Miami Marlins Plagued by Lackluster Offense, Shoddy Pitching and Injuries in a Dismal 2012 Season
After undergoing a major overhaul in the offseason that included hiring a new manager; changing the team’s name, logo, and uniforms; and opening a new ballpark; the Miami Marlins have endured a trying 2012 season characterized by poor hitting, weak pitching, and a slew of injuries that has found them depleting their already thin bench.
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They unveiled a new name, a fresh logo, and a sleek 37,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof. They donned new uniforms punctuated by splashes of orange, yellow, and blue. They hired a proven if combustible manager in Ozzie Guillen, who guided the Chicago White Sox to a World Championship in 2005. And the traditionally frugal front office finally opened up the pocketbooks to sign three of baseball’s most coveted free agents in the offseason: Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell.
The Miami Marlins learned the hard way, however, that undergoing a complete transformation is not a surefire recipe for winning ballgames. The team’s payroll skyrocketed from a paltry $56.9 million in 2011 to a staggering $118 million in 2012. But the team has little to show for it; as of August 24, it owns the worst record in its division at 57-70. The only National League team with a higher payroll in 2012 is the division rival Philadelphia Phillies, to the tune of $174.5 million. Ironically, despite their deep pockets, both teams have underperformed mightily this season and find themselves trying to climb out of the cellar in the National League East.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is no stranger to controversy, and he found himself in the hot seat yet again just one week into the young season. The potty-mouthed Guillen drew the ire of Miami’s large Cuban community for saying he loved former dictator Fidel Castro. It didn’t take long for many residents to call for Guillen’s resignation; however, they would have to settle for a 5-game suspension.
After getting off to a sluggish 8-14 start in April, the Marlins turned the corner by winning a franchise-best 21 games in May. Undoubtedly, the team was carried by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit a scorching .343 for the month and recorded a whopping 30 RBIs. With 12 home runs in May, he tied Dan Uggla for the most homers ever hit by a Marlin in a single month. (Uggla hit 12 homers in May 2008.) Additionally, the Marlins’ starters did their part by going 15-7 with a combined 3.53 ERA in May.
No sooner did Miami draw within half a game of first place than they crashed in dramatic fashion. In June, first-year Marlin Jose Reyes, third baseman Hanley Ramirez, and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton hit a combined .251 with 28 RBIs and 10 homers. Virtually every player on the team hit a slump at the exact same time. The result: They finished 8-18 in the month of June, slipping into last place and nearly replicating the abysmal 5-23 record the team posted in June of the prior season.