After a busy offseason, the Miami Marlins are looking to compete within the National League East in 2015. Philadelphia and Atlanta are in the process of getting younger, with the Marlins and Mets among the teams expected compete with the Nationals for a division title next season. Although Miami and New York have had contrasting offseasons to this point, Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes both should be competitive moving forward.
The Mets and Marlins share much in common as they try to get there. Aces returning from Tommy John surgery (Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez), ownerships that are looked upon as dubious and franchises that squandered the largesse that normally comes with the opening of new ballparks.
Miami has been notably active this offseason, initially proving the organization is hoping to win by signing Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract in mid-November. The club continued to be active at and beyond the Winter Meetings earlier this month, adding Martin Prado, Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, and Michael Morse. The Marlins used their pitching depth to their advantage, trading Brian Flynn, Anthony DeSclafani, Andrew Heaney, and Dan Jennings, and should have an improved offense in 2015.
While the Marlins were linked to several available players before making moves this offseason, the Mets appear to be content with their roster as it is. New York will depend on a healthy Harvey to anchor its rotation, but won 79 games last season and might be able to score consistently enough to support a young pitching staff. Sherman notes that an American League executive told him it is rare for two teams (in this case the Phillies and Braves) to be more concerned with their futures, however the strategies of both clubs should enable the Marlins to compete consistently.
Sherman spoke to several front office executives who believe the Marlins are in a better position than the Mets because of their offense and well-rounded pitching staff.
An AL pro scouting director: "I gotta go with the Marlins. They have the better single superstar [Stanton] and a deeper rotation after the injured guy [Fernandez]."
An NL scout: "I’ll take the Marlins. They were one of the most athletic teams I saw all of last season
An NL assistant GM: "I think the Marlins are clearly better — more pitching and a much more dynamic offense. I think the Marlins are a really well-rounded team."
New York has benefitted from the emergence of Jacob deGrom, and Dillon Gee has been a durable right-handed starter. The Marlins, though, will likely be in a better position becuase of their rotation. While the Marlins are hoping for a healthy Fernandez in the second half of the season, the club has made several additions in order to ensure it can win without the 2013 National League Rookie of The Year. Mat Latos and Henderson Alvarez are consistent front of the rotation arms, and David Phelps, Aaron Crow, and Brad Hand all give Miami depth. One American League General Manager told Sherman Fernandez is behind Harvey in terms of rehab, but the Marlins' depth, even after several trades, might put them in a better position.
By upgrading at several positions, the Marlins have also established a core. The club had one of the best outfields in all of baseball last season, and the addition of both Prado and Morse should improve a Miami offense that is based on the production of Stanton. David Wright produces in big moments for the Mets, but as a whole New York likely would benefit from adding at least another key bat to its lineup.
The Marlins are seeking a fourth outfielder and will have spring competitions for bench roles, but otherwise appear to have an idea of what the 25-man roster will look like. Veterans were added to a youthful roster, and should help Miami compete for a division title next season.