Well after a bit of a hiatus, a draining offseason, and a hope for the future.. we kick off the 2011 season with optimism for the Fish. It’s their last season in Sun Life Stadium (Dolphins Stadium) and the transition to the Miami Marlins started with a few offseason moves, including spending money. Something we haven’t done since 2005 when we signed Carlos Delgado to a 4 year/$40 million contract.
Dan Uggla traded to the Braves for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn. I hate parting with Uggla and all his power but his money needs were to high rejecting the Marlins 4 year deal for 5 with Atlanta. Infante is another All-star who hit .321 last year and can play 2nd or 3rd. Mike Dunn is a hard throwing lefty (1.89 ERA, 27K in 19 innings) our bullpen could use in the late innings, so all in all the talent we got back is worth it.
Signing John Buck to 3 year/$18 million deal. Marlins made a cash splash starting the offseason by spending money instead of dumping it. Going out and getting a free agent needed to be done to a position that could not stay healthy. Losing John Baker to Tommy John in early May and Ronny Paulino had issues with PEDs and was released in August. Even Baker’s replacement Brett Hayes seperated his shoulder in August thanks to Nyjer Morgan’s tirade, leaving us with a 4th string (Brad Davis) to finish out the year.
Buck’s signing is a major upgrade because of his leadership behind the plate and a veteran presence he can give our staff. Also he was a All-star last year as well as Infante and could put up some numbers similar to Uggla’s.
Cameron Maybin was traded to the Padres for Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb in bullpen reserves. Good move, I was about to give up on Maybin myself with all the injuries but he is still only 23.
Andrew Miller traded to Red Sox for Dustin Richardson. Miller had run out of options and wasn’t going to make the squad, so getting someone is better than nothing in this 2007 trade bust.
Non-roster invitee Dewayne Wise, from the infamous over the wall “Catch” saving the Mark Buehrle prefecto, might wind up as the 4th outfielder.
Chris Coghlan moves from LF to CF (Logan Morrison now owns left). Will it be a hard transition with that knee surgery that ended his season last July? Something tells me no.
As I’m writing this Mike Stanton just jacked his 2nd homer of the spring, and Dan Uggla followed him with a solo shot of his own against the Astros. A sight I haven’t seen much of so far is that raw power to hit home runs. The most unlikely of names have been hitting it over the fence including Bryan Peterson and Emilio Bonifacio (no, that’s not a typo).
These young prospects with power like Stanton and Peterson have been turning heads early this spring, and could definitely see playing time somewhere during the 2010 season. Stanton is only 20 years old at this point, so a September call-up is probably the soonest you’ll see him. The talent is there and he looks just as good as Jason Heyward, you just don’t want to rush him. Although, I wouldn’t be shocked if Cameron Maybin’s groin injury lingers, Cody Ross moves to CF and Stanton takes RF by Opening Day.
If anything, the player who looks like he’s being rushed into the majors is Logan Morrison. The first baseman’s performance so far has not been promising and Gaby Sanchez seems to be handling the role a lot better. Of course, Gaby has a sprinkle of experience under his belt from last season and it shows with his average at .400 a week into the spring. Logan doesn’t seem to be adapting to any pitchers, carrying a .071 average in his couple appearances (although that one hit was a triple that produced 3 RBIs).
Don’t count out Jorge Jimenez to take over 3B, pushing Gaby and Logan out of the way for Jorge Cantu to play 1B again. Jimenez is looking to start the season on the Opening Day lineup, seeing as the Red Sox kept him off their 40-man roster. If he can’t secure the starting 3B job, he can still battle for the left-handed bat off the bench role. Jimenez has competition there though against veteran Mike Lamb, who has also shown signs of why his minor league deal should be purchased. Also, Hank Blalock decided to sign a deal with the Rays and made the choice a little easier by not coming to Marlins camp.
The pitching staff as a whole hasn’t done anything too drastic to cut themselves from the team, but I will tell you the highs and lows so far…
The lowest moment was the outing Seth McClung had on Monday against the Mets making me rethink his signing altogether. He pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed 6 earned runs on 2 hits (one being a solo HR) and 3 walks. It’s early but in the bullpen you only get so many opportunities to impress with so many arms out there.
The highest moments were a tie between…
1) The pitching of Clay Hensley on Saturday against the Cardinals going 3 innings with 4Ks allowing 1 hit and no runs.
2) Rick VandenHurk coming into a 5-0 deficit against the Red Sox throwing 3 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2Ks. Worthy noting VandenHurk is my dark horse pick, he looked better than Andrew Miller and Sean West influencing me to consider an all right-handed rotation.
The Marlins are going to start making cuts soon and should eliminate the youngsters and high scoring comebacks all around the league. I know no lead is safe but during Spring Training you see the 2nd and 3rd string players come out to blow the scoring wide open for better or worse. Starting the spring 3-0 was nice but ending the 1st week 5-3 wasn’t too good, so let’s hope this 2nd week they kick it up a notch.
UPDATE: Thursday morning the Marlins made some moves with a few pitchers, right-hander Ryan Tucker was optioned back to AAA-New Orleans, and lefty Jay Voss sent to minor league camp.
So Before the full squad workouts start for Spring Training, I’m gonna take a stab at Opening Day’s lineup and rotation (hoping against injury)…
1.) Chris Coghlan – LF
2.) Cameron Maybin – CF
3.) Hanley Ramirez – SS
4.) Jorge Cantu – 3B
5.) Dan Uggla – 2B
6.) John Baker – C
7.) Cody Ross- RF
8.) Logan Morrison -1B
9.) Josh Johnson – P
1.) Josh Johnson – RHP
2.) Ricky Nolasco – RHP
3.) Chris Volstad – RHP
4.) Sean West – LHP
5.) Anibal Sanchez – RHP
Closer.) Leo Nunez – RHP
To avoid an arbitration hearing, the Marlins settled on a 1 year/$7.8 million contract with Dan Uggla on Monday evening. Dan gets a $2.45 million raise from last year, where he won his arbitration case. Anibal Sanchez settled in his first year of arbitration and will earn $1.25 million, with $100K in bonus incentives for starts. Renyel Pinto will get $1.075 million going into next year.
A very good sign for Marlins fans after Josh Johnson got his extension last week, BUT…the signing doesn’t take any less speculation off of Uggla getting traded sometime between now and the July 31 trade deadline. A couple suitors have shown interest like the Giants, Orioles, and Braves but have since disappeared or filled their roster needs. Pinto is also being shopped around the market, yet nothing inticing has come across.
Personally, the best offer I’ve heard was Jonathan Sanchez for Uggla, although I’m sure there was barely any truth to that like most rumors. If the value isn’t there, then they should hold onto him as long as possible, especially if the Marlins are in a pennant race this summer. Uggla’s a big influence in the clubhouse along with Uncle Wes, yet his lineup presence is much higher with average 31HR/ 90RBI a year. Other teammates like Cantu and Cody should follow suit within the next few hours or they will go to an arbitration hearing.
Hello Everyone and Welcome to the Blog! Let’s start this off with great news…
For once the gods of baseball were listening to a request from the Marlins camp. The deal few thought would get done, including his agent, had the Marlins signing Josh Johnson to a 4 year/$39 Million dollar contract Thursday evening. Being one of those hardcore fans, I am ecstatic to know J.J. will be the team’s ace pitcher for the next couple years. A great sign for Marlins fans everywhere (even with some nudging from the MLBPA) that the front office had instincts to know this is a special player and he deserves every penny of that contract. J.J.’s contract has him with the Marlins through 2013 (buying out 2 arbitration years and the first 2 years of free agency), making him 29 when his current contract is up and a viable candidate to re-sign with the team when revenues kick in from the new stadium. Keeping J.J. the next 4 years gives me a premonition he will take over all the Marlins pitching records along the way such as wins and strike outs (68 Wins/757 K’s by Dontrelle Willis, respectively). This makes the Marlins a solid competitor in the NL East for years to come, especially matching up very well against Johan Santana and newly acquired Phillie, Roy Halladay. Excellent…
Getting very excited now for pitchers and catchers to report, as the next bit of news should be the arbitration signings of Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu, etc. The Dan Uggla plot thickens now that we are forced to open the cash register and can’t find any value with a trade partner, the speculation is that he should stay. Keeping him at 2B for now is an easy decision in my opinion, being a 2-time All Star plus Coghlan shows he’s a better fitted athlete in LF. The 30+ HRs is hard to come by especially for a 2B and his errors are way down (3 All Star game errors don’t count), so in comparison to the NL teams who is above Uggla overall besides Chase Utley? Discuss amongst yourselves….