Miami Marlins: Top 5 Team Needs Heading Into The Off-Season
If you are a Miami Marlins fan, it has to hurt to know where your team went this season. It has to. There was so much hype surrounding the team and once the first game of the season was played at the new ballpark in downtown Miami you could almost smell championship.
Then, the St. Louis Cardinals took the first home game from them. Then, Ozzie Guillen told the world about his infatuation with Fidel Castro. Then, the Marlins took off winning 21 games in May. Then, only eight games in June. That is when you knew it was time to come down from cloud nine.
The team was not all that and the front office’s frustration showed when the team dumped Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante in Detroit and then traded Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team continued to ride the sinking ship down all the way to the bottom of the NL East. The team failed to win 70 games for the first time since 1999.
There is no doubt that there needs to be changes within the organization on the field and off the field. It starts with in the mind of Jeffrey Loria. Loria has to take a real hard look at this team and ask himself if he really is in the right position to win. If he feels that he isn’t, then heads will have to start rolling.
The team needs to build up a reputation and change the circus type atmosphere that he created when he brought in Guillen.
In this slide show you will see what the team needs to address in the off-season.
The catching situation in Miami is not great. John Buck will be entering his last year with the Marlins after batting a career low .190 and Rob Brantly seems to be the man the team wants for the future of the organization even though he only played towards the end of the 2012 season.
There will be options to upgrade the position on the free agent market but if the team seems to be satisfied with Brantly’s .290 average in 31 games in 2012, then he will be the 2013 Opening Day starter.
Who is the closer for the Marlins?
That is a huge question coming into the off-season. Is anyone ready to give the ball back to Heath Bell after losing it to Steve Cishek in the middle of the season? The Marlins need veteran relief to come in and straighten out this bullpen.
The Marlins do have a lot of options on the open market and they should not rely on players like Mike Dunn, Tom Koehler or A.J. Ramos to come in and sustain the bullpen for the 2013 season.
The corners of the infield and the second base position are another thing the team should address this off-season. On the last game of the season, Donovan Solano, Gil Velazquez and Carlos Lee all took the infield with Jose Reyes.
Solano and Velazquez are both young players but Lee is aging and even though he has expressed his desire to return to Miami, it is definitely not set in stone. Again, the Marlins do have options to bring in veterans into the infield.
The team claims they are not in a rebuilding stage so this will be the perfect time to prove that they are not.
Basically, Jeffrey Loria is going to either have to fire Larry Beinfest or Dan Jennings in the front office. One of them will have to leave. Beinfest has been rumored to be on the chopping block but it seems now that it will either be his job or manager Ozzie Guillen’s job that gets cut.
However, Loria has a big hand in who the Marlins get in free agency. He played a big part in enticing Guillen to the Marlins and almost got Bobby Valentine to the team. Loria needs to wake up and realize that the team has more potential than what he is putting out on the field.
It all starts with the people handling the budget.
The first thing the front office needs to do is to decide if Ozzie Guillen will return in 2013 or not. If he does not return, the team will have to eat the rest of his four-year, $10 million that he signed for last year. The team better think of a replacement before they even decide to fire him.
Guillen is the vocal point of this team but he has put his nose in business where it does not belong. He has not been a leader and instead of managing his team in the clubhouse he tried to manage his team through the media and that is not the way it works.
Guillen should know better and if it costs him his job, so be it. Guillen is the first person to get addressed and his head could roll first.