Sad to say the biggest stories surrounding the Marlins in recent months hasn’t had anything to do with their on field exploits. The team is still reeling from the tragic death of one of the best pitchers in baseball, Jose Fernandez. A loss of that magnitude will take a while to get over. Especially for a team like the Marlins.

The other story whirling around the Marlins is the possible sale of the team by Jeff Loria to Ivanka Trump’s brother-in-law, Josh Kushner. There was a report of a handshake agreement being in place. If that’s true, Kushner might want to count his fingers.

Regrouping after tragedy

Obviously the starting rotation was set back by the death of Fernandez. What is left is a hodge podge of miscellaneous parts. Some might be useful. Left hander, Adam Conley, figures to lead the staff. How heavy a workload he can handle remains to be seen.

Holdovers Tom Koehler and Wei-Yin Chen provide options, though not particularly exciting ones. The same can be said for imports, Edison Volquez, and Jeff Locke. Dan Straily comes over after winning 14 games for the Reds, but don’t look for a repeat of that in Miami. David Phelps could be helpful in the rotation or pen.

A J Ramos will close for the Marlins. He’s coming off a 40 save season. Closing shouldn’t be a problem for the Marlins.

Setup support will be provided by Brad Ziegler and Kyle Barraclough (sounds like bear claw). Other options include Nick Wittgren, Junichi Tazawa and Dustin McGowan. Overall, the Marlins staff projects to be a little below average.

This looks okay

J T Realmuto gives the Marlins a good foundation behind the plate. He’s a real offensive threat, hitting .303 with 11 homers.

On offense, he had a WAR rating of 3.3. Defensively, it wasn’t so good. His WAR was -0.1. He’s backed up by A J Ellis. The Marlins are okay behind the plate.

What's another word for 'ehhh'?

Justin Bour was lost in a glut of first basemen in the Cubs organization, but has blossomed as a power hitting first baseman with the Marlins.

Unfortunately, his glove isn’t as advanced as his bat. Dee Gordon looks like the guy who would be least likely to use PED’s but came back after a 50 game suspension. His play was not what is was in 2015.

It will be interesting to see how he does in 2017. Derek Dietrich may be a viable option there. If not, he’ll be a valuable utility guy. Adeiny Hechavarria mans shortstop for the Fish, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. His glove is okay but his bat leaves a hole in the lineup. Martin Prado is a placeholder at third until somebody better comes along. His versatility gives in some additional value. Miguel Rojas is versatile, but shouldn’t see much playing time on a good team.

The cake isn't very good but the icing is

An outfield on Christian Yelich, Marcel Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton is good enough for a playoff contender. Yelich has been an on base machine for a few years, but added power to his game last season with 21 homers. He’s an outstanding player going under the radar. Marcel Ozuna has talent, but whether he reaches his full potential remains to be seen. He hit 23 homers last season, to go with a .266 batting average.

Giancarlo Stanton, he of the prodigious power and mammoth contract, had a down year, hitting 27 homers to go with a .240 batting average. Stanton had a terrible start to the 2016 season after being beaned in 2015. Those numbers should go up considerably in 2017.

Ichiro Suzuki, like the Rolling Stones, is getting up in years, but performing well and backs up all three outfield slots.

Take the money and run

Remember a few years ago when taxpayers ultimately ponied up for a new stadium? Well, if Loria does sell the team that tax money will make for a nice profit for him. If Ivanka Trump’s brother-in-law does but the team, maybe he can make the Marlins great again. They have a ways to go.