Marlins owner Bruce Sherman spoke with Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald about the club’s season, expressing his delight with the overall results thus far and declaring that general manager Kim Ng will have financial resources to work with at the upcoming deadline.
“This has been one of the most exciting seasons in Marlins history, and I am thrilled with what we have accomplished thus far,” he said. “The job is not done. We want to be in the 2023 postseason. I am prepared to give Kim and her staff the resources she needs over the next month to help the club.”
It’s been a long time since the Marlins found themselves in this position. Though the club made the postseason in the shortened 2020 campaign, the last time they qualified in a full season was way back in 2003. The last time they finished with a winning record in a 162-game season was 2009. But here in 2023, the club is well above .500 at 51-38. They’re 8.5 games back of a dominant Atlanta club in the National League East, but Miami currently holds the top Wild Card spot in the NL. A skeptic might point to the club’s negative run differential and incredible 21-5 record in one-run games to suggest this run isn’t sustainable. But regardless of how they came to be, those wins are in the bank and the club is well-positioned to make deadline additions to help with the remainder of the schedule.
Part of the reason the club has struggled so much over the past two decades is a lack of financial resources, as the club has rarely been a significant spender, especially not in recent history. Per the data at Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the club has only twice in this century run a payroll to get out of the bottom 10. The most recent time was back in 2012, well before Sherman bought the club in late 2017.
Shortly after the Sherman group took over, the club’s most significant moves were of the cost-cutting variety. Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna were all traded between December of 2017 and January of 2018, with J.T. Realmuto dealt just over a year later. The club has essentially been in rebuilding mode since then, with last year’s 69-93 record their strongest in any recent full season.
That means that we don’t have much of a blueprint for how the Marlins will operate at this year’s deadline, with the club never having performed this well during Sherman’s tenure. The same goes for Ng, who only got her job after the 2020 season. This year’s deadline is also expected to be fairly unpredictable in the sense that few clubs are clear sellers and it’s expected by many that there will be more trades between contenders.
All those factors make it difficult to predict exactly how the Marlins will behave, but there would be reasons to expect aggressiveness. Since it has been so long since the club had any kind of meaningful success, it would be fair to expect an internal desire to strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of their current position. The fact that Sherman is apparently willing to help the club out with some financial wiggle room should only help them keep more of their trade targets on the table.
As for which parts of the roster they upgrade, there would be a few options. Just about every contender looks to grab an extra reliever or two around this time of year and the Marlins should be no exception. Their relief corps has a collective ERA of 4.12, placing them 20th out of the 30 clubs in the league. The rotation has been an area of surplus at times but suddenly has some question marks. Each of Trevor Rogers, Johnny Cueto and Edward Cabrera are currently on the injured list while 20-year-old Eury Pérez could run into some workload limits at the season progresses. Cabrera and Cueto could potentially return shortly, with their health and performance perhaps having an impact on whether or not the club feels the rotation needs reinforcing.
On the position player side, MLBTR’s Anthony Franco recently wrote about how an infield pursuit makes sense for the club, especially with third baseman Jean Segura hitting a paltry .202/.272/.252 this year. The outfield has been fairly strong overall but center field is a question mark right now. Jazz Chisholm Jr. recently landed on the injured list due to an oblique strain and his replacement, Jonathan Davis, is potentially done for the year due to knee surgery. Thankfully, Chisholm’s strain is apparently mild and he could potentially return shortly. Behind the plate, neither Nick Fortes nor Jacob Stallings are providing much offense but catching upgrades at the deadline can be tricky because an incoming backstop would have to learn an entirely new pitching staff on the fly.
However Ng and her staff decide to play it, it’s surely an exciting time for the Marlins and their fans. The on-field results are the best they’ve had in quite some and they’re going into the deadline as obvious buyers with the owner signaling that notable moves will be possible. The extent of those resources and how they are deployed won’t be known for a few weeks, but the Marlins are positioned to be key players between now and the August 1 trade deadline.