Not one team has been worse over the course of the last ten games than the Miami Marlins, the team that currently holds the longest losing streak in the league. After starting the season disastrously at 3-11 and then battling back to .500, the team is back at a season-low eight games under at 16-24. To help revitalize the club, General Manager Dan Jennings is now in the dugout after Mike Redmond was fired, despite having no professional coaching experience.
Admittedly, it is hard to see this season going any way but badly at the present time. After all of the off season hype, through injuries and disappointing performances, the team has not played up to its billing. Maybe the World Series predictions were a little over the top, but this team was certainly not supposed to be worse than the team that took the field last year. But the Marlins are six games behind the second Wild Card already, and it is only the 20th of May.
The injuries could not have been predicted, but the replacements have been fairly effective, on the whole. Ichiro Suzuki has been a very nice addition and has proven his value, especially when Christian Yelich was on the DL, providing timely hits and a strong clubhouse presence. David Phelps has also been solid in the absence of both Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez. As for the other new additions, apart from Dee Gordon and Dan Haren, they have been less than impressive thus far.
Michael Morse was brought in to be a power bat to protect Giancarlo Stanton. After a very strong spring, it looked like the Marlins had found the answer that they had been looking for at first base. Since the season has started though, Morse has struggled to stay in the lineup and he is barely hitting .200 after a month and a half of play. Martin Prado has produced some highlight reel plays at third base, but his numbers are down on the offensive side of the plate.
Mat Latos has been inconsistent with his pitching performances, which is very frustrating to watch. In San Francisco ten days ago, Latos had his best start of the season as he threw seven innings of one-run ball. He then yielded five runs over three innings in his very next start against the Braves. He was supposed to be Miami's number two or three starter this year but his ERA is way over five right now and that is definitely not what the Marlins want to see from a man they're paying nearly $10 million this season.
If the Marlins continue on their current trajectory, they will be sellers at the trade deadline (sorry Giancarlo). 2015 is shaping up to be eerily similar to 2012, and that is still fresh in everybody's minds, including Mr. Loria's. Yet, this may not turn out to be a completely bad thing in the long run. The Marlins just about traded every single prospect they had this winter to acquire big league talent. So far, this hasn't benefited the franchise. Replenishing the farm system in exchange for under performing (and expensive veterans) and then being aggressive in the free agent market is a win-win situation.
Admitting defeat is a tough thing to do, but if July comes around and Miami is eight games under .500, or worse, then the team would need a miracle to turn things around. Trading away players mid-season for prospects is a recurring nightmare for Marlins supporters, but if the Fish hold onto Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, A.J. Ramos and Ichiro (as I have recently bought his player t-shirt in Japanese and I love it), then the team still has a strong foundation to build a winning culture upon.
On the contrary, the Marlins could have a dramatic turnaround and play excellent baseball like they did during the spell which brought them back to .500. Dan Jennings the General Manager was successful, and Dan Jennings the manager could turn out to be successful as well. The season is far from over, and anything could happen. The Marlins made an improbable turnaround in 2003, but will lightning strike the same place twice?