Dawson, Pierre: Cubs good model for Marlins

Dawson, Pierre: Cubs good model for Marlins

MIAMI -- The rise of the Cubs from a rebuilding franchise to World Series champions is another reminder that dramatic turnarounds can occur rather quickly for teams that have assembled the right nucleus.

The Marlins enter the Hot Stove season with a young, talented roster. According to two highly respected employees in the organization, the success of the Cubs should inspire Miami's players to take the next step in 2017.

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"I think the Marlins, from the front office to the players, should really be motivated to do it, not in the near future, but try to make it happen next year or the year after," said former Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre, part of the franchise's 2003 World Series team.

Andre Dawson, the Hall of Fame outfielder and special assistant with the Marlins, notes that young players are still capable of achieving big things.

"That's kind of the trend today, a lot of young ballplayers," Dawson said. "Some have the innate ability to step up. It's how quickly you are able to adjust.

"I think the youth in some of the Cubs' players started to show in the last part of the playoffs, in the World Series. They started pressing a little bit, trying to do too many things. It takes, I think, a veteran presence to slow them down. And to help them realize, even though the stage is what it is, you have to have fun, first and foremost, and let your natural ability take over."

Pierre and Dawson share a bond of being both former Cubs and Marlins. Dawson, of course, was the National League MVP Award winner with the Cubs in 1987, and he still is revered in Chicago.

Pierre remains associated with the Marlins, frequently spending his time around the players in Spring Training and during the season.

Dawson, who attended a couple of the World Series games at Wrigley Field, has been a special assistant to the president with the Marlins the past 15 years.

Like the Cubs, the Marlins have a number of young, veteran players.

One of Miami's biggest strengths is its outfield trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich.

Ozuna's two-run double

The three are just starting to reach their prime years.

Stanton, a three-time NL All-Star, turns 27 on Tuesday, while Ozuna will be 26 on Saturday, and Yelich will turn 25 on Dec. 5.

There is speculation that Ozuna may be traded for a starting pitcher, but if he stays, the three will be entering their fourth full season together.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto is 25, second baseman Dee Gordon and first baseman Justin Bour are each 28, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is 27.

"You can talk about being young and making mistakes or whatever, but at some point, you can get it done," Pierre said. "The young label can only hold so long. If you play three or four years, and you're 24, 25, you should start being able to make the adjustments to take it to that next level. You saw it in the Cubs."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.