R.I.P., 2013 Marlins
Let us pay our respects to the dear, departed and officially eliminated Miami Marlins.
Not so long ago the 2013 Marlins were officially eliminated from playoff contention, so let's pay our proper respects to the departed ...
What went right
The Marlins were perhaps marginally more respectable on the field than the general consensus expected. So that's something. Kind of. Jose Fernandez went very, very right (more on him in a moment), and the bullpen was generally quite effective. Young Jacob Turner has looked promising, and so has Christian Yelich. To put a finer point it, it's September and the Marlins have a real shot to avoid 100 losses. That's actually a victory of sorts considering how miserable the roster looked coming into the season.
What went wrong
Jeffrey Loria, possibly the most deplorable owner in all of sports, is still at the switch. Giancarlo Stanton had another injury-compromised season and, while solid, performed below his established levels. The team as a whole has hit 1.7 times as many home runs as ... Baltimore's Chris Davis. In a related matter, Placido Polanco has on nine occasions been in the lineup at the cleanup spot.
MVP: Jose Fernandez without question. The 21-year-old ace is on the cusp of being shut down, but his 2013 numbers are simply tremendous: 2.33 ERA, 168 ERA+, 0.996 WHIP, 3.26 K/BB ratio and 173 strikeouts in 158 2/3 innings. Oh, and he also did this ...
LVP: Loria. Sure, there are any number of uniformed candidates for this dishonor, but none wears it as well as the saboteur in the owner's box. There's actually a strong case to be made that the Marlins' rebuilding process was a wise undertaking in a vacuum, but said rebuilding process took place in the full light of Loria's past misdeeds. He embodies the worst tendencies of team ownership, in that it's his apparent belief that he's entitled to corporate welfare (i.e., a ballpark built on the public dime and, in this instance, against the public will), and belief that drives all other decisions. He needs to go away.
Free agents to be: INF Greg Dobbs, OF Austin Kearns, OF Juan Pierre, INF Placido Polanco, RP Chad Qualls
Gameplan heading into the offseason
Fill roster holes with as little investment as possible, remind critics to trust the process, maybe ponder talking contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton. Or trade him. Who can tell at this point.
Ridiculously premature prediction for 2014
Improvement and more flickers of promise from the young talent base, which, to be fair, is fairly strong. Absent a Stanton trade, they won't finish in last place in the NL East.