The 2012 season could potentially be the best thing that could have happened for the Miami Marlins. Yes, the Marlins are sitting at a horrendous 60-75 record. Yes, the Marlins have traded away the former face of their franchise, Hanley Ramirez. And yes, the Marlins have once again become the laughing stock of the league in the first season at their new stadium.
Marlins owner Jeffery Loria has vowed changes are on their way, as the entire organization, from the very bottom to the very top will be reviewed. Even with the struggles, Marlins fans have something too be excited for in the future.
After underachieving throughout the first few months, the Marlins decided to become sellers. When they did, they were able to trade for right handers Jacob Turner and Nathan Eovaldi. Both have the potential to be key cogs in the Marlins rotation moving forward. Both are pitching to some mild success and a bit of growing pains so far, but the Marlins obviously liked their future potential in order to trade for them.
The Marlins started to move the right way in recent drafts. The team has started to rebuild pitching depth, much like they had done during their most successful seasons. Recent draft picks Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley, and Andrew Heaney, all have stuff that could fill spots in the Marlins future rotation. All three of these pitchers project to be ready sometime during the 2014 season.
The team also has some organizational starting pitching depth in Alex Sanabia, Sean West, Wade LeBlanc, and Tom Koheler, who was recently brought up the Majors as a September call-up.
With Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson set to become free agents after the 2013 season and the uncertainty of the Marlins bringing either of those two back, Mark Buehrle is the only Marlins starter signed through 2014. Beyond him, it will be up to these youngsters stepping in and making a difference on the Marlins, which is a similar way the Tampa Bay Rays have recently run their team.
The Rays have obviously had a bunch of success in recent seasons, which makes the model they have been using a plan that should be replicated by more teams around baseball.
With the struggles this season, the Marlins will have a decent chance to continue to add on their pitching depth by adding stronger players during the draft next June. Although many see the class of 2013 as a weaker draft class, the Marlins need to their homework and find the right talent to fit on their future team.
Next week I will take a further look into the Marlins future depth and the decisions the Marlins will have to make after the 2013 season with Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco.