With just 10 games left in the 2023 season, one thing is for certain: it’s just about mission accomplished for the Miami Marlins front office.
Raise your hand if when the season started, you expected the Miami Marlins to be within half-game of a playoff spot with just 10 games left to play in the season.
Okay, fine. Cock-eyed optimists do tend to make up much of the baseball blogosphere readership. Now keep them raised if you expected the Miami Marlins do be doing so despite Jazz Chisholm Jr. playing in less than 100 games, and if Sandy Alcantara had the worst season of his Marlins career.
That’s more like it.
Let’s keep pushing this exercise forward though, Marlins devotees. Keep those hands raised high if you expected to be happy with the club’s attempts to bolster the roster for said playoff push. If you thought you’d be forced to conclude that almost every transaction made at the deadline was worth it, and that the only one that didn’t work out was the one you questioned the least at the time the deal was made. If you predicted that a Miami Marlins (not New York Mets) owner would be willing to drop over $500,000 on less than two weeks of availability in order to add a fresh bullpen arm for the playoff push.
In short, if you believed you’d be forced to conclude that just about every last drop of potential had been squeezed out of this 2023 Miami Marlins roster, and all reasonable expectations and projections would be met.
Unless you work for the Marlins, or changed the diaper of someone that does, I’m not convinced your hand still needs to be in the air right now.
However, that’s where the team is at right now. Possessing a 79-73 record, these Marlins are still worth the attention of South Florida sports fans even as the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes get their football seasons under way. Unfamiliar waters for these Fish to be sure, as it’s debatable they’ve been able to make that claim in a full season since the days that they shared a stadium with those teams.
In other words, mission accomplished for Miami’s major league baseball team.
Well, just about anyway. Because even if Tuesday’s latest injury setback, a rolled ankle for star hitter Luis Arraez, were to keep him out the rest of the season, finishing with a losing record would still be quite the gut punch. The Marlins need just three more wins to secure their first winning season since 2009. Making the playoffs would be great and even borderline miraculous. Yet between the boatload of injuries and the fact that Miami will face arguably five of the National League’s top 10 pitchers over their final 10 games, it’s going to be an extremely tall order for the Marlins to swim their way into the postseason.
But to finish as winners? A team significantly improved from last year? A team that hit on almost all their trades, thanks to a GM universally regarded amongst fans as the right person for the job? Which is due in no small part to that GM and owner hitting a home run on their first managerial hire, who is on the shortlist for the NL Manager of the Year Award? A team that if it is somehow kept together (no small feat) still has enough pitching depth in the minors to lead fans to think next year’s team could be even better?
That’s something every Miami Marlins fan can celebrate, and that every single Marlins fan would have taken without hesitation on Opening Day.
Just three more wins, and it’s all gravy the rest of the way for Miami.