Monday, January 30, 2012

Hot Stove:  A rundown of each team in the offseason and what they are looking to improve in 2012. 

Miami Marlins:            Staying in the NL East, the next team we look at will be the Marlins.

Projected Starting Lineup:

1B:            Gaby Sanchez
2B:            Omar Infante
SS:            Jose Reyes
3B:            Hanley Ramirez
LF:            Logan Morrison
CF:            Chris Coghlan
RF:            Mike Stanton
C:            John Buck

Projected Starting Rotation:

Josh Johnson
Anibal Sanchez
Mark Buehrle
Ricky Nolasco
Carlos Zambrano

Projected Batting Order:

SS            Jose Reyes
2B            Omar Infante
3B            Hanley Ramirez
RF            Mike Stanton
1B            Gaby Sanchez
C            John Buck
CF            Chris Coghlan
LF            Logan Morrison

The Marlins finished fifth last year after a tough 2011.  They ended the season finishing behind both the Nationals and Mets in the standings and are looking for big improvement this year.  They’ve moved into a new stadium and spent a lot of money on some new players hoping to get fans into the seats in their inaugural season.  But they’ll need more than new uniforms and a new name.  They need the guys they brought in to perform.  The addition of Jose Reyes provides spark at the top of the order, but also was a cause of contention for Hanley Ramirez who was asked to move to third base.  Keeping him happy was tough enough when he was playing the position he wanted.   But Ozzie Guillen thinks he can keep him in line, and when he’s happy he’s incredibly productive.  The other big offseason additions are Heath Bell as their new closer and Mark Buehrle in their starting rotation.  They also made a trade to bring in the oft-troubled former Cub, Carlos Zambrano.  He’s an old pal of Ozzie Guillen and both are native Venezuelans.  He’s another player who can perform well if kept happy. 

The Marlins had a good year from Mike Stanton last season, as he led the team in HRs (34), RBI (87), and R (79).  But there was a big drop off after him.  Only one other Marlin had over 20 HRs (Logan Morrison with 23).  And only 2 others had over 70 RBI (Morrison and Gaby Sanchez).  After that the drop off was even steeper as the Marlin with the 4th most RBI was John Buck with 57.  And their hitters weren’t too prolific without power either, with no one hitting over 300 and only 2 over 275 (Emilio Bonifacio @ 296 and Omar Infante @ 276).  So the Marlins had major offensive issues.  Their leader has been Hanley Ramirez, but an injury-plagued season gave Hanley his worst season yet.  He played in only 92 games, and hit 243 with 10 HR, 45 RBI, 20 SB and 55 R.  They’ll need him to stay healthy and return to his All Star form if they want to compete in 2012. 

The Marlin’s rotation last year featured Sanchez, Johnson, and Nolasco, but also Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad who are no longer with the team.  Vazquez actually led the team with 13 Wins.  But the best pitcher on the Marlins staff last season was Anibal Sanchez who led the team in ERA (3.67) and Ks (202).  However at 8-9, he’s looking to improve upon his 2011 campaign.  After Vazquez and Sanchez, Nolasco was the third best pitcher on the staff, as the only one to pitch over 200 IP and going 10-12.  Josh Johnson’s injury limited him to 9 starts and forced Clay Hensley and Brad Hand to step into the starting rotation. They hope Sanchez can pitch as well as he did last season, Johnson can stay healthy and the addition of Zambrano and Buehrle will stabilize their starting pitching.  Buehrle had another stable season winning 13 games and pitching over 200 innings for the third straight season.  His 3.59 ERA was solid, and they hope he can continue to be that consistent in Miami.  If he can do that, and the other pitchers stay healthy and pitch like they did last season, then they hope they can contend in the East, at least well enough to challenge Atlanta for a wildcard spot.

2012 Prediction:            The Marlins have a new name, a new uniform, new players and a shiny new stadium.  But they still have the same shady stench of the past ownership.  The Florida Marlins may be a thing of the past, but the Miami Marlins are still run by the Jeffrey Loria, David Samson and their infamous “market correction” schemes.   For those who don’t know, that was the name they gave to the dumping of players after the World Series years of 1997 and 2003.  They sold off all their good players as they got too expensive and finished in the bottom 5 of attendance every year since 2001.  Using weak attendance figures as a crutch, they threatened to move the team out of Florida unless the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County bankrolled a $515 million dollar new stadium.  In return, the Marlins agreed to change their name from the Florida Marlins, to the Miami Marlins.  That seems totally worth it.  They’re hoping that this is the year that they change their fortunes, but I’m not sure they have the people to do it.  They brought in Ozzie Guillen to be their new manager, who is as well known for his angry outbursts as he is for fielding good teams.  They brought in 4 new players to strengthen their team, but one of them is prone to angry outbursts and the other caused the team’s resident diva to act out even more than usual.  There are too many egos in play in South Florida and I think it will destroy them.  It’s already a poisonous clubhouse atmosphere with a whiny star and crooked ownership that will do anything to make him happy. (The Commissioner’s office forced the Marlins to pay Hanley so they want to keep him happy).  And we also learned that speaking out against the Miami Taliban is strictly forbidden and can get you demoted to Triple A.  (Don’t let them crush your spirit Logan Morrison).  A lot of things are different in Miami, but not necessarily better.  And while they hope to sell out more games this year (it’ll be easier as their new stadium’s 37,000 seat capacity is the third smallest in the MLB), people may not come to watch the team win, but rather watch them implode as arguments and the divas tear each other apart.  It’s like the most expensive train wreck in history, that will probably be broken apart and sold in pieces over the next few years in another bout of “market correction”.

Up next…New York Mets.


  1. I have felt, since the Ozzie Guillen signing, that this Marlins team has got to be a ploy for an HBO documentary, like "The Franchise," but longer term, and more of a comedy.

  2. Maybe more like Jersey Shore where people are laughing at them but they are unaware that they are being used for comedy.