They spent big bucks on free agents. They moved into a state-of-the-art ballpark. They hired a marquee manager. They changed their name, their color scheme and their outfits. They even started letting players wear neck chains and grow beards.
The Marlins underwent the makeover of all Major League makeovers.
But the results on the field haven’t changed. The new-look, gussied-up Marlins have been a mammoth bust so far.
With a record of 41-44, the re-branded Marlins are only percentage points better at the All-Star break than last year’s 43-48 club at the same midseason mile marker. They are arguably the most glaring disappointment in all the majors.
"You can compare the Marlins to the Facebook fiasco," said one major league scout. "High expectations and haven’t delivered."
Instead of contending for the franchise’s first-ever division title, the Marlins are sitting just ahead of last-place Philadelphia in the National League East -- nine games behind the first-place Nationals and five games out in the wild card race.
There is still time for the Marlins to turn it around.
They were, after all, the hottest team in baseball in May, going 21-8. But the odds are stacked against them, especially with their only bonafide All-Star -- Giancarlo Stanton -- out of commission for the next four to six weeks following knee surgery.
If there is little or no improvement in the second half, both on the field and at the turnstiles, the Marlins could be looking at another offseason roster overhaul, one that involves a toned-down look and lower payroll.
MID-SEASON REPORT CARD:
Saving the game
Heath Bell has six “blown saves,” but a handful of his failures don’t qualify under the strict definition of the term. Here’s the complete file of Bell’s breakdowns this season:
Math is not right
While the Marlins are just 41-44, they should consider themselves lucky.
According to the “Pythagorean expectation” formula created by Bill James, one that is based simply on runs scored and runs allowed, the Marlins “should” be 37-48 and languishing in last place.
The Marlins have been outscored by 56 runs, the sixth-worst differential in the majors.
Here is a comparison of the actual National League East standings, and how the standings would look if James’ formula is applied:
|New York||46||40||4 1/2|
|New York||45||41||4 1/2|