Miami Marlins 2022 Season Previewby Alex Kielar April 7, 2022 0 comments
The Miami Marlins were the second-worst team in the National League East last season at 67-95. In the offseason, they made a couple of key free-agent signings and trades with General Manager Kim Ng at the helm for her second year. Meanwhile, Hall of Famer Derek Jeter stepped down as the team’s CEO in February, citing that the team’s and his vision for the future do not align. While the news may have overshadowed the offseason for the team, they look to continue to improve and build for the future. It is time for them to move forward and they made moves that will make them a much more improved team in 2022. The Marlins made some coaching changes, making Marcus Thames their new hitting coach and Al Pedrique their new infield/third base coach.
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The Marlins went into the offseason with a number of needs, and they did a pretty solid job of filling them. There was no real splashy move, but they are still rebuilding and the NL East isn’t a very good division overall. They have a very young team and will only get better with time.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Four Years/$53 Million
After two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Garcia declined a one-year, $12 million mutual option in order to test free agency. Garcia provides the Marlins with a solid middle-of-the-order bat. The Venezuelan-born outfielder smashed a career-high 29 homers last season while posting a 117 OPS+ and slashing .262/.330/.490. The deal includes a club option for a fifth year and also gives the Marlins someone with postseason experience. Garcia also has speed and a strong arm out in the outfield. He is a very boom-or-bust player, as he is a bit of a free-swinger. He recorded MLB’s fourth-highest swing rate by offering at 58 percent of pitches he saw.
Jacob Stallings, C, Traded From San Diego Padres
With Jorge Alfaro being moved, the Marlins needed to solve their backstop situation. So they contacted the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are in sell-off mode, and worked a deal for Stallings. In the trade, they sent right-hander Zach Thompson, right-handed pitching prospect Kyle Nicolas, and outfield prospect Connor Scott to the Pirates. Stallings has three more years of control and gives the young pitching staff a strong defensive catcher to work with. He was a Gold Glover in 2021 and has recorded 42 Defensive Runs Saved the last three seasons. While his caught-stealing rate dropped to 21 percent last season, the 31-year-old has a career 27 percent mark, and it was up at 36.2 percent from 2019 to 2020.
Stallings will be working with a promising pitching staff, which is led by Sandy Alcantara – who the Marlins extended for five more seasons – and Jesus Luzardo – who they acquired at last year’s trade deadline. They also acquired Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott from the Baltimore Orioles this offseason, who will be key pieces for their bullpen. Sixto Sanchez is still rehabbing from his shoulder injury last season and hopes to be a part of the rotation at some point this season.
Joey Wendle, INF, Traded from Tampa Bay Rays
Adding another player with postseason experience, the Marlins get the versatile Wendle who can play second, short, and third. As a member of the Rays for the last four seasons, he made the postseason three times including the World Series in 2020. The Marlins traded away outfield prospect Kameron Misner in the deal, who was a first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Wendle is an above-average defender at any of his infield positions and has played left field as well. As an All-Star in 2021, he slashed .265/.319/.422 with 31 doubles and a career-high 11 homers. He had a 3.8 bWAR which was third-highest on the Rays.
Jorge Soler, DH/RF, Three Years/$36 Million
The theme of the Marlins’ offseason was not only filling needs but adding guys with postseason pedigree. Soler was the World Series MVP for the champion Atlanta Braves last year after they traded for him at the deadline. With the universal DH being in effect in the National League, Soler can now take that mantle for the Marlins. Along with that, he could move out to right field if needed. But it is likely they will avoid putting him there as much as possible.
Jorge Alfaro, C, San Diego Padres
As mentioned, Alfaro was traded to the Padres following three years in Miami. The former Phillie was never anything too special for the Marlins and was a big dropoff from their previous catcher J.T. Realmuto. The Marlins actually received Alfaro in the Realmuto trade, and they were hoping he would turn into even half the player Realmuto is.
Kameron Misner, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
The prospect the Marlins traded for Wendle, Misner was their 14th-ranked prospect in 2020. He has a high upside and very sound tools. While he may never pan out, as he is still a prospect, it is still a fair loss in their system.
Zach Thompson, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
The 28-year-old made his debut for the Marlins last season, where he pitched in 26 games including 14 starts. Thompson recorded a 3.24 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 1.213 WHIP, and 7.9 strikeouts per nine in 75 innings. He was the centerpiece of the deal for Stallings and is a decent depth loss for the Miami pitching staff.
The Marlins are still very far from contending, but they have a lot of promise to watch for in 2022. The moves they made in the offseason should help them improve their record into the mid-70s. The top three teams in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets, will be fighting it out all year. Miami could wind up in third if their season rolls the right way and one of the previously mentioned teams falls off. The Mets have their injury issues already, the Braves could have a World Series hangover, and the Phillies still don’t have the best pitching staff. That makes the division anyone’s to take, besides the Washington Nationals, who have traded away nearly everyone. With that said, the Marlins will still likely be sellers at the deadline and players like Soler could be flipped depending on performance.
The Marlins gained over three wins adding Stallings, while Alfaro had a negative WAR last year. Wendle also adds nearly four wins and Garica almost three. Soler and Garcia give Miami a pair of veteran power bats in the middle of the lineup and will help balance out the young lineup. The team will only improve with more experience and having players with postseason experience makes them intriguing.
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