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It’s been a wild ride. We all went from the excitement to be 14 games over .500 to a negative record in late August to an excruciating calendar in September, where lots of things went to the Marlins’ direction, reaching the playoffs and exiting after only two games. The 2020 season was nice, but this one felt just right. Now it’s time to sit back and take a deep breath.
Finally Kim Ng was the one in charge, and she did a terrific job bringing an entirely new coaching staff, key pieces to the lineup, especially at the trade deadline. There were some miscues down the road (Segura, Cueto, García), but for the most part she has built a competitive team with a bottom 10 payroll (22nd) and farm system (24th).
Skip Schumaker has to be a top 3 key acquisition this season. Without being out of this world, fans can tell he is smart, knowledgeable, charismatic and has a winning mentality. He is surrounded by a good mix of young coaches (Urueta, Barajas, Jay, Benedict) and some experienced ones (Mel, Brown, Mabry, Reed, Filippo). They are not perfect, but they are a good group. I guess more experience will probably bring better results in the near future.
As for the roster, health was an important factor during the season. Soler was healthy for the most part. Bell and Burger played almost every game after their arrival. Arráez played more than 140 games, Sandy started 28, Luzardo 32. It is almost impossible to go a whole season without any injuries, and the most missed were Jazz (only 97 games played), Rogers (4 starts), Bender and Meyer (whole season). Now we wonder about Sandy’s status, but we won’t know about it for a couple more weeks.
Losing to the Phillies in two games showed the ongoing weak points: scoring runs, baserunning, starting pitching depth, bench, catching duties, shortstop, roster construction. All of these topics will be analyzed separately this offseason, and I’m looking forward to it.
For now, let’s keep in mind some key dates during the offseason:
Free Agency: 5 days after the World Series.
Trades: One day after the World Series.
Contract Options: Within 5 days after the WS. Relevant for Soler, Bell, Cueto, Berti and Barnes.
Qualifying Offers: Within 5 days after the WS, and players have 10 days after that to accept/reject. It can be relevant for Soler, in case he opts-out.
Non-Tender Deadline: Nov. 17. The Marlins have Arráez, Stallings, Scott, Luzardo, Chargois, Rogers, Chisholm, Okert, Puk, and Hampson all heading to arbitration. We’ll analyze this separately.
Salary Arbitration Deadline: Jan. 12, 2024.
Arbitration Hearings: Jan 29. to Feb 14., 2024.
Rule 5 Draft: Dec. 6th. 40-man rosters must be set before this Draft, that means, minor leaguers eligible to the Rule 5 Draft are to be included, otherwise can be claimed by other MLB teams. Relevant for players like Troy Johnston or Nasim Núñez.
Photo by Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins