Opinion: Have the Marlins Quietly Turned Themselves Into a Contender?

The Miami Marlins had planned to contend back in the season of 2012, just months after bringing in Carlos Zambrano (now retired), Josh Johnson (now with the San Diego Padres), Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes (both now with the Toronto Blue Jays), among others. After the 2012 season, the Marlins shipped Buehrle, Reyes, and Johnson to Toronto, months after sending Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for righty Nathan Eovaldi (2014 ERA of 4.37) and another minor league pitcher. 2013 and 2014 were led to disappointing seasons for the Marlins, with the exceptions of the emergence of Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez in 2013. Even that silver lining was marred by Fernandez undergoing Tommy John surgery in May, and Stanton being hit in the face by a fastball on September 11th, and ending up with face fractures, dental damage, and multiple lacerations. This offseason, however, the Marlins have built themselves back up into a seeming contender. Let’s take a look at their recent moves.

November 17th, 2014: Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13 year, 325 million dollar contract extension, entrenching him as the face of the franchise.

December 10th: Marlins acquire All-Star  2B/SS Dee Gordon from Dodgers for prospect Andrew Heaney.

In Gordon’s break out 2014 season he batted .289 and swiped 64 bags, and had a .981 fielding percentage, Flash Gordon provides good average, excellent speed, and plus defense to the top of the Marlins lineup.

December 11th: Marlins acquire pitcher Mat Latos from Cincinnati Reds for 2 prospects.

Latos should be able to hold down the top spot in the rotation until Jose Fernandez returns. In an injury-plagued season Latos was only 5-5 in 16 starts with a 3.25 ERA but he is still a more than capable pitcher, and will be a nice complement to Fernandez when he returns.

With Fernandez’s imminent return and hopefully full return to form, as well as Stanton’s full recovery, plus Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna‘s continued improvement, and Dee Gordon adding his skills atop the lineup, the Marlins look to field an impressive team next year along with a rotation that features Henderson Alvarez (12-7 2.65 ERA in 2014) at the #3 spot after Fernandez and Latos. It appears that the Marlins will be able to challenge the Washington Nationals for the NL East crown.

Thanks for reading.

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