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Know your enemy: Miami Marlins

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These Marlins are still not great, but they have brought in some veterans to help their young players.

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins lost 105 games in 2019, which, believe it or not, was only the second-worst season in franchise history. Their worst: 108 losses in 1998, the year after their first World Series title, when ownership pretty much dumped every player worth keeping.

The current ownership did much the same with the trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto and others, and last year’s team was filled with kids, along with one player (Curtis Granderson) brought in to help mentor some of those younr players.

This year, the Marlins kids have one more year of experience, and a couple of them aren’t bad. Brian Anderson is a pretty good outfielder/third baseman and Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith (who was a Cubs Rule 5 pick and was in spring camp with the team in 2017) are at least decent mid-range starters.

Management has brought in even more veterans to help out with the kids and guys like Jonathan Villar, Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Francisco Cervelli are serviceable major-league hitters. The Marlins were dead last in the National League in runs scored in 2019; those players should help improve that ranking.

The starters have another year of experience and former Cub Brandon Kintzler, who had a pretty good year on the North Side in 2019, will step in as closer. Sergio Romo closed last year in Miami until he had a good enough year to get him traded to a contender (the Twins). His departure left the Marlins bullpen in the hands of miscellaneous guys who had never closed before. It showed — as bad as the Marlins were before the trading deadline, they were worse after, 16-40.

It won’t be quite as bad this year. The Marlins will still finish last in the N.L. East, but they might lose fewer than 100. Baby steps.

KEY ADDITIONS: Jonathan Villar, Angeudis Santos, Diowill Burgos, Jesus Aguilar, Matt Kemp, Ryan Lavarnway, Corey Dickerson, Francisco Cervelli, Matt Joyce, Brandon Kintzler

KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Curtis Granderson, Starlin Castro, Martin Prado, Wei-Yin Chen, Tayron Guerrero

The Cubs will face the Marlins May 26-27-28 at Wrigley Field and August 25-26-27 in Miami.