"It's been 11 years since we've made the playoffs, and that's too long," Samson said. "We all feel that. We want to be one of 10 [teams that earn playoff spots], and we just have to make sure we have the right personnel. We look around, and you talk about the best young outfield in baseball. That's very inviting to me."
The Royals will be going to the postseason for the first time since 1985. Kansas City's success means the Blue Jays (1993) now have the longest playoff lapse. The Mariners last made it in 2001. Toronto and Seattle are the only teams that have longer playoff droughts than Miami.
Since the Marlins won the 2003 World Series, they've had four winning seasons. Despite winding down a fifth straight losing season, the Marlins have plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The team made great strides in a year it lost the services of Jose Fernandez (Tommy John surgery) and Stanton (facial fractures).
The team's outfield of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Stanton is among the best in the National League.
Stanton had an MVP-caliber season, belting a National League-leading 37 homers and driving in 105 runs. The slugger had his season cut short after being struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11.
Stanton is the superstar of the Miami franchise, and the team plans to discuss a contract extension with the 24-year-old in the offseason. Stanton is eligible for his second season of arbitration, but the Marlins are hopeful they can work out a multiyear deal.
"I'm very much looking forward to sitting down and talking to Giancarlo at the end of the season, which we promised to do and we want to do," Samson said. "Because having him as a Marlin long past his arbitration years is something that is important to us. That's something for the offseason."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.