Before anyone gets mad about the title of this post, let me very clear about something–we do not owe the owners of the Miami Marlins nor their front office personnel an apology. The swindle perpetrated by the ownership group, most famously including Derek Jeter (while it is probably unfair to blame him for the sins of others in the group, he’s also going to get all of the credit if they get good, so I don’t really feel bad about it), to purchase a Major League Baseball team, claim to have a plan, and then immediately trade your entire star-studded outfield of Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Giancarlo Stanton is unforgivable. I’m talking about the players. They’re better than I thought they were.
Note: Two of these trades were basically forgivable, I think. The Marcell Ozuna trade garnered what most people believed was an extremely light return, an opinion largely maintained even as Ozuna has had a disappointing season with the St. Louis Cardinals, but the fundamental idea of “trade away a good player who probably won’t be around long enough to be on a viable team in order to stockpile young players who might be able to contribute to an eventual good team” is fair, if a bit overdone in modern baseball. The Christian Yelich trade seemed like a fair return, and since he was the third of the three traded, it was obvious the Marlins were not going to contend for a few years at least. The Giancarlo Stanton trade, in which the Marlins worked diligently to shred a lucrative contract they gave to a player who just had his best season (like, what did you expect Stanton to do?), was a disaster.
Most of us believed the Miami Marlins were the worst team in baseball, and they aren’t good, but they haven’t been the worst team in baseball by a long shot. They have a worse record than the San Diego Padres and they are a stone’s throw away from the New York Mets in the NL East standings.
The Marlins organization, once again, and I can’t say this loudly enough, is a deplorable disaster and they are a pox upon Major League Baseball. They have for several ownership cycles been run by opportunistic grifters who deserve to be booed everywhere they go. But they do have some fun players.
J.T. Realmuto, 27, is one of the better catchers in Major League Baseball. Shortstop Miguel Rojas hit exactly one home run in each of his first four MLB seasons–he has hit eight in 2018 and been one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball. Starlin Castro, acquired as the “guy you’ve heard of” in the Giancarlo Stanton salary dump, has been nearly as valuable as Stanton in 2018, holding his own defensively at second base while being an above-average hitter. And Brian Anderson, the most anonymous of the top Marlins players this season, has been a solidly above-average bat in right field during his rookie season.
They have Justin Bour and Derek Dietrich still being above-average hitters at first base and left field. They have former Cardinals prospect Kyle Barraclough being exciting and fun out of the bullpen. Again, this team isn’t good. But they aren’t nothing. Oh, and they have Magneuris Sierra. So there’s that.
The Cardinals start a three-game set at (taxpayer-funded!) Marlins Park tonight. Here are the pitching matchups as they currently stand, with the new addition of Tyson Ross to the Cardinals’ pitching options potentially changing things up a bit. All games at at 6:10 p.m. Central.
Monday: Luke Weaver (6-9, 4.75 ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (3-8, 5.86 ERA)
Tuesday: Miles Mikolas (11-3, 2.75 ERA) vs. Pablo Lopez (2-2, 4.67 ERA)
Wednesday: John Gant (3-4, 4.12 ERA) vs. Trevor Richards (3-6, 3.92 ERA)