Marlins face 2024 with a mix of excitement and doubt

Can the Miami Marlins repeat their surprise run to the playoffs in 2024? There are many aspects of the team Skip Schumaker that suggest yes; However, the other side of the coin reflects an organization that will start the upcoming tournament with several doubts similar to those around the team that no one gave anything for the previous spring.

It all starts with the Marlins' offseason, which began with the firing of general manager Kim Ng. The move came after apparent discomfort from the executive, and Peter Bendix took over as president of baseball operations after 15 years with the neighboring Tampa Bay Rays.

On the ground, the fish winter began with a Josh Bell who exercised his $16 million option for 2024, confirming that the duo with Jake Burger will be back with the squad for this next harvest.

The presence of both will take on much greater weight this time, after the Marlins lost Cuban Jorge Soler in free agency.

Miami's other big move in the offseason was the signing of shortstop Tim Anderson, who will try to bounce back with the South Florida organization after a disappointing tournament with the White Sox the previous year.

Unfortunately for the Marlins, the theme of this campaign seems to be the same as in recent times: a top brass that seeks to reduce the payroll, at the same time that certain intentions to compete appear.

Perhaps the biggest blow of all is that the Marlins will have to try to return to the postseason without their “ace,” since Dominican Sandy Alc√°ntara will miss the entire championship due to Tommy John surgery.

Putting all the ingredients together, Miami seems to be in the same position at the start of this season as it was when the previous one began, with a projection that leads them to win some 81 games and with probabilities of reaching the playoffs that are in about 25-30%.

There is a lot of talent to exploit in Schumaker's squad and the possibility of the team surprising everyone again is undoubtedly still on the table. But more than anything else, Miami has a lot to prove, especially after two of its biggest stories of 2023, Ng and Soler, are no longer part of the equation.