Marlins' offseason moves, or the lack thereof, could be death of their 2024 campaign

Owner Bruce Sherman blew it by allowing Kim Ng to leave and by not spending money on big name free agents. It somehow seems like an eternity since the Marlins were competitive, despite making the playoffs last season.

Kim Ng was the former General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Ng left after last season when owner Bruce Sherman told her that he wanted to bring in Peter Bendix from Tampa Bay to serve as her boss and as President of Baseball Operations.
Kim Ng was the former General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Ng left after last season when owner Bruce Sherman told her that he wanted to bring in Peter Bendix from Tampa Bay to serve as her boss and as President of Baseball Operations. / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

We are four games into the season and it appears as though there is no better time to talk about the Miami Marlins' futility.

It's the same old story. The Marlins don't spend any money in the offseason or make any significant moves to improve the club and, as a result, can't get out of the gate. After Sunday's 9-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Fish are one game away from losing their first five games to start a season for the first time since 2001.

The Marlins' 2024 demise actually started last October when owner Bruce Sherman told General Manager Kim Ng that she was going to answer to a new President of Baseball Operations, who would rank above her and control all baseball decisions.

Ng did not find that acceptable and took the path of former partner Derek Jeter, leaving Sherman and the Marlins a few days later. All Ng did was make all the right moves to propel the Marlins into the playoffs in 2023. She brought in Josh Bell and Jake Burger at the trade deadline, and they helped the Marlins have their most successful season since winning the World Series in 2003.

Ng spent three seasons as General Manger, and had to do so with small salary budgets to work with. During her tenure, the Marlins had the 26th, 28th and 23rd most frugal payroll in the big leagues. She took off like Jeter did when she realized that she would have someone to answer to, and that Sherman would not invest in a better caliber of players. There was a mutual option for her to return in the contract and she simply elected not to exercise it.

Kim Ng leaving Marlins in offseason changed franchise's future

Ng was the first female General Manager in the four major sports leagues, and she and Sherman had obvious irreconcilable differences. She did not want to report to anyone but the owner, but Sherman was already sold on Peter Bendix, whom he would later hire as his President of Baseball Operations and main decision-maker. Bendix did nothing but reel in prospects to make the minor-league clubs better, but failed to make a trade or a free agent signing that would help the big league club.

Bendix did sign shortstop Tim Anderson, who is a ho-hum sort of guy that you cannot get giddy about. He was available when spring training started, so it is not like he was playing hard to get. Anderson was a first-round pick in the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Chicago White Sox. He has 10 years of experience at the minor and major league level, and very few accolades to show for it. He was a two-time all-star and won a batting title, but that feels like many moons ago after his 2023 downfall (60 OPS+ in 123 games). Anderson is a career .282 hitter,

Bendix watched earlier in the offseason as Jorge Soler took off for San Francisco, where he signed a three-year, $42 million contract. Soler elected to decline his player option with the Marlins and bolted via free agency. The Marlins did not bring anyone in with that kind of power to replace him in the lineup.

The Marlins pitching staff is in a bind, as Jesus Luzardo is their number one starter and is followed by Ryan Weathers and the organization's top pitching prospect Max Meyer. This is due largely in part to the fact that Sandy Alcantara, the Cy Young winner in 2022, is out for the season after having undergone Tommy John surgery. Eury Perez, who was supposed to be the number two pitcher, is out with elbow inflammation and is on the injured list.

Right-handed pitcher Edward Cabrera was supposed to be the third starter, but he is also on the injured list and has not made an appearance yet this season. He will be on the shelf with Perez for at least 15 days, maybe longer.

The Marlins brought in very little this offseason to help propel them to another playoff run. While the season is only four games deep, the Marlins' pitching is so bad that they had to go to the bullpen for 19 innings this weekend against the Pirates, not including Sunday's debacle where the Marlins lost a 5-0 first inning lead.

Manager Skip Schumaker had to go to Triple A-Jacksonville to get some bullpen arms for this upcoming week.

The Marlins called up right-handed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez and optioned Declan Cronin to the Jumbo Shrimp in Jacksonville. They are hoping that Gutierrez can get them some innings while the rest of the bullpen gets some rest. Gutierrez has not pitched in the major leagues since 2022 and spent last season out of the game while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Finally, third baseman Jon Berti was traded to the New York Yankees right before the season started and the Marlins got two prospects in return. Berti was a utility infielder and quality pinch hitter for the Marlins, who now lack depth at the hot corner and at short, where Berti spent most of his time. It appears as though Berti will start at third base for the Yankees for the time being.

Consider the Berti trade one final piece of proof that this year's Marlins team would rather let top talent leave than pursue it, Ng chief among the departures.