We’re one-third through the season and the Marlins are on pace for their best record since the World Series team in 2003, yet their solid play after an offseason full of big spending and moving into a new ballpark haven’t boosted the team’s attendance nearly as much as hoped.
Through 29 home games the Marlins have averaged 28,019 fans at their new $515 million ballpark. That represents a solid 47 percent increase compared to last season, but the Marlins still rank just 16th among MLB teams in average attendance, behind sub-.500 teams like the Rockies, Twins, Tigers, and Cubs and even trailing the rival Braves whose fans are often maligned for not showing up in droves.
Good team, exciting players, new manager, huge payroll increase, $515 million supposedly state-of-the-art new ballpark … and 16th in attendance. Maybe the Home Run Sculpture is just scaring people away?
The Tampa Bay Rays were reported this week to be “open for business” as far as trades go. Normally that means nothing happens until late June or something. The Rays are getting right down to it, though, as they’ve just traded closer Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners, who have played some outstanding ball lately thanks to some outstanding starting pitching, and are looking to bolster other areas as they make a push in the AL West, will likely slot Colome into a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz. Span will take over center field, allowing Dee Gordon to, eventually anyway, once he recovers from a fractured toe, cover for the suspended Robinson Cano at second base. If the M’s make the playoffs he’d likely do so in the postseason too, given that Cano will be ineligible for any October play due to his suspension.
Colome has saved 11 games for the Rays, with a 4.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 23/8 in 21.2 innings.Span is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.
Two players are going back to the Rays: righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2015 and made his big league debut last season, pitching 59 innings in 2018 but back in the minors so far in 2018. Romero was a 15th rounder for Seattle in 2017 and is currently plying his trade in A-ball.
The Rays, as expected, are using the 2018 season to acquire prospects. The Mariners, who are unexpectedly strong in the early going, are trying to go for it even harder. Quite a big trade for late May.