Cubs Series Preview: Chicago looks to extend streak against Marlins


After bouncing back from a five-game losing streak by sweeping the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs will look to continue their winning ways against the Miami Marlins.

To get ready for the upcoming series against Miami, we again checked in with Ehsan Kassim, editor of Marlin Maniac, the FanSided MLB site dedicated to all things Miami Marlins.

While the team got Jose Fernandez back this week, they also lost Giancarlo Stanton. How dire is the situation without his bat?

Without Stanton, the Marlins have gone 4-1 in their past five games. That, however, is very unsustainable.

The team had a strong series against the San Francisco Giants, boosted in their sweeping effort with the return of Jose Fernandez. The team struggled scoring runs with Stanton in the mix, so it will be more difficult as the time wears on without him.

Getting Fernandez back is obviously a great boost, as we saw from his strong performance against a normally-strong Giants lineup. If he can pitch even at 75 percent of what we saw in his rookie campaign, the Marlins will be better than they were for most of the first half.

The trade deadline is weeks away; are the Marlins buyers or sellers?

They are sellers – no doubt.

The team, even after the sweep of the Giants, are 12 games under .500 and would need a miraculous run to just to get back to break-even. The Marlins actually needsto start selling now opposed to in a couple of weeks.

They can likely squeeze a little more value out of a Mat Latos or Dan Haren by getting a contending team a few extra starts from them as the deadline nears.

Unfortunately, the team does not have much to sell though, unless they decide to break up the core.

Dan Haren, Mat Latos, David Phelps, Brad Hand and Tom Koehler, the pitchers likely on the block, aren’t going to bring a key piece back. They all have flaws that limit their values.

On the hitting side, the team is unlikely to unload Martin Prado, who is probably the only hitter no apart of the big core that could be had. The front office loves his versatility and leadership, and probably overvalues it a bit too much.

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With the seeming lack of direction this team has had the last few years, could Miami go after someone like the former Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto?

Going after Jerry Dipoto would be the opposite of a Marlins move. He has his own beliefs and would never be on the same page as an extremely old school front office. The only way he’d fit is if the Marlins were to completely clean house and start over, which is unlikely.

Dipoto, like many other GMs, may also not want the job because of the unpredictability of owner Jeffrey Loria.

Is it time for the Marlins to look to trade young pitching to shore up an offense that seems to have little apart from Stanton and Dee Gordon?

It is time for the Marlins to make some moves, but I don’t agree with the assessment they have little outside of Dee and Giancarlo. Christian Yelich is starting to round back into form and is a monster at the plate when he’s right. He was plagued by a back injury much of the first two months and has been playing a lot better of late.

Marcell Ozuna is also supremely talented and in all likelihood should turn things around, too. Michael Morse and Martin Prado should be coming back soon too, so my worry is not very much on the offensive side of the ball.

Also, like I mentioned above, I don’t believe the pitchers the Marlins have hold a lot of trade value. They might bring in a lower-tier prospect or a future bench bat, but banking on them returning a player that could be in a larger role would be a huge mistake.

What is the team’s biggest weakness? Is it one that can be readily addressed or does it appear to be here to stay?

The team’s biggest weakness has to be the lack of depth.

They have one of the better young outfields in baseball, but very little depth behind them, with the 41-year old Ichiro Suzuki the only real backup caliber outfielder on the 40-man roster.

He’s a shell of himself at this point and now has to play every day with Stanton out, which isn’t exactly an ideal situation.

The team has gotten strong infield production up the middle this season, but would be in a similar situation as the outfield if one of the infielders were to get hurt.

The same is true with pitching, as we saw with Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez out, the Marlins have mainly back-end rotation guys. None of them can be counted on to take over the top of the rotation arm role in case of an injury. Both Fernandez and Alvarez are injury concerns at this point.

The lack of depth starts with a weak minor league system that has not even performed well this season. The Marlins don’t have much help on the way from the minors anytime soon and the only way they can build a competitive team next season would to be spend some money on free agency this off-season.

Good luck with that.

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