2013 Miami Marlins
2013 Miami Marlins / Franchise: Miami Marlins / BR Team Page
Managed by Mike Redmond
The 2013 Miami Marlins entered the season having conducted a huge fire sale over the off-season, after having already traded away a number of their better players during the 2012 season. Gone were all of the previous winter's free agent signees: P Heath Bell was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and P Mark Buehrle and SS Jose Reyes went to the Toronto Blue Jays in a blockbuster deal that also saw three other solid major league players - C John Buck, P Josh Johnson and IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio - head north. In return, the Marlins received mainly prospects, and managed to trade away SS Yunel Escobar, one of the few established major leaguers they had received from the deals, to the Tampa Bay Rays before the start of spring training. The fans in Miami were outraged, advance ticket sales for the new season were abysmal, but owner Jeffrey Loria just stoked the flames by taking a full-page add in the local papers blaming the fans, media and players for their negative attitude.
When the dust had settled down, the Marlins were left with three genuine solid major leaguers on their roster: OF Giancarlo Stanton, SP Ricky Nolasco and RP Steve Cishek. Everyone else was either a youngster still out to prove he could hold a big league job, a career back-up, a once-promising player hoping to re-establish himself (OFs Logan Morrison and Chris Coghlan fit that bill) or well into his decline phase (OF Juan Pierre and 1B Casey Kotchman were the two prime examples). There was already speculation that the three valuable trading chips still on the team would be cashed in by mid-season. If things weren't already bad enough for first-year manager Mike Redmond, C Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone during the spring, and just as the season was about to start, two of the team's projected starting pitchers, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, were placed on the disabled list. The fallout was that 20-year-old Jose Fernandez, fresh out of Single-A ball, was in the starting rotation as the season opened.
The Marlins played true to expectations in the early going. They lost their first game by shutout, 2-0 against the Washington Nationals on April 1st, and were again shut out, 3-0, by the Nats in their second game on April 3rd. That made Redmond only the second manager to see his team be shut out in his first two games at the helm, after Jack Chapman of the 1876 Louisville Grays. The Marlins lost 9 of their first ten games and after 19 games, they had the worst record in the major leagues at 4-15, even worse than the Houston Astros who were counted on to bring up the rear after moving to the American League and kicking off a youth movement simultaneously. But the Marlins were much worse than even the terrible Astros, as their run differential of minus 46 obliterated the Astros's minus 34 in as many games. May was not much better than April, as their most dangerous hitter, Giancarlo Stanton, missed a good chunk of the month with an injury. They had a nine-game losing streak at the end of the month before getting a rare highlight when Jacob Turner shut out the New York Mets over seven innings in his first appearance of the season on May 31st. Still, the Marlins ended the month with an abysmal record of 14-41, the worst in the majors.
After their first two awful months, everyone had written off the Marlins as a AAA-level squad, but they showed some unexpected punch in June, when they had a winning record of 15-10, capped by a dramatic win at home against the San Diego Padres on June 30th, when C Mathis his a walk-off grand slam off Tyson Ross. Key to the turnaround was the return to health of Stanton and of Logan Morrison, who played his first game of the year on June 9th, the emergence of rookie OF Marcell Ozuna, and some outstanding pitching performances from the young Fernandez. In spite of the good month, the Marlins were still in last place and the only team in the majors with fewer than 30 wins at that point. On July 6th, Fernandez was named the team's sole representative at the 2013 All-Star Game, showing that the controversial decision to bring him up early was the right one. Indeed, on the same day the Marlins decided to trade Ricky Nolasco to the Los Angeles Dodgers, landing three young pitchers in return and making the team even younger. On July 28th, hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned amid allegations that he had been physically and verbally abusive with some of the Marlins' young players, particularly infielder Derek Dietrich, who had recently been sent down to the minors; he was replaced by minor league hitting instructor John Pierson. The team was shutout for 37 consecutive innings in July, the most by a MLB team since the 1985 Houston Astros. Another low point came in early August when the Marlins lost six straight, although to their defence, they were playing some of the hottest teams in the major leagues, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves. When they ended the streak with a 1-0 win over Braves on August 10th, they snapped a 14-game winning streak by the Braves; they needed a great start from Nathan Eovaldi, who had only returned from his spring training injury in mid-June. Eovaldi locked horns with rookie Alex Wood for seven innings, before the respective bullpens took over and Adeiny Hechavarria decided the game with his legs, hitting his league-leading 6th triple to lead off the top of the 9th and then scoring on a wild pitch by reliever Jordan Walden.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Jose Fernandez
- NL Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez
- Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Jose Fernandez (RhP) and Christian Yelich (OF)