Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Marlins have made the Phillies better

As the Miami Marlins unveiled their gauche new ballpark last winter, proud team president David Samson oddly pointed out that the outside portion of the place did not have any right angles.

The Marlins have made the Phillies better

(Matt Slocum/AP file photo)
(Matt Slocum/AP file photo)

As the Miami Marlins unveiled their gauche new ballpark last winter, proud team president David Samson oddly pointed out that the outside portion of the place did not have any right angles.

"That's the way (owner) Jeffrey Loria wanted it," Samson said.

A short time later the Marlins learned that they had not made any of the right moves in an effort to revamp the moribund franchise.

That's what led to the firing of manager Ozzie Guillen after one season as well as the latest Marlins' roster purge Tuesday night. Among others, the Marlins traded shortstop Jose Reyes and star pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to the Toronto Blue Jays.

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They were moves that mystified Miami's remaining veterans and assured that the Marlins will stink again in 2013.

“Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple,” outfielder Giancarlo Stanton tweeted.

All of this should come as great news to the Phillies.

Without making any major moves this offseason, the Phillies' chances of returning to the postseason in 2013 should have already improved considerably.

As Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. continues to ponder ways to upgrade his roster, he already has a team that should be able to put at least five more games in the win column.

The Phillies went 10-8 against the Marlins in 2012 and 8-10 against the Mets. Their record against the N.L. East was 33-39. Given how bad the Marlins are going to be next season and how terrible the Phillies played against the Mets, they should pick up at least five games in the standings by consistently beating those two teams.

It's true that the rest of the division is also going to have the opportunity to beat up on the wretched Marlins, but the two wild-card system put in place last year gives an advantage to the teams that have the league's worst team in their division.

At this point, the three best teams in the N.L. East are the Phillies, Washington and Atlanta and that does not figure to change regardless of what the Mets do this offseason. It's conceivable the Marlins could go 12-42 against the Phillies, Nats and Braves, giving them all an advantage over the other National League teams.

That's especially true because Houston, the worst team in baseball in 2012, has moved from the National League Central to the American League West.

The Astros, of course, provide a cautionary tale for the Phillies about any given day. On the other hand, the fact that St. Louis was 11-4 against Houston last season and 10-5 the year before provides proof that having a terrible team in your division when the schedule is unbalanced is a distinct advantage.

Take the Astros out of the N.L. Central and it's entirely possible the Cardinals don't even make the playoffs the last two seasons.

The point is, the Marlins have helped the Phillies before the Phillies have even helped themselves.

Inquirer Columnist
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