To get ready for the St. Louis Cardinals’ upcoming three-game set against the Miami Marlins, we sat down with Ehsan Kassim of Marlin Maniac to break down the Fish and their season to-date.
With the Marlins over 10 games under .500 in a struggling National League East, it’s a matter of perspective whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, but apart from Giancarlo Stanton, there hasn’t been much excitement in South Beach so far this season.
Here are the highlights of our conversation.
1) This season began with high expectations for Miami. However, things haven’t exactly panned out. What went wrong?
The high expectations for the Miami Marlins coming into the season were misleading. I always thought this was a true talent level .500 team and if they wanted to contend for the playoffs, they had zero margin for error. Unfortunately, they’ve sent three starters to the DL and not everyone else is playing to the level many expected.
The Marlins are 30-41 and while they still think they can contend, it’s an absolute longshot now.
I’ll take Dee Gordon right now because he’s the more established player and has played at an amazing level this season, but long-term, I’ll take Wong. He’s 3 years younger than Dee and has some nice pop from the second base position. I also don’t think Dee’s performance this season at the plate is repeatable. Both are damn good players though.
3) What is the feel amongst Marlins fans regarding Dan Jennings stepping into the dugout? Is this a feasible long-term plan?
Marlins fans still really haven’t warmed to the idea of Jennings as the manager. There is a lot of second guessing going on for most the moves he makes. Marlins fans actually point the finger more at Jennings for assembling a flawed roster than they did at MIke Redmond for getting off to a slow start as the manager.
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Do I believe this is feasible long-term? No, I don’t. While I don’t hate the idea of a front office member and someone without any professional playing experience managing, I still don’t think Jennings is the right man for the job. Time will tell though, as he’s reported to be the favorite to be the manager next season.
4) What will it take for the Marlins to turn things around? It seems like the offense is largely Stanton launching homers. Will getting Jose Fernandez back be enough?
To bounce back, first and foremost, the Marlins will need that star studded outfield to start playing well again. Stanton has been the lone wolf that has been impressive at the plate. Both Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna have taken major steps back. The Marlins team was only going as far as their outfield carried them, and they haven’t done much, outside of Stanton.
Secondly, the Marlins will need a healthy pitching staff, which they are closer to getting. Adding Jose Fernandez is like making a major mid-season acquisitions, only without trading any prospects. But it’s questionable what he will bring after being out of baseball for 13+ months.
The Marlins will also need Henderson Alvarez back, but he’s not even begun a throwing program, with issues with his throwing shoulder since early on in the season.