el gringo loco
- May 10, 2017
- Reaction score
It’s time for an offseason edition of the Miami Marlins mailbag! Any and all questions can be sent in via Twitter to @DuseReport.
@FrankyLitz11: Wells, as a fan since inception, I still feel I have absolutely nothing to look forward to in 2020. The starting pitching is decent, at best. The bullpen is a disaster and the hitting is AA at best. Diaz looks to be another Brinson, not much buzz around Harrison, what’s next?
DUSE: The harsh reality is that after 105 losses, there’s probably not going to be massive improvement next season. Sure, the team “should” be better, but does that mean 65-75 wins? Derek Jeter has been coy about giving a date for contention, but the window has seemingly been 2021.
In terms of making that push forward, there’s a few things to be hopeful for in 2020.
-- Can Sixto Sanchez/Edward Cabrera live up the hype? They’ll likely be here by some point next season and the Marlins need them to be the real deal.
-- Will Isan Diaz take a leap in production? While he had his moments, 2019 was mostly a disappointment in his debut. That doesn’t mean he’s a bust by any means, but when you hit .173/.259/.307 (53 wRC+) with a -1.2 WAR, that can’t be quickly brushed aside. The second baseman has significant potential and can turn it around, but manager Don Mattingly said himself that Diaz will have to fight for a job in spring training.
-- Can Monte Harrison and Jesus Sanchez provide some pop in the lineup? The two top-100 prospects should be in the majors at some point next season and Miami needs both outfielders to perform if they want to speed up the rebuild.
@thepacman321: Do the Marlins think that Harold is an everyday OF? Does Monte & Nick Neidert have shots at making the team outta Spring Training? Are Riddle, Tyron Guerrero, & Brinson outta chances?
DUSE: Making his debut in May, Harold Ramirez had a nice rookie season hitting .276/.312/.416 (92 wRC+) with 11 home runs and 20 doubles in 446 plate appearances. With the ability to play both corner spots and be serviceable in center for short stints, he provides decent versatility. I think he’s likely more of a fourth outfielder in the future, but he should have opportunities early in the season.
Monte Harrison and Nick Neidert will both be on the roster at some point next season, but I think they’d have to really dominate in spring training for them to make the Opening Day roster. Keep in mind, both players missed significant time with injuries last season, so starting the season in Triple-A and gradually working them up might not be the worst thing.
For the final three — it seems hard to envision JT Riddle in the Marlins’ long-term plans at this point. While Tayron Guerrero has elite fastball velocity, his lack of command and secondary pitches really hurt him this past season, so he’s a question mark. Miami has publicly shown confidence in Lewis Brinson, but added that he needs to produce, so his opportunities may be running out.
@DylanCanesFan: Wells, what’s your thoughts on the Marlins approach to free agency this year? You think they make a major progression from signing the [Neil] Walker’s to going after someone like Abreu?
@jay_warman: Do you think it’s a good idea to go after Jose Abreu?
@Gabaldon81: Are we signing anyone at all?! Any sign of good faith??
DUSE: The Marlins desperately need to add a power hitter who can hit 25-30 home runs — either at first base or at a corner outfield spot. After spending $75 million last season, the Marlins have roughly $32 million coming off the books this offseason, plus $22 million the following year when Wei-Yin Chen’s contract expires, so they could make a move.
Jose Abreu would certainly fit the bill for Miami. This past season, the 32-year-old first baseman hit .284/.330/.503 (117 wRC+) with 33 home runs and 38 doubles for the Chicago White Sox. His hard contact rates were also impressive, ranking in the top-seven percent in both exit velocity and hard hit percentage.
What would it take to land him? Abreu made $16 million this past season and will likely be seeking a pay raise in what will could be his last major contract. The Marlins shouldn’t cripple themselves financially for the long term, but overpaying on a shorter three-year deal could be an option. Keep in mind, the Marlins will see an annual financial boost once the new TV contract is finalized.
Having a bat of his magnitude would help protect the younger players in the lineup and be a sign of good faith for a fan base that’s seen 203 losses over the past two years. A Cuba native, Abreu would also generate fan interest as well in Miami.
@blamethemovies: I’m curious if we come around to signing BA to an extension in the offseason.
DUSE: I’m a proponent of signing Brian Anderson to an extension, but time will tell on that front. Before breaking his hand near the end of the season, he was on pace for nearly 25 home runs/40 doubles and was playing Gold Glove caliber defense at both third base and right field. He’s been exactly what you want for a rebuilding team and has proven he’s a key piece moving forward.
The perception of the franchise over the past 20+ years has been that it gets rid of players once they develop into strong assets and are too expensive. Early extensions have become commonplace in baseball and would allow Miami to buy out a year of free agency at an affordable price. Making a financial commitment to a player like Anderson, who’s earned it, would go a long way toward Jeter and company building trust in the South Florida community.
Will the Miami Marlins spend money in free agency? What can fans look forward to in 2020 after another tough rebuilding season? Should the Marlins target Jose Abreu in MLB free agency? All these questions and more are answered in the latest Marlins mailbag.