Those hopes and expectations fell short as the Marlins wrapped up their season Wednesday locked into last place in the National League East.
"This season as a whole is pretty deflating just because of the expectations and who we had here," catcher John Buck said. "With the people we had, we all felt we should've won. A lot of people in baseball thought we should win."
Buck added that all that hype wasn't for nothing, that the Marlins are better than their record indicates, which makes the last-place finish that much more painful.
Pinpointing the exact cause of Miami's downfall this year is difficult. Manager Ozzie Guillen summed it up with one word -- failure. Guillen said the Marlins failed at each level of the organization, from the front office, to him as a manager, to his coaching staff and to the players on the field.
Veteran left-handed Mark Buehrle offered a different explanation for the team's shortcomings, saying that injuries were the biggest reason the 2012 incarnation of the Marlins didn't live up to the hype.
"Obviously we didn't play up to our expectations when you have that many injuries and our whole starting outfield in on the DL, either at the same time or different times throughout the season," Buehrle said, referring to various injuries to Logan Morrison, Emilio Bonifacio and Giancarlo Stanton, all of whom started in the outfield on Opening Day.
"Every team goes through injuries, but when those guys go down, you've got to make up for it and we didn't," Buehrle added. "When we lost the big bats that we lost, we couldn't make up for that production that was on the DL. I think that started it and guys didn't play up to the expectations."
Despite the disappointments 2012 presented, many players in the clubhouse pointed to the team's bright spots and expressed belief that there's enough talent to make a quick turnaround next year -- if they add a couple of parts.
"If we get the right pieces and some the young guys click and then some of the older guys do what they're capable of doing, getting big years out of Stanton and Jose [Reyes], we could have a pretty solid team," Buck said. "It's not like we need to rebuild for four or five years down the road. ... It's not that far away."