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Marlins overtake Padres for lowest winning percentage among active MLB franchises

There ought to be brighter days ahead for the Fish, but in the meantime...

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

There has been a lot of media discourse through the years about the lack of size and intensity of the Marlins fanbase. Why does the baseball-crazed South Florida community fail to embrace the Fish? The Marlins have had the good fortune to win multiple World Series during the Wild Card era. So how come television viewership of their games is so paltry and opposing teams’ fans outnumber local diehards at LoanDepot Park? If it’s still not working after nearly three full decades, maybe the Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter ownership group should be exploring relocation possibilities?

While some unique factors have challenged their growth, the main turn-off is quite simple: the Marlins have given us a terrible product during their existence. Despite those fun title runs, they’ve been so non-competitive in most seasons that their overall all-time winning percentage is just .463 (when you round up). How bad is that? It’s the lowest among the 30 active franchises.

The Marlins, who took the field for the first time in 1993, entered this season with a 2,021-2343 record (.4631 winning percentage). The Padres, around since 1969, entered 2021 at 3,784-4,412 (.4617). I knew coming out of spring training that there’d be a strong likelihood of them trading places at some point this season considering the Padres invested to make their club a championship contender while the Marlins...did not. But that process was expedited by Miami’s current eight-game losing streak.

Updated all-time records entering Sunday’s games (via Stathead):

  • Padres—3820-4436 (.4627)
  • Marlins—2045-2376 (.4626)
Active MLB franchises with the lowest all-time regular season winning percentages
Active MLB franchises with the lowest all-time regular season winning percentages

With all the makings of a legitimately good team, the Padres should have a more sizable cushion by season’s end. As discussed numerous times on Fish Stripes these last couple months, the Marlins have more potential than their 2021 record implies. However, this maddening losing streak coupled with crucial injuries make it increasingly tempting for them to shop veteran players prior to the trade deadline and pivot their focus to the future. That will inevitably limit their capacity to win major league games down the stretch.

The Colorado Rockies, a fellow 1993 expansion franchise, should be easiest for the Marlins to leapfrog over the next several years. The Rox lead the Fish by 31 12 games (37 in the win column, 26 in the loss column), but they’re staring down the barrel of a cold, long rebuild.

Demoralizing as it may be for Marlins fans at this particular moment, the rest of the decade sets up fairly well for them. Their farm system is universally regarded among the best in baseball and their top prospects are proving it on the field early in the 2021 MiLB season. Beyond the $30 million still owed to the Yankees as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, they have no substantial player payroll obligations on their books for 2022 and beyond. If Jeter and general manager Kim Ng are as fiercely competitive as their histories suggest, they will use that financial flexibility and take big swings to complement this intriguing homegrown core with established impact players.

In the meantime, yeah, it sucks here.