The upgrades for the 2015 Miami Marlins are pretty evident on paper, and the additions to their team for the upcoming season give them the best chance at making the postseason in recent years. The huge lock-up of Giancarlo Stanton for $325 million over, hopefully, the next 13 seasons helps retain the Marlins key offensive (and, in a sense, defensive) contributor over the past four seasons. Stanton’s power and full force is primed to be on full display this season if he stays healthy, after a not so lucky pitch nicked (okay, pummeled) him in the face on September 11, shortening his MVP caliber season in which he was leading the National League in homers and RBIs and was putting on a good show with his batting average.
The Marlins reliance on Stanton only ends this season, as Stanton is now supported by some off-season newcomers and a renewed confidence in the other two Miami outfielders, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
Team Overview: 2015 Miami Marlins
Marlins manager Mike Redmond has expressed great confidence in his squad for the 2015 season, despite All-Star ace Jose Fernandez still scheduled to be out until May or June, recovering from Tommy John surgery. Miami still possesses the arms it will take to overcome Fernandez’s absence, but not having a clear cut ace will affect the team somewhat. Recent outstanding performer Henderson Alvarez looks to make another statement this season, and aims for an Opening Day start, which Redmond has not announced yet. New additions Mat Latos and Dan Haren are being relied on to provide depth and quality starts from the second and third spots in the rotation.
The Marlins outfield is considered one of the best in baseball, and the Marlins went through most of the off-season with just the three starters as the only outfielders on the 40-man roster: Stanton, Yelich and Ozuna. Besides Stanton’s recent contract extension, the Marlins also locked-up Yelich on a $49.57, seven-year contract. The Marlins decided to take a chance and sign veteran Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year contract over the off-season. The reasoning was to give Suzuki a chance to play, to back-up the three outfield spots, and give him an opportunity at 3,000 hits in the major leagues. Suzuki is primed to extremely help the young Marlins outfield, not only by providing depth but by providing insight to them.
He’s Here: P Preston Claiborne, P Aaron Crow, SS Dee Gordon, P Dan Haren, P Mat Latos, 1B-OF Michael Morse, P David Phelps, 3B Martin Prado, P Andre Rienzo, 3B Miguel Rojas, OF Ichiro Suzuki
Non-Roster Invitees with chance to make roster: OF Tyler Colvin, OF-3B Don Kelly, 2B Scott Sizemore
He’s Gone: P Anthony DeSclafani, P Nathan Eovaldi, P Brian Flynn, P Kevin Gregg, P Chris Hatcher, P Andrew Heaney, INF Enrique Hernandez, P Dan Jennings, 1B-OF Garrett Jones, 3B Casey McGehee, P Brad Penny
Best Fish in the Sea
The Marlins used a busy off-season of trades and contracts to improve their team and try to make their way back to contention. The Marlins young team of 2015 mirrors their young World Series winning team of 1997: young talent, great speed, significant power and good pitching. The addition of Dee Gordon via trade was huge for the Marlins at second base, as they lacked a regular second baseman besides Donovan Solano, who has struggled in recent months. Gordon’s speed (he led the NL in steals with 64 and triples with 12 in 2014) will benefit the top of the Marlins order, while coupled with lead-off threat Yelich.
The acquisition of Michael Morse to play first base coming off a year in which he won a World Series title is a major upgrade to the Marlins line-up. Adding Martin Prado at third base gives the Marlins a player that rarely makes errors and can bat anywhere in the line-up, which is huge for Prado given he’ll be behind the Marlins big bats and get pitches he can hit.
Just like a young Edgar Renteria in 1997, the Marlins possess a young shortstop in Adeiny Hechavarria, poised to make a huge impact in the National League for a second straight season. His defense is considered one of the best in the Majors, with only Andrelton Simmons of the Braves with more superb defense at the position. With Hechavarria and Saltalamacchia near the bottom of the order, the Marlins have some unexpected hitting threats near the pitcher’s spot in the line-up.
For weeks it was unknown if Dan Haren was going to play or retire when he was traded to Miami, since he wanted to stay on the West Coast, and if he did retire, the Marlins would need to go out and find another starting pitcher. Instead, Haren will play this season, and the five spot in the rotation is now open to new acquisition David Phelps, along with Tom Koehler and Brad Hand.
(Red indicates a new acquisition)
C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B: Michael Morse
2B: Dee Gordon
3B: Martin Prado
SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
LF: Christian Yelich
CF: Marcell Ozuna
RF: Giancarlo Stanton
Jeff Baker and Manuel Rojas (who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Dee Gordon trade) provide depth off the bench at most positions in the infield and Baker in the outfield.
1. Henderson Alvarez
2. Mat Latos
3. Dan Haren
4. Jarred Cosart
5. David Phelps/Tom Koehler/Brad Hand
*Jose Fernandez will open season on disabled list
The Marlins are hoping for a breakout season from Jarred Cosart, who can provide them with major depth in the rotation.
The Marlins upgrades in the 2014/2015 off-season leave them with a solid team on paper, and if all goes well (and injuries are avoided), the Marlins have a major shot at a Wild Card spot out of the National League (it will be hard to overtake the Nationals in the NL East). The young talent of the Mets will be what the Marlins have to compete with, and a second of third place finish in the division, around 86-88 wins, seems like a reasonable spot for Miami. The firepower of Giancarlo Stanton, although not on his own, will lead the Marlins to new heights in the upcoming seasons.