What if Michael Hill suddenly stepped down from his position as President of Baseball Operations and Derek Jeter hired me to replace him? Well first off, it would be one of the best hires possible, and second, I think it would a very seamless transition as I believe Michael Hill and I share the same vision. Over the course of the next month I am going to map out of the plan for not only the 2020 Marlins, but reveal the final construction of my 2021 Opening Day Marlins team.
The Marlins’ 2020 goal is simple: we want to be competitive in a tough NL East division while acquiring more talent and developing our talent throughout all levels. We don’t expect to be winning the NL East, but I do intend on making divisional games much tougher than last year. We only had a winning record against one of our divisional opponents (Phillies); this year, I want us to have at least two. It is going to be a tough going for a long time and that is why my second pillar is of such importance in acquiring more talent.
Last year, we acquired big names in Jazz Chisholm, Jesús Sánchez, and Sixto Sánchez and unfortunately we had to part ways with J.T. Realmuto, Zac Gallen, and Nick Anderson to make that happen. Even the low-profile Sergio Romo trade brought back promising first baseman Lewin Díaz in return. Who exactly we move this upcoming summer will depend on the offer, but I am committed to making this roster the best I can even if it means sacrificing present-day competitiveness to lead to success in the future.
We are focused on developing our talent down in the farm system to become even better. We have a system loaded with top players and we just need to ensure that we continue to work on getting better. Every player has more they can work on and it is on us as an organization and the player to ensure that we hit their ceiling. Our prospect plan will go much more in depth on the individuals.
Here you’ll find my general evaluations of our position players and starting pitchers heading into Opening Day. My in-depth analysis on each player will come in the next piece.
My catchers are going to be Jorge Alfaro/Francisco Cervelli. I am not going to upgrade at this time, but maybe I will acquire one for the future. Chad Wallach will be serving as my third catcher. Jorge Alfaro is a good option long term for us, but I am not going to say he is a top 10 talent at the position. If MLB goes to robotic strike zones, then Alfaro is going to remain a good option due to his skill set.
My first base will be a split between Garrett Cooper and Jesús Aguilar. Matt Kemp will be there if one of those gets injured or until Lewin Díaz is ready. It is important to get them both bats, because we could see one or both moved near the deadline. Garrett Cooper could potentially be a great asset for us at first and if both first baseman can combine for 50 home runs and 120 RBI, then I am satisfied.
Second base I am looking at the continued development of Isan Díaz and I will give Sean Rodríguez playtime when Diaz needs rest. My big fear here is a long term injury to Díaz which will force me begin looking at Gosuke Katoh/Eddy Alvarez/Christian Lopes. Long term none of those guys are the answer, but can be serviceable if something were to happen to Díaz. I really just need him to become more consistent, and like Jorge Alfaro, cut down the strikeout rate to a reasonable percentage.
Shortstop I have Miguel Rojas who will is going to be my everyday guy with Jon Berti getting some reps when needed. I think Berti is much more comfortable at the shortstop position then second base so I want to ensure he is getting reps there. Long term I have my answer in Jazz Chisholm, but for developmental purposes he will probably not see any playing time in the 2020 season.
Third base I want Brian Anderson there full time. Defensively he is one of the best in the league and I believe I have other assets that I can use to man right field.
Brian Anderson’s health is extremely important for our success this year, because we don’t really have a MLB replacement at this time. If my hand is forced I have Jon Berti who can slide in on occasion, but if he is my everyday shortstop then I may be in some trouble. Sean Rodriguez and Gosuke Katoh are my fillers if required, but I don’t really have an answer long term. Anderson and Berti are my primary options this season.
Outfield is going to be where I earn my paychecks this season. I am hoping Lewis Brinson shows improvement and gives me around a .250 average, because if he can do that then he is going to be my everyday center fielder. Magneuris Sierra is going to be waived at the end of Spring Training with his only chance of survival being a major injury to a key outfielder. Jonathan Villar can be my center fielder, but I am not looking at him as my primary option there—we’ll use his defensive versatility to bounce around the diamond. Monte Harrison is going to be called up after I get my service time manipulation in the early season. Monte Harrison could be a Marlin for a long time and the more time we have him the better.
Marlins win! Monte Harrison with the game-tying hit AND scores the game-winning run to beat the World Series champs— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) February 23, 2020
Spring Training record: 2-0 pic.twitter.com/6VD84bzzVp
Primarily I would like to have him as my center fielder, but if Brinson is performing then Harrison may be my everyday right fielder. Harold Ramirez is going to be my right field and left field backup this season. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve everyday time, but he is going to be important as a fill in. Corey Dickerson is my left fielder everyday unless injuries occur. Brian Miller will probably be called up before Jesús Sánchez. This isn’t a negative against Sánchez, but more of I just want Miller to quickly plug holes if I need them repaired. Sánchez is at the bottom of my outfield call-up list, but if things break the wrong way for Brinson and Harrison then he’ll will be my last hope before resorting to finding help outside the organization.
Caleb Smith will be traded to a contender for a more long-term piece. The amount of talent coming up and the assets he can bring back I am not against moving him this year, but would prefer 2021 or 2022. He becomes a free agent in 2024.
Sandy Alcantara. He is only 24 and protecting him long term is the priority. If he is hurt we will bring him back slowly. We just have to continue to develop and hope he turns into an ace because currently at this time he is just a good pitcher.
José Ureña will be a Marlin until he isn’t. If a trade comes then away he goes and if it doesn’t then he will be in the bullpen. Both are great options and he has been a great Marlin during his tenure here.
Pablo López is on the Sandy Alcantara treatment. Continue to get better and let’s see what we have. Staying off the IL is important for his development and for our ability to trust him moving forward.
Jordan Yamamoto had a poor second half after a solid debut, but we believe we have corrected the issue. If he struggles then we will be forced to send him to triple AAA to work on mechanics.
Everyone in the bullpen can be traded and will be traded if I get a good return. We have proven we have the ability to find bullpen guys and finding above-average position players is much more difficult then finding bullpen pitchers.
This is my general assessment of our current personnel. In the next piece, I will be going into more depth on each player to identify areas of improvement. Will I be able to survive as the GM for the Marlins longer than a season and produce on the level of Michael Hill? I hope so, because the future of the Miami Marlins depends on it.