What the Marlins Starting Lineup Could’ve Been

Photo: Off the Bench Baseball

After beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series, the Miami Marlins, back then known as the Florida Marlins, have not returned to the playoffs. Although they had some great players last decade such as Miguel Cabrera, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, Hanley Ramirez, and Dan Uggla, to name a few, they were never able to put together another winning team.

Following a move to a new stadium in Miami in 2012, the Marlins began to look primed to return to baseball dominance, behind an incredible group of young talent. However, poor management at the hands of Mike Hill, the former General Manager and current President of Baseball Operations for the Marlins and the dumbest man in baseball, led to them losing all of their good players and getting pretty much nothing in return. The Marlins are now one of the worst teams in baseball, while their former players are succeeding on other teams.

In this article, I’ll be showing what the Marlins starting lineup could’ve looked like today if they hadn’t traded all of their talent. In addition, I’ll be doing the same for their starting pitching rotation and their bullpen in separate articles over the next two weeks.

JT Realmuto

Position: Catcher

Realmuto is arguably the best catcher in baseball and has been in the top tier of catchers for the previous three seasons. He made the National League All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger Award last year with the Marlins after hitting a solid .277 with 21 homers and 74 RBIs. Realmuto also is one of the best defensive catchers in the league with a strong arm, having caught 21 of 34 runners stealing last year. After stating that he wouldn’t be re-signing in Miami after the 2019 season, the Marlins dealt Realmuto to the Phillies for catcher Jorge Alfaro, who made the All-Rookie team last year, and top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. This was actually a pretty good return for the Marlins, but they probably could’ve gotten more for an elite catcher.

Justin Bour

Position: First Base

Bour didn’t have that good of a year last year, and he is off to a slow start this season with the Angels. Despite this, he is still a decent player overall. The big first baseman has hit 20+ home runs in three out of the last four seasons and is a consistent power hitter. His best season came in 2017 where he hit .289 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. Bour also has a respectable glove at first base. At the 2018 trade deadline, he was dealt to the Phillies for cash and minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills. Mills is getting shelled in Double-A so far and looks like nothing special. Bour is another player that could have contributed to a lethal Marlins lineup but was traded for nothing. 

Dee Gordon

Position: Second Base

For the past six years, Gordon has been one of the best second basemen in the MLB. Before the 2015 season, he along with pitcher Dan Haren and shortstop Miguel Rojas were shipped to Miami in a blockbuster deal with pitchers Andrew Heaney and Chris Hatcher, catcher Austin Barnes, and utility man Kike Hernandez going to the Dodgers in return. A two time all-star, Gordon won a Silver Slugger Award, the NL batting championship, and a Gold Glove in his first year with the Marlins. The speedster’s versatility is a big asset as well, as he can play shortstop and outfield with ease. The Marlins traded him to the Mariners for pitching prospects Nick Niedert and Robert Dugger, and although both pitchers have looked decent in Double-A, a player of Gordon’s caliber could’ve went for much more. 

Colin Moran

Position: Third Base

The Marlins selected Moran with the sixth overall pick of the 2013 MLB Draft, but he never played a professional game for them. In 2014, the corner infielder was traded along with outfielder Jake Marisnick, pitcher Francis Martes, and a compensatory pick for Kike Hernandez, outfielder Austin Wates, and pitcher Jarred Cozart. Moran, who is now on the Pirates, is a reliable fielder and a decent hitter as well. Last year, he hit .277 with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs. He will almost positively eclipse those numbers this season as he has already hit 11 homers, tallied 60 RBIs, and improved his average to .287. Instead of Moran manning the hot corner for years to come in Miami, the Marlins have nothing to show from him. 

Derek Dietrich

Position: Shortstop 

I know Dietrich is technically not a shortstop, as he is more often deployed at third, second, and the outfield. However, he is a super utility man who has played short in the past for the Marlins. Dietrich was confusingly DFAd by the Marlins before the 2019 season, despite being one of their most reliable players in previous years. He then signed with the Reds, where so far, he has 19 home runs and 41 RBIs through 96 games. The career .249 hitter may not have jaw-dropping stats, but he is a versatile player that can fill many defensive roles while also having a lot of pop in his bat. It is ridiculous that he was given up for absolutely nothing. 

Marcell Ozuna

Position: Left Field

The two-time All-Star outfielder was traded to the Cardinals after a career season in 2017. Then, Ozuna hit .312 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs, along with winning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. In return, the Marlins received pitchers Sandy Alcántara, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano and outfielder Magneuris Sierra. Alcántara has potential and is already a member of the Marlins poor rotation at age 23, but he has been streaky and unimpressive so far. Ozuna’s production has dropped since the trade, but he is still a well above average outfielder with great power numbers and defensive range. Maybe he could’ve been in line for an MVP if he stayed with the Marlins. 

Christian Yelich

Position: Center Field

As a Marlins fan, this one still stings. In his first year after being traded from the Marlins to Brewers, Yelich won the NL MVP and led his team to the NLCS by hitting 326 with 36 home runs and 110 RBIs. To make matters worse, he’s proving that last year wasn’t a fluke. So far, Yelich has already hit 36 homers, recorded 81 RBIs, and is batting .333. If that wasn’t bad enough, he was traded for a lot less than what he is worth. The Marlins received top prospects outfielders Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz, and pitcher Jordan Yamamoto. Yamamoto and Harrison have shown promise but Diaz and especially Brinson have been nothing short of disappointing. Trading the 27-year-old former Gold Glove winner will haunt the Marlins for years. 

Giancarlo Stanton

Position: Right Field

The four-time All-Star hit a career-high 59 home runs, added 132 RBIs and hit .281 en route to winning the 2017 NL MVP. Despite this, he was traded soon after Derek Jeter took over as CEO of the Marlins. After Stanton’s record setting year, you would’ve expected his price to be sky high. It was the opposite of that, however. Jeter traded Stanton to his former team, the Yankees, for a pathetically low price. In return, the Marlins got infielder Starlin Castro, who had a decent year last year but is struggling now and is way past his prime and two low-level prospects, pitcher Jorge Guzman and infielder Jose Devers. The fact that a player on Stanton’s level went for nothing symbolizes the recent history of the Marlins. Imagine the outfield they would have if they had kept him, Yelich, and Ozuna.

Honorable Mentions: Adeiny Hechavarria (SS) and Jake Marisnick (OF)

Both are respectable players, but I think Dietrich gets the edge over Hechavarria, and Marisnick won’t crack the Ozuna-Yelich-Stanton outfield. 

What do you all think? Did I miss anyone so far? Remember, in the near future, I’ll be listing what the Marlins starting pitching rotation and bullpen could have been. Make sure to stay tuned for that!

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