There hasn’t been much to get excited about in South Beach when it comes to major league sports over the past few years. Aside from a cup of coffee in the first round two seasons ago, the Heat haven’t been relevant in the NBA playoffs since 2015 (though they appear to be on track for a playoff seed this season). The Dolphins are just horrific, with two Wild Card appearances to their name since 2001. For eight years Giancarlo Stanton gave baseball fans in Miami something to cheer about. Since 2003 when the Marlins captured their second World Series championship, the team faithful has had very little reason to be excited. After leaving town two seasons ago for the evil empire that is the New York Yankees and entering yet another rebuild, the Marlins and their ever dwindling fan base have been looking for a face (or faces) to attach their name to.
Much has been said on Fishstripes.com about how the team can reload or at least make themselves relevant in the National League East. The issue at hand is that the team has one of the best prospect rosters in MLB, but patience is running out for the future and fans want to see at least a competitive lineup on the field now, not years down the road. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has gone on record stating that he does not want to mortgage the future of his young talent by bringing in a couple of big names that will steal their development opportunities. Taking a flyer on Yasiel Puig would give them a player with capabilities for making a SportsCenter play at the plate or in the field and Gerrit Cole would provide the team with an ace in the starting five rotation, but it doesn’t seem likely that Jeter sign off on either of these options. So the question is, are there other options to help make the team attractive to fans, competitive in the standings and not venture too far off the planned course of action? Victor Victor Mesa could be a pillar to build around, but he has yet to show that he is ready for a full 162-game schedule. Jesus Sanchez has a chance to make the Marlins roster as soon as opening day of the 2020 season. Combining both power and finesse at the plate, Sanchez will also provide the Marlins speed and athleticism in the field, skills that has the 22-year-old ranked 51st on the 2019 MLB Prospects Watch list. One free agent and home grown talent, Nicholas Castellanos has shown up on the Marlins radar this offseason. After a modest start in Detroit last season, a trade to Chicago brought a fresh start, including 16 homers and a .321 average in 51 games. If you think Cubs fans were excited to see those numbers, just imagine the reaction by fans in Miami.
Regardless of what the Marlins do this offseason, they will still be massive underdogs when it comes to the 2020 World Series. Currently lumped with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles as teams with the worst chance at winning the MLB championship at +100000 and 500/1 odds to win the National League pennant, the Marlins might be one of the easiest head-to-head straight-up bets in Vegas. With numerous options for making MLB picks and parlays: your latest odds and tips for the 2020 season, Jeter and the rest of the Miami front office has to hope that things will pick up on the field and in the stands.
It’s been a decade since the Marlins posted a winning record (87-75, 2009) and with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball it seems far-fetched to think that the team will be ready to compete any time soon. For a team that has posted league-worst attendance records for the past two seasons, hardly breaking 800,000 and barely averaging more than 10,000 home fans, Miami baseball fans are just begging for a reason to return to Marlins Park in 2020.