Fast-forward to now, 112 games into the season, and the Marlins are far from competitive. In fact, with a 44-68 record, they are now the worst team in Major League Baseball.
Up until now, the Philadelphia Phillies (45-68) held this distinction, and rightfully so. They’re a rebuilding team that traded away major assets in exchange for prospects. But Miami….they weren’t supposed to be this bad.
The majority of experts predicted that the Fish would end up somewhere around .500, garnering anywhere from 78-84 wins. This isn’t good enough for a postseason run in any normal year; but with a few breaks, maybe the Marlins could have competed for a Wild Card spot. Instead, they are now battling the Phillies for the league cellar, and there are some key reasons why. Let’s take a look at them below.
1. The 2015 Marlins have seen their Fair Share of Injuries
Look at any bad baseball team and you’re likely to see injuries as one of the key culprits. Miami is certainly no different, with Henderson Alvarez, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez all spending time on the DL at one point or another. With so many key players missing games, it was a given that the Fish would go from a mediocre team to a struggling one.
Injuries and little depth are two things that don’t go well together. And the Fish certainly have a lack of quality players on their roster to cover these injuries. Miami had to trade away some solid players in order to get second baseman Dee Gordon, His .326 BA and 34 stolen bases have certainly made the trade pay off. But looking back at the injuries, would Miami have been better off not making the trade?
3. The Marlins don’t spend Money through Free Agency
A big reason why the depth-depleting move for Gordon was made in the first place is because Miami, a low-budget team, just doesn’t spend big on free agents. This isn’t a knock against them, considering that they’re not the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers. It’s just a realistic roadblock that Miami will always face whenever they open a season.
4. Whatever Money was spent was spent Badly
The Marlins really have to make their bullets count in free agency, which they did unsuccessfully this time around. Signing Michael Morse for $3 million a season wasn’t a terrible deal at the time; but, with his .213 BA, the Marlins were so desperate to avoid paying the remainder of his deal that they gave away Matt Latos and a draft pick just so the Dodgers would cover his salary.
5. The Team just hasn’t met Expectations
All of the previous problems could have been overshadowed had the healthy Marlins played at or near expectations. Sure, this wouldn’t be a playoff team, but at least they’d cross the 70-win mark by season’s end. As it is, most of the Miami players have underachieved and caused further problems. Stanton, before another injury, has really been the only great Marlins player this year. Everybody else has played average or worse, making it easy to see why this is now the worst team in baseball.