Miami Marlins Clinch First Playoff Berth Since 2003

Jack Meyer, Online Editor-in-Chief

For the first time in 17 years, the Miami Marlins have made the MLB playoffs. 

It has been a long wait for Marlins fans, as Miami last made the postseason when they won the World Series in 2003. However, since then, the team has seemingly been in a constant state of rebuilding, despite having multiple stars during that time. 

During their rebuilding phase, the Marlins traded away stars like first baseman Miguel Cabrera, shortstop Hanley Ramírez and infielder Jose Reyes. In more recent years, the Marlins shipped off multiple starters in the same offseason, including outfielder and 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, two-time All Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna, second baseman and three-time stolen base leader Dee Gordon and 2014 Gold Glove outfielder Christian Yelich. The Yelich trade stung especially hard for Marlins fans, as Yelich went on to win NL MVP the season after he was traded. 

There have been many moments over the past 17 years when the Marlins came extremely close to making the playoffs again, but they never came to fruition. In 2009, the Marlins had their third-best season in franchise history, finishing with an 87-75 record and boasting of talents such as Ramírez, second baseman Dan Uggla, pitcher Josh Johnson and NL Rookie of the Year and outfielder Chris Coghlan. However, the team fell five games short of clinching a postseason berth. 

Additionally, in 2011, the Marlins got off to a 30-20 start, their best start in franchise history. However, the success did not last long, as the team went into a slump and ended up finishing with a 72-90 record. 

After struggling at the start of the new decade, the Marlins slowly found their footing and were poised to make a postseason run in 2016. However, near the end of the season the team’s star pitcher, José Fernández, passed away in a boating accident. Fernández’s death shook the team and its fanbase to their core, as he was not only one of the team’s best players, but a fan favorite as well. 

In the game following his death, Gordon hit his only home run of the season during the game’s first at bat. Gordon, a close friend to Fernández, pointed his fingers to the sky in tribute to the Marlins ace; while the Marlins failed to make the postseason, Gordon’s home run awed fans across the league. 

After the 2017 season, the Marlins began another phase of rebuilding and focused on acquiring young players that the team hoped would flourish. While initially questioned by the fans at first, the process seems to have paid off. Over the past three seasons, the Marlins have acquired highly touted prospects such as pitcher Sixto Sánchez, second baseman Isan Díaz and outfielder Lewis Brinson. 

This past offseason, the team also made moves to push the team further in the direction of a playoff push. During the offseason, the Marlins signed former All Star and Gold Glove outfielder Corey Dickerson; later on, during the trade deadline, Miami acquired two time Gold Glove outfielder Starling Marte from the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Both Dickerson and Marte have provided a winning presence in the Marlins dugout and have been key contributors to the Marlins success this season. With returning Marlins veterans Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas playing some of the baseball of their careers, the Marlins were able to re-enter the MLB postseason after 17 years of waiting.