This Miami Marlins Christmas list could include 100+ items. But here's 5.
The holidays have been very kind to certain MLB teams. The Mets, Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs, Rangers, Padres, Phillies, and others have all made huge deals. The stove has been piping hot as teams enter 2023 with reckless abandon.
One of the few teams not participating in the arms race is, sadly and predictably, the Miami Marlins. They've so far signed zero MLB contracts. None. Nada. They've taken some savvy fliers on Minor League contracts that could pay dividends at some point in 2023 (I guess). But in terms of MLB-ready talent, they've done precisely nothing except "express interest" and "check-in" on players who have inevitably signed elsewhere, sometimes for less money than the Marlins offered, reportedly.
That's some depressing shit, that last part.
But ya know, it's the holiday season. No matter your religion, this is a time for making big wishes for the end of the year and for the New Year to come. Here are five items on my Miami Marlins Christmas list, in no particular order.
1. Miguel Rojas Changes his Twitter Habits
Miguel Rojas might not be a Miami Marlin in 2023. Assuming he is, though, it would be nice if he stopped being a petty crybaby on Twitter towards those who dared blaspheme by bringing up his shortcomings, or the team's in general. It's worth noting that many of the fans on his CVS receipt-sized list of blocked users are actually supporters of his. They just happened to have had something negative to say at one point about the state of the team or his play. Doesn't matter to ol' Miggy Ro, though. Welcome to the block party, bitch.
Rojas has many of the traits of a fan favorite. He's scrappy, consistent, been with the team a long time, a good representative when he's on talk shows, willing to do whatever it takes to make the team and organization better, etc. Those guys are always beloved by the cities they play for. But goddamnit if the Twitter nonsense isn't his Achilles heel. Clean it up, Miggy. Ease up on the block button.
(if he happens to read this I'm DEFINITELY getting blocked forever.)
2. Positive Regression
The Marlins had a lot of inexplicable collapses last season. Trevor Rogers's ERA more than doubled. Joey Wendle's OPS dropped by 87 points compared to 2021. Jacob Stallings's dropped by 120. Jesus Sanchez's dropped by 128. Avisaíl García's dropped by...238. None of this can be attributed to age; these players are seemingly in their primes and were coming off excellent seasons. But something just wasn't working in 2022. Maybe things will click back into place in 2023.
It's foolish to think everyone will rebound, but some certainly will. A new manager and coaching staff often gives players a fresh mindset, which leads to better days. They'll need a lot of better days to compete in an absurd NL East.
3. Front Office Urgency
The Marlins front office is passive. The Marlins front office is skittish. The Marlins front office is overly optimistic. These are the vibes many fans get. Are they true? Who knows? But with the utter lack of activity this offseason and the snail's pace at which they make roster decisions, you can't blame us for thinking Kim Ng, Bruce Sherman et al need to have a little more pep in their step.
The moves are there to be made. The Marlins have starting pitching and some shiny prospects and much of the league wants starting pitching and shiny prospects. There are still some affordable free agent hitters and relievers out there. Let's get something done, huh? Kim Ng's apparent inability to close deals at a consistent rate has grown tiresome. Is it because her asking price is too high? Or that she hasn't been able to sell players on the Marlins' plan/vision? I don't know, but something isn't working and it needs to get fixed, expeditiously. They can't sit on their hands and pray to the baseball gods that their litany of underperforming hitters will suddenly find their strokes, or that the players who lost time to the IL in 2022 won't face similar issues in 2023 and beyond.
Carpe diem, Kim.
4. Uniform/Logo Tweaks
I've never been a huge fan of the Marlins' latest uniform set. It looks like the first draft of a uniform that became good, but isn't quite there yet (hey, kinda like the roster!). The black-on-black top? Get rid of it. Burn it. Put them all in a box and bury it underneath the home run sculpture outside loanDepot Park. Whatever it takes to get those boring, almost illegible tops off Marlin players' backs.
After that, add another element to the white and grey tops. It just says "Miami" on the front. Nothing else. Surely, we can add something. Maybe a front number? And if I'm being nitpicky, which I am, the home tops should say "Marlins" and the road tops should say "Miami," based on tradition. Oh, and the blue and red highlights are barely noticeable around the letters because the black font swallows it. This applies to the logo as well, which affects the hat. Switch it up, it's freaking depressing.
Finally, add the Spring Training blue jersey to the rotation permanently. That can replace the nonsensical all-black top.
5. Hitting Development
Competitive teams who operate with a lower payroll are able to do so in large part because they successfully develop their own players. The Marlins are reminded of this every year when they get their shit kicked in by their in-state counterparts in the Rays, who manage to spend even less money than they do. Miami has shown they can develop pitchers. No question about it. One of the best in the league at that. But hitters? Woof.
Perhaps this year is the start of something new, borne through changes to the offensive coaching staff and hitting philosophy. Player development is always a wild card that cheap teams have when they're going up against clubs like the Mets, with their 70 trillion-dollar payroll, and the Braves, who manage to sign all of their stars to 10-year, $7,500 contracts with 50% off a gym membership. If the Marlins could draft/sign and develop their hitting talent, the beast that is the NL East will be less of an issue. But they can't. So it is.
Won't Santa think of the Miami Marlins bats?