The Miami Marlins were the worst team in the National League, and the second worst team in all of baseball in 2013 with a 62-100 record. But after making some surprising offseason moves that did not receive much notoriety, the Marlins seem primed for a legitimate run at the postseason in 2014.
Since the Marlins move to Miami, there has always been a problem with the outfield. The only man who has not had to deal with this problem is Giancarlo Stanton, as he is a star that the Marlins would refuse to bench. But in 2012, it was Chris Coghlan, Logan Morrison, Bryan Petersen, Justin Ruggiano, and Austin Kearns vying for two outfield spots. All of these players had about the same skill set and nobody had any great advantage over the other, but it was difficult choosing who to start, who to have on the bench, and who to send down to the Minors. That year consisted of Morrison and Ruggiano starting, with Kearns and Coghlan on the bench, and Petersen being sent to the Minors.
Last year was different, but the year started with Stanton, Coghlan, and Ruggiano being the everyday guys as LoMo made the transition to first base, with Juan Pierre and Kearns on the bench. Once Giancarlo was injured, the Marlins had Kearns play, but he soon had family issues that precluded him from playing the rest of the season. That is when things changed full circle. The Marlins made a second shocking call up by bringing Marcell Ozuna into the Bigs. He had just barely touched the surface at Double-A Jacksonville after tearing up High-A Jupiter. As soon as Marcell Ozuna got playing, he made the transition to the Major League look like a joke. He was hitting .300+ and his OBP was insane. Even when Giancarlo came back, the Marlins could not bench him or send him back down, so that made way for Coghlan to be sent down and have Ozuna start at right field.
As soon as he started slumping though, the Marlins called him down back to Jacksonville and brought up Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich. Yelich got off to a fabulous start and solidified his spot as an Opening Day starter. Marisnick, on the other hand, had a hard time making the transition, and had slumping numbers as the year went on. And that leads us to where we are now.
Miami’s plan is to start Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield for the 2014 season. This leaves Jake Marisnick as the odd man out, and he will most likely start the year at Triple-A New Orleans. Also on the bench will be, most likely, Jimmy Paredes and Brian Bogusevic. But a decision such as this one means one thing, one of these young outfielders is expendable. A supposed lock to stay on the team would be Christian Yelich. He is the team’s darling and have refused to deal him ever since he became part of the organization. Any of the other three are up for grabs though.
Giancarlo Stanton is without a doubt the best young slugger in the game. He is a hot commodity throughout the league and would be a great addition to any team. The Marlins would ideally like to keep him themselves as well. But as Giancarlo has become frustrated with the team, mainly due to the 2012 offseason fire sale, it is starting to become less and less likely that he will sign a long term extension with Miami. If this is the case, the Marlins will likely attempt to trade Stanton to get something for nothing with him, much like they did with Ricky Nolasco. This will only happen though if Stanton does not sign long term after the season.
Marcell Ozuna seemed to show up out of nowhere. He was called up early in order to replace an injured Giancarlo Stanton in relief. Now that he has made a name for himself, the Marlins have no choice but to start playing him. The problem with Ozuna right now is that he is coming off of a thumb injury that he got the same day he was to be demoted to Double-A Jacksonville to work on some things to kick out of a slump. Ozuna seems to have solidified himself as an outfielder of the future, whether it be with the Marlins or any other team. While he did not show it much during his time in the Majors, Marcell Ozuna has power reminiscent of David Ortiz. He has a very similar body structure and proved that he has great pop during his tenure with High-A Jupiter. But with so much depth at outfield, Ozuna may have to prove he has Giancarlo potential in order to stay with the promising organization.
Jake Marisnick is another darling of the Marlins organization. He was acquired from the infamous Toronto Blue Jays trade that actually been in the Marlins favor when you think long term. Marisnick is most noted for his stellar defense. He has potential to be a great bat as well, but did not show so during his time in the Majors. He was actually very mediocre, at best. The Marlins still seem to favor him over Marcell Ozuna as one of their outfielders of the future, but he will need to prove himself during Spring Training and in Triple-A as well.
The Marlins are in a predicament that will only be solved by dealing one of these outfielders. While the Marlins would not to get rid of such talent they had, they will only be holding back one of these players deserving of being in the Majors, as well as hold back younger players in the farm system. The Marlins will need to make this decision soon.