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Kansas City's success proves teams can win with small payrolls

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Teams such as the Royals support the fact that a high payroll does not automatically ensure success. Owner Jeffrey Loria is reportedly content with the Marlins' plans heading into the offseason.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has never been fond of drastically increasing the team's payroll. And with the success of the Kansas City Royals this season, Loria likely won't feel a need to change.

The Royals' 2014 payroll of $92 million ranks nineteenth in the league, but as Local 10's Will Manso notes, often overlooked is the way Kansas City's front office aggressively pursued young talent.

Miami hasn't been on the winning end of most trades until recently. As major league scouts reflect on how players Miami traded away, such as Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle are performing now, they often praise the Marlins for unloading contracts. The organization also was able to add Jarred Cosart to the rotation in July, which is likely to help the starters in 2015.

In order to acquire youthful talent, the right scouts are needed. Miami added a pair of fresh eyes to its scouting department just days after the season ended with the hope that a solid roster can be constructed.

The Marlins have one of the younger rosters in baseball, but in 2014 featured both several younger players and several veterans. The core around right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is only expected to improve, but the Marlins need to make the right moves.

Kansas City made the right moves, and is only in the position it is today because the right moves (both for starting pitching and infielders) were made by the right people. The Royals are winning with one of baseball's lower payrolls, and the Marlins can do so too. But if the necessary moves are not made this offseason, there may not be much change.

Although he is not known to spend too much, Loria is expected to add at least $11 million to the payroll in 2015. The Marlins learned that signing big names to extensive contracts is not always the solution, but Loria has given more control to General Manager Dan Jennings and President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill. He trusts both to be economical and realistic when constructing a major league roster, according to The Miami Herald, and the pair will be tested this offseason.

"This was a great year in many ways, in that our front office has gelled and really worked well together," Loria said. "My trust in, and relationship with, our new President Mike Hill, General Manager Dan Jennings and their teams is fantastic. Our coaching staff did a masterful job, and Mike Redmond is deservedly getting credit for continually motivating this team even though Jose was lost for the year and Giancarlo was injured in September."

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For the Marlins, it has almost always been about making something out of nothing. Putting the right pieces around Stanton and Jose Fernandez could lead to a playoff caliber team. But the organization has to be reasonable and confident over the next two months.

Miami would love to be in Kansas City's spot next year, having played well over the course of the season and still playing baseball in the middle of October. And the established payroll can no longer be an excuse, since teams with higher payrolls (Baltimore, for example) have not performed as well as the Royals.