2013 Miami Marlins Team Preview: He is a Hustler, He’s No Good At All
He’s a loser, he’s a bum, bum, bum, bum.
2012 Record: 69-93
LF Juan Pierre
3B Placido Polanco
RF Giancarlo Stanton
1B Logan Morrison
CF Justin Ruggiano
C Jeff Mathis
2B Donovan Solano
SS Adeiny Hechevarria
RHP Ricky Nolasco
RHP Henderson Alvarez
LHP Wade LeBlanc
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
RHP Jacob Turner
In 2003, the Marlins had Juan Pierre near the top of their lineup. They won the World Series. In 2013, the Marlins have Juan Pierre near the top of their lineup. They will not win the World Series.
Jeffrey Loria is the worst owner in professional sports. There is no gray area within this blanket statement—it’s just true. You can complain about your Fred Wilpons and your James Dolans and your Donald Sterlings all you want, but none of those men have scammed his home city out of millions in taxpayer dollars to build a gross caricature of the stadium, lied about bringing in fans and players annually, and sold off all good will the second he got what he wanted. Anyone who knows this team could tell this was coming from miles away, but it’s still pure evil. Loria is a scumbag. The review is titled after him and it’s not exactly opaque.
The Marlins brought in some huge players last year, chief among them superstar shortstop Jose Reyes. Miami also signed Mark Buehrle from his career-long home with the White Sox and picked up closer Heath Bell. They also came in second place for Albert Pujols—imagine how that would’ve turned out. You can now buy Reyes and Buehrle t-shits in the Toronto Blue Jays online store, and Heath Bell merchandise is available with the Arizona Diamondbacks. We’ve also seen the departures of top starters Anibal Sanchez (Detroit) and Josh Johnson (Toronto). The Marlins sold four of their five best players within a year of bringing them together. Think about that. What if the Yankees had sold CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter after 2009? It’s ridiculous.
Of course, the man you really have to feel for is Giancarlo Stanton. The young masher is one of the top ten or so best hitters in baseball, and he’s probably the second-most fun to watch, besides the Angels’ Mike Trout. Watching Stanton hit a 500-foot bomb into that giant fruity monstrosity in southern Florida is awe-inspiring (and also a bit nauseating, but that’s not Stanton’s fault). His .608—yup—slugging percentage led the majors, and he hit 37 home runs and 30 doubles in just 123 games. If Stanton can stay healthy over a full season, he’ll win the MVP. That’s why it’s depressing that he’s marooned on a hopeless team with an active negative direction. The good news for Stanton is his age—he’s only entering his age 23 season. He’ll likely be traded next offseason for a boatload of prospects. Expect both New York teams, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, and the Cardinals to show significant interest.
The rest of the team, obviously, is a bit less inspiring than Stanton. Justin Ruggiano is pretty easily the second-best player on the Marlins, and he’s probably the only other one who would start for a real team. While it’s not a huge sample, his .313/.374/.535 line in 320 PAs last year is extremely encouraging. The rest of the lineup is a mess. Morrison is unproductive and injury-prone, Solano is AAAA fodder, and the others are all old crusts hanging onto their careers in purgatory. The only other player of interest is Hechevarria, who came over in the big Toronto deal. Other than stud pitching prospect Justin Nicolino, the almost-24 year-old Hechevarria has the best chance to become a contributing major leaguer from that trade. Also watch for catching prospect Rob Brantly to take the job from the rotting corpse of Jeff Mathis at some point this year.
The pitching isn’t quite as bad as the lineup, at least in the rotation. Nolasco is a prime trade deadline candidate, but he’s a legitimate #4 starter who seems to have at least somewhat overcome hit rate issues from earlier in his career. He’s still one of those pitchers that will always underperform his peripherals, though. Alvarez is an interesting arm, brought over from Toronto where he pitched to a 4.85 ERA in his age 22 season. He has time to improve, but we’ll see if he can bring up his ghastly 3.8 K/9 from last year. The other arms deserve a shrug, except Jacob Turner, who was the central piece in the Anibal Sanchez trade last July. Turner pitched pretty well and demonstrated newfound command in a seven start stint with Miami last year—look to see if he keeps it up. I won’t waste too many words on the bullpen. They’re terrible. Something called a Steven Cishek is their closer. He walked over four per nine last year and had a WHIP over 1.30. Whoopee.
Jeffrey Loria’s bastardized fever dream has come to fruition. This team is a nightmare, with only a few interesting pieces and one temporarily-doomed superstar keeping it from Astros-level bad. To think, people were saying this club would win the NL East in 2012. If you know how Jeffrey Loria works, you knew as soon as something went a bit south, the fire sale would surely follow.
Bottom Line: There is no future in sight for Miami. The Marlins will struggle to reach 65 wins this season, and should be a bottom-5 team for the foreseeable future. If you’re one of the seventeen Fish fans on record, get out now.