Raising the white flag for the Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins complete rebuild

Photo by Luis Pabon


Miami, Florida –Let’s face it, folks have been talking about it and fans can feel it. Trailing at 2-12 the Miami Marlins did a complete 180, it’s a rebuild. What we are witnessing is an outrageous disservice to the fans. Take one look at social media and you can see the frustration. One entirely justified. The stat that stands above all others is the team’s record but let’s do a quick little dive on where things are currently.

Whether you’re looking at runs (24th) heading into the weekend, hits (23rd), homers (26th), batting average (29th), or OPS (30th), they are among the worst offensively. For instance, Miami is hitting .204 at the plate averaging approximately 3.42 runs a game. Zooming in, only one is hitting above .270, your best player there is Tim Anderson. The pitching is faring poorly with a combined 5.14 (27th) ERA. Lastly, there’s a small sample size but the team has yet to win a one-run game or a contest in extra innings. They’re 0-2 in the former, something they were very good at last season. The start of the year has been utterly brutal. We’re at 1998 levels without a World Series championship. All the organization achieved was a first-round exit in the postseason fans gladly took given the franchise’s abysmal track record. This embarrassing trainwreck started in the offseason.

How it began

In the wake of General Manager Kim Ng’s departure from the Marlins, Peter Bendix was hired as her replacement. His successes at Tampa Bay brought optimism to the fan base, and concerns were temporarily assuaged. However, the offseason proved to be a disappointing one with the acquisition of Anderson becoming the only true move of any real significance. Spring training rolled in with two key injuries to an already short-handed starting rotation. This is when the fanbase got hints of the impending disaster. Although the games didn’t matter, they were a harbinger of things to come. The offense was atrocious and the pitching, particularly the bullpen, was highly suspect.

The Fish lost their first nine games before finally tasting victory and even then the win was overshadowed by news of the Marlins voiding the last year of coach Skip Schumaker’s contract. Now I can understand Bendix considering this is his first year so the jury is still out on him. I usually give GMs and coaches about three seasons. He’s working within the parameters set before him after all. In other words, Bendix is working with the hand he’s been given. Schumaker is forced to work with the players that have been assembled and given he won Manager of the Year, he is not the problem. Bruce Sherman is the problem. Speaking of.

Downfall

Craig Mish, Jordan McPherson, and Barry Jackson wrote about the circumstances surrounding Schumaker. Essentially, the reigning NL Manager of the Year disagrees with Sherman’s vision. Schumaker was against Kim Ng’s removal and although he has nothing against Bendix, the lack of upgrading the team factored into his request of wanting out. Schumaker’s days being numbered is not the only thing known. So is his replacement.

Back in December, Gabe Kapler became the assistant general manager for the Fish. Fun fact, the former San Francisco Giants skipper was also NL Manager of the Year in 2021. As Beindix’s right hand, barring any unforeseen changes, Kapler is pretty much Schumaker’s replacement. This only adds to the outrage. Leadership has given up on the season and the lack of winter activity translates into Skip’s humiliation. He deserved better.

Blame game

In over 30 years of existence, the franchise has been to the postseason four times (including the COVID-shortened 2020 season) winning two championships and enduring several fire sales. Now and then you hear how there aren’t any fans. How baseball apparently couldn’t find success in Miami. The World Baseball Classic and Caribbean Series proved that wrong illustrating the Marlins can be a competitive (and successful) team with the right leadership. There’s a market. Quality management has to be there from top to bottom throughout the organization. It certainly doesn’t have it at the top with Sherman.

The worst part is it will take quite a while for the team to return to its success of entering the postseason. Moves were made depleting the farm system and will require moving significant pieces to replenish. By the trade deadline, the Marlins are sellers. And it might be sooner than that. Tanner Scott, Josh Bell, Jake Burger, Jesus Luzardo, Tim Anderson, and Luis Arraez are all moveable assets. The real question is will there be a fire sale of sorts and if so, what would it look like? That’s a topic for another day but I think we’ll see Scott, Bell, Burger, and maybe one other like Anderson moved.  Luzardo could be shipped depending on how Edward Cabrera and Eury Perez come along in their recovery.

Per Spotrac, the Miami Marlins are 28th in payroll for 2024 with $96,688,670. Now I’m not asking for the Fish to be anywhere near the Yankees, Braves, Red Sox, or Dodgers (they can’t anyway) but if the higher-ups were investing more it would help the organization. The league average is $164,405,327, even being say 20th like the Kansas City Royals at $115,703,220 is OK. It’s certainly better than where we are now.

Final thoughts

Man, I hope the Marlins turn it around. At minimum three players will be traded. The whole thing is just awful for the fans. Miami is the first team to play so horribly after making the postseason the year before. The desperation and frustration continue to mount and the person I blame most is at the top with Sherman. The fans deserve better.

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