The Miami Marlins are aiming for their first winning season in 7 years, and perhaps their first playoff appearance in 13, but without Giancarlo Stanton, announced to be injured and out for the season, it’s going to be very difficult. Bringing in Alex Rodriguez is suddenly a more likely option, but not one that can make up for what they lose with Stanton.
Stanton slid awkwardly and injured his groin in the 8-7 loss over the Chicago White Sox on the final out of the game, making it even more frustrating. Initially, he was placed on the 15-day DL, but his left groin injury turned out to be more serious than initially though. This marks the third straight season of Stanton finishing up early. Two years ago he was hit by a pitch in the face, last season he fractured his left hamate bone. Overall, he’ll miss 147 games by the end of this season, since signing a 13-year, $325 million deal with the Marlins.
So how do the Marlins cope? They’re one of the worst home run hitting teams in baseball, with only 96 (28th in the majors). Stanton has 25 this season, and behind him is Justin Bour with 15. Bour has been out since July 2 with an ankle injury, and doesn’t seem to be closer to returning, putting the Marlins in big trouble, as they fell out of the top two wild card spots, and are currently five games above .500, trying to make the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 2003.
In-house solutions? Ichiro Suzuki could become an everyday option now, but he offers something very different compared to Stanton, who is hitting .244 with a career low .826 OPS this season. Through 244 plate appearances, Suzuki is batting .316, but has 0 home runs, and his slugging is at .386, which means the Marlins lose someone who can drive in runs, on a team that’s already lacking in everything that has to do with power.
All of a sudden, Alex Rodriguez seems like an option. He’ll platoon with Derek Dietrich at first base, and maybe Dietrich will play in the outfield. Dietrich is actually leading the NL in being hit by pitches (22), and is batting .281 with a .786 OPS, hitting 4 home runs in 350 plate appearances. Rodriguez, recently released by the New York Yankees, is batting just .200 this season with a .598 OPS through 243 plate appearances, hitting 9 home runs. The Marlins might be desperate enough to give the native Miamian a chance to make it to 700 home runs, while helping them make the playoffs.