MIAMI -- The Marlins are in position to make the postseason heading into the final week of the 2020 regular season, and if they make it, they will join traditional powers like the Dodgers or the Yankees.
From an organizational standpoint, the Marlins are also striving to be on equal footing with the upper-tier teams in terms of having a strong farm system.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who formerly managed the Dodgers and once played for the Yankees, noted on Sunday that established contenders tend to also be loaded at the Minor League levels.
“The organizations that are really strong, usually have really strong systems,” Mattingly said.
A case in point is when the Dodgers’ 40-man roster was so deep after the 2019 season that they non-tendered reliever Yimi García, making him a free agent.
Miami signed García as a free agent for $1.1 million in December, and he’s become a valuable setup reliever and fallback closer option.
“When you look at the Dodgers, they’ve been bringing up young players for the last few years,” Mattingly said. “They contribute, and they seem to keep finding them. Those are the kinds of teams that at some point, you have to make a decision on a guy. That’s basically how we got Yimi.”
Through trades, the MLB Draft, international signings and player development, the Marlins have improved from a bottom-five farm system to a top-five system in the past three years.
“We’re heading in that direction with the depth that we have in the organization,” Mattingly said. “At some point, you can’t protect everybody.”
Organizational depth enabled the Marlins to acquire center fielder Starling Marte from the D-backs on Aug. 31 for left-hander Caleb Smith and right-handed prospect Humberto Mejía.
Marte has played a big role in stabilizing center field and the lineup.
“You want your organization strong, from the standpoint of being able to do the Marte deal,” Mattingly said. “If you don’t have the right depth, you can’t make the Marte deal. If you don’t have the pieces, you can’t just give up a starting pitcher in Smitty, and a young pitcher you think has promise in a deal like that. It’s important to have your organization strong from top to bottom, and for different reasons.”
The depth, of course, adds reinforcements to the big league roster, and they become potential trade assets.
“You want to continually have that built right and full of players if you can,” Mattingly said.
Infielder Jon Berti was reinstated from the 10-day injured list on Sunday, after he had been out since Sept. 7 with a lacerated right index finger.
In a corresponding roster move, infielder Sean Rodríguez was designated for assignment.
Additionally, left-hander Braxton Garrett was added as the 29th man for Sunday’s doubleheader.
Berti, a super-utility option, is expected to play mostly second base, along with rookie Jazz Chisholm.
“Bert does a lot of things,” Mattingly said. “He can play multiple positions. He’s a guy who gives you speed. He’s got a little pop in there. He’s another guy in your lineup who is steady, and you know he’s going to make good decisions on the field, and he has some experience. You don’t feel like the moment is going to be too big for him.”