It seems that every day, the Miami Marlins are always either getting rid of someone or changing something. As the rebuilding process rages on, optimism looks to be in shorter and shorter supply with every passing day.
Although rebuilding teams is not supposed to be easy, faith from the Marlins faithful is wearing thin. Also, some public eyes are doubting that the organization is making all these moves for the good of the team and fans at all.
As the old adage goes, “It gets worse before it gets better.” Now a couple of questions come about here. First, how much worse will it get before it gets better? Second, how soon will the better come?
Miami’s Latest Moves
Recently, ESPN reported that the Marlins will get rid of their “Great Sea” mascot race. Similar to the Washington Nationals’ “Presidents Race,” the race includes four mascots representing sea creatures and commences in the middle of the sixth inning. The race began in 2012 with the opening of Marlins Park.
The mascots Julio the Octopus, Bob the Shark, Angel the Stone Crab and Spike the Sea Dragon will not race down the warning track in 2018.
Speaking of mascots and personnel changes, Miami has fired the man who plays Miami’s mascot, Billy the Marlin, as of last week. Reports indicate that John DeCicco, the just-mentioned man, has worn the outfit at the Marlins’ home games for over a decade. As of right now, the Marlins have not told reason for the firing.
Billy will remain as the team mascot, but with an unnamed successor in costume in this coming season.
Miami’s front office, which has experienced a barrage of personnel changes since last fall, has yet another new addition. Meet Chip Bowers, the new president of baseball operations.
Bowers is currently the chief marketing officer of the Golden State Warriors. Bowers started in Oakland, Oracle Arena’s location, in 2014 just before the Warriors snagged two of the last three NBA titles. He has previously worked for the Orlando Magic, Seattle SuperSonics and San Diego Padres.
Among other things, the Marlins are known for notoriously low attendance at home games, but who is more to blame? Is it the Miami fan base being fair-weather, or is it the front office of the past constantly releasing and trading all of the good players?
Regardless, Derek Jeter believes that hiring Bowers can help attack the low attendance and other financial problems.
Veterans In tow
Although it seems rare for the Marlins roster to stay consistent for long, some veterans will look to set the tone.
First baseman Justin Bour will look to finish what he started last season. In 2017, he recorded career bests in batting average, home runs and RBIs. However, his tenure with the Marlins came with injuries, including ones in his ankle and oblique in 2017. If the 29-year-old lefty can remain healthy, he can become the next big name terror at the plate.
A testament to Bour’s hitting power was his 22 home runs in one round during last year’s Home Run Derby.
Also, second baseman Starlin Castro will be a more than solid addition to the infield. Although he hasn’t played a season with the fish yet, he has previously expressed interest to places elsewhere. But now it seems that the four-time All-Star, according to ESPN, is now ready to help lead the clubhouse.
Other players will be looking for their chances to put the team back to playoff contention, including Miguel Rojas and JT Riddle, competing at shortstop. The Marlins still have questions about certain positions, particularly their pitching staff, outfield and catcher spots. For the latter, the biggest questions remains as to who steps up if J.T. Realmuto ends up in a different team.
Despite all of the criticism, doubt and the countless changes in personnel, Derek Jeter still remains determined to turn matters around for the 23-year-old organization. The new roster will begin its test drive against the St. Louis Cardinals on Feb. 23.
Featured image from marlins.com
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