Just after a year ago to this day, the Miami Marlins made headlines by signing Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes at the winter meetings. Currently, while the National League East's best teams continue to improve, the Marlins have remained quiet. Look at the division's top three teams in the Washington Nationals, Phillies, and Atlanta Braves. Washington had one of the best records in baseball last season, and though Adam LaRoche may end up elsewhere, have made progress by signing Dan Haren and trading for Denard Span.
Atlanta is not a team that typically spends a significant amount on free agents, and it often isn't necessary, as for the past several seasons they have had, in terms of depth, one of best minor league systems that is full of pitching. Looking for offense, though, the Braves signed free agent center fielder B.J. Upton after losing Michael Bourn to free agency.
Philadelphia, with last year being the exception, is typically in the hunt, and though they have signed free agent Mike Adams, in the eyes of many it isn't necessary for them to make many trades or signings because of a great starting rotation that with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels taking the mound each taking the mound once over the course of five days. With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the Phillies are looking to have a bounce back season. The only team within the division that arguably has been as quiet as the Marlins is the New York Mets, though trading R.A. Dickey is likely to produce prospects that could be major league ready within the next few seasons.
If the season began tomorrow, would the Miami Marlins even be in the "Who is going to be competitive?" discussion?
After the blockbuster trade with Toronto, which will be in the back of fans' minds for most if not all of the season, the Marlins have several holes to fill, with third base and center field being the most obvious two.
If the season started tomorrow, the Marlins would most likely have one of the youngest pitching staffs in baseball, with their "ace" being Ricky Nolasco. Justin Ruggiano would be starting in center field, however after insisting that they are searching for a center fielder, the organization probably wouldn't be fond of the idea.
The biggest concern for the Marlins, if the season did begin tomorrow, would be third base. Yunel Escobar is gone, and they lost their chance to sign several free agent third baseman that they were reportedly "in on."
It's no secret that the Marlins have room for improvement, and holes to fill. But if the season started tomorrow, the Miami Marlins would be in trouble.
It's a good thing it's only December.
-After having success as the closer in 2012, it is expected that Steve Cishek will be the Marlins' closer in 2013. Cishek finished 2012 with 15 saves after getting the opportunity to close because of Heath Bell's lack of success. "Even when I first got called up to the big leagues, I learned to take a step back and put all the nerves or excitement out of the way and focus," said Cishek, who is working out at Cressey Performance outside of Boston, near his hometown of Falmouth, Mass. "I feel like I had to do that all over again closing, because it's a whole new atmosphere, a whole other level of adrenaline."
- Derek Dietrich will likely get a look in spring training, but isn't expected to win the starting job at third base. After saying that the organization was "not comfortable moving forward" with Escobar, the Marlins are running out of third base options after Mark Reynolds signed with the Cleveland Indians. Ian Stewart is still available, if the Marlins are interested.
-After not being able to resign Josh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers may be looking for a power hitter. And if Giancarlo Stanton is not in Miami's future plans, Texas is a possible trade partner, as Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar are two prospects that the Marlins would likely be interested in.
Around The League
- If he and the Blue Jays can agree on a contract extension before Tuesday, R.A. Dickey will be headed to Toronto in a seven player trade that would also send former Marlin John Buck to New York.
- Despite not being able to agree on a deal with the Texas Rangers, Josh Hamilton is excited to begin his tenure in Los Angeles.
-The Phillies reached an agreement with free agent reliever Mike Adams, and have also reportedly signed former Washington National John Lannan.
- Although it appears managers that go out and argue a call are always getting heated over what in their eyes was an incorrect call, there have been some exchanges between umpires and managers that had nothing to do with baseball.
At Fish Stripes
- The Marlins are seeking a center fielder. Is Peter Bourjos a possible target?
- Would Miami be willing to send Stanton to Texas if they got the right pieces in return?
- Check out Miami's projected 2016 lineup here.
- Is the Stanton situation similar to what happened with Miguel Cabrera a few years ago?
-The Marlins and Rays have found success at different times. Should they use the same philosophy to start winning?