Seems like it is over too quickly for the Marlins this season.
Suffering injuries to 3/5ths of their stellar starting staff from last season hasn’t been kind either. Then again, neither has this coaching staff.
Incidentally, they may all get an incomplete considering the injuries to this team but make no mistake, the Marlins have taken a big step backwards this season. There was a lot of hope and expectation for this young team coming into the season, building on the rookie seasons of Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Mike Jacobs and even Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco. Olsen has turned into a headcase; Jacobs, Johnson, Sanchez and Nolasco have all been injured while only Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla have been able to consistently get into the starting lineup each day.
And it shows.
On top of this struggle, the Marlins made changes to their coaching staff and it doesn’t seem to have paid off at all. Girardi left, mostly because he blew out the starters and didn’t play the right personnel – and the fruits of that destruction have come to bear as we see Josh Johnson is now out for the rest of this season and possibly next. Yet the hiring of Fredi Gonzalez, met with some fanfare since he is a local kid, has turned out to be a quagmire.
Gonzalez has yet to show any kind of leadership abilities, instead deferring mostly to bench coach Carlos Tosca. The lack of direction shows on the field as these young players tend to go up and down like elevators but never seem to find ways to get out of funks or focus on being professionals day to day. That is not to say that the Marlins have huge problems with their personnel, yet only to say that the challenge of great players is their potential and developing it to its fullest. Miguel Cabrera was battling a big weight issue and the Marlins seemed to lack any courage in addressing it and challenging Cabrera. Dan Uggla went through a big slump and very little got better for him as did Jeremy Hermida. These young players need to have a plan in order to get out these slumps or spells where they just play bad and the Marlins staff seems to side-step the opportunity to hold them accountable as professionals.
It just seems that there is too much focus on personal feelings with this group and a fear to do what is necessary to win.
Say what we want about Girardi, but his crew cut no-nonsense approach made him the focus of the team from the players and no one questioned who was in charge in that dugout. In fact, that may have been what got him fired in the end – he couldn’t stop himself. Fredi seems to be the opposite – he doesn’t know where he should begin.
As a result, the Marlins have performed worse despite their strong offensive numbers and their talent. Mistakes like letting Armando Benitez even set foot on the field continue, while former problems – Randy Messenger and Jorge Julio, for example – continue to improve.
Byung-Hyun Kim was a shrewd move for Julio, but now he has been placed on waivers and picked up by Arizona. A payroll move and a signal that the Marlins brass is waiving the white flag for the remainder of this season. They might as well get rid of the coaching staff too since they have seemed to all but run the Marlins into the ground now.
There is little to watch for right now other than the development of young talents like Jeremy Hermida and Rick Vanden Hurk. Of course Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez are having fine seasons and are worth the price of the ticket alone to watch each night. In fact, that is the problem – these young guys have talent and deserve to put it on display and win. For some reason, it isn’t working out right now.