Much to people’s surprise, the Miami Marlins made the playoffs and finished with a 31-29 record. What do they need to do to build on their success in 2020?
The Marlins have new life. They have been stuck at or near the basement of the NL East for much of the past decade. Miami hasn’t had a winning season since 2009 and this year made the playoffs for the first time since 2003. They even managed to knock off the Chicago Cubs in the NLWCS this year. The Marlins should be looking to address the outfield. The group they had there in 2020 was not good. They were part of the reason Miami finished in the bottom third of the NL in many offensive categories. Much of their bullpen left to explore the market as well, so that unit will need to be revamped.
Keys to the Offseason
An Outfield Bat
Underperforming vets and youngsters not ready for regular time are what Miami had in the outfield this season. Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte are entering their contract years and neither played well this season. Marte was solid for the Arizona Diamondbacks, so the slump he had when he got to Miami could just be attributed to the midseason change. Dickerson could also be expected to bounce back some. His BABIP was .283, a .048 drop from his career mark heading into 2020. Nevertheless, the Marlins need at least a stopgap for a season or two. They still need another year to see what they have with Magneuris Sierra and Monte Harrison. Lewis Brinson‘s time is running out quickly as well.
Replenish the Pen
Three of their main relievers are now free agents. Brandon Kintzler, Nick Vincent, and Brad Boxberger appeared in 68 games, tossed 64 2/3 innings, finished 29 games, and accounted for 15 of Miami’s 18 saves. Their departure leaves a sizable hole. While the Marlins have Yimi Garcia likely to assume the closer role, they need dependable arms to get to the righty. In the Marlins’ favor is the fact that the reliever market is extremely deep and also looks to be cheaper than most years. They should be able to bring in four or five arms while remaining cost-conscious.
Yasiel Puig, 30, OF
After sitting out 2020, Puig should be itching to get back into uniform and prove he can still be very good. He just turned 30 earlier this month and can bring an all-around game to Miami. Puig is still good defensively in right field and has had at least 20 HRs and 15 SBs his last three years (2017-2019). The Marlins could bring in Puig for two years at $5-$8 million per year.
Any Reliever Other Than the High-priced Closers
Miami likely won’t be in the market for the top names, but they could bring in a bunch of arms to compete for important innings. Bringing back a couple of the guys they lost isn’t out of the question. A few other names who all have late-inning experience and could be had for a year or two are Ian Kennedy, Jeremy Jeffress, or Justin Wilson.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images