Updated: 6 days ago
by Matthew Calvino
If you ask a native Miami resident, the Marlins are known as a losing team.
They are also known for their fire sale of good players in order to get farm system picks from other teams. Consistently, they end up selling their most notable players every year, not even hesitating to lose their top prospects for the money. After the 2003 World Series, Miguel Cabrera, the hero of the team, was sold off to Detroit, where he still resides to this day. They also sold Josh Beckett, another great Marlins player and pitching ace. The team did the same thing after the 2017 Marlins. The roster was loaded, finally looking like a true major league-caliber team. After finishing second in the NL East with a 77-85 record, the team began selling off all of their big stars including Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Justin Bour, Ichiro Suzuki and Dee Gordon. To think that the Marlins had a chance this season would have been a long shot.
However, beyond the history and lack of roster depth, there was a glimmer of hope in the 2022-2023 offseason. Luis Arraez was brought in. He's a four-year Twins multi-role player with a .356 career batting average. He’s played a variety of positions throughout his years in the league, but the Marlins placed him as a shortstop, removing Jazz from the infield to center field. This was the result of the new manager, Skip Schumacher’s decision to rework the infield and bring in new talent. The team’s payroll is still significantly less than Justin Verlander’s Mets contract, but it seems like success this season has gone beyond the monetary value of the players.
The beginning of the Marlins’ season was very typical, starting with a couple of wins and losses to a rough set of teams including the Mets, Minnesota, Philly and a sweep by the Braves.
However, the season began picking up. Arraez specifically started batting .400 and completed the first-ever Marlins cycle. The team began scoring extremely proficiently, especially when having to come back from big run deficits in the eighth and ninth innings. Players like Garrett Cooper, Jorge Soler and Bryan de la Cruz followed in Arraez’s wake, matching their flawless fielding with a clutch offense. They also combined their clutch offense with an ability to maintain their leads in the eighth.
According to the Miami Herald, the Marlins had a 32-0 record when leading in the eighth during the first half of the season. The end record from the first half of the season was 53-39, a never before seen statistic for a team that hasn’t broken fifty wins in the first half of the season since 2008 and has never, in the history of the team, done better than that in the first half of the season.
What does the future look like for this record-breaking Marlins team?
Well, it's not extremely clear. Besides having an amazing first half of the season, the Marlins were just swept by the Orioles and the Cardinals. Sure, the sweep by the Orioles is excusable, considering they have been making a fool out of every team in the league with a record of 62-38. However, the Cardinals are not in any place to sweep a team that just last series beat them 3-1. The Marlins are 1-8 in the second half of the season, and their performance against Colorado has been a similar sign of the post-All-Star Game slump that plagued the Yankees last year, a team that had 63 wins in the first half of the season.
There is still hope for the Marlins, however. They still have one of the highest records in Marlins history and the team’s roster has not changed. They face their rivals today to begin the Rays-Marlins series. Hopefully, they are able to maintain their winning pattern from before the All-Star Game.