Miami Marlins Jeffrey Loria is discouraged by his team's poor performance in 2012, but he thinks the team can put itself into a position to compete for a playoff spot in 2013.
When asked Monday about the process to fix what ails the Marlins, Loria told the Miami Herald, "I don't think it’s going to take a long time at all."
Loria said the team will "likely" try to upgrade at third base, the position Hanley Ramirez had filled until he was traded to the Dodgers in July.
He did not comment on potential changes in the team's front office or coaching staff. "I just don't want to get drawn into that until the end of the season," Loria said. "There's good and bad with every situation."
In August team president David Samson said, "Jeffrey's going to look at everything," hinting that even changes in the front office could be considered.
After losing to Philadelphia on Monday, the Marlins are 63-79, 24.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The team was expected to be in the playoff hunt before the season started, having doled out over $100 million in new contracts over the winter.
But injuries, players underperforming their contracts, and sometimes bad luck conspired to foil any hopes for a playoff spot. "We're going to have to do some work to fill some holes we've obviously created," Loria said.
Loria said the performance of some players gives him hope that the team can thrive once those holes are filled.
"What have I been thrilled with?" Loria asked. "Watching Jose Reyes. Every breath he takes is worth watching. [Catcher Rob] Brantly coming along. [Josh] Johnson coming back." The Marlins received Brantly (a catcher) from Detroit in July as part of a trade that sent RHP Anibal Sanchez and 2B Omar Infante.
Loria also praised Mark Buehrle, as well as Donavan Solano and Justin Ruggiano, a pair he dubbed "pleasant surprises."
"When you start to add up the pleasant surprises, you ask yourself: 'Where did we go wrong? What happened?'" Loria said. "I don't have the answer."
To the surprise of no one, he said "I don't have any patience" for sitting through another losing season in 2013. "[With] a little bit of adjustments, we should be doing what we were supposed to do. We will do what we were supposed to do."
This is not the first time Loria has expressed lofty expectations for his team. He did so before the season started, and before the 2011 season as well. It would have been more surprising if Loria didn't predict big things for his team.
Jeffrey Loria will keep making optimistic assumptions, and one these days, he might be able to prove himself right.