The Diehards' End-of-Season Epistle

Friday, October 4, 2013

First we practiced our #Barves impression
Wherein Ted and Dave sort through the wreckage of the 2013 Marlins campaign.

Well Dave, another season is in the books and it's finished much like the last ten years. The Fish were expected to be a 100-loss team and they ended up being exactly that. Would you say the year went as expected, worse or dare I even say better? There certainly was a little more intrigue than I was anticipating, which isn't saying much.
I think we just witnessed the best possible version of a 100-loss baseball team we could have hoped for. Indeed, this was the best of all possible worlds for a pair of Haterade-swilling bloggers like us: Not only was this year's team historically bad, but it managed to do so with intrigue! First, the bad:
  • This was just the second 100-loss season in team history (btw, they underperformed by 7 wins
  • They CRUSHED the franchise record for fewest runs/game in a season (3.17 - next worst was the inaugural Marlins with 3.59) 
  • A whopping FOUR regular starters OBP'ed under .300 
  • Only two hitters were above average (in terms of OPS+): Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich 
  • They lost 26 games by 5 or more runs 
Despite (and in some cases because of) their eternal derpitude, the Marlins still managed to do all of this:
If your favorite team is not going to come close to even sniffing the playoffs, then this train wreck of a season is the only way to proceed. There have been plenty of less shitty teams in Marlins history, but none were even close to as memorable as the 2013 Marlins.

But even train wrecks get old. Where should new front office bosses Michael Hill and Dan Jennings start in their offseason improvement plan?
It is pretty crazy, huh? There are so many ways in which this season was setting historically bad marks and yet they somehow managed to avoid both being the worst team in MLB this year (Thanks Astros!) and the worst team in Marlins history.

I totally agree about this year being at least entertaining and memorable. Only a few non-World Series years stick out any more and I think ten years from now this will still resonate some as being so awesomely bad.

As for where the new crew starts? I really don't think there is anywhere to focus on. I don't get the impression Loria and Co. will be eager to spend big bucks again. It'd be best to build around this core and keep focusing and building a strong farm system. It is conceivable that 2015 and beyond can bring a pretty strong, dynamic club? Am I crazy?
Crazy? No. A little too optimistic? Probably.

The Marlins have lots going for them at the moment, especially with regards to their rotation. Jose Fernandez, Nate Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez should be a solid 1-2-3 for the next few years (and they will be really cheap). If we are lucky, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler become dependable starters as well.

But those hitters, though...

As it stands now, the Marlins have Giancarlo Stanton and the hope that Christian Yelich and Jacob Marisnick continue to progress into above-average hitters, and little else. Fun fact: Only three position players had a higher oWAR (offensive wins above replacement) than pitcher Henderson Alvarez. And his oWAR was 0.5, nothing otherworldly. The Marlins' offense was littered with past-their-prime roster filler and disappointments like Logan Morrison (a .709 OPS is not gonna cut it for a corner infielder).

There has been talk that the Marlins will use their surplus of minor league arms to acquire a bat or two this winter, and I would not oppose that. Colin Moran tore it up in high-A ball this summer, but he won't be on the big club in 2014. Beyond him, there are not many bats in the farm system that can help soon.

And if the Marlins wisely decline to bring back Placido Polanco or Juan Pierre, I will be a happy man.
 Stay tuned next week, when we bring in a few of our brothers in blog to join the conversation.


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