5 Players the Miami Marlins Must Keep to Become Contenders
The Miami Marlins are looking to put this disappointing 2012 season behind them and move forward.
Even with the new ballpark in place, the team decided to become sellers at the MLB trade deadline and moved some key pieces around.
Hanley Ramirez was shipped to the Dodgers, who agreed to pay the entire rest of his contract—which we now understand why. Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez were traded to the Detroit Tigers in return for a couple young and promising players.
There are some bright spots that still remain on the Marlins lineup and should remain on the team going into next season.
Miami also now has some extra money they could either decide to spend via free agency this upcoming offseason or possibly extend deals to a couple of their young franchise cornerstones.
Marlins ownership has created plenty of doubt surrounding the club with their moves this season, but here are five players the team must keep in order to contend next year.
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When the Marlins made the trade to the Detroit Tigers at the deadline and shipped Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez away, the team did get some good return.
Jacob Turner is a 21-year-old, highly touted prospect who has the capability of leading the Marlins rotation for years to come. While not on the same level as a Stephen Strasburg or even Matt Moore, Turner can be someone that could lead the rotation if and when the inevitable happens and they trade away Josh Johnson.
The Marlins also have the always-productive Mark Buehrle and will most likely keep him around for the duration of his contract. Ricky Nolasco has hit his 10-win mark again and Nate Eovaldi has struggled in his first few starts since being one of the key pieces in the Hanley Ramirez trade.
Turner is a former first-round pick with the Tigers and has the mechanics to be a special pitcher.
The pitching staff can already help the Marlins contend going into next season, but Turner's last couple of starts have brought some excitement towards the future.
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Acquiring Justin Ruggiano for next to nothing was one of the few moves the Marlins have made in recent memory that have made them look brilliant.
In 70 games played this year, Ruggiano has hit .327 AVG with 13 HR and 31 RBI. His limited production this year rivals even Bryce Harper, who has been in the league around the same amount of time.
The only problem with Ruggiano is...he's 30 years old. But would that stop the Marlins from offering him a decent extension and take a chance on him for the next couple of years?
There isn't much to lose with Ruggiano, who could be an inexpensive piece moving forward. Ruggiano helps bolster the outfield with his power and defensive play, and would be an important part of the Marlins lineup if they want to become contenders once again.
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The Marlins had very high hopes with Logan Morrison going into this season, and it's safe to say that it was a disappointing season.
In only 123 games played last year, he had 23 HR and 72 RBI, which gave Miami hope that they had found a young offensive power to complement Giancarlo Stanton.
Morrison seems like a guy that, when healthy, can produce 20-30 HR a year and drive in a good amount of runs. He struggled this season with 11 HR, 36 RBI and a less-than-impressive .230 AVG. Morrison has also found himself on the 60-day DL, ending his 2012 campaign.
The bright side to all of this is after trading away 1B Gaby Sanchez and the likely scenario that they let current 1B Carlos Lee walk after this season, Morrison can return to his original position. Maybe a new season with a fresh start at 1B is exactly what Morrison needs to live up to the expectation the Marlins had of him.
It's too early to give up on Logan Morrison now, who has a fun personality that makes him a fanbase favorite. Assuming he will return to form next season, Morrison will be a player the Marlins will want to keep around.
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Compared to his 2011 production in which Jose Reyes won the NL batting title, his 2012 season has been a disappointment.
What's overlooked is that Reyes still leads the team in hits, doubles, triples, runs and games played. He's arguably been the team's most valuable player this season and above all, has been able to stay healthy.
Jose Reyes is still a star in this league and the Marlins paid him heavily for that purpose. He's still only 29 years of age and should have a few more years of being in his prime.
Reyes has also shown his willingness to work with Ozzie Guillen and has been very adaptable to the changes in the lineup. He came here with the idea that the Marlins were going to do whatever it takes to win, and the team needs to keep him around if they want to contend next season.
Don't judge Reyes based on what he's being paid; he's worth keeping around as the starting SS for a few more years in Miami.
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If you've been disappointed in the Marlins this season and have lost sight of the positives that surround this team, look no further than Giancarlo Stanton.
His offensive production in his limited games played this season has been staggering. In 100 games played, he has 29 HR, 72 RBI and is creeping up on a .300 AVG. Can you imagine what type of numbers he could have if he never got hurt around the All-Star break?
It's known around the baseball world that he can hit the ball as far as anyone in recent memory. His presence alone in the middle of the Marlins lineup will be a force to reckon with for many years to come.
Stanton is currently only six HR away from NL leader Ryan Braun's total of 35. With 32 games left to play, it's not out of the question that Stanton could catch Braun, which would be an incredible feat given the amount of games he's missed this season.
Giancarlo Stanton is the most important piece the Marlins have moving into next season, and there isn't a price on him that could potentially separate him from the ballclub.