Marlins aren't your typical small-market team 

November, 19, 2009
This is not about the Mets, who endured what seemed like three years' worth of injuries in 2009, and whose farm system is better than credited. It is about the Marlins and their seven-year record vis--vis their divisional rivals in New York, not to mention the Braves and the fact that Florida has finished ahead of Atlanta in each of the past two seasons.

This is about owner Jeffrey Loria's figuring out how to cope with a small market and -- until the past few months -- no hope of a real ballpark. He tied up one of the game's best general managers, Larry Beinfest, and his baseball board of directors -- Mike Hill, Dan Jennings, Jim Fleming, Stan Meek et al -- to long-term contracts and enabled them to use scouting and development to try to consistently compete with big-market teams. The Marlins have had the lowest payroll in the National League in each of the past four years; the $104 million for those four years was $45 million less than the Mets' 2009 payroll.

And after Chris Coghlan won the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, and as anyone who follows Florida starts thinking about how Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton could compete for the award the next couple of seasons, take a look at the Marlins' relative seven-year success: