Since 2018, the Phillies have a 32-35 record against the Miami Marlins. The so-called “bottom feeders” of the NL East have handed Philadelphia a number of embarrassing losses since the Phillies emerged from their rebuild.
Speaking of rebuilds, the Marlins are nearing the end of theirs and are signaling to free agents that they have some money to spend this offseason.
Prior to the end of the season, Marlins general manager Kim Ng told MLB Network that they are looking to add impact free agents on offense.
“We feel that we are primed to do very well with the pitching set up as it is and with us being able to spend some money on bats this offseason,” Ng said. The new influx of cash comes from a new five-year television rights deal that’s reportedly worth “substantially more than double” the approximately $18 to $20 million earned annually in the previous contract. It’s still significantly less than what a team like the Phillies would bring in, but it’s something.
Marlins players are also getting a sense that help is on the way. Longtime Marlin Miguel Rojas spoke on the team’s direction on The Chris Rose Rotation podcast.
“I know they already said they’re going all-in,” Rojas said. “They’re going to spend. They’re going to try to bring the best free agents that they can bring to make this team better.”
Even though the Marlins finished in fourth place in the NL East with a 67-95 record in 2021, Miami is in a position to take a step forward. The pitching staff finished with the 11th best ERA in MLB and they have a surplus of talented young pitchers under the age of 26. Their ace Sandy Alcántara is in line for an extension and rookie Trevor Rogers made the All-Star team this past season. Former Phillies top prospect Sixto Sánchez is expected to return in 2022. Add in Pablo López, Jesús Luzardo, Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett, Elieser Hernández and Max Meyer and it’s clear that the Marlins are stacked with starting pitching.
The offense is the problem for Miami. They posted the worst OPS in the National League (.671), so they’ll look to address the lineup this offseason. Like the Phillies, the Marlins are in the market for a middle-of-the-order bat. Craig Mish of the Miami Herald reported on the Swings and Mishes podcast that Reds outfielder and South Florida native Nick Castellanos could be a target for the Marlins if he opts out of his deal with Cincinnati. Castellanos could be a potential fit in Philadelphia as the Phillies are looking for an impact bat in the middle of the order to protect Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. Miami could also be in the market for a starting catcher three years after trading J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies.
Mish also noted that within the organization, there is “a tremendous amount of pressure next season to show a massive improvement.” The franchise last finished with a winning record in a full season in 2010.
Unlike most divisions, the NL East will lack a team that’s bottoming out in 2022. The Nationals are technically in a rebuilding phase after trading Trea Turner and Max Scherzer among others, but they could spend money this offseason. The Mets continue to be a perpetual hot mess in many ways, but they’re not the Pirates or Orioles. The Braves are two wins away from the World Series and are the team to beat at the moment.
The Marlins are likely to be a tougher matchup in 2022, which is bad news considering just how much the Phillies have struggled against them in recent years.
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