marlins gave up in the salary dump, but the players and prospects they got in return certainly don’t hold the same name value. Henderson Alvarez and Adeiny Hechavarria both figure to be regular players come Opening Day and some of the other prospects will likely get a shot later in the year.
They also signed a couple of old vets to fill the lineup. Juan Pierre (36) and Placido Polanco (37) will likely start in left field and third base respectively. If the Marlins are banking their hopes on these two guys, trouble isn’t looming, it’s already here.
Giancarlo Stanton could mash 184 home runs this season and it’s not going to matter, most of them would be solo shots anyway. This lineup is absolutely terrible. Thankfully Logan Morrison and his inept defensive ability move back to first base, where moving back to his comfort could ease the pressure on his hitting. Justin Ruggiano showed some real promise in the second half of the season, so his development may end up being one silver lining for the season.
Adeiny Hechavarria, a shortstop from the Jays trade is a defensive wizard, but there is still lots to be desired with his bat, particularly his zero power.
Donovan Solano. Jeff Mathis. Greg Dobbs. Chris Coghlan. Do any of these names arouse you? Didn’t think so. This is what the Marlins are dealing with this season. Painful.
So Ricky Nolasco is the “ace” of this lineup once again. Yes, Ricky Nolasco. He actually wanted a trade out of Miami, but they retained him to anchor the rotation. Poor guy.
After watching Henderson Alvarez pitch way too much last season for the Jays (including four times in person), I can tell you that he is good at one thing: allowing contact. He’s a sinker-ball pitcher, but strikes out almost no one (79 K’s in 187.1 IP last season). Unfortunately for the Marlins, his “play to the defense” style of pitching generated numbers to the tune of 9-14, 4.85 ERA and a second worst 1.46 K:BB ratio.
Completing the rotation is expected to be Wade LeBlanc and two younger guys in Nate Eovaldi (acquired from the Dodgers last season) and Jacob Turner (acquired from the Tigers last season). This trio was a combined 8-23 last season, so yeah, not an abundance of upside there.
Steve Cishek (5-2, 2.69 ERA, 15 SV, 68 K’s in 62.3 IP) was actually really solid as the closer last year after taking over for a sporadic Heath Bell, so if the Marlins can even get games to closer territory, they might have something good in Cishek.
The lucky Mike Redmond, a former Marlins catch in their World Series days, gets to take over the squad. Given the roster makeup and terribly low expectations, I’m sure Redmond will get at least a couple of seasons worth of a leash.
Do you really think there will be chemistry in this clubhouse? No way. Only contempt for how this team (and it’s fans) had the tank emptied.
The only character this team will have is in the form of Giancarlo Stanton blasting 450-foot home runs. All eyes will be watching him as the lone star of this team. You want proof that the Marlins will be barely watchable? Check out this Palm Beach Post story on ticket sales for a Marlins Winter Warm Up Event.
Best case scenario
Best case scenario is that the Marlins tank the season (which won’t be very difficult) and end up with a nice juicy draft pick. In the meantime, if they could fill a third of amazing new stadium (a capacity of 37,000), that would be a bonus.
Worst case scenario
Worst case is that the apocolypse doesn’t happen before March 30th. Book this sorry group in for at least 100 losses.
Expected masher Giancarlo Stantion does not reach 25 home runs. Instead, he gets “injured” and misses close to 50 games for the season. Also, teams won’t pitch to him when he does play. He has zero protection in this lineup.
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