The Miami Marlins found out last year that they will never be able to put together a one and done championship team again. After bringing in high priced free agents and hiring Ozzie Guillen to manage them, the 2012 Marlins season was a complete and total disaster. With the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies far ahead of them in the NL East, Miami will have to win the old fashioned way. They will have to earn it.
The Marlins went a dreadful 69-93 last season and finished dead last in the East, 29 games behind Washington. They started the year without Guillen who was suspended by management for comments he made concerning Fidel Castro. Guillen got off on the wrong foot and so did his team and Miami was never a threat to make the post season.
This was disappointing, because the Marlins were moving into a new stadium and trying to build a fan base. The Marlins decided that the easiest way to do this was by trying to build a one shot championship team like they did in 1997 and 2003. Miami brought in shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman Hanley Ramirez. They later traded for first baseman Carlos Lee. The Marlins also signed ace pitcher Mark Buerhle.
None of the moves worked. Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the season ended. Lee and Reyes had good years, but not what Miami expected. Playing on a terrible team, Buerhle went 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA. Not one every day starter hit above .300. All of this led to Guillen being fired at the end of the year and replaced by Mike Redmond.
If Miami and Redmond think that they can get back into contention right away, then they are sadly mistaken. Every organization that is ahead of them in the East, including the New York Mets, seems to be going forward except the Marlins. Unlike in 1997 and 2003 when there was only Atlanta to deal with, Miami must deal with everyone. Until the Marlins build a solid organization from top to bottom they will never compete for an NL East pennant.
Sure, Miami has a lot going against it. The Marlins do not exactly play in a hotbed for MLB. There were many civic leaders who did not want the new ballpark built and could care less if the team stays or goes. The only time Miami will ever draw fans is when they make it to the post season.
Still, in professional sports one must play the hand that is dealt to them. The Marlins have been fortunate enough to win two World Series titles with the build and tear down method. Now, they will have to build and sustain in order to compete in the NL East.