Poll: Who Had The Better Offseason, Marlins Or Nats?

The NL East was the most improved division in baseball this winter and it was almost entirely due to the efforts of just two teams.  The Marlins and Nationals both made big strides towards joining the Phillies and Braves in what could be a spirited pennant race this season.  (Sorry, Mets fans.)

With their new ballpark opening this April, the Marlins decided to take the opportunity to overhaul the entire franchise, debuting new uniforms, a new logo and even a new name, as the Florida Marlins made way for the Miami Marlins.  The first major move came when Ozzie Guillen was hired as the team's new manager and then the Fish took the free agent market by storm.  Miami signed Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell for a combined $191MM — a stunning outlay for traditional small-payroll club.  The starting rotation was further bolstered by trades for Wade LeBlanc and the controversial Carlos Zambrano.  Between these moves and Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez looking to rebound from injury and a poor season, respectively, it's easy to see why some pundits have picked the Marlins to reach the playoffs this year.

The Nationals are also getting some love from the preseason analysts.  Washington's offseason was a bit more low-key to start with, as the club focused on bolstering their minor league depth, re-signing Chien-Ming Wang and adding Ryan Perry to the bullpen.  January, however, was much busier, as the Nats dealt four of their best prospects in order to acquire Gio Gonzalez from the A's and then promptly locked the left-hander up in a five-year extension.  GM Mike Rizzo then completed his search for starting pitching by signing Edwin Jackson to a one-year contract, thus pairing Jackson and Gonzalez along with Wang, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann in what could be one of the strongest rotations in baseball.

The Marlins are clearly trying to win now.  The Nationals may still be looking to 2013 as their true "go for it" year, but with Strasburg recovered from Tommy John surgery and other impact players like Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse on board, it wouldn't be surprising to see Washington contend right now.  With all this in mind, which team's offseason do you think was the most impressive?

34 Responses to Poll: Who Had The Better Offseason, Marlins Or Nats? Leave a Reply

  1. notsureifsrs 3 years ago

    i would actually call the marlins offseason disappointing, given their intentions. organizationally the nationals are in a much better place

    • MB923 3 years ago

      Agreed. If for who did better for 2012 it’s the Marlins for sure but I don’t see a good future for teh Marlins. That Gio trade took a bite out of the Nats farm but their farm is still deep and the Marlisn farm is still terrible. Plus Bell and Buherle are not getting any younger or anything and who knows how healthy Reyes can stay, and Zambrano, is, well Zambrano.

  2. j6takish 3 years ago

    Nats made themselves better through savvy trades to acquire players who will help them out in the long run, and by signing Ejax to a below market value contract. The Marlins made a bunch of knee jerk signings to grab headlines

    • Fifty_Five 3 years ago

      Granted the Nats did deal 4 of their top 10 prospects, but their system was deep enough to do it. And they didn’t handicap themselves with any long term potential albatross-type contracts. 

      I’m a little skeptical as to how much of an effect this kind of stuff actually has on a team, but I can easily see the Marlins clubhouse falling apart after the first thing goes south. Way too many egos on that team

      That’s a good toss up though

  3. This is why they play the games

  4. I think the Astros, Mets, and Orioles “ALL” had better off-seasons.

    However, between you, me, and the lamp post over there, the Marlins and Nats had equally good off-seasons!

  5. Eugene_in_Oregon 3 years ago

    The Nats probably aren’t done yet.  Signing Jackson and Brad Lidge to one-year deals means that Nats’ management is trying to contend for a playoff spot this year.  Barring a Spring Training injury or performance meltdown by one of the expected members of the rotation, it also means that one starting pitcher is surplus and available for a trade (likely John Lannan).  Expect the Nats to make another move before Opening Day.  That move will be driven by (a) what they see in Harper (is he going to come up in May, mid-summer, or September?); (b) what they see in LaRoche (is he healthy?  will Morse need to move to 1B); and (c) the Spring market (which team loses a pitcher?  what does that team have to offer?). But it’s hard to imagine the Nats are done.

    • Alexander_Brovechkin 3 years ago

      Eh, I don’t think the Jackson and Lidge signings indicate that the management wants to “contend now.”  Those signings scream of Rizzo’s typical grab from the free agent trash heap and hope to turn it into something positive, either on the field or as a trade.  He’s done this before with guys like Capps, Dunn, etc..  Given Lidge’s history of injuries, giving him a long-term deal would have been irresponsible, and Jackson was just a steal IMO.

      You’re right that Lannan is likely available, though his value is rock-bottom, so I don’t know what they could get for him.  I don’t think they’re going to make any more moves before Opening Day unless it’s to trade him.

      As for your thoughts, I’d guess Harper will come up around the same time Strasburg did–assuming he’s ready.  Morse can’t move to 1B if we don’t have another OF, so the LaRoche question really depends on Harper’s readiness for the show.  

      • Willjhull 3 years ago

        I see Harper in Right and a combination of Werth, and “leadoff hitter” in Left/Center once LaRoche, Lannan and Ankiel Lannan are traded.  I think Ankiel will have a solid year and bring some value back to the Nats.  Hitting in the 6th hole is a good spot for him. 

      • Fifty_Five 3 years ago

        How was Jackson just a grab from the trash heap? And every GM fills the roster with old relief pitchers and veteran utility guys. I don’t think that’s a Rizzo trademark

  6. NYCTrancefan 3 years ago

    This is a tough one, this division could be rough.

    The Phillies are no shoe in this season in the division.

    The Marlins/Nats/Braves are all in as well.

    The Marlins and Nats additions are a push, both clubs improved and it will be decided on the field as to who did more.

  7. How about neither! The Cincinnati Reds had the best offseason, period.

    Mat Latos
    Sean Marshall
    Ryan Madson
    Ryan Ludwick

    • Willjhull 3 years ago

      Way too early to be drinking dude!

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      you mean the anaheim angels

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      you mean the anaheim angels

    • Tko11 3 years ago

      The question wasn’t who had the best season it was who had the better season between the Marlins and Nationals…But anyway Ludwick is a good thing?

  8. WolandJR 3 years ago

    Poor Mets. The NL East is nasty.

    • jimboslice9 3 years ago

      Honestly, as a Mets fan I’m probably going to enjoy this year.  The Mets are definitely out of the division so I can sit back and enjoy the divisional race instead of worrying about where the Mets are in it.  Also, the Mets are younger and more exciting to watch this year than in the past couple of years (they still suck though) so the on-field product won’t be horrible.

      Hopefully, in a couple years the Phillies will be older, the Marlins will be older or forced to have another trademark fire sale, and the Mets prospects will start panning out.  In the meantime, I’m rooting for the lesser of the four evils (IMO), the Nats.

  9. It’s really hard to judge this today.  Both clubs have a lot to prove, and need a lot to fall into place to have these moves really pay off…

    I think the biggest thing to remember is that both clubs had their ace sidelined nearly all season, and HanRam was a no show for 2011 with the fish.  Mike Morse had a breakout year, as well as Bonifacio.  Both teams acquired two good pitchers, and have their ace returning strong (hopefully).

    Indeed, the NL east is going to be a blast to watch this year.   If healthy, i give the Marlins an edge over the Nats mainly due to the chemistry between the 1-5 slots in the lineup if all goes as planned. 

    All in all, i expect this to be a 10-12 game difference between first and fourth place in the east.  They are going to feed of the bottom dwellers in the other divisions.

  10. LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

    Jose Reyes isn’t going to have another year like 2011 and has proven to be injury prone, Buerhle is a #3 starter, Heath Bell showed regression last year, and I’m a Nationals fan

    Nationals by a smidgen. If the Marlins had signed Cespedes, I would honestly put them over the Nationals though.

    •  Gio is the BoB king of baseball and played in a pitcher friendly park, Ejax is a #3 starter, and Brad Lidge has shown regression the past 2 years…

      See how easy is is to be biased?

      • LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

        Nationals park isn’t exactly a hitters park either, and he’s moving from the A.L. to the N.L.

        Edwin Jackson is the Nationals #4 pitcher, so that’s a plus
        Heath Bell didn’t show regression last year did he?

    •  Gio is the BoB king of baseball and played in a pitcher friendly park, Ejax is a #3 starter, and Brad Lidge has shown regression the past 2 years…

      See how easy is is to be biased?

  11. carlpavanosmustache 3 years ago

    Nats added 400+ innings of sub 4 era to their rotation which will ease the burden on Strasburg as he returns from TJ surgery.  The Marlins displaced their superstar against his wishes for an oft injured enigmatic talent, overspent on the 5th best closer on the open market, and added the two most combustible personalities in MLB with Ozzie and Big Z.  

    The Nationals additions should give them a very consistent team that won’t hinder their options to add midseason or if they aren’t quite there build for next year.  The Marlins additions will either come together and be unstopable or completely blow up and be terrible, either way they’ve got about a 3 year window to win it all with no farm system incase something goes awry. 

    I’ll take the Nats

  12. tonyyanksfan 3 years ago

     Nationals by far, although I wouldn’t include Wang in any discussion of that.

  13. Marlins improved their team more, Nationals made better use of resources so just depends on which answer you are looking for.  Marlins made a lot of improvements but spent about twice what they should have to get them.

  14. CavityDog 3 years ago

    Washington’s pitching last year got them to 80-81, and would’ve improved anyway just by getting Strasburg back or replacing filler like Marquis or Livan with Peacock. The problem the Nationals have is that SS and CF are still black holes that provide nothing on either offense or defense. I think the Marlins were much more effective at actually improving their areas of weakness, even if they’re counting on some new stadium money to pay for it.

    • Desmond sucks defensively, but contributed 25 steals and decent production when he was moved into the lead-off role (which is where he’ll start this season). 

      How exactly did the Marlins address their weakness? By taking an already disgruntled player and moving to 3B, by over paying an oft-injured SS? Bringing in an increasingly decrepit LHSP and declining CL?

      • CavityDog 3 years ago

        I don’t really expect Desmond to turn into a .300 hitter just by batting leadoff everyday, and his 25 steals came with 10 pickoffs.

        As for the Hanley and Reyes situation, I think Hanley is more likely to hit like he did from 2008-2010 than last years mess, and even if Reyes is oft injured he’s managed 5+ WAR 4 of the last 6 years. That should be a huge boost over Dobbs and the other fill-ins.

        As for Beuhrle and Bell, they don’t have to be great to be an improvement over guys like Hand or Volstad or Nunez. I wouldn’t categorize Beuhrle as decrepit; there’s a lot of value in a pitcher who can provide 200 healthy innings every year (that’s why DC was after him, too). I’m not even considering the Zambrano trade – it’ll probably be a waste of money, but I would hope the FO is clever enough to not let him ruin them if he’s a total bust.

        So I guess to sum up, the Marlins (in my opinion) have improved on offense and pitching, whereas the Nationals moves have been lateral moves for pitchers while failing to solve their two biggest weaknesses – CF and SS.

  15. Marlins added ozzie Guillen, so… Nats!

  16. rsanchez1 3 years ago

    The whole Nats offseason was just Gio. Wang is a wash-up and Jackson is another Gallarraga, got lucky once but otherwise pretty mediocre.

  17. notsureifsrs 3 years ago

    for 2012. as long as the world ends after the season, they’re all set

  18. WolandJR 3 years ago

    Burhle is a soft tossing guy on his last big contract. Jackson is young, has awesome stuff and is highly motivated to play well to secure a big contract at seasons end. Jackson > Burhle

  19. Clayton Wilson 3 years ago

     Jackson has awesome stuff again, great. I know he’s tossed a no-hitter and occasionally shows flashes of an ace, but he’s an above-average innings eater. And Jackson was highly motivated to pitch well to secure a big contract last season…..Granted he had a pretty good year, but I don’t see him topping it.

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