PHILADELPHIA -- Caught up yesterday with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who is optimistic about the team's chances in 2013. Loria was typically vague on most issues -- including whether he intends to shake up the front office as some are predicting -- but said there's no reason to think that the Marlins can't turn it around quickly and contend by next season.
Asked specifically whether fans can expect a methodical rebuilding process, one that takes some time, in other words, Loria responded: "I don't think it's going to take a long time at all. I don't have any patience for that. (With) a little bit of adjusting, we should be doing what we were supposed to do. We will do what we were supposed to do."
Keep in mind, the Marlins (63-79) could be headed for a second straight last-place finish in the N.L. East. Despite their large free agent spending spree last winter, they could finish with a record as bad as -- or worse -- than last year's 72-90. Outside of Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes, they have question marks at most other positions. Who will play first (Morrison? Lee?)? Second? Third? Left field? Catcher? Is Justin Ruggiano a full-time player? Is Donovan Solano? Their starting staff has been nothing to brag about. Nor has their bullpen.
Loria said he believes there is enough of a foundation -- Reyes, Stanton, Rob Brantly -- on which to build. But is there? The pending free agent market is especially thin, particularly in spots where they have their greatest need (i.e., third base). So the Marlins will likely have to go the trade route in order to shore up the several "holes" that Loria acknowledges are in need of filling.
How do you see next season turning out? Do you see things turning around as quickly as Loria thinks they can? If you had to fix one or two things, where would you start?
The Jupiter Hammerheads -- the Marlins' high-A minor-league team -- are scheduled to face Lakeland tonight in what could be the deciding game of the Florida State League championship. The Hammerheads lead the best-of-5 series, two games to one.
And, up in North Carolina, the low-A Greensboro Grasshoppers will be facing Asheville in the second game of their best-of-five championship series. Greensboro, the defending South Atlantic League champs, won the first game of the series.