“That’s a strike and the count is now 3-2 to Brian Anderson here in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game Seven in the 2024 World Series. Blue Jays up by three runs but the Marlins have the bases loaded and they have their man at the plate who has worked the count. Here’s the pitch… Anderson gets a piece of it! That is going deep! That is it! That is IT! Blue Jays outfielders need to pick up their jaws from the ground as they look in awe of the moonshot that Brian Anderson just served them! Marlins have won the World Series! They are the champions of the world for the fifth…”
“Dad, wake up. Dad!”
It was just a dream. My daughter holds her favourite toy, Skye from the PAW Patrol, right up on my face and with her big eyes, this member of a group of dogs that have taken over our house or as I like to call my house now “Adventure Bay”, stares at me almost all the way to my soul saying “really, Marlins in the World Series fifth time? Keep dreaming.”
This is fine.
So, it really hasn’t been the most exciting offseason in Marlins history in terms of trades or big free-agent splashes. After the crazy season last year which ended in a surprise playoff run, many Marlins fans had expectations that the front office would start to build upon that success via trades or signing free agents. Some Marlins fans seem like they have forgotten that newly hired GM Kim Ng said before the end of last year:
To me, that quote speaks volumes about how the Marlins feel about their current farm system and how they are going to use it. Last year Marlins handed 18 players an MLB debut. They are not going to offload their assets. Maybe not just yet.Embed from Getty Images
I must admit that I was one of those fans. It’s not easy to watch teams around the league make big moves or looking at division rivals picking up players that Marlins had in mind, or at least some fans thought they had. Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto‘s return to the 305 area code was maybe the biggest romanticised move that Fish fans had in mind. That was like meeting a high school crush at a reunion 20 years later and think you still had it. No, you don’t and nor did the Marlins. I just wished that he would have been out of the NL East.
Then there was one Francisco Lindor. His name popped up several times before the end of the season as discussions about possible free-agent targets heated up. Getting him as the face for the franchise in Miami would have been huge but the price was always way too high. Then came one shady owner of the New York Mets, Steven A. Cohen and all of his Uncle Scrooge money. The dream died there.
Nationals did some good business that would have fit the Marlins as they picked up guys like former Marlin Brad Hand, and Kyle Schwarber, who by the way surprised me that he turns 28 this year but looks like he has gone through three divorces and at least one personal bankruptcy.
Braves picked up Pablo Sandoval. I don’t think that the Marlins had him in mind at any point. I just wanted to tip my hat to the Braves for doing it.
Then, as I had watched division rivals and rest of the league picking up players for weeks, on a cold January night, I looked up on my phone. There was a hype video on Miami Marlins official account! “What is this, is it the Willson Contreras deal. Is the deal finally happening?” I thought.
Yes, the Marlins had signed a 33-year old journeyman reliever Anthony Bass to a two year/$5M deal. I was about to run through a wall and for all the wrong reasons.
This is fine.
So, it looks like this will be the group of guys the Marlins are going to roll with it and after a little bit of calming down, I actually think this is fine and not in a sarcastic “drinking coffee on a burning house” way. Marlins are trusting their prospects and after a year of no Minor League, they are not going to offload them as they (or any team) hasn’t seen if they progress and produce on various levels. Marlins had a terrible farm system a few years ago and now they have 5 prospects on Top 100 list. I think the long term plan is to build the team through the farm and not offload top prospects. I am 100% on board with this. Let the kids play!
This group took this team to the playoffs on a weird 60-game season. Do I believe they will repeat it on a (hopefully) full 162-game season? No. Will they hit the wall and get blown out? Absolutely. Is there going to be progress with some of the young guys eg. Jazz Chisholm? I sure hope so. Are the Marlins going to be a fun team to watch 2021? YES! Do I stop asking these stupid questions? Yes, please.
Stay safe and stay healthy!
Let’s go Fish!
Photo credit: Mark Brown/Getty Images
Tomi Korkeamaki is covering the Miami Marlins during 2021 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @TKorkeamaki