Anyone who’s followed baseball over the last ten to fifteen years knows about this team. They sold away their 2003 World Series team, fired 2006 Manager of the Year Joe Girardi, built an expensive new stadium, and then gutted the team again after one season. After all the treachery, it is a wonder there are any Miami Marlins fans left. However, the team has slowly improved in the last couple of seasons and now sits poised for a run.
Miami Marlins 2016 World Series Odds Improving
Currently, the Marlins find themselves in second place in the National League East by five and a half games. It is worth noting that the defending National League Champion New York Mets are fighting them for that spot and do not seem in danger of falling off completely this season, either.
So, how could a team like the Marlins make a run for a title? For starters, they have been playing above .500 for most of the season and stand at 37-32. This team may not be the year’s Chicago Cubs, but they are certainly proving to be an above-average team.
Youth and Veterans Mixing Well
Their biggest asset is ace Jose Fernandez. He has returned after a lengthy recovery from Tommy John surgery and looks as dominant as ever. He single-handedly elevates the Marlins to new heights. They could certainly use another quality starting pitcher or two. However, the Marlins have put together a decent bullpen, featuring David Phelps, Dustin McGowan, the young Nick Wittgren, and a solid closer in A.J. Ramos, who is 22 for 22 in save opportunities this year.
The team is led on offensive by Giancarlo Stanton, but he has more help this year thanks to the likes of center fielder Marcell Ozuna and first baseman Justin Bour. Veteran leader Ichiro Suzuki may only be playing part time, but he is hitting near .350 on the season. He’s not alone, as Martin Prado, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, and Derek Dietrich are all hovering above or at .300 on the season.
Albeit controversial because of his PED suspension, second baseman Dee Gordon will return in the second half of the season. While he may not be as talented off the juice, he can certainly help through his defense, speed on the base paths, and ability to get on base.
Getting Over the Top
The Marlins are definitely capable of taking a wild card spot right now, but they don’t have the pitching talent to topple the Washington Nationals or the Mets in the long run.
However, the Marlins could take a page out of the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays playbook. The Jays were good team, but needed a couple of pieces at the trade deadline to get over the edge. They picked up several key players, including Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, and went on to dominate the American League East and then go deep into the postseason until running up against the soon-to-be-champion Kansas City Royals.
The Marlins have talent, youth, and veteran wisdom. If they can add a few pieces at the trade deadline, maybe a starter, an extra reliever, and one more consistent bat in the lineup, then this team could suddenly prove dangerous in the second half.
The Marlins aren’t quite for real yet, but they are getting there. If they play their cards correctly come the deadline, watch out!