The Only Way is Up
While at the General Manager Meetings this week, Michael Hill reiterated to the national media what he told local outlets last week: the Marlins are open to every option this winter when it comes to improving their outlook for 2020. This includes diving head-first into free agency, and potentially spending more money on a single player than they have for a number of seasons.
One of their top targets is outfielder and south Florida native Nicholas Castellanos, who the club has been following since high school. A player who you will not see wearing a Marlins jersey next season is José Abreu. Miami was rumored to be interested in the first baseman, but he has decided to accept the qualifying offer he received from the White Sox instead of becoming a free agent.
“Open to every option” also means exploring trades during this busy time of year, and the organization could again look to leverage prospects to improve their returns. While the Marlins have received praise for aggressively improving the farm system over the past two years, results at the major league level have suffered, and CEO Derek Jeter has not been shy in expressing his frustrations. With that in mind, including younger prospects in a package for major league ready talent would make sense, although the front office should be wary of falling into win-now habits at this stage of a ground-up rebuild.
Miami's new Triple-A affiliate finally has a name: the Wichita Wind Surge. Early reactions from locals are not great. Apparently, the franchise sought opinions on four other options, such as 29ers and River Riders...and then completely ignored everything and came out with Wind Surge instead. Added to the Jumbo Shrimp and LumberKings, the Marlins have some of the most “interesting,” shall we say, affiliate names in baseball.
2019 Pipeline Review
As mentioned earlier, the farm system has taken great strides on paper in recent years, but 2019 was perhaps the first season in which we saw tangible evidence of this progress. Highlighted by Isan Díaz and Edward Cabrera, as well a few draft signings who posted solid numbers right out of the gate, here are the best Marlins prospect performers at each position for 2019.
Freak on the Farm
As a high school senior, accounting for 29 total touchdowns and being offered a full-ride to play wide receiver at Nebraska is impressive. So is averaging 16.4 PPG and winning a regional All-Star dunk contest. Achieving both of those feats while also playing baseball and being drafted in the second round makes Monte Harrison one of the best athletes in all of baseball.