“We’re getting ready for another season, and we’re going to win more,” Marlins president David Samson assured Christina De Nicola of FOX Sports Florida late last week. “I promise you this: We’re not going to lose 100 games next year. Not even close.”
But that doesn’t mean that Marlins fans should be expecting a wheeling-and-dealing type of offseason.
From beat reporter Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
The basic plan in ’14 is to build from around the nucleus of players who endured more than their share of growing pains in a trying 2013.
Miami’s payroll parameters project to mirror the ’13 numbers — about $38 million.
In free agency, the Marlins aren’t expected to be in the market for high-priced players.
Miami tried hard last month for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, but the 26-year-old first baseman wound up scoring a record six-year, $68 million free agent contract from the White Sox. Whatever money Marlins ownership used in that Abreu pursuit will apparently be shifted toward bargain-bin free agent options.
The Marlins do have an impressive core of young players between staff ace Jose Fernandez, power-hitting right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and five-tool center fielder Christian Yelich. But Stanton is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter and will continue to get more and more expensive.
Samson and Co. claim the Marlins have a plan. But it’s hard to see it right now.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.