The Miami Marlins In 2016: Contenders Or Pretenders?
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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.
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.
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.
Fernandez is an ace, and Wei-Yin Chen should benefit from leaving a tough AL East – to a down trodden NL East.
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.
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 then 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 pad 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 should 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. A winning record should be praised.
It will still be up to the brass to add players to fold in order to compete with the upper echelon clubs.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
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Posted on January 20, 2016, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged 2016 Miami Marlins Preview, adeiny hechavarria, Atlanta Braves, austin jackson, christian yelich, cy young, dee gordon, Dexter Fowler, don mattingly, giancarlo stanton, jarred cosart, jeffrey loria, jose fernandez, Justin Bour, marcell ozuna, Marin Prado, Marlins Park, miami marlins, new york mets, NL east, philadelphia phillies, tom koehler, Tommy John Surgery, washington nationals, wei-yin chen, will venable. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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