Kim Ng’s front office has done the bare minimum to keep the Marlins afloat this deep into the 2022 season. Despite baffling roster construction, they haven’t faded out of the playoff picture yet...but the cliff is coming. Ely believes the fans deserve a more creative and aggressive approach.
Enjoy Episode 171!
The Marlins enter Thursday at 42-45, four games out of the last National League Wild Card spot. It has taken a lot of pleasant surprises for them to be so close to relevance, overcoming a talent deficit and incongruent pieces.
Sandy Alcantara is a cyborg engineered in 1995 who has time-traveled to the present day to remind us what it truly means to be an ace pitcher. Jazz Chisholm Jr. slugs well, runs well and fields well, especially in clutch situations—who’s the last Marlins player we’ve been able to say that about? Anthony Bass is the steadiest setup man in the majors. Rotation injuries were inevitable, and Braxton Garrett and Daniel Castano have filled in admirably. Nick Fortes is living proof that yes, it’s possible for the Fish to draft and develop competent hitters.
What has Ng done to capitalize on this good fortune? Practically nothing. Since Opening Day, the front office has made efficient deals to fortify the bench with the likes of Luke Williams and Billy Hamilton, but in other more meaningful areas, the Marlins continue to contort square pegs into round holes.
Many years removed from the only All-Star selections of their careers, Jesús Aguilar and Avisaíl García are penciled into the heart of the lineup on a daily basis. Every Alcantara and Pablo López start is a nail-biter, in part because Jacob Stallings catches them exclusively over Fortes, contributing nothing in the form of run support. Whoever handles the ninth inning it seems is contractually obligated to allow the leadoff runner to reach base. Jesús Sánchez and Bryan De La Cruz are frequently displaying poor fundamentals—it’s one thing to have young players learn on the job, but these issues have persisted past the midpoint of the season and the Marlins have internal, major league-ready alternatives who can play their positions.
Ng’s style is reactive rather than proactive. She waits for players to succeed/fail over a large sample before adjusting to the new reality. That’s problematic in a league where most executives are wired differently, trusting their evaluations.
As Juan Páez discussed, the Marlins will be buoyed by impactful individuals returning from injuries and upcoming matchups against lousy opposition. But they still must do more to address their deficiencies to have any hope of playing games that matter in late September/early October.
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