Dan Jennings think the Marlins are one or two pieces away from competing. Giancarlo Stanton thinks otherwise.
While Jennings believes Miami can add a piece or two this winter and then begin to compete consistently starting in 2016, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Stanton has different thoughts with regard to the way the club should approach the offseason.
"We need a lot of changes," Stanton said.
At 50-75 heading into Tuesday night's contest against the Pirates, the Marlins have turned towards 2016. The club is hoping to add a pair of young and controllable starting pitchers, Jackson adds, but continues to praise a core featuring Stanton, Jose Fernandez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Considering the Marlins have been plagued by injuries throughout 2015, evaluating the roster will likely be challenging. But the organization is aware of where it needs to upgrade.
Even with Stanton in the lineup, the Marlins have struggled to score runs. Yelich, after being extended during spring training, has struggled consistently. Ozuna is coming off of a lengthy stint in Triple-A. Michael Morse had difficulty and was traded and Justin Bour is doing his best to produce at first base. Martin Prado has been productive but also spent time on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
While the offense has had trouble scoring on a nightly basis, the Marlins' pitching staff has not had much more success. Fernandez made seven starts before being placed on the disabled list with a biceps injury. After moving Dan Haren and Mat Latos, Miami has turned to pitching prospects. Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley have performed well given the circumstances. Tom Koehler is having another solid season. Beyond that, both the rotation and bullpen have been inconsistent.
The Marlins are right to believe in their core. The group performed well last season and with Dee Gordon and a healthy Stanton involved could be considered among the best in baseball. However, when injuries occur and things do not go as planned, some teams have the depth to make up for the lost production. As a result of moving prospects over the last two years, the Marlins do not.
Although the Marlins believe they are only a few pieces away from contending, their offseason plan might be based on Stanton's observations. No, he is not currently healthy and in the lineup. But he is the franchise player that received a $325 million contract last November. And if the Marlins are committed to winning, they will likely act on Stanton's words.
Miami likely needs a pair of starting pitchers, bullpen depth, an additional outfielder and a first baseman to compete within the National League East. If the Marlins are active this offseason, it will likely continue to prove they are determined to win while Stanton is under contract in Miami.
What happens when a star player and management disagree? More often than not, the player is moved or the front office adjusts. Time will tell the path the Marlins will take.