MIAMI (AP)For the 2022 Miami Marlins, all the surprises happened off the field.
The season began with Hall of Famer Derek Jeter stepping away as CEO and shareholder and ended with the departure of manager Don Mattingly.
On the field, it unfolded much like it has all too often, with the Marlins struggling to compete in a tough NL East.
The Braves, Mets and Phillies all secured postseason berths, but the Marlins managed only a 69-93 record, just two games better than last season’s finish.
The Marlins were optimistic about their ability to compete after several big moves.
They upgraded at catcher by signing Jacob Stallings. They added infield depth in Joey Wendle. They locked up ace right-hander Sandy Alcantara with a five-year, $56 million contract, signed former All-Star outfielder Avisail Garcia and brought back Miguel Rojas on a two-year, $10 million contract.
Still, Miami finished with the fifth-worst record in the National League.
”I think the record is not indicative of the talent we have on this club,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said in September, ”and we’ve got to do a lot of introspection in terms of our processes and our operations on how we fix that.”
Injuries derailed a lot of the club’s 2022 hopes. Most notably, All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisolm went down midseason with a stress fracture in his back.
Miami was in plenty of close games, but in the end, the club didn’t get nearly the offensive production that it needed to complement its strong pitching output.
Alcantara, the NL Cy Young favorite, finished the season with an 8.1 WAR – third in the majors behind Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Shohei Ohtani of the Angels.
”With the pitching, it has put us in a position that we have the foundation to being able to compete with everyone pretty much every day,” Mattingly said. ”So that should be something that is hopeful for the organization moving forward.”
Mattingly, donning a Marlins baseball cap one more time after Wednesday’s season finale, said Miami had become a second home for him.
”It means a lot that the organization put trust in me for that long. You don’t usually stay in a place too long like that. And I know here had a history of in and out with managers but I was able to stay.”
Mattingly, whose contract with Miami was set to expire when the season ended, announced in September that he would not return as the Marlins manager. He is the club’s all-time leader in managerial wins (437) through his seven-season tenure.
”Most losses, too,” Mattingly joked. ”But who’s counting those right now?”
UNCERTAINTY FOR NOW
Ng said the club would ideally want to bring in the next manager as soon as possible as it heads into the offseason so that he can get acclimated with the players before spring training.
The Marlins haven’t made the playoffs since 2020, when Mattingly was named NL Manager of the Year, and they finished the 2022 season with their 12th losing record in the past 13 seasons.
”We’re looking for someone to help build a culture in which we are relentlessly putting ourselves in position to win every night,” Ng said.
For now, uncertainty looms, as it is unclear who on Mattingly’s staff will stay, and who will go.
MAGIC NUMBER 6
Pitching complete games in an era where pitchers are hardly allowed to get through the sixth inning is no small feat. Alcantara pitched six complete games, three more than the next closest, Astros right-hander Framber Valdez.
Only four MLB teams had more than one complete game pitched this season.
Alcantara (14-9) had a 2.28 ERA over 32 starts and led the majors with 228 2/3 innings in the regular season. He pitched his sixth complete game in a loss to the Brewers on Sept. 30.
ATTENDANCE BY THE NUMBERS
The Marlins saw a jump in attendance from a year ago, when they had just over 642,000 attendees. In 2022, Miami averaged a home crowd size of 11,203, which was higher than their 7,934 average size in 2021. Despite the increase, that was still the lowest mark in the NL. Only the Oakland A’s had fewer attendees (787,902) than the Marlins (907,487) across the majors in 2022.
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