Is it just me, or are the Marlins not fun to watch anymore? No, it's not just because they're losing so much of late (8-18 in their past 26 ballgames). Maybe they are related - the losing and the lack of fun. In my opinion, what makes the Marlins boring to watch is that it's the same formula every night: pretty-good to great starting pitching, no offense until late in the game (maybe), and then the bullpen finds a way to lose it. At least if the plot varied a little it would be more fun to watch.
So where does the team go from here? It's time for a change. But what can change?
There's no sense in trading Al Leiter - he's of no value and the Fish would probably end up paying his salary if he goes anywhere anyway. Besides, if the Fish are going to make a run this year, Leiter is going to have to be a part of it.
Ridding themselves of Pierre isn't much of an option either. JP's value right now is about as low as it ever has been/ever will be. Sure, he shouldn't be hitting lead-off right now, but that doesn't mean they should trade him.
Randy Messenger, despite his debut last night, is not the answer. It's doubtful that anyone in the minors is. There is no Willis or Cabrera in the minors this year. Talk all you want about how they were "surprises" in 2003. Sure they were. But they were also as highly touted (by Baseball America and the other talent evaluators) as any minor leaguers in all of baseball. Olsen, Hermida, and all the other upper-echelon prospects the Marlins have are really, really good, but they're not Major League stars in waiting (at least not for 2005).
In short (I know - I've rambled far too long for anything to be "in short" now), there isn't a whole lot that can be done player-personnel wise to improve the situation. Something needs to be done with the coaching staff.
This has been discussed for weeks now. The Indians did something (they fired Hall of Famer and franchise legend Eddie Murray) and have seen their offensive woes disappear. What have the Indians done since firing Murray? Well (according to the BP article), "since that day, Cleveland's 11-3 surge has been spurred by an offense that's averaged 6.5 runs per game." To player lines to consider: Aaron Boone - (under Murray) .160/.211/.259, (under Shelton) .333/.400/.646; Grady Sizemore (under Murray) .271/.307/.422, (under Shelton) .407/.465/.625
Yes, all the disclaimers about small sample sizes clearly apply. But we're just looking for a spark here. It doesn't necessarily have to be maintained (at least not at the Boone/Sizemore level). A new hitting coach who brings some life into the clubhouse and/or a spark into the bats could have the same effect on the team that Dontrelle-mania did in 2003.
Maybe that's not what would happen for the Marlins, but it's got to be worth trying. Granted, I'd hate to see Bill Robinson lose his job, but it could be for the betterment of the team. The Marlins may just need to hear some advice from a different voice.
And if it isn't Robinson who goes, it's probably time to start considering sending Jack back into retirement.