ShareThis Page
‘Give us a chance’: Marlins make plea to fans entering 2019 | TribLIVE.com
MLB

‘Give us a chance’: Marlins make plea to fans entering 2019

Associated Press

Realmuto trade

MIAMI — The outfield grass at Marlins Park was a worn-out mess Saturday, with those who arrived for the team’s annual FanFest greeted by signs reminding them the turf will be replaced soon.

When it comes to the Miami Marlins, many things are a work in progress.

Wearing new uniforms with the rebranded team logo, in a stadium that has gotten spruced-up since last season ended, some of the 2019 Marlins gathered for the first time to greet fans and start hyping the new season. Pitchers and catchers report to the team’s spring training home in Jupiter on Wednesday.

“I would tell our fans to just give us a chance,” Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said. “So many people have written off the Marlins and really haven’t taken an opportunity to take a deep look at what we’re building. When you have a lot to do, it’s going to take time and we understand where we’re at. But we’ve been able to add a tremendous amount of talent over the last 18 months.”

By Hill’s count, the Marlins have added 38 prospects and upper-level players since this new regime led by Derek Jeter took over after the 2017 season. That has gone a long way toward restocking a farm system that by Hill’s own description was “barren.”

“We know where we were,” he said. “We know where we’re going.”

The Marlins won 63 games last season, their ninth straight year under the .500 mark and the 15th consecutive time the team missed the postseason — the second-longest drought in baseball, topped only by Seattle’s run of 17 straight seasons without a playoff game. Attendance plummeted to a club record-low 811,104, and the team just traded away its best player, sending catcher J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia.

“Only one team gets to win the championship every year,” said right-handed pitcher Dan Straily, who started 56 games for the Marlins over the last two seasons. “I think every year, with every team in baseball, there’s a little bit of excitement for everybody to get going. There’s always that hope that this could be the year.”

The Marlins aren’t saying if 2019 is their year. Or 2020. Or 2021, for that matter.

They just believe their year is coming.

For Realmuto, the Marlins got catcher Jorge Alfaro and pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart from the Phillies. Alfaro has above-average power and, the Marlins believe, even a better arm than Realmuto — who they considered elite in that capacity. Sanchez has the arm to consistently reach the upper 90s on his fastball, whereas Stewart doesn’t throw as hard but has off-speed offerings that get him out of trouble.

Deals like that are why the Marlins truly believe this rebuild — one of many by the franchise in the last 15 years — is the right one.

“They’re doing what they said: building the organization from the bottom up,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You keep acquiring talent. You keep marching down that road that gets you to the point where you are competing for a chance to win a world championship every year. That’s the plan. That’s the goal. I think anything less than that, you don’t accept it.”

There was a reason the grass looked bad Saturday. Monster Jam — a show where five- or six-ton trucks with 66-inch tires will destroy anything in their path — is coming to Marlins Park next weekend. It’ll chew up the current turf nicely. From there, new sod goes down in time for Opening Day.

“It’ll look nothing like it does right now when we come back in six weeks,” Straily said.

The grass will be exactly what the team wants by then. The Marlins only hope the team is closer to their liking by then, as well.



Categories: Sports | MLB
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.