Don’t doubt the Miami Marlins until they give you a reason to doubt them this season.
Miami placed Adam Conley and Giancarlo Stanton on the disabled list Sunday morning, and Manager Don Mattingly told reporters after Sunday’s win over the White Sox that Giancarlo Stanton will likely be out for the remainder of the season with a grade three groin strain.
Stanton is having a productive season and continues to prove he is one of the game’s best young power hitters. He was batting .244/.329/.496 with 25 home runs and 70 RBIs before going down.
He anchors Miami’s starting lineup, which features a mix of young and veteran players. He is one of two franchise players on Miami’s roster.
Now, with Stanton out and Justin Bour also on the disabled list, the Marlins’ starting lineup clearly lacks power. But that’s not something we should be concerned about, or at least not yet.
On Sunday, the Marlins made perfectly clear how they can remain competitive without Stanton and Bour. Marcell Ozuna, Martin Prado and Ichiro Suzuki all received opportunities with men on base. Each of them delivered.
While Bour and Stanton are Miami’s two biggest power threats, the Marlins still have home run hitters in their lineup. Prado, Ozuna, Yelich and on occasion J.T. Realmuto are capable.
The Marlins were producing without Bour and will likely continue to do so without Stanton. Miami’s offense has been one of the team’s most consistent components this season.
After Sunday’s win over Chicago, the Marlins again are tied with the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. If the Marlins fielded the team as it is, questioning the club’s approach would be justified. However, that almost certainly won’t be the case.
On several occasions this season, the Marlins have proven they are serious about winning. Before the year started, Wei-Yin Chen, who had a solid 2015 season, was signed to a large deal by an organization that had been hesitant to sign free agent pitchers to large contracts.
In advance of the non-waiver trade deadline, the Marlins moved one of their top prospects, Josh Naylor, in exchange for a few months of Andrew Cashner and tried to add another starter.
So now, without Stanton, the Marlins find themselves in another position to make a move. They could consider Alex Rodriguez, who is four home runs shy of 700 in his career. But they’ve already featured such a story, with Ichiro earning his 3,000th hit this season. Rodriguez will only join the Marlins if they think he can contribute at first base. At this point, they don’t have much to lose, but Rodriguez won’t be Stanton’s "replacement."
The Marlins could consider making a trade for an outfielder, perhaps Carlos Gomez, with more than two weeks until the waiver trade deadline. It’s a bit more challenging to make a deal in August, but the Marlins almost certainly will try.
Miami could also turn to its minor league system, with Xavier Scruggs proving to be a power hitting outfield option. Derek Dietrich, Robert Andino and Ichiro could receive a significant amount of playing time in the outfield.
In past seasons, after reaching this point, the Marlins might have started looking toward the future. With the Wild Card spot up for grabs, barring a significant losing streak, that shouldn’t be the case.
The Marlins have given you reasons to doubt them in the past, but haven’t given you many this season. So until they do, don’t count them out, even without one of their best hitters sidelined for the final month and a half of the season.