The Miami Marlins will be tempted to make a classic Marlins mistake soon when Jazz Chisholm returns. They don’t have the luxury.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Miami Marlins fans.
The calendar has turned to summer, and the Marlins aren’t terrible. They’ve shown signs of life, playing competitive baseball. Would it not then be wise for the team to consider making a trade?
No need, you’re told. Have you forgotten about Fill In The Blank Injured Player? They’re coming back any day now. And when you really stop and think about it, that’s the same thing as trading for an All-Star caliber bat/top of the rotation starting pitcher anyway. So you keep that in mind when you think about complaining about the fact that the Miami front office only trades for a bench bat and a lefty specialist come the MLB trade deadline, alright!
Alright, maybe I have some baggage to unpack with the 2008 and 2009 Miami Marlins.
However, with that now on the table (Arthur Rhodes — that’s it!), you can hopefully concentrate on the point. You’ve seen this movie before. Many times. It seldom ends well.
This has been in the back of my mind for awhile now, and was thrust to the forefront when a former long-time Marlins beat writer observed Jazz Chisholm’s impending return for being what it is, the overnight injection of an “impact player” into the lineup. That is what is happening after all, and fans should be excited. The Marlins front office should be excited. Twitter should be very excited, assuming the shackles are lifted on Jazz’ cellphone.
The thing is … Jazz isn’t enough by himself. Not by a long shot.
This team was in need of an offensive jolt before Chisholm went on the injured list. Furthermore, he wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire before he left, sporting a .229/.291/.403 slash line on the season. Topping it all off is the fact that the injury in question (turf toe) isn’t a healed injury. It’s a needs to be managed/played through injury. A toe injury would be a problem for any player. A basestealing center fielder though?
Let’s just say you’re going to hear about that toe again.
Going further than Jazz himself though, is this larger tendency in Miami Marlins franchise history to cut corners on that big deadline deal. To trumpet getting the team you were supposed to have back on the field as upgrades, as opposed to getting back to square one. For the first time in recent memory, the Marlins really drew this weekend. Over 20,000 fans came out Saturday afternoon to watch Miami play Pittsburgh. Not Atlanta. Not New York. Pittsburgh. Heritage day or not, that’s proof that people are finally playing attention.
Which is why it’s absolutely essential that the Marlins reward that interest.
More importantly though, it’s just essential that the club make an upgrade to the lineup. Jazz was there for all those early season losses to the Braves and Mets. The Marlins have certainly learned a lot, and come together as a team, over the past month. Still, the talent gap is sizable, and believing otherwise would be foolhardy. Especially in respect to Atlanta.
It should be said that there is one reason to believe a big move is likely — the 2020 season. That’s the only trade deadline where Bruce Sherman’s Marlins have been buyers, and the result was kind of shocking baseball with the addition of All-Star outfielder Starling Marte.
So while the franchise history says to expect penny pinching and essentially standing pat, the one season sample size of Sherman having a winner on his hands shows a willingness to take on payroll and get aggressive.
Will the Miami Marlins front office avoid falling into the Jazz trap, and keep adding to an exciting team as summer continues? Here’s hoping they have the good sense to do so.