It’s true that none of the biggest free agents of this offseason ended up signing with the Marlins, but that doesn’t mean the team has been idle. Miami has added pieces to the puzzle that, in theory, will help them be better and more experienced in 2020.
Is it enough to make any difference in the National League hierarchy? Last season’s Marlins finished 12 games behind the rest of the pack.
Taking into consideration the other National League rebuilding teams and what they have done since the conclusion of the postseason, the Fish might be in a good path to climb positions in the senior circuit.
1) Cincinnati Reds
Although the Reds let SS José Iglesias hit the market, they brought back Freddy Galvis after exercising his 2020 option. They signed the stellar Mike Moustakas to a four-year, $64MM contract with plans to use him at second base. Two weeks later, they addressed another need by adding veteran lefty starter Wade Miley on a two-year deal.
They have done what it takes to improve and, in fact, it seems Cincinnati could compete in the NL Central division as soon as this year.
2) Pittsburgh Pirates
Early in the offseason, the Pirates exercised options for 2020 on Chris Archer and Starling Marte’s contracts, but besides that, they haven’t made much noise. They signed former Marlin Héctor Noesí, catcher Luke Maile, and outfielder Sócrates Brito in minor-league deals.
Right now, their main goal is praying for Archer and Marte to become good trade chips that bring prospects to aid their long-term rebuilding process.
3) San Diego Padres
The Friars don’t need to do too much besides waiting. According to MLB.com, their farm system ranks first among the 30 organizations, so a bright future is on the way for the Padres in the hands of young men like Fernando Tatís Jr., Mackenzie Gore, Luis Patiño, and Taylor Trammell.
In 2019, San Diego was last in the NL West, with a 70-92 record and 36 games behind the almighty Los Angeles Dodgers, but you can bet on them to have a better season. Even though they lost 2B Ian Kinsler to retirement, they acquired promising RF Trent Grisham and experienced SP Zach Davies to join the rotation. Plus, reliever Drew Pomeranz, utility man Jurickson Profar, Tommy Pham, and bullpen arm Craig Stammen were welcomed aboard as well.
4) Colorado Rockies
The Rockies won only 71 games in 2019 and were just one game ahead of the Padres, but they have hardly done anything to change that entering next regular season. Their moves have been limited to minor-league deals: RP Wes Parsons, LF Michael Choice, 2B Chris Owings, and C Drew Butera, among others.
Multiple reports suggest that they have considered shopping face of the franchise 3B Nolan Arenado to rid themselves of his massive contract. Following through on that would certainly mark a step backwards for the major league team.
5) San Francisco Giants
The Giants’ offseason has been based particularly on finding a new manager (Gabe Kapler) and adding veterans such as RHP Kevin Gausman, IF Zack Cozart, and RHP Tyson Ross.
They seem closer to rebuilding than contending after permitting Madison Bumgarner’s departure to the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Marlins have strengthened their lineup with 1B Jesús Aguilar, UT Jonathan Villar, OF Corey Dickerson, and C Francisco Cervelli. They also signed good reliever Yimi García and even made a nice buy-low bet on Matt Kemp.
After all of that, it’s still a close call as to whether those moves are enough to vault them ahead of any of the other 14 National League squads. As things currently stand, the Rockies, the Pirates, and even the Giants should be in the mix for the undesirable NL cellar spot.
Who do you predict will have the worst record in the National League in 2020?
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