I fondly remember “Stronger,” one of Kanye’s more fun and more forgettable songs. It came out the summer of 2007, and I strongly associate it with tequila-and-sodas, skinny girls wearing shutter shades, and a throw-away lyric that’s been stuck in my head for the past decade:
I ask, ‘cause I’m not sure: does anyone make real shit anymore?
Derek Jeter owns the Marlins, along with some of his richest friends. They don’t care about it. They don’t care about the fans, the sport, or the contracts they own. In the second week of December, the Marlins traded away reigning-if-dubious MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and apparently-good-now Marcell Ozuna. Christian Yellich followed them out the door in January.
What’s left is a joke of a team, built not to compete but to limp along as the franchise value increases. There is no reason for you to care about the Marlins, or me. I have put more thought into the Marlins than their current owners, and let me be clear: the Marlins are at best my 8th-favorite baseball team.
I liked the Marlins because they were new when I was new, and all that newness was exciting. I had just moved to town and was put on the Marlins teeball team. I remember the boy across the street from me having a teal ballcap and thinking it was a Marlins hat, and that we could be friends. Anyway, that boy across the street died of a drug overdose a few years ago and I stopped caring about the Marlins this year. Here are some people who play for them.
Maybe the weirdest part of the Marlins’ lineup is the former Marlins they’ve dragged back. Cameron Maybin will be in centerfield until Lewis Brinson (over from the Brewers) is ready. Chad Wallach, who you may remember from his dozen Reds days, is back in Marlins colors. Whatever those colors are.
Justin Bour, Starlin Castro and JT Realmuto will provide the core of a lineup. Miguel Rojas will try and fail to match his .361 OBP from last year. Derek Dietrich, whose comps include Ty Wigginton, Scott Spezio and Wilson Betemit, is also around.
Dan Straily finally got the multi-million dollar contract he so richly deserved, and he’ll be a likely Opening Day started now that he’s $3.38 million richer. Glad somebody’s making this work for ‘em.
Usually the term “innings eater” is a knock, but really all that any Marlin is doing this year is eating innings, helping time go by three outs at a time. Adam Conley, Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino will be doing the most of that this year.
Brad Ziegler is first among a number of bullpenners who are hoping to pitch well enough to leave Miami
We have already mentioned Dan Straily, noted 2016 Billy Hamilton Hype Man, and Chad Wallach, noted son of Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach. Miguel Rojas was one of three shortstops to play for the 2012 Pensacola Blue Wahoos to make the pros. None of them (Rojas, Didi Gregorious, Billy Hamilton) play SS for the Reds.
Among the non-roster invitees stand our dear, sweet, Jumbo Diaz and Red-for-a-moment Scott Van Slyke. Chris O’Grady, a former Reds Rule V Pick, spent last year as a swingman for the Marlins and will do much the same this year.
Foreign word the 2018 Marlins remind me most of
This is the Turkish word for “corruption” but yolsuzluk is more than that. It is literally translated as “roadlessness.” That is what the Marlins are right now. There is no road to a brighter future. There is no foundation for a stronger organization. What we see right now, what the Marlins did this winter, is the closest we are going to get to a plan: extraction through carelessness. To expect more of the Marlins is to lie to ourselves.
To loop it back up to the beginning, the storyline of baseball this winter has been an utter disinterest in even trying. Back in the day there would be disgust at the lack of sportsmanship on behalf of the owners and managers, at their greed for our money and disdain for our entertainment. All I can really do right now, for the Marlins and teams like them, is to throw that disdain right back: is this even real anymore? Why should we lift a finger to help jokers like the owners?