Category Archives: Miami Marlins

3 Teams that will be worse in 2018

3. Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays looked like they wanted to be a competitive team in the AL, but then they traded franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria and everything changed. However, the Rays weren’t done there as they also let go of Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, Logan Morrison, Steve Cishek, Steven Souza Jr., and Alex Cobb. That is a long list of quality veteran players that they will be missing in 2018. That leaves Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier, and Alex Colome as the only really reliable veteran players on their roster. The Tampa Bay Rays team will look a lot different in 2018 especially with the inexperienced players that they will rely upon to be starters like Mallex Smith, Daniel Robertson, and Matt Duffy. Tampa Bay should still have a good starting rotation, although they will struggle mightily to score runs after all of the key players that they decided to get rid of.

2. Miami Marlins

Miami had an elite outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna, but that was before they traded them all this offseason. However, the Marlins now have a very crappy outfield at least for the 2018 season as they will be relying upon Derek Dietrich, Lewis Brinson, and Braxton Lee as their starters. Brinson is a good prospect, but who knows what he will provide as a starter for the Marlins in 2018. Miami still has J.T. Realmuto, Starlin Castro, and Justin Bour to lead their lineup so all isn’t lost. However, Miami has a bad bullpen and a bad starting rotation, so they no longer have the dynamic lineup to make up for their pitching flaws. Miami has some reasons for optimism with the young prospects that they now have, although 2018 likely isn’t going to be a very fun season for Marlins fans.

1. Kansas City Royals

Kansas City had a very rough offseason with losing Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas among other key players. The Royals are basically now only left with Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, and Whit Merrifield to anchor their lineup in 2018. Kansas City already kind of struggled to score runs, but now it could be a really big struggle. Also, Kansas City lost many key members of their bullpen including Joakim Soria, Scott Alexander, and Ryan Buchter. The bullpen was a strength for the Royals not too long ago, but now it appears that it will be a major issue. Kansas City also doesn’t have a reliable starting rotation except for Danny Duffy who is the clear ace for the Royals. The Royals don’t have much hope in any aspect of their roster and it could be a tough rebuilding year for Kansas City.


2018 NL East Predictions

  1. Washington Nationals

The Nationals are definitely the team to beat in the NL East and there isn’t really a team that will likely compete with them in 2018. Washington has a terrific lineup led by Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmermann, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, and Trea Turner. Also, having a healthy Adam Eaton for the 2018 season makes this lineup even better. It is very difficult to find a weakness in their lineup as they have very dangerous hitters from top to bottom. Washington also has a very good starting rotation especially with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. It will be key that those 3 pitchers stay healthy because they have struggled with injuries in recent seasons. Washington also has a very good bullpen with Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler as solid late-inning options. Overall, it is very difficult to find any weakness on this roster and they are not only the favorites to win the NL East, but they are legitimate world series contenders as well.

2. New York Mets

The Mets should certainly be a playoff contender if all goes well in 2018 and they might even provide some competition to the Nationals in the division. New York has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB with Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Jason Vargas. However, the issue for the Mets is that their starting pitchers have really struggled to stay healthy. If the Mets pitchers can stay healthy for the most part in 2018 then they will clearly carry the team. The Mets also have a decent lineup led by very good outfielders Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Michael Conforto. New York also added 3rd baseman Todd Frazier this offseason to provide even more depth to their lineup. It is unknown what they will get from the other starters like Asdrubal Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez. However, if the Mets lineup can be above average then the Mets could be a very good team. New York’s bullpen also has the potential to be good as Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak, and A.J. Ramos are all good late-inning options. However, the team needs to find a more reliable closer than they had last season and hopefully Familia can improve in that role in 2018. New York still has a few weaknesses that will hold them back, but if their starting rotation can just stay healthy and their lineup can be average then this could be a playoff team.

3. Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia had a very disappointing 2017 season, but they made several key additions that should help them to at least be a respectable team in 2018. Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams are two solid outfielders that provide some power in the Phillies lineup and they should only get better in 2018. Also, the team signed veteran 1st baseman Carlos Santana this offseason and he will provide a big power bat in the middle of their lineup for sure. However, Philadelphia needs more production from other players in their lineup like Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, and Cesar Hernandez. The Phillies have the potential to be a good hitting team, but it is unknown what type of production that their young players can provide. However, Philadelphia clearly needs some starting pitching help. Aaron Nola is the clear ace for the Phillies rotation, but besides him the rotation is very inconsistent. The key for the Phillies pitching staff will be whether Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez can improve from their poor 2017 seasons. If Eickhoff and Velasquez can return to form in 2018 then the Phillies could have a decent starting rotation. However, Philadelphia still needs to find some better 4th or 5th starters as they are relying on unproven players Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively to fill those roles. Philadelphia did improve their bullpen this offseason though as they signed Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek to be reliable setup options for quality closer Hector Neris. Philadelphia is a team that has high potential for the 2018 season, but they could also be a very bad team in 2018. The Phillies need their young players to step up and if they do so then the Phillies could possibly be a playoff contender.

4. Atlanta Braves

Atlanta is a similar team to the Phillies because they are still in a rebuild mode, although the Braves still could be a team that surprises some people this season. Freddie Freeman is an elite player that will carry the Braves offense once again in 2018. However, the rest of the lineup isn’t too much of a threat. Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte should continue to be productive players, although neither provides much power as they only combined for 19 home runs last season. However, if the Braves want to be successful offensively they will need more production out of young infielders Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo, and Ozzie Albies. Atlanta’s lineup has tons of potential with the young players that they have, although don’t expect much production out of it in 2018 besides Freeman. The Braves starting rotation doesn’t appear to be very good heading into the 2018 season. Julio Teheran is the only good starting pitcher that the team really has and even he didn’t have a very good 2017 season. Atlanta is hoping that Teheran can bounce back and be the ace that he has been for most of his career. The Braves also have Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb as a couple of inconsistent young starting pitchers. Both of those guys have tremendous potential, although they haven’t proven that they can be consistent starters at the MLB level. Atlanta will likely struggle quite a bit with their starting pitching and that will hold them back from being a competitive team. The Braves bullpen should be good this season as they have talented young closer Arodys Vizcaino leading the way. However, the depth behind him is kind of concerning as Jose Ramirez and A.J. Minter are the next best options and both of them are kind of unproven. Overall, Atlanta is a team that has some talented young players, but unless those players make significant improvements in 2018 then this team probably won’t be very competitive.

5. Miami Marlins

New owner Derek Jeter came in this offseason and basically made the Marlins a Triple-A team for the 2018 season as he traded away basically every quality player that the team had. The Marlins had a great outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich. However, Jeter decided to significantly cut payroll and he traded all three of those players away. The Marlins did get some good prospects back in those deals by acquiring Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Isan Diaz., yet that won’t help the Marlins be competitive in 2018. Brinson could win a starting job for the Marlins in 2018, but the other two guys will likely be starting in the minor leagues. Miami still has some good players in their lineup with J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour, and Starlin Castro. However, the rest of the lineup is just filled with very unproven players or players like Cameron Maybin and Derek Dietrich that are just temporary starters. The Marlins won’t score many runs this season especially if they trade away Realmuto which they are highly likely to do. Meanwhile, the Marlins rotation have a couple of good starting pitchers with Dan Straily and Jose Urena. However, the rest of the rotation is not very good and they will be relying on unproven starting pitchers to make their rotation effective. The Marlins bullpen could be decent, but they will need closer Brad Ziegler and setup man Junichi Tazawa to improve tremendously in 2018 because they both weren’t good last season. Overall, Miami is arguably the worst team in the MLB heading into the 2018 season and they basically will be lucky if they are even a respectable team.

Yankees acquire Stanton from the Marlins

The New York Yankees made the biggest move of this offseason as they acquired star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and cash in exchange for 2nd baseman Starlin Castro, right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman, and shortstop Jose Devers.


Marlins analysis/grade:

This trade shows that the Marlins new ownership led by Derek Jeter is committed to beginning a major rebuild in 2018. Giancarlo Stanton has become an unquestioned top 5 player in the MLB as he puts up ridiculous stats every season, although it hasn’t helped Miami reach the playoffs. Stanton had a whopping 59 home runs and 132 RBI’s for the Marlins last season and he was recently named the national league MVP for his efforts in 2017. This move for the Marlins is part of an effort to cut their payroll and this move certainly helps the Marlins do so as the Yankees now will pay $265 million of the $295 million left on Stanton’s contract. The Marlins will also be getting 3 decent players in exchange for Stanton. Starlin Castro is the only player that the Marlins are receiving that has any experience in the MLB. However, Castro is a very good player as proven by his 4 all-star appearances and he is still performing well as he hit .300 with 16 home runs for the Yankees last season. Castro will replace the recently traded Dee Gordon at 2nd base for the Marlins and I actually believe that Castro is an upgrade over Gordon. Castro won’t make the Marlins a playoff team next season or anything, but he will at least make them a more respectable team without Stanton. The other key player that the Marlins received in this deal is right-handed pitching prospect Jorge Guzman. He struggled early on in his minor league career, yet he bounced back last season with a 5-3 record and a 2.30 ERA in Class A. Guzman has tremendous potential mostly because he has an outstanding power arm as he has the ability to surpass 100 MPH with his fastball. Guzman has the potential to become an ace for Miami in a few years and he now becomes the top prospect in a Miami farm system that needed some better talent. Finally, the Marlins acquired infield prospect Jose Devers in this deal as well. Devers is known for speed as he stole 16 bases during his first minor league season in 2017. He also is a good fielder, but the area where he struggles the most is offensively. Devers only hit .245 with 1 home run and 16 RBI’s in 53 minor league games in rookie ball, so those numbers aren’t very promising considering the low level that he was playing at last year. If Devers can ever find some offensive ability then maybe he could be a major league player one day, but he is still definitely a very raw prospect. This trade just isn’t great from the Marlins perspective as they didn’t get enough in return for Stanton who is one of the elite players in the MLB. It makes sense that the Marlins would want to lower their payroll, but they should be getting more in return for a player as talented as Stanton. The Marlins new ownership clearly wants to go in a new direction, but this probably isn’t a direction that will benefit them much.

Grade: D


New York Yankees analysis/grade:

The New York Yankees are officially back to being the dynasty that they have been for most of their existence. New York already had a good offense last season led by AL rookie of the year and AL MVP finalist Aaron Judge. However, the addition of Giancarlo Stanton gives the Yankees an elite lineup with now two of the elite power hitters in the game. There will certainly be plenty of home runs hit next season for the Yankees as Judge and Stanton had 111 home runs combined just last year. The Yankees still have a need for some pitching help this offseason, but they just boosted their world series chances with this trade. The Yankees did give up promising young pitching prospect Jorge Guzman, but overall they didn’t have to trade away much in order to acquire Stanton. New York did also give up starting 2nd baseman Starlin Castro who had a good season in 2017. However, they will do just fine at that position with Ronald Torreyes as the starter in the short-term. The Yankees are now set up to have one of the best lineups in the MLB for years to come and they acquired an MVP award winner without having to give up much for him. This is a big trade for the Yankees and it is a trade that they clearly won.

Grade: A+

giancarlo stanton

Marlins trade A.J. Ramos to the Mets

The Miami Marlins continued to sell off key bullpen pieces as they dealt closer A.J. Ramos to the New York Mets in exchange for minor league prospects Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes.


Marlins analysis/grade:

A.J. Ramos was just having an average season for the Marlins as their closer, yet the Marlins still got a good return for him as they are getting two quality prospects from the Mets. The main prospect that the Marlins are getting in this deal is 21-year old right-handed starting pitcher Merandy Gonzalez who was the 9th ranked prospect in the Mets farm system. Gonzalez has been outstanding this season in the minor leagues as he is 12-3 with a 1.78 ERA. He is still a few years from reaching the MLB level since he is only in Class A advanced right now, but he has the potential to be a very good starting pitcher for the Marlins. The other prospect that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Ricardo Cespedes who was the 22nd ranked Mets prospect. Cespedes hasn’t been very productive in the minor leagues as he only has 2 home runs and a .271 average in 4 seasons. Cespedes is a very raw prospect at this point as he still needs to develop some more power or he needs to at least start hitting for a better average. Cespedes does have a strong arm, but that is about the only above average skill that he has at this point. Cespedes is talented, but he just hasn’t developed most of his skills yet and it is unknown whether he ever will. The Marlins did well with this trade as they are getting 2 quality prospects for a relief pitcher that has been average this season. Miami needs some more starting pitching badly and Merandy Gonzalez sure looks like he can be an impact player for the Marlins in a few years.

Grade: A


New York Mets analysis/grade:

I’m not quite sure what the logic of making this trade is for the Mets since they have been trying to trade away all of their veteran relief pitchers, but now they are adding one in exchange for two quality prospects. A.J. Ramos is under team control for the 2018 season, so he isn’t just a rental player for the Mets. However, the Mets probably won’t make the playoffs next season either and they could have just kept their own closer Addison Reed for next season rather than giving up prospects to acquire an average closer. Ramos has a 3.63 ERA and 20 saves this season which is decent, but he’s not a better option than Reed or other bullpen options that the team already has. The Mets have been trying to trade away their veteran players this season in order to acquire more prospects. However, this trade just sends the Mets in the completely opposite direction since they are now acquiring a veteran player and giving up too much in return. This trade doesn’t help the Mets immediately and it certainly doesn’t help the team for the future since they are giving up their 9th and 22nd ranked prospects. The Mets shouldn’t have made this trade as it doesn’t help them in any way and they will probably begin to regret it very soon.

Grade: F

a.j. ramos

David Phelps traded to the Mariners

The Miami Marlins traded relief pitcher David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league prospects Brayan Hernandez, Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez, and Lukas Schiraldi.


Mariners analysis/grade:

The Seattle Mariners have been looking to improve their bullpen as they look to make the playoffs this season for the first time since 2001. That is why the Mariners decided to trade for Marlins relief pitcher David Phelps on Thursday. Phelps was a starting pitcher and relief pitcher for the first 4 seasons of his career, but he struggled as a starter and he became a full-time relief pitcher in 2016. Phelps had an outstanding first season as a full-time relief pitcher that season as he had a 2.28 ERA. However, Phelps hasn’t been nearly as good this season for the Marlins as he has a 3.45 ERA. This acquisition does help the Mariners bullpen for the rest of this season and next season as well as he is under contract through 2018. Phelps is a good middle relief pitcher, but I’m just not sure that he will make much of an impact for the Mariners. Also, they certainly need other missing pieces like a catcher and some better relief pitchers in order to better compete for a playoff spot. Phelps shouldn’t be used as a late-inning option, but he is a good pitcher to use in the 6th or 7th inning. The problem with this trade for Seattle is that they gave up 4 young prospects in this deal which is too much to give up for a middle relief pitcher especially one that hasn’t been very consistent. Seattle even gave up their 6th, 16th, and 22nd ranked prospects in this deal which is way too much. Nobody knows if those prospects will ever be good MLB players, but it is still too much potential to give up for a relief pitcher that likely won’t make much of a difference. This trade might help the Mariners bullpen slightly this season and in 2018, but the risk of this trade just isn’t worth the reward for Seattle.

Grade: C-


Marlins analysis/grade:

This is an outstanding trade for the Marlins as they are receiving 4 young prospects for a decent relief pitcher that was inconsistent during his time with the team. The biggest prize that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Brayan Hernandez who was the 6th best prospect in the Mariners minor league system according to Hernandez has been inconsistent so far in his minor league career as he hit .281 in rookie ball in 2016. However, he hasn’t has much success in 28 games at Class A this season as he is only hitting .252 with 2 home runs. Hernandez will probably never be a decent power hitter, but the hope is that he can improve his average and be more of a line-drive hitter. Hernandez has good speed as he has 35 career stolen bases, but that won’t mean much unless he can continue to improve his offensive abilities. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a starter at the MLB level and he needs much more time to develop, but he has the potential to be a decent bench player one day. The Marlins also received right-handed starting pitcher prospect Brandon Miller who was the 16th best prospect in the Mariners farm system. Miller has been good in his 2 minor league seasons as he is 13-6 with a 3.32 ERA and he has the potential to make it to the majors in a few seasons if he can stay consistent. Miller has the potential to compete for the final spot in an MLB starting rotation at some point, but if that doesn’t work out then he could be a good long relief or middle relief pitcher. Miami also received right-handed starting pitcher Pablo Lopez who was the 22nd ranked prospect in the Mariners farm system. Lopez was outstanding in his first 3 minor league seasons as he had an ERA of 2.57, 3.13, and 2.13 in those seasons. However, Lopez has not been good in Class A advanced this season as he is 5-8 with a 5.04 ERA. Lopez is striking out a lot of batters this year, but he is also allowing tons of hits which explains his mediocre ERA. This season might just be a bump in the road for Lopez, but he will likely get back on track soon because he is still a good pitching prospect. Finally, the Marlins acquired 23-year old right-handed starting pitcher Lukas Schiraldi who was a 15th round pick by Seattle in 2014. Schiraldi isn’t a ranked prospect and he doesn’t have much potential. However, if he can turn around his minor league career then maybe he could be a decent depth relief pitcher for the Mariners. Schiraldi is 13-23 with a 4.65 ERA in his minor league career, so the Marlins are just hoping that somehow something will click and he will become a decent pitcher one day. He doesn’t have much of a chance of making it to the MLB, but possibly a change of organizations will help Schiraldi improve. Either way, this trade is a very big return for the Marlins as they now have 3 decent young prospects to work with for an average middle relief pitcher that was inconsistent at times.

Grade: A

david phelps

Biggest need remaining for every NL East team

Atlanta Braves – Biggest need: 2nd base

There is no doubt that Jace Peterson will be the Braves everyday starter at 2nd base, but he will need to be more consistent than he was last season. Peterson hit .254 with just 7 home runs last season, so Atlanta will need him to be better going forward. The Braves did add utility infielder Sean Rodriguez this offseason as a backup 2nd baseman. However, Atlanta will have to do something to improve the position very soon.

Miami Marlins – Biggest need: Shortstop

Adeiny Hechavarria is a shortstop that makes incredible defensive plays often, but his offense has certainly been a weakness throughout his MLB career. Hechavarria hit only .236 with 3 home runs last season so he is definitely an issue in the Marlins lineup. He doesn’t hit consistently and he doesn’t hit for much power as well. The only reason that he is the Marlins everyday shortstop is because of his defensive abilities. Miami needs some more depth at the position either way and it isn’t worth starting Hechavarria just for his defense since he is a liability offensively.

New York Mets – Biggest need: Catcher

The catcher position was a major weakness for the Mets last season especially after their starter Travis d’Arnaud was injured for a large portion of the year. d’Arnaud wasn’t a great option anyway for the Mets as he hit only .247 with 4 home runs in 2016. The Mets have solid depth at catcher, yet they need to find an upgrade at the position over d’Arnaud.

Philadelphia Phillies – Biggest need: Right Fielder

Philadelphia has a big need in right field as they have two inexperienced players that will compete for the starting job in 2017. Roman Quinn is the projected starter in right field right now, but he has hit only .263 in 57 career at-bats. Aaron Altherr has more experience than Quinn, but Altherr is a career .212 hitter which isn’t very promising. Either way, it is a mystery as to how Quinn or Altherr will perform with the starting right field job. The Phillies need to sign a veteran right fielder to a 1-year deal in order to provide a temporary solution to the position.

Washington Nationals – Biggest need: Closer

The Nationals let go of closer Jonathan Papelbon after he had a poor season in 2016 and the team was confident that they would be able to sign a top free agent closer. However, all of the top free agent closers are now signed and yet the Nationals still have a need for a closer. The Nationals’ options at closer are running out and it appears that they’ll have to find a closer from their roster. Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, and Sammy Solis are all candidates to be the team’s closer in 2017. However, none of those guys seems like a very good option especially for a team that has world series aspirations.

Marlins sign Ziegler to a 2-year contract

The Miami Marlins continued to rebuild their bullpen this offseason as they signed veteran relief pitcher Brad Ziegler to a 2-year/$16 million deal. Ziegler is 37 years old, yet he is still as productive as ever as he had a 2.25 ERA with 22 saves in 2016 for the Diamondbacks and Red Sox. Miami lost out on signing some of the top closers in free agency, but at least the signing of Ziegler provides them a proven and consistent option as their closer in 2017. The Marlins likely will use Ziegler as an 8th inning option at least to start next season and that certainly isn’t a bad role for him as it still provides some stability to the bullpen. Miami has already signed veteran Junichi Tazawa to be the 7th inning guy in 2017, so the addition of Ziegler as well makes this bullpen much improved for next year. Ziegler has been one of the most consistent relief pitchers in the MLB throughout his career as he has a 2.44 ERA. He might not throw hard and he’s not as entertaining to watch as other relief pitchers, although he finds a way to get the job done every year. Either way, Ziegler gives the Marlins a fallback option for the 9th inning role and he will make the Marlins bullpen much improved in 2017.

Grade: A