After going 69-93 and finishing in last for a second season in a row, the Marlins have plenty of work to do in order to improve in 2013.
The changes could start with the hiring of a new manager if owner Jeffrey Loria decides to fire Ozzie Guillen. Upgrades are necessary in most every area — hitting, pitching and fielding — and the road to recovery will likely require more than a quick roster fix that can be performed with a couple of minor tweaks.
Last year’s makeover has turned into a reconstruction project that began with the trading selloff in July.
So what went wrong — and right — in 2012?
What went wrong
1. Upper-level management — meaning everyone from Loria to the front office — grossly overestimated the team’s returning talent from the 2011 season. Did the Marlins overpay for free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell during their December spending spree? Very likely, yes. High-dollar free agents are rarely bargains for any team. While Bell was a giant bust, Reyes and Buehrle performed pretty much to expectations. They can’t be faulted. It was the avalanche of failure of the existing bunch — everyone from Hanley Ramirez to John Buck to Gaby Sanchez to Josh Johnson to Logan Morrison, etc. — that brought down the house on the team’s “all-in” strategy.
Many figured Carlos Zambrano would turn out to be the unpredictable fuse that would create an eruption. Instead, it was Bell, who tried too hard to be liked by every one. When Bell choked on July 8, blowing a 4-2 lead in the ninth at St. Louis the day before the All-Star break — the season was effectively over.
Ramirez, shoved to third base when the Marlins signed shortstop Jose Reyes, never got going. Johnson, an ace in the making when a shoulder injury cut short his 2011 season in May, was not the same, dominating pitcher in ’12 that the Marlins were counting on.
What went right