Offseason Swap Series: Miami Marlins
By Matthew Van Wormer
Well, after a long offseason, we’ve finally made it to the end of the weekly Offseason Swap Series that we started back in November. After hitting all the American League teams, we finished off with the Tribe’s Interleague opponents and this is the last one; the newly dressed, named and sheltered, Miami Marlins.
The Marlins made quite a splash in the offseason, reeling in players like Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to try to help them improve upon what has been a roller coaster history. Could this be just another attempt at a purchased championship or are the Marlins looking at the long term for once? Here is what David Gershman from MarlinsDaily.com had to say in response to the questions I asked him.
DTTWLN? 1 – Last season, the Marlins finished in the basement of the NL East, a full 30-games behind the division winning Phillies. I know this list could be quite long but, what was missing for this team last year?
For me, it was a combination of injuries and fluke performances. Josh Johnson‘s shoulder and Hanley Ramirez‘s lackluster play were prime reasons for the Marlins’ struggles, considering those two are arguably the hearts of the team. However, no one aside from Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton really stood out in such a way in which they could have helped the Marlins contend. With a few intriguing signings this off-season and a fresh year on the books for the entire squad, the Marlins have a chance to forget about last season and turn this one into something special.
DTTWLN? 2 – The Marlins made a few splashes in free agency this offseason, acquiring a big bat and defensive guy for up the middle in Jose Reyes and a great arm in Mark Buehrle (Thanks for getting him out of the division by the way!). How do you feel about the moves the Marlins made?
The Marlins could probably have been more efficient with their money, but they did manage to lock up several top tier talents. Heath Bell solidifies an integral role in the ‘pen and Buerhle fills a much-needed spot in the rotation. Jose Reyes, as we all know, is as dynamic as any infielder in baseball, so he too should help add five or six wins to the team. With minor league signings like Aaron Rowand, for instance, the Fish added additional depth in some important spots. The next fifty or so days will be rather interesting.
DTTWLN? 3 – As big as the moves the Marlins made were the ones that they didn’t make. They said they would spend big and go after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder and didn’t land either. Was it a disappointment to not get either of those guys?
They still have Gaby Sanchez and they used that money in other spots. Also, keep in mind that Yoenis Cespedes is still a free agent. Thus, despite the fact that Pujols and Fielder will both be wearing different uniforms this season, the Marlins shouldn’t be criticized for not netting one of them. However, on a personal level, it would have been really nice to see the Marlins ink one of those guys. That’s seven plus wins off the bat.
DTTWLN? 4 – Your new ballpark looks absolutely gorgeous. How exciting is it to have a new toy to play with?
Unfortunately, it isn’t my toy to play with, but I can think of twenty-five Miami residents who are dying to get their spikes on the new field. We really don’t know how it will play out, but it’s a new park with lots to be thrilled about.
DTTWLN? 5 – The Florida Marlins had some good years and some bad. What does the future hold for the Miami Marlins and how do you see them fairing in 2012?
As good as their off-season has been I don’t see them hopping above or below fourth place. I think they’ll be better, but the Nationals, Phillies and Braves are also improved and have lots of talent to boast. As long as the Marlins are healthy they’ll be a competitor, but winning the NL East seems like a longshot for me.
There you have it. Seems like David thinks all the improvements that the Marlins made still won’t be enough to propel them back into the playoff picture, but it seems we can all agree about one thing: the Mets are going to be awful in 2012. The NL East will prove to be a tough division and we will get to see just what those signings did to improve the team when interleague play rolls around. Good luck to the Marlins, and thanks again to David of MarlinsDaily.com for taking the time to answer these questions. Now, we can sit back, relax and count down the last few days until pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear! Next Offseason Swap Series? November!
Photo: Getty Images