What's Lincoln Thinkin' - Marlins have a lot of "ifs"


Marlins manager Don Mattingly has won three straight division titles. But all of those came in Los Angeles - if Mattingly is going to keep that streak going, he's going to have to manage the season of his life in 2016.

The Marlins believe they can contend for the NL East title this season, but that will depend on a lot of 'ifs'.

If... Giancarlo Stanton regains his old form after breaking his wrist last year.

If... the back end of the Marlins' rotation can prove not to be a weakness.

If... Marcell Ozuna shakes off a season where he was sent down to the minors.

If... Christian Yelich can stay healthy, and avoid his frequent trips to the DL.

If... free agent pickup Wei-Yin Chen can pitch like a borderline ace.

If... Jose Fernandez shows no after-effects of Tommy John Surgery.

If... JT Realmuto realizes his potential as one of the best young catchers in the game.

If... shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria's talent at the plate, starts to match his talent in the field.

If... the Nationals' enigmatic stars self-destruct.

If... the Mets collapse in their National League title defense.

If... those things, all of them possible, do happen in 2016, the Marlins will win the National League East.

But in 162 games, a lot can go wrong. And the Marlins need a lot to go right.

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