With the trading of Christian Yelich, and potential trades of J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro, the Marlins are in a rebuild phase similar to that of the Tampa Bay Rays.
From 1998 to 2007, the Rays won 60-65 games per season. This let them draft in the top 10 every year and rebuild their farm system. Between 2008-17, they averaged winning 85-95 games, including winning the AL east. This is now the path the Marlins will follow, realistically for the next three to five years, at least. While this is distasteful for fans, there is little alternative.
Previous ownership and staff mismanaged the farm system and did an equally poor job rebuilding the pitching staff. Fans must rely on Gary Denbo and his staff to rebuild the team and eventually acquire affordable talent in free agency.
There is one catch for the Jeter/Sherman ownership group. Besides the $50 million every team is getting next year, and other revenue sharing, the profit estimates in the Wolverine plan are challenged: The Marlins have little leverage to obtain a lucrative new television arrangement; it may be difficult to attract a stadium name sponsor for a bottom-of-the-division team; and critically, it will be most challenging to expect fans to pay current ticket prices to watch what amounts to a AAA+ team.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Management should be creative here. They retain all revenue from concessions and parking so it is more important to make sure fans come to the games and buy food and souvenirs. Except for series against the most popular visiting teams, the Marlins should run numerous low ticket price promotions just to fill seats. Fans will not pay $100+ per ticket to watch a rebuilding team.
The ownership is in this for the future and this is, painfully, the only real way to rebuild and hope that by 2021 the franchise can finish .500 and look forward to competing for a playoff spot in future seasons.
Mitchell J. Schlesinger,