Team Ace: Ricky Nolasco
Most Valuable Position Player: Giancarlo Stanton
Breakout Candidate: Justin Ruggiano
Notable Offseason Additions: Juan Pierre, Manager Mark Redmond, Jon Rauch, Placido Polanco
Notable Offseason Losses: Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, Heath Bell
Biggest Team Weakness: The entire infield.
Going into last season the Marlin’s were the team to beat in the NL East, with a revamped, star-studded roster, a new stadium, and a big name manager. However, it became obvious that the team was struggling right out the gate, and as the season unfolded ownership decided to start trading away their assets, a trend that continued into the offseason. The firesale has become somewhat of a tradition for the Marlins, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton sometime in the summer for a bunch of prospects, leaving them with no recognizable talent whatsoever. The team does have a history of finding elite talent through its farm system, and with 6 of the top 100 prospects in the league they could be golden in a few years. The chances of some of their younger starters, like second baseman Donovan Solano, making an impact even this season are pretty high. But unless they willing to sign Stanton to a long term deal, their lineup will be in constant flux.
Moving Logan Morrison to first base full time could help him reach his full potential, or his maturity problems could have him sitting on the bench for another team once June comes around. The Placido Polanco/Donovan Solano/Adeiny Hechavarria trifecta is untested defensively as a unit. And Juan Pierre will attempt to make an impact as an everyday outfielder at age 35, even though his arm, or lack there of, could be a huge defensive liability for a team with no viable options at starting pitcher. Yup, this season’s outlook is pretty dim, especially with Washington and Atlanta occupying the top of the division for the foreseeable future.