The Miami Marlins have wasted little time in starting to look ahead to 2017.
On Monday evening, just more than 24 hours after wrapping-up their regular season schedule, the Marlins announced that they were letting go of hitting coach Barry Bonds, third base coach Lenny Harris, and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius.
Things did not go to plan for the Marlins this season, and changes need to be made in order for the team to make big strides and break their string of seven-consecutive losing seasons in 2017. Clearly, the coaching was deemed one of these necessary changes.
For Barry Bonds, it was decided that he had not made enough of an impact to warrant a renewal of his one-year contract. While the Marlins were fourth in all of baseball with a combined batting average of .263, they only managed to score 655 runs, which was good for 27th in the big leagues. Aside from injuries, plating runs was arguably the team’s biggest issue all season.
Additionally, reports have surfaced that Bonds and manager Don Mattingly did not enjoy a harmonious relationship, as Mattingly was apparently ready to resign if Bonds signed a new deal with Miami.
A factor which will have impacted Lenny Harris’ fate were the few questionable decisions he made during his time as the third base coach which, at times, cost the team crucial runs due to baserunning blunders. However, along with Cornelius, the moves may have been a case of clearing out the staff members who Don Mattingly didn’t hire in the first place.
Mattingly now has a chance to build the staff exactly how he would like to, which should move this team in the right direction and closer to the playoffs. However, coaches can only do so much; the talent on the field needs to be there in order to achieve success.
While Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour, Martin Prado and Adam Conley all posted great seasons, Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Adeiny Hechavarria and Wei-Yin Chen all regressed, and that should be a warning flag that this team will not make the playoffs without some additional depth and talent.
The Marlins definitely improved during the first year of Don Mattingly’s tenure as manager. With a refined staff working with him in 2017, there is no reason to think that this team cannot take further steps towards the postseason. That is, if the glaring issues regarding the rotation, and possibly shortstop, are addressed this winter.