Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins season has been lost for a long, long time, but the spectacular failure of a season that started with such high hopes could lead to some major changes for the team ahead of next season.
To put in perspective just how bad the Marlins are this season, the star of the franchise is an inanimate object, Marlins Park. The new stadium is a dazzling display of technology mixed with an old school baseball feel, but even the nicest park in the world won’t draw fans if the team stinks, especially in South Florida.
“It’s hard to think you put a plan together and almost every part of the plan does not work out, either by injury or non-performance,” Samson told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The Marlins season collapsed in June after a record-setting month of May. Much like last season though, when June arrived, the Marlins’ team seemed to go on vacation and never came back. The team is currently 11 games before .500 and tied for dead last in the National League East.
There have been some bright spots, including free agent acquisition, shortstop Jose Reyes. After struggling to start this year, Reyes has come alive in recent weeks and has put together a league-best 24 game hitting streak as of August 7.
Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has arguably been the most arm in the rotation, but even he has struggled to a 9-10 record through the season. Only one Marlins starting pitcher is at or above .500, staff ace Josh Johnson, who is 7-7 on the season.
The Marlins did finally ship out the biggest headache the franchise had over the last couple of years when it dealt Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team also got rid of pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who Miami likely couldn’t re-sign at the end of the season anyway.
Still, the Marlins front-office knows team owner Jeffrey Loria is not going to be pleased when the season mercifully ends in October.
“Everything may change,” Samson told the Sun-Sentinel. “I think it’s going to be an interesting October, a little different than the October we envisioned …. [Loria] is angry and he should be. Me, Larry and Mike are only two, three and four in the disappointed department. He’s number one.”
One of the biggest disappointments has been closing pitcher Heath Bell. He was signed to a massive 3-year, $27 million contract in the offseason and has failed miserably as the Marlins’ closer after three solid years in San Diego.
Bell leads the team in saves with 19, but lost his job as the closer earlier this year. He’s 2-5 overall with a 5.44 ERA and has blown six saves on the season. For comparison purposes, he had 43 saves in 48 attempts last year and had an ERA of 2.44.
The Marlins do have two young stars to build around in Reyes and slugging right-fielder Giancarlo Stanton. The pitching staff should return Johnson, Buehrle, and Ricky Nolasco but the other two positions will be up for grabs in the rotation.
While the Marlins 2012 season has been a massive failure from a baseball point of view; the team does have some reason to hope for the future with some good young talent and an improving pitching rotation. But it’s going to be a test of the Marlins fan base to see how long they’re willing to wait for all of the youth to finally reach their potential.