Alternate ending

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ed. note: I prepared this post at about 3:52 this afternoon when it appeared the Marlins' trade for Nick Johnson would fall through. Here's the melodramatic lament that would have come had the trade not been revived at (seemingly) the last second...

Despite reports that the Marlins were thisclose to trading for Nick Johnson, the team made no deals ahead of the trading deadline. So we are still stuck with Emilio Bonifacio at third base, unless the Marlins can pick up someone off the waiver wire or promote a minor leaguer (Gaby Sanchez? Cameron Maybin by moving Chris Coghlan to third?). Clearly, Larry Beinfest and Michael Hill are trying to test our devotion to the Marlins. Why else would they continue to trot out the third-worst everyday player in the majors when someone off the scrap heap would clearly be an improvement? I think I'm going to have another emo eagles moment...


Trade Deadline

The Marlins have traded minor-leaguer Aaron Thompson to the Nationals for Nick Johnson.

The deal seems really good for the Marlins. Jorge Cantu will likely displace Bonifacio at third, while Johnson moves into first base and the two-hole in the lineup. The Nats will be paying most of Johnson's remaining salary, and all the Marlins had to give up was a former first-rounder who couldn't get noticed in the minors behind Josh Johnson, Andrew Miller, Chris Volstad et al., and struggled this year in Double-A ball. Suckers. Welcome to the team, Nick. Don't fuck this up for us.

No one had Aaron in this year's Trade Pool, and it looks like there will be no winner this year, unless something else hits the news late. So no one is getting a free 12-pack from me this year. That's too bad for everyone else, but I'll be celebrating later with some Bell's Oberon.



As it appears that the Marlins might make a trade to replace Emilio Bonifacio, let's examine just how stupid it is to have B-Face in the everyday lineup while the team is fighting for a Wild Card spot.

  1. Bonifacio's Win Probability Added (WPA, for an explanation, go here) is at -1.94, third worst among everyday players. He is much worse than the average replacement player.
  2. Bonfacio is batting .248 with a .293 OBP, and he is batting second, where he is supposed to simply get on base. He has drawn just 26 walks in 438 plate appearances while striking out 85 times.
Bonifacio is not the first infielder to get plenty of playing time while struggling at the plate. Alex Gonzalez did this for years at shortstop. Of course, Gonzalez was otherworldly on defense and would at least give you 15 home runs a year. I can't say the same for Emilio. Hopefully, the rumors of the Fish trading for Nick Johnson pan out. The trade would allow Jorge Cantu to move back to third base to make room for Johnson, whose .810 OPS (and 2.24 WPA) would be a drastic improvement over Bonifacio's .600. It is time for the Bonifacio experiment to end, and I hope it happens today.


Marlins In Serious Talks For New Large Closer

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Late last night and throughout this morning there have been multiple reports about the Marlins aggressively pursuing Heath Bell of the Padres in a trade. Reportedly the asking price begins at either Andrew Miller or Sean West. Have the Padres not seen or read about Miller's two recent starts in the minors? We can talk about that later, but what dawned on me was that if we acquire Bell, the Marlins would once again have a closer who could be classified as a large man (I'm trying to be nice here, I could've said fat). Why is this important? Well, the majority of the Marlins closers that have been good have been large, and do not look like elite athletes. Here is some photographic evidence.

So needless to say, the Fish need to try and get this deal done. Matt Lindstrom and Leo Nunez are far too fit and slim to be counted on as closers. They need to assume the setup roles and leave the closing duties to a man that can handle it. Heath Bell, that is you.


Marlins 2000's All-Decade Team: Lineup

This is part of a series that will name All-Decade teams for the Marlins. Click here to view all the posts made in this series.

First up we have the All-Decade team of the 2000's. There will actually be two All-2000's teams. This first one represents the play and achievements over the whole decade. Thus, tenure and longevity count, but, massive production for a short period of time will grant you consideration as well. The other All-2000's team which will be named later will represent the best single season performances for each position. Here is the starting lineup.

1. Juan Pierre, CF:
JP had three great years in South Florida and was a huge contributor to the 2003 champions. His seasonal averages for those three years? How does a .300% batting average with 200 hits while playing all 162 games sound? Terrific, and while he didn't have the greatest center field arm, he had good range and fielded his position well. He was the easy choice to play center and leadoff for this team.

2. Luis Castillo, 2B: Luis was another easy choice. He is still the team's leader in career games, runs, hits, triples, walks, and stolen bases. For the decade he made three all-star teams, won three gold gloves, and hit over .300%. His 2003 campaign was also vital towards winning it all, as he hit .314 and won one of those gold gloves. He also dazzled fans with a 35-game hitting streak in 2002 which remains the longest by a second baseman.

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS: Yet another easy choice. Hanley won Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 and has ascended to one of the best players in the game. He made his second all-star team this year and has a shot to notch the first ever batting title for a Marlins player. This is only his first year in the three-hole after hitting mainly first, but the transition has been so smooth that he has stamped his name there for this team. He has proven to be very capable of driving in runs, while remaining a good run scorer. The 3rd hitter in the lineup should be your best, and Hanley is quite simply that.

4. Miguel Cabrera, LF: Well, Cabrera could also be that too, but I've decided he should be hitting cleanup. And while he came up as a third baseman and now plays first base for the Tigers, he spent most of his time in Miami in the outfield. What Cabrera did in his Marlins career is astonishing. He was a huge piece added from the minors that was crucial for the success of 2003. He also flat out carried a 2006 team riddled with rookies and inexperienced players. For the four year span of 2004-2007, he basically averaged 32 HR and 115 RBI while hitting around .320%. He was an all-star in all of those years and won the silver slugger award in 2005 and 2006.

5. Pudge Rodriguez, C: Catcher was a tough spot to pick because the position has been filled with one and two year wonders. But let's face it, no one is more deserving than Pudge. His 2003 campaign saw him play in 144 games (that's a LOT for a catcher) and he managed to hit just a shade under .300%. He will be remembered for his two moments in the NLDS though. A two out, two strike, two-run single that won game three followed by tagging the final out at a collision at the plate to save game four. He also won the NLCS MVP for driving in ten runs.

6. Cliff Floyd, RF: Choosing the last outfielder was kind of tough. Kevin Millar, Josh Willingham and even Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine were given consideration for this spot but Floyd's long tenure gave him the edge. He was one of a few big producers during the era between the two world series titles. In two and a half years played in Miami this decade, he hit .304 with 71 home runs. His 2001 season was good enough to get him to the all-star game. He did play primarily in left field, but he did switch over to right in 2002 before being traded which is good enough for me.

7. Mike Lowell, 3B: With Cabrera in the outfield there was only one person to play third base, the second Mr. Marlin, Mike Lowell. He played seven years down here (starting in 1999) which is quite a long tenure for a Marlins player. He was as steady as they come too, always hitting around .275% while being a doubles and RBI machine. His defense was outstanding and it finally paid off winning the gold glove in 2005 (he deserved more but NL 3B was a tough spot). He was also named an all-star three times and collected one silver slugger in 2003.

8. Derrek Lee, 1B: Derrek manned first base from 1998-2003. For this decade he was .275% hitter averaging about 27 home runs a season while playing gold glove caliber defensive (finally winning one in 2003). It would have been okay I guess to give Carlos Delgado the nod for his fantastic 2004 season, but it was D-Lee I'd say that mos Marlins fans would prefer playing first base.

Deserved Consideration (Or Bench Players!)

  • Kevin Millar, OF: Hit over .300% in 2001 and 2002. His funny attitude would be much appreciated in any clubhouse
  • Jeff Conine, OF: He has to be on ANY Marlins team, plus his second stint after coming back in 2003 was pretty solid.
  • Dan Uggla, 2B: Not your typical 2B, but he hits for power and drives in many runs. He's been part of the 2006-present corps.
  • Mike Redmond, C: Five great years as a backup catcher, he always did above what was needed.

Stay tuned as the pitching staff of this team will be named later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.


Quote of the Night

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mitch Williams of MLB Network, discussing Mark Buehrle's record 45 consecutive batter retired:

"45 consecutive batters retired? I never threw 45 consecutive pitches that the catcher caught!"


MDH Off-Topic: Questions To Avoid During Hall of Fame Weekend

Note: I've inveighed against a lazy trope employed by sportswriters once before, and it was fun, so let's do it again.

For one weekend every summer, fans, journalists, and retired ballplayers assemble en masse in Cooperstown for the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It is widely regarded as one of the most enjoyable experiences a baseball fan can have, taking in the history of the game at its designated mecca among some of the greatest players in baseball history. I've never been to Hall of Fame weekend at Cooperstown, but I would like to someday.

As much as fans love Hall of Fame weekend, sportswriters love it even more. They get to take the same pilgrimage as the fans, only they get paid to go by their employer, plus they get media credentials and access to Hall of Famers. Not only does this make for an enjoyable business trip, but an easy week of columns. In the week following Hall of Fame weekend, we get to read almost every baseball scribe in America write about what Hall of Famers think about the scandals du jour in Major League Baseball. Some examples from this week:

The problem with this is that I do not care at all what other Hall of Famers have to say about anything. Just because they all show up in one place does not mean we need to ask them about the pressing questions of the day. What do we gain when we learn Tom Seaver does not like pitch counts? I say not much. If his salary depended on young pitchers not getting injured, I bet he'd be a little more forgiving of the pitch count. Same with asking former players about who belongs in the Hall of Fame. If they could vote for the Hall of Fame, then maybe it would be newsworthy. But in the grand scheme of things, Hank Aaron's opinion on these matters means about as much as mine (which is to say, not much). So please, stop telling me what a bunch of retired ballplayers think. Thank you.


Decisions, Decisions

Monday, July 27, 2009

Eight days ago, I boldly proclaimed that the Marlins had gone from buyers to sellers in a matter of days, by virtue of losing three straight to the Phillies and also having a Josh Johnson start rained out. At that point they were seven back of Philadelphia and behind seven teams in the wild card race. But, as Dave pointed out yesterday, the club just took five of six out west, including two of three from the major league leading Dodgers. While they only gained a half a game on the Phillies, they are right back in the wild card race, sitting three and a half out, with just three teams in front of us.

This has now raised the dilemma that is the trading deadline for teams like us. We've seen before how even just a minor move or two can spark a run and put a team over the top. But there is the other side, when it just doesn't click and the trade can be looked at as a waste. For our sake, I hope there is at least some kind of mini-trade, enough that the Marlins Die-Hards Trade Pool can crown a winner. But, if you ask me to play GM for a minute, I would actually keep things as is. Our pitching can take us places. Josh Johnson is a beast, Nolasco seems to have worked things out, and Volstad has bounced back nicely. As for the offense, well if they could just take Emilio Bonifacio out of the damn lineup already, and replace him with someone more capable then that would be like adding a bat. Stat o' the day: Emilio sports a sub-.300% OBP which is the lowest of any position player on the active roster. Not only does he still play, he still hits first or second in the lineup. Why?


Children of the Marlins Diaspora 9

Darren Daulton, 1B, OF

Played for Marlins: 1997
Other Teams: Philadelphia (1983-1997)
Marlins fans know him because: Daulton was one of a handful of players acquired in mid-1997 to shore up a team heading to the playoffs, acquired from Philadelphia in July of that year for prospect Billy McMillon. Daulton started 38 games for the Fish down the stretch and also provided a strong left-handed bat off the bench.
Everyone else knows him because: A three-time All-Star, Daulton was a mainstay of the early-90s Philadelphia teams that reached the World Series in 1993, losing to Toronto. After his baseball career was over, Daulton made headlines for his drinking and marriage troubles, and later claimed to have taken more drugs than anyone else in baseball history.
Best Marlins moment: Daulton went out the way many baseball veterans would like to go out, as a champion, though not on the team for which he played most of his career. Daulton hit a home run in Game 3 of the World Series, and 7-for-18 with seven runs and two doubles during the series.


Week in Review

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jeremy Hermida hits and RBI-single on Friday night.

Overview: The Marlins showed just how effective they could have been had they moved to Portland as rumored a few years ago, going 5-1 on a West Coast road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles. The week went well enough that we still are not sure whether the Marlins will be buyers, sellers, or abstainers before the trade deadline on Friday.
Positives: The Marlins got quality starts in 4 of 6 games this week, with the starting rotation sharing a collective 2.70 ERA for the week. Hanley has another hit streak going; eight games so far.
Negatives: The Fish could have had a perfect week had the bullpen not blown a two-run lead on Saturday night.
Highlight of the Week: Emilio Bonifacio drew a bases-loaded walk in the 7th inning Monday night to score Jeremy Hermida and give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. That actually happened.
Line of the Week: Chris Volstad went 7 innings to get the win on Tuesday in San Diego, giving up one run on four hits with two strikeouts and a whole mess of groundball outs.
Looking Ahead: After taking Monday off, the Fish return to Miami for three-game sets with the Braves and Cubs.

AP Photo/Matt Sayles via ESPN


Follow Friday

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's been a rough few years for child of the Marlins Diaspora Darren Daulton. Between the multiple DUIs, domestic abuse, and his claim that "no one in any sport that has taken more drugs than I have," he's become a bit of a joke to those who can remember him. But hey, at least he has a funny fake Twitter page:

Oh, fake Darren Daulton, you wag.

Finally, if you're interested, you can follow Ted (@tedhill) and me (@dave6834) as well.


This Week in Schadenfreude

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This Week in Schadenfreude comes in photographic form via The Sports Hernia Blog:


How Do You End A Slump?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Play the Padres, the only team hitting worse than the Marlins right now...

Ricky Nolasco did not have to try that hard this afternoon...

The Marlins swept the Padres in San Diego, getting a road trip started on a positive note. After watching Rick VandenHurk and Chris Volstad cruise through Adrian Gonzalez and the Replacement Level Hitters, Ricky Nolasco went 6 and 1/3 scoreless for the win on getaway day. Thanks to whoever informed the team that the All-Star Break was over a week ago...

AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi via ESPN


10 People All Marlins Fans Should Love

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ted gave us 10 players to hate, but I'm a lover, not a fighter (Would you like a hug?). Additionally, I don't like boundaries, so I ditched Ted's plan of only listing current players, or people who are actually alive. My only restriction is on children of the Marlins Diaspora. We should love them all, and I don't need to defend them here. Here are 10 to love, in no particular order.

1. Jose Mesa. Jose blew a save in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, giving up a sac fly to Craig Counsell that pushed the game into extras, allowing the Marlins to score. Better yet, when Omar Vizquel blamed the Indians' World Series loss on Mesa in his autobiography, Mesa vowed to plunk Omar every time he faced him, and followed through for about five years. I likes. Mesa also blew a ton of saves against the Fish as a member of the Phillies from 2002-2003.

2-3. Jim Hendry and Andy MacPhail. As the general managers for the Chicago Cubs (MacPhail from 2000-2001, Hendry from 2002-present), these two men are responsible for a few of the best trades in Marlins history, including Dontrelle Willis et al for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement in 2002 and Ricky Nolasco et al for Juan Pierre in 2005. Thanks guys! I'll forgive them for the Derrek Lee for Hee Seop Choi trade in 2003.

4. Jeff Weaver. Weaver gave up a 12th-inning walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series to Alex Gonzalez, the last non-pitcher I would have expected to become a hero in that situation. Thanks Jeff. Did you not know that Alex will swing at anything?

5. Eric Gregg. It's become de rigueur for baseball scribes and historians to point to Gregg's performance in Game 5 of the NLCS as proof of the decline in officiating that necessitated measures like the Questec system. I don't dispute that, but still remember Gregg fondly as the man whose outlandishly large strike zone allowed Livan Hernandez to strike out 15 Braves. In his defense, he had a similarly large strike zone for the Marlins' hitters, but for some reason, Atlanta could not take advantage. Suckers.

6. Ichiro Suzuki. Not for any Marlins-related reason, but because he gives the best quotes in any sport. One favorite: "To tell the truth, I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."

7. Wayne Huizenga. Some (many) will hate this pick. But allow me to make my case. There would be no Marlins were it not for Wayne. And sure, he committed the worst fire sale since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, but let's not forget that it was his profligate spending before the 1997 season which allowed the Marlins to acquire Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, and other key players. Time heals all wounds, and if Boston can forgive Bill Buckner, then we should cut Wayne some slack. Now put down the kitchen knives and take a deep breath.

8. Alex Gonzalez. Not that one. Yeah, that one. People forget that after Steve Bartman did his thing, Alex booted a sure double-play ball off the bat of Miguel Cabrera in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Instead of ending the inning with the Cubs up 3-1, well, I don't need to tell you what else happened...

9. Josh Byrnes. Josh has been the GM for the Arizona Diamondbacks since 2005. Thanks for leaving Dan Uggla unprotected in the 2006 Rule V Draft, Josh. We appreciate it.

10. Ozzie Guillen. Ozzie is nominally a member of the Marlins Diaspora, having served as the Marlins' third base coach in 2003. But the real reason we like him because he is not afraid to speak his mind, whether he is ridiculing Cubs fans, talking shit to Jay Mariotti, or making fun of A-Rod. He can even laugh at himself (sometimes). I wish more managers shot from the hip like Ozzie.


10 Players All Marlins Fans Should Hate

A couple weeks ago, my buddy Alex informed me of an article on about the ten baseball players all fans should hate. It was an intriguing read and as a Marlins fan it was a good list (no Marlins on the list and it did contain several Marlins rivals). I know there will be some overlap, but I decided to make a list of the ten players all Marlins fans should hate. Here we go.

10. Emilio Bonifacio.
You know I hate to put one of our own on this list but lets face it, he is pretty maddening. Don't take my word for it. Here is part of what Adam Smoot of Bright Orange Seats had to say.

"Wow. If Marlins fans could punch one player in the face, without repercussion, it would, no doubt, be Bonifacio. . . Let me state this plainly. Emilio Bonifacio should not be in a Major League lineup. Ever. He can’t hit, draw walks, bunt or field a ball cleanly. He’s, clearly, great at one thing and one thing only–being fast. Awesome. So, essentially, the Marlins have the leagues best pinch-runner. He’s the Ted Ginn, Jr. of Major League Baseball."
9. Freddy Sanchez. This list wouldn't be complete if it didn't have a Pittsburgh Pirate, the team that owns us. Fun fact, did you know nearly 10% of all Pirates victories come against the Marlins, despite only playing them 6-8 times a year?1 Freddy has helped many of those victories by doing what he does best, hitting home runs and outslugging everyone. What's that? He just hits singles, and still gets clutch RBIs? Damn. Often times he doesn't even get loud singles, he just pokes it and somehow it finds a way through. If that weren't enough, he provides plenty of above average defense whenever we are in town.

8. Jose Reyes. Had this list been complied one or even two years ago, Jose may have been at the top. He and Hanley Ramirez were always linked as the shortstop All-Stars of the future, but often people would prefer Reyes because they thought he had more potential know he plays in New York. Luckily for us, Hanley has continued excelling and improving while Reyes has gotten hurt and had a few poor Septembers. This doesn't mean we should stop hating him though. We know once he comes back and has a 4-5 day at the plate people will vault him right back to #1 on their lists. Also, the arrogance he carries himself with makes Emilio Bonifacio seem humble.

7. David Wright. Similar to the Reyes-Ramirez comparisons, Wright and Miguel Cabrera were often linked, but that isn't the real reason he is here. He is the face of the New York Mets, mainly because females tell me that it is a gorgeous face. He also made the list. Here's a sample of what they said:
It’s possible Wright sought counseling of his own after two straight Mets September collapses, from which he somehow remained bulletproof in the eyes of his fans.
6. Chipper Jones. The list would not be complete without an Atlanta Brave, and who deserves to be on it more than our good friend Larry. He seems to be universally hated in the baseball world, unless you play for or are a fan of the Braves. He has that quiet arrogance and just seems like that guy at a party who feels everything is just so beneath him. I guess he has a right to feel that way when playing the Marlins because he has some terrific career numbers against them (.314% BA, 37 HR in 199 games).

5. Joe Girardi. I know he is not a player, but I don't care. He makes the top ten for three reasons. One, in his only year of managing the Fish, he sent a young Josh Johnson back out to the mound after a lengthy rain delay. This is the act that many believed injured his elbow, requiring Tommy John surgery, and robbing us all of a year of delight, watching the brilliant JJ. Two, despite his great success, he could not get along with team owner Jeffrey Loria and was eventually fired. I think he might be the only manager to get fired after winning the Manager of the Year award. Finally, he sealed his hate from Marlins fans when he took over for the Yankees, replacing one of very few Yankees I respect (Joe Torre).

4. Ryan Howard. He is tough for me to include because I actually respect Howard. You know the Marlins respect him too by taking a look at his career stats through 71 career games against the Marlins, which includes 19 intentional walks. Unfortunately for the Fish it also includes a .309 BA, 23 HRs and a 1.089 OPS. He just owns us, and when he hits a bomb it feels that game is certainly over.

3. John Smoltz. You might be sensing a theme here. Smoltz is another guy who loves facing the Marlins. It was bad enough when he was an ace starter in the 90's and then he had to convert to a closer and be even more dominant. Lifetime against the Fish he is 15-6 with a 2.72 ERA and 20 saves (without blowing one, if I recall correctly). Lucky for us, he wasn't healthy in time to face us this year or the ERA would have lowered and another one would have been tacked into the win column.

2. Alex Rodriguez. He made the list and the reasons they have laid out are good enough. I'll also add though that he was once a great poster child for baseball in Miami. He was a number one pick and ascended to one of the best players in the game. Then he signed an outrageous contract and the downfall began.
Those five tools are obvious on the field, but as soon as he steps off, he’s just one big tool. Hating A-Rod is a no-brainer, but let’s really consider his idiocy for a moment. Besides the PEDs, Madonna, the strippers, call girls, self-love, magazine pictures, and every other embarrassing footnote in what should have been a storied career, the guy just doesn’t get it.
1. Jamie Moyer. 15 starts, 13-2 record, 2.83 ERA. Incredible. Those are his numbers against the Marlins which are extraordinarily better than his career numbers. Even though he has pitched better later in his career, his dominance of the Fish is mystifying. Marlins hitters just can't adjust to batting practice fastballs and changeups with little movement. Maybe for his next start we should wear our BP caps and put the cage up behind the plate. [Dave: At least he wears his stirrups with class. I still don't like him though...]

1 This is not proven. It is only my amateur math and logic skills that believe they have beaten us about six times a year, and win around sixty total games every year, thus nearly 10%.



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Not to get all emo Eagles on you, but this last series has me feeling a little morose. Take it away, Neil.

Okay, feeling better now.


Week in Review

From Buyers To Sellers In Four Days

Overview: The title above says it all. A four game set with the Phillies went about as bad as possible. Jamie Moyer predictably won game one for Philadelphia. Game two featured a nice Marlins comeback but it wasn't completed and the Fish eventually lost in twelve innings. Saturday presented a great opportunity to get back in the series with ace Josh Johnson on the mound. But, mother nature had different plans and for once was not on our side, game postponed. Sunday was another day of fail as Andrew Miller struggled and the lineup left the population of Rhode Island on base. 0-3 for the week. 7 games back of the first place Phils.
Positives: The ground was broken on the new stadium, and it does look pretty awesome. Also, if my title is correct and the team are no longer buying at the trade deadline, it is better in the long run that we have all of our prospects for at least another year to develop.
Negatives: I pretty much covered them all in the overview. The team could not hit or drive runs in and the pitching wasn't stellar. Tough to win ballgames like that.
Highlight of the Week: NA. Honestly, I tried to think of anything worthy to put here, but still came up empty.
Line of the Week: Ronnie Paulino gets the nod for a 3-5 night on Friday, with three runs scored. Weak, but it really was the best of this series.
Looking Ahead: If the Marlins want to make me look stupid and climb right back into the race, they will need to have an uncharacteristically good trip to the west coast. Three in San Diego, Three in Los Angeles, four wins is a must. Five or six would be preferred.


Marlins Break Ground on New Empty Stadium

Yesterday in Little Havana, the Marlins broke ground for their new stadium on the grounds of the dearly departed Orange Bowl. The team also released a number of new renderings of the new stadium, which will include blue seats (Adam Smoot is gonna be pissed...). The Miami Herald has a slide show of the new renderings here. Though it was sad to see the Orange Bowl go (Ted and I practically grew up in the dump), at least we'll finally get a decent stadium to see Marlins games (at an exorbitant cost to South Florida taxpayers, but hey, I don't live there anymore, so it's not my problem). The new park will have a pool and air conditioning, just like every other building in Miami. It will also be a pitchers' park, with dimensions similar to those at Joe Robbie Land Shark Stadium (including 422 feet to centerfield). I'm in favor of that. The food courts will also have Cuban food. I likes.

It looks like a nice stadium. I don't have much to add, so take a look at Dan LeBatard's thoughts on the new stadium. Also at the Herald this weekend, Israel Gutierrez says the Marlins need to lock up Josh Johnson long term as soon as they can. I agree. Loria must be swimming in revenue-sharing money with the Marlins' tiny payroll. Make it happen. The Brewers were able to lock up Ryan Braun at well below his market value by getting him early before he got used to caviar for breakfast. Though it is risky to tie up so much money into a young player, it is the only way for teams with low revenue like the Marlins and Brewers to afford stars. If the Fish let Johnson slip away, they will regret it for years.

Stadium rendering via Miami Herald.


Headline of the Week

Thursday, July 16, 2009



Just a Thought...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm not sure who is the luckier party here; Willie Mays for getting to ride on Air Force One with the President, or Barack Obama for getting to hang out with Willie Mays.

On second thought, I'll go with Obama. Presidents come and go, but there is only one Willie Mays...

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza via WoW


For the record...

Josh Johnson would not have given up a triple to Curtis Granderson. Had he entered the game after Granderson's triple, he would not have let Adam Jones hit a sac fly. Johnson probably would have hit a home run out of Carl Crawford's reach as well. In short, the National League lost because Charlie Manuel did not put Johnson in the game.


That's a point for the vegetarians...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

...courtesy of the chunkiest vegetarian in America. Seriously, how much cheese does Prince eat on a daily basis?


A Word of Advice for Manny Acta

Monday, July 13, 2009

You give me this team, then blame me when they suck?

The Washington Nationals finally, after weeks of speculation, fired manager Manny Acta today. On the surface, the reasons appear obvious. The Nationals enter the All-Star break in terrible shape, with a 26-61 record, worst in the majors. However, if you watch the Nationals as much as I have (which is only about 15 games this year) you will quickly notice that the combined spirits of Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson, and Leo Durocher could not wring much more than 60 wins a year out of this club. They have plenty of fine hitters, but the rotation and relief corps are beyond meh.

For this reason, I feel sorry for Manny. Because the Nats front office failed to put together even a moderately below-average pitching staff, Acta may never get a chance to manage again. Sure, he'll probably catch on as a bench coach or base coach somewhere down the line, but that's just not the same (both in terms of prestige and salary). Is it Manny's fault the Nats bullpen found new ways to implode against the Marlins so many times this year? No. In fact, if I were Manny, I would be blaming one person in particular.

Fact: Riding a segway makes one appear 85% more ridiculous.

Jim Bowden became GM of the Nats in November 2004. He resigned earlier this year on the heels of an FBI investigation into the alleged skimming of signing bonuses from Dominican prospects. During his tenure, he assembled what is clearly the worst collection of talent on the big-league level. He is the reason Manny is out of a job, and potentially out of managing for life. Manny, I know a good lawyer who has done tons of labor-relations work. If you want his contact info, drop the blog an e-mail, and I will be happy to help. You shouldn't suffer because Gob Bluth can't run a front office.


Week in Review

Overview: It was another below average road trip to the west for the Marlins, as they dropped two of three in San Francisco and split a four game set in Arizona to finish the week 3-4.
Positives: A strong outing (complete game shutout) from Chris Volstad helped avoid being swept by the Giants. The team also tied the franchise record for largest comeback victory on Thursday, trailing the Diamondbacks 7-0 but rallying for a 14-7 win. In that game posted there first ever double digit run scoring inning (10 in the 8th).
Negatives: The rest of the starting pitching was not good. Sean West had a bad outing and has bent sent back to the minors. Also the club's offense was absent on a few nights including being shut out twice. Dan Haren I can understand, Barry Zito though can't happen.
Highlight of the Week: It has to be the biggest inning in team history, with a special nod to the decisive blow, the Brett Carroll home run that took us from 7-5 down to 8-7 ahead.
Line of the Week: Another great pitching line, this time from someone other than Josh Johnson. It is the aformentioned Chris Volstad performance.

W, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Looking Ahead: Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson are headed to St. Louis for the All-Star game on Tuesday while the rest of the team relaxes before a rather crucial four game set against the Phillies in Miami, beginning on Thursday.


My bad...

It appears that in my enthusiasm to bestow upon Sean West a lame nickname and photoshop job, I inadvertantly jinxed him. The Fish sent West to Double-A Jacksonville after his latest start, with the intention of giving the left-hander time to work on his secondary pitches. Hitters have been waiting for his fastball, and as Kyle Farnsworth can attest, if all you can depend on is a fastball, then big-league hitters will figure you out sooner or later.

Good luck, Sean. Sorry for screwing up your karma. Hopefully some time in the minors will do you as much good as it did for Ricky Nolasco...


This Week in Schadenfreude

Friday, July 10, 2009

A double-whammy from SI scribe Jon Heyman: Not only are the Phils thisclose to signing Pedro Martinez, but apparently the Blue Jays are rethinking their whole trade-Roy-Halladay-and-alienate-fanbase strategy:

When teams start down the tricky path of shopping a superstar, they rarely turn back, and the superstar usually goes somewhere else eventually. However, executives who have spoken to the Blue Jays' management team of acting president Paul Beeston and general manager J.P. Ricciardi remain convinced Toronto could still wind up keeping ace pitcher Roy Halladay.

Jays higher-ups have suggested to executives with other teams within the past day or two that they are concerned about the fan backlash in Toronto, which apparently has been significant enough for them to take note.

Here's hoping Wayne Huizenga doesn't try to talk the Jays out of keeping Halladay. The Phillies had been among the likely suitors for Halladay. Later in the article, Heyman discusses Pedro:

Martinez is talking to the Phillies about a contract for the rest of the year after impressing them in a throwing session Tuesday, and his longtime agent Fern Cuza said by phone that Martinez would have a decision by the end of the week.

I can't wait to see Pedro in a Phillies uniform, though he will probably be lights-out against the Fish (who can't hit anyone throwing under 90 mph to save their lives - see Moyer, Jaime).


So long, Alfredo

Bad news for Alfredo Amezega, who will undergo microfracture surgery on his knee next week and miss the remainder of the season. This is a bummer, and not just because Alfredo is a solid defensive replacement at damn near every position on the field. Hopefully the team will still let him hang out in the dugout and keep the team's spirits up.

Get better, Alfredo. We'll miss you, and your silky dance moves...


Snake Revenge: Stage One Complete

I was going to write a post yesterday evening about how we needed to avenge our last series with the Diamondbacks, which was most assuredly awful. We managed to win game one of a doubleheader after nearly blowing it, but lost the other three games in the series. In each of those losses we had a 2- or 3-run lead as late as the seventh inning but coughed each one up due to a collapsing bullpen and some guy named Mark Reynolds, who sounds like he should be sitting in a cubicle next to me, instead of being a major league baseball player. This was also shortly after Arizona fired there manager and was playing poorly before the series. Lucky for them, we were a slump-buster at that point in the season.

But that was then, and this is now. Just last week we overcame our longtime nemesis, the Somali Pittsburgh Pirates, with an assist from the motivational writings of Adam Smoot. Now we shall take down these D-backs, or better yet, let them take down themselves. Good God their bullpen is awful. Last night they coughed up a seven run lead and it only took them two innings to do so. Not only did they give up the lead, they allowed us to double them up 14-7, to eliminate any chance of the Marlins bullpen returning the favor. Two errors and shoddy fielding also helped out the Arizona pen in getting their job done.

I don't think much motivational writing is needed. Marlins, if you're reading, just wait for strikes, don't get yourself out, and put the ball in play. That should increase our chances of winning above 100%. Thanks! Stage two is tonight with the resurgent Ricky Nolasco taking on ::looks up pitching matchup:: Dan Haren. Uh oh, forgot about Danny. The D-backs pen could get the night off.

(image via


2003 All Over Again?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We keep hearing about the Marlins wanting to acquire relief pitching help. In fact we signed three guys off waivers in the last week alone, and I wouldn't be surprised if BJ Ryan became a fourth. This reminded me of the 2003 season, when we desperately needed help and made the trade for Ugueth Urbina. That got me thinking, and I realized there are a lot of similarities between the 2003 team and this current one. So I made a handy table to illustrate that. If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment.

Position Player Callup
Miguel Cabrera: Homered in his first game and eventually become a solid #3 hitter for the playoffs.
Chris Coghlan: Had his first home run ball held hostage and is proving himself a very capable leadoff hitter.

Pitching Callup
Dontrelle Willis: A funky pitching motion and engaging personality captured fans' love, drawing comparisons to Fernando Valenzuela and Vida Blue.
Sean West: Good mechanics and not much personality shown yet has had us compare him to Randy Johnson (Who he beat!).

Josh Beckett: Texan who idolized Roger Clemens came into his own and had a dominant playoffs, launching the rest of his career.
Josh Johnson: Oklahoman Cy Young candidate who may carry entire team to playoffs, hopefully won't end up going north for the rest of his career.

Fledgling Closer
Braden Looper: Recorded 28 saves, but had the knock for blowing the wrong ones. Eventually lost his job and never became a good closer.
Matt Lindstrom: On pace for 28 saves, but has lost his job to a shoulder injury. Most fans are hoping he doesn't remain a closer.

New Closer
Ugueth Urbina: Crazy personality fit for a closer, and got the job done (except for WS Game 4), but now sits in a Venezuelan jail.
He says he can still pitch, can we get him released and pitching for us with an ankle bracelet or something?

Leadoff Hitter
Juan Pierre was so tiny and happy you just had to love him. He hit over .300, stole over 60 bases,and was the perfect table setter for the lineup.
Emilio Bonifacio: Okay, this one doesn't work out. Let's move on.

Reserve Catcher Who Looks Like A Caveman

Jeff Conine
Came back via a wiaver-wire trade to play left field and came up with some big hits to help clinch the Wild Card, threw out JT Snow at the plate to end the NLDS.

He's a coach, he's a consultant, he's a TV analyst, Jeff, why don’t you get in a game or two at left field just for fun? (you can surely still OPS better than Hermida).


Must Read

SI's Tom Verducci on MDH Favorite Earl Weaver:

Weaver was the Copernicus of baseball. Just as Copernicus understood heliocentric cosmology a full century before the invention of the telescope, Weaver understood smart baseball a generation before it was empirically demonstrated.
Read the full story here (h/t Jonah Keri).


Chris Volstad Just Wanted To Get This Series Over With

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chris Volstad could not bear the embarrassment of being swept by the Giants

Has anyone else noticed that Chris Volstad looks like he is fighting back tears when he throws a pitch? Go ahead and check out a Google image search, he makes the same face every time. So from now on, I dub Chris Mr. Strong Men Also Cry. He also has this squinty thing going on with his right eye. It's a little weird. Can't argue with the results, though. Volstad shut out the Giants today, going all nine innings, scattering five hits while striking out six and walking none on 105 pitches. It was the first complete game shutout by a Marlins pitcher this year, helping the Fish avoid a sweep by the Bay.

In other news, Hanley Ramirez sat out for the fourth straight game and the Marlins called up infielder Andy Gonzalez from Triple-A, but Fredi Gonzalez says Hanley is totally not going on the DL and we should NOT panic. But I'm totally panicing, and there's nothing Fredi can do to stop me besides putting Hanley back in the starting lineup. I WANT MY HANLEY BACK!! Fredi says Hanley will play at least twice in Arizona this weekend. If he doesn't, I will FREAK OUT. Get better Hanley. We I need you.

AP Photo/George Nikitin via Team Rodent


Week in Review

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ricky Nolasco overcame some garish headware on Sunday afternoon.

The Marlins swept the Nationals and then took 2 of 3 from the Pirates.
Positives: The Fish are quietly sneaking up on the NL East, finishing the week a game out of first place. Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez were named to the NL All-Star team today, with Hanley named to the starting lineup for the second straight year. Dan Meyer and Leo Nunez have turned themselves into a decent closer committee, but these things tend not to end well. Hanley continues his tear, notching RBI in 11 of his last 12 games (he was given the day off today).
Negatives: Not to beat a dead horse, but these hats look terrible, and no, I will not let it go. Josh Johnson had a subpar outing against the Nats this week, only making it through 3 and 1/3, but managed to escape with only an earned run. Combined with brief outings from Sean West and Chris Volstad, this is not reassuring, as the strength of the starting rotation will likely determine the team's performance over the second half.
Highlight of the Week: Hanley was named to the starting lineup of the NL All-Star squad for the second year in a row, which is no small feat for a Marlin, since he can't depend on Fish fans stuffing the ballot boxes for him.
Line of the Week: Ricky Nolasco appears to be back to normal, check out his line from Sunday:
8 IP, 3H, 0ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 112 Pitches

This after going 8 innings on Monday. It seems his time in the minors served him well, and I couldn't be happier.
Looking Ahead: The Fish will take a seven-game West Coast road trip before the All-Star break, with three games in San Francisco and four in Arizona.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz


All-Star Game

Congratulations to Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson, both of whom were named to the NL All-Star Team today. Hanley will start in his second straight midseason classic, which is impressive since we know he wasn't voted in by legions of Marlins fans. Unlike other shortstops, Hanley's selection was totally earned, and he deserved it. Hopefully he'll avenge his fellow middle-infielder Dan Uggla.

As for Johnson, he is scheduled to pitch the Marlins' final game before the All-Star Break, so if he sees any action in the game, it will probably be an inning or less of relief. I'm fine with that.

Also making the AL All-Star team was former Marlin Josh Beckett.


Can we move the Pirates to the AL or something?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Pittsburgh Pirates are like Rick Santorum: Both ceased to be relevant a long time ago, but I still wish they would disappear for good.

The Pirates are 4-0 against the Fish this year after winning 7-4 last night. They are 75-60 all-time against the Marlins. This despite the fact that the Pirates have been the worst team in the National League over the past 15 years.

Also, I will say this again. These hats are among the worst uniform design ideas in the history of Major League Baseball. Worse than the White Sox in shorts, worse than the all-red Indians uniforms, worse than Pittsburgh's red alternate jersey from a few years ago. It needs to stop. MLB should go back to wearing the American flag patch on hats for holidays. Sure, you'll get this every once in a while, but that is preferable to this. Rant over.


Worth a Look

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ben Fry keeps a chart of MLB teams' performance vs. salary. He just updated it. Check it out.

h/t: Kottke


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