What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I'm a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2013 title for all 30 teams.
Jeffrey Loria's master plan has worked: the Miami Marlins are World Champions for the third time in 21 seasons despite shedding nearly $60 million from their 2012 payroll. Baseball purists around the country are sick to their stomach about what this will mean in the future for teams looking to rebuild, but you can't deny that Miami's approach in 2013 was successful.
Despite Loria demanding all of the praise for the success of the Marlins, he didn't win the World Series - the team on the field did. And that team was led by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 48 home runs and posted a .991 OPS en route to winning the NL MVP award. Stanton solidified his status as one of the best players in baseball after his 2013 season, and has set himself up for a massive payday in the future...one that the Marlins likely won't be taking care of if their history is any indicator.
But while Stanton was the mainstream focus of the team, the Marlins got plenty of contributions from others. Juan Pierre turned in a 200 hit season in his return to Miami. Placido Polanco hooked himself up to the rejuvenation machine, hitting .303 with 188 hits. Those two set the table perfectly for Stanton, who also drove in 137 runs in addition to his insane home run output. The rest of Miami's lineup was largely pedestrian aside from those first three, though Logan Morrison did hit 25 homers as Stanton's backup in the lineup.
Miami's rotation also had a good season. Ricky Nolasco finally lined up his ERA with his FIP, posting a 3.36 ERA on the season as the veteran on the staff. Following Nolasco, no other member of the Miami rotation had an ERA higher than 4.10, and the quartet of Henderson Alvarez, Wade Leblanc, Nate Eovaldi, and Jacob Turner were silently effective for the Marlins. The no-name bullpen struggled at times in front of closer Steve Cishek, who put together a great year highlighted by a 1.77 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 71 innings.
The Marlins snuck into the playoffs as the second wild card in the National League, continuing their pattern of winning the wild card and later, the World Series. After the Braves and Phillies both posted mediocre, 84 win seasons in the NL East, Miami managed to top them both with an 86 win year that was good enough to earn them a one game playoff with the Reds, who won 93 games but were forced into the wild card game after the Cardinals won 94. The Marlins won a 3-2 thriller in Cincinnati, and rolled into the NLDS against the 99 win Los Angeles Dodgers, who they proceeded to confound in a three-game sweep. Miami and Washington squared off in the NLCS, with the Marlins losing the first two games in DC before reeling off four wins in a row led by Stanton and his seven homers in the series. Finally, in the World Series, the Marlins fittingly took on the Toronto Blue Jays, and won in seven games, beating former Marlin Josh Johnson in the clincher. The season was an unlikely miracle, but once again, the Marlins are champions. The baseball world has officially been turned on its head.
Marlins on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
Hope for the Hopeless
2013 Season Preview
You May Say I’m a Dreamer
2013 Burning Question (12:45 PM)
This Is My Nightmare (2:00 PM)
X-Factor (3:15 PM)
Top Ten Prospects (4:30 PM)