Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 9/21/12
In our Hope for the Hopeless series, we take a look at all of the teams in the league that finished under .500, and examine what their fans can be optimistic about after a disappointing 2012 season.

After the Marlins crazy spending binge this offseason, they were a chic pick to win the NL East. Of course, that didn't happen. The trades of Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez riled up fans across the country, claiming that the Marlins suckered their fans in yet again and sold off assets just to make a quick buck. I don't think that description is very apt however, and I actually think the Marlins are in better shape going into 2013 than they were going into 2012. Let me explain.

Sanchez, who was dealt to the Tigers, is going to hit free agency at the end of this season, and as one of the top pitchers on the market, will likely command a hefty contract. I don't think the Marlins wanted to get into a bidding war for (essentially) their third starter, so they sold high (along with Omar Infante, a free agent after next season) and acquired the potential-laden Jacob Turner and a guy who might be a franchise catcher in Rob Brantly...all for a guy who would be leaving town in three months. That was a pretty smart move in my mind.


The Ramirez trade netted the Marlins a guy who profiles as a number two starter in Nate Eovaldi. Ramirez had worn out his welcome in Miami, and his stats were falling across the board over the last two seasons while he dealt with injuries. And hell, it gave the Marlins a little bit of payroll flexibility after last offseason's spending spree.

The 2013 Marlins are going to be a lot like the 2012 team was in the second half, minus impending free agents Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Lee, and Juan Carlos Oviedo (Leo Nunez, who hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors this year). I think Heath Bell and Mark Buerhle will have better second seasons in Miami. Giancarlo Stanton is one of the best young hitters in the league, and he's the franchise guy to build around (along with the veteran Jose Reyes) as opposed to the moody, inconsistent Ramirez. The starting rotation will have two talented career Marlins in Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco, along with the veteran Buerhle and youngsters Eovaldi and Turner (in my mind). Miami's younger talent (most notably Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Jose Fernandez) are still a year or two away from the majors, and when they're ready, this team will really be ready to rock and roll. 2013 will likely be a step up for the Marlins, while 2014 could be a Washington-esque leap to the top of the NL East.

While the Marlins did spend a lot during last offseason, the only "bad" contract in my mind is the Bell deal, which is at least over in two years. None of those contracts are on par with the Ryan Howard extension, the Jayson Werth signing, the Vernon Wells disaster, or the Alex Rodriguez overpay. Contracts like the ones possessed by Bell, Reyes, and Buerhle can at least be moved if the team is really feeling froggy. Miami is in a solid spot for 2013, and while the 2012 season is likely going to cost Larry Beinfest his job, it's not totally his fault. I really like what Miami's future holds in the long-term.

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This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

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