Solidifying the Roster: Pitchers

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

With opening day just under a week away, the team is finalizing it's roster. For an outlook on the position players, go to Dave's roundup from Friday.

Who's In (Starters)

Josh Johnson
Ricky Nolasco
Anibal Sanchez
Chris Volstad
Clay Hensley

The disappointment of the spring is definitely the performance of the two left-handers competing for a starting job. It was thought that whichever of Andrew Miller or Sean West had the better spring would be the sole southpaw in the rotation. Instead, both struggled and neither have made it. It has prompted many, including myself, to ask of Miller, "If not now, then when?"

The good news is that the righties fighting for spots have picked up the slack. Clay Hensley, a non-roster invitee who was a long shot to make the club, has been dominant. In his 16 innings of work, he's allowed just 1 earned run with a strikeout-walk ratio of 11-1. He's definitely earned it. I'm a bit upset that Rick Vandenhurk's noticeable improvement most likely will not get him a roster spot, but hopefully he keeps it up and is ready for the inevitable injury.

Who's In (Bullpen)

Leo Nunez (CL)
Brian Sanches
Jose Veras
Burke Badenhop
Renyel Pinto
Dan Meyer

On The Bubble (Bullpen)

Tim Wood
Rick Vandenhurk
Seth McClung

It hurts to look at this. The bullpen has been cause for concern the last couple years and this roster outlook just doesn't look like much improvement. Jose Veras will be the lone reclamation project to make the club, but he is still a question mark. In fact everyone on these lists seems to have questions surrounding them. Can Leo Nunez be an effective closer for an entire season? Could either Dan meyer or RenyEl Pinto be a reliable option to retire tough left-handed hitters?

As for the final spot, Joe Capozzi says don't rule out Vandenhurk, because his ability to make a spot start is valuable. True, but Burke Badenhop also fits that role. My money would be on Tim Wood. In his 9 innings pitched this spring, he has allowed just 1 earned run.


"It's not as greasy as people think."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Get your mind out of the gutter, folks. Scott Strickland is referring to his second job as a repo man. According to the Palm Beach Post, Strickland, who was was reassigned to Minor League camp this morning, said the other day he will probably return to his job as an auto repossession agent should he not make the big club out of Spring Training. With unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, he is happy to take what he can get.

Don't feel too bad for him though. The minor league job he gave up, which pays $12,000 a month during the season, means he would have made more money in four months than I will all year. And yes, I'm still kicking myself for quitting little league at age 12.

h/t: Big League Stew



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Well my morning is off to a wonderful start...

With Marlins season opening April 5, one thing is clear: This team better not be languishing below .500 in May or June, or Fredi Gonzalez's job will be in serious jeopardy. "They're setting him up to replace him if they don't get off to a fast start," one team source said of ownership.
That's Jeffrey Loria, George Steinbrenner with less money.


How Cute

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Via Joe Frisaro, Jeff Loria got a little gift for Hanley to commemorate his 2009 batting title, the first such title by a Marlin (click to enlarge).

Note to Loria: When reaches 1,000,000 unique pageviews a month (which should happen sometime around 2063), I would like an original Jackson Pollock. Ted wants a 1963 Aston Martin DB5. If that can't happen, some bling will suffice. I prefer platinum.


Solidifying the Roster: Positional Players

Friday, March 26, 2010

With opening day just over a week away, the Marlins are making their final roster moves. Let's take a look at how things are shaping up, starting with the positional players.

Who's In (Infielders)

  • John Baker
  • Emilio Bonifacio
  • Jorge Cantu
  • Wes Helms
  • Ronnie Paulino
  • Hanley Ramirez
  • Dan Uggla

The Baker/Paulino platoon was set in stone well before Spring Training started. Bonifacio is the new Alfredo Amezega, except less useful and more liable to induce a heart attack. He has played 50 innings in the outfield this spring, which concerns me. Helms returns as the wise old man. Uggla/Ramirez remain one of the best hitting/worst fielding double-play combinations in baseball. Jorge Cantu will be at third base this year, where he is less of a defensive liability.

Who's In (Outfielders)
  • Chris Coghlan
  • Cameron Maybin
  • Cody Ross
Until the inevitable Mike Stanton call-up, this is your starting outfield. Things could change if Uggla gets traded midseason, since Coghlan's natural positing is 2B (and I'm optimistically thinking he wouldn't be replaced with Bonifacio).

On the Bubble
  • Brian Barden
  • Brett Carroll
  • Scott Cousins
  • Jai Miller
  • Logan Morrison
  • Bryan Petersen
  • Gaby Sanchez

Barden could steal the fourth outfield spot since he can play infield and outfield (some say he is a lock for the 5th outfield spot, with Bonifacio taking the 4th spot - groans all around). I'm frankly miffed that Boni is considered to be a better reserve outfielder option than Carroll. Carroll wins on defense (which is the most important quality in a reserve outfielder, since he will often be a late-inning defensive replacement), and I think we all know Emilio cannot hit major league pitching. Clearly there is blackmail involved. It looks like Sanchez may beat out Morrison for the first-base job, which is what I expected coming into Spring Training. Things don't look so good for Miller, Cousins, or Petersen, but I'm sure that will surprise no one.


Everyone Take a Cold Shower

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mike Stanton has been optioned to Double-A.

This will only allow his legend to grow when he is called up in June and hits 7 home runs in his first start.


And Yet Will Leitch Thinks Marlins Fans Don't Exist

I've read enough Dan Savage to not be judgmental when it comes to fetishes...

Via Philosophy from a Bathroom Wall, h/t and a six-pack are owed to JD.


Weekend Roundup

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ed. note: This will be our last Weekend Roundup of the Spring, as the team has been sending many of its scrubs and minor leaguers back to farm. As such, the beat writers are focusing less on the no-name players and more on the few positional battles in camp. Ted and I will be doing the same starting Monday. Enjoy you weekend.

Logan Morrison focusing on rest of spring, by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

The Marlins have little doubt that Morrison, who ranks among the organization's top prospects, will blossom into a mainstay for them -- a sure-fire member of the 2012 Marlins' lineup when they move into their new, Little Havana ballpark.

They love his swing. Scouts compare him to former top-hitting first basemen like Mark Grace and Tino Martinez.

But with spring training half over, it has been a hard March for Morrison.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Issued without further comment:

What if this guy asks the questions?


Weekend Roundup

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ed. note: Every spring, in order to avoid repeating the same rehashed story lines, beat writers for every major league team write 300-word profiles of a whole host of new faces invited to Spring Training. These stories run the gamut from retreads hoping to extend their career one more year to marginal minor league prospects to new free-agent signees getting comfortable with their new teammates. Most of these stories are forgettable, but will give the reader at least one interesting anecdote or point of view. Every week of Spring Training, we'll be posting the best or most interesting of these stories from the Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, and other news outlets for your weekend reading pleasure.

Florida Marlins' Hayden Penn Stays Calm Despite Being Out of Options, by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

"I'm not ruling him out to be one of the five [starters]," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I guess if worst comes to worst, he can become a guy in the bullpen -- a sixth guy."
Lamb Vying For Reserve Role With Marlins, by Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinal:
Last season registered high on the frustration scale as well. Lamb signed with the Mets and spent the entire campaign with Triple-A Buffalo, his first stint in the minors since 2003. In spite of all the Mets' injuries, Lamb was never added to the roster. [Ed. note: Yikes.]
Jorge Jimenez Aims to be Unexpected Starter for Florida Marlins, by Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:
Growing up in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Jorge Jimenez said he had never heard of the term "dark horse" until Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez used it to describe the 25-year-old third baseman to reporters a week ago.

"I called a couple friends and asked them, 'What does that mean?' " said Jimenez, the primary player acquired by the Marlins in a trade with the Houston Astros for former closer Matt Lindstrom this past winter.

"They said, 'Don't worry, it's a good thing.' So, I guess I like being a dark horse."
Turnbow Ready To Pitch In Spring Game, by Joe Frisaro of
Spring Training for the 32-year-old, who last pitched in the big leagues in 2008, literally got off on the wrong foot. Early in camp, he jammed his left big toe, causing an infection under the nail. The discomfort was evident during his first few times throwing off the mound. It's still a little sore. 


Because it's never too early for some Mets-related schadenfruede...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Read this FanGraphs piece on the Mets' handling of uber-prospect Jenrry Meji, but try not to giggle to loudly, lest your coworkers start looking at you funny.

This is reckless handling of a long-term asset in order to save Manuel and Minaya's jobs. Maybe that’s too harsh, but these guys have not earned the benefit of the doubt.
Life is good.

H/t: Big League Stew


Fact of the Day

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From today's Clark Spencer piece on Wes Helms:
On the field, his contributions can be found in the numbers. His 44 pinch-hits with the Marlins are tied for the career team record with Alex Arias. Since 2005, Helms has 64 pinch-hits, the most in the majors.
  1. I didn't know Wes had that many pinch hits.
  2. I would have never guessed Alex Arias held the team record.
  3. Seriously, it's kind of lame that Alex Arias holds a team record. Thankfully Wes will break it sometime in April or May.


Make Sure to Wipe The Drool Off Your Keyboard

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Marlins uber-prospect Mike Stanton is off to a hot start this spring, posting a .400/.500/.800 line in his first three games of action (ridiculously tiny sample size notwithstanding). And via comes this gem, Stanton's extra-inning home run against the Mets last week (h/t MarlinManiac). Not resting on his laurels, Stanton launched a two-run home run and robbed Lance Berkman in today's action. Keep in mind that at this point in Spring Training the pitchers are usually ahead of the catchers. I'm going to go ahead and enjoy the optimistic enthusiasm now before reality sets in, won't you join me?

UPDATE: Mike Stanton could break camp with the Marlins. If he's good enough to play now (and I'm not saying he is, just if), why not?

Image via


Week In Review: Spring Training Edition Volume 1

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Overview: The Fish opened with a blowout win over the 'Canes, then won their first three in Grapefruit League play before losing on Sunday.

  • (Wed) Defeated the University of Miami 19-3
  • (Thu) Defeated Washington 10-4
  • (Fri) Defeated the New York Mets 4-3
  • (Sat) Defeated St. Louis 6-5
  • (Sun) Lost to St. Louis 7-4
Positives: Winning is always nice. Righty starters Rick Vandenhurk and Chris Volstad each threw two scoreless innings, while striking out a couple in their debuts.
Negatives: Lefty starters Sean West and Andrew Miller had control problems in their two innings each on Sunday. Also, John Baker has been out with a sore arm, which may or may not be contributing to his decrease in Twitter updates.
Highlight of the Week: Top prospect Mike Stanton belted a 2-run opposite field homer to break a tie game in the 10th inning to help the Marlins to victory on Friday. Tip of the cap to Hanley's 3-run bomb in the 1st inning of the first game though.
Line of the Week: Roster hopeful Clay Hensley tossed a brilliant three innings in his Spring Training debut.

3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K's

Looking Ahead: The Fish have eight games this week (hooray split squads!). Opponents will feature the usual (Mets, Nats, Cards) along with the Spring's lone games versus Boston and Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Saturday respectively.

(This year we will have a rotating category as a bonus for each week, up first is the Tweet of the Week)

Tweet of the Week: Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison on the joys of spring,
"Playing the Cards again today @ 105pm. This time we're away though - long trip ALL the way to the 1st base dugout!"


Good Omen?

As one on-field Marlins official said, Ramirez has "acted like a baby" at times in the past and can be moody or stand-offish. Another Marlins person said Uggla's issues with Ramirez reflected sentiment among many players at the time. Even Marlins executive Andre Dawson said in September, "Hanley is going to have to really do what it takes to be a leader. He hasn't embraced that yet."

But Ramirez has changed for the better since that Uggla incident, teammates say. Ramirez took the negative perception of him to heart -- he said recently it's important to him to have teammates' respect and is trying to become a leader. "I am [the face of the franchise]," he said. "Everything I do, everybody is looking at me. It makes me do everything the right way."

Third baseman Wes Helms said recently, "I have told Hanley 100 times, 'You have to lead this team.'" Now, "he looks like a guy that wants to. I'm proud of him."


Weekend Roundup

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ed. note: Every spring, in order to avoid repeating the same rehashed story lines, beat writers for every major league team write 300-word profiles of a whole host of new faces invited to Spring Training. These stories run the gamut from retreads hoping to extend their career one more year to marginal minor league prospects to new free-agent signees getting comfortable with their new teammates. Most of these stories are forgettable, but will give the reader at least one interesting anecdote or point of view. Every week of Spring Training, we'll be posting the best or most interesting of these stories from the Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, and other news outlets for your weekend reading pleasure.

Florida Marlins Prospect Osvaldo Martinez Bounces Back After Being Shot Three Times in Off-season Incident in Puerto Rico, by Joe Cappozi of the Palm Beach Post:

On Sept. 30, Martinez — fresh off a season with the Class A Jupiter Hammerheads — was sitting at a traffic light near his home in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on his way to meet Marlins infielder Jorge Jimenez for a workout at a gym.

"All of a sudden, bam-bam-bam out of nowhere," Martinez said of the gunfire. Before he could react, he had been shot three times — once in the ribs, once in the back and once in the back of the head.

Blood poured down his neck, but Martinez was able to hit the accelerator and drive 10 minutes to his uncle's workplace.
Florida Marlins Reliever Quite the Olympic Organizer, by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
[Seth] McClung organized the first -- and, to this day, only -- "Bullpen Olympics" as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008.

Under the right circumstances, namely receptive teammates and permissive management, McClung said he might give the event another whirl this summer, only this time in the Marlins bullpen at Sun Life Stadium.
Marlins' Rick VandenHurk Armed With New Pitches, by Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post:
Rick VandenHurk was hoping to have a full season behind him with his full repertoire of pitches, but that was derailed by an elbow injury that limited him to 11 games last season.

Now VandenHurk, the 6-foot-5 right-hander, is healthy and armed with an improving slider and sinker as he competes for one of the final three spots in the Marlins rotation.

"It was tough on him in the past because he was relying on that high (fastball) and that curveball," catcher John Baker said. "Those are both pitches that aren't in the strike zone.

"A sinker and a slider, those pitches are in the strike zone for a longer period of time. For the long term it's beneficial for him to throw those pitches."
Marlins' Ronny Paulino Regrets His Role In Jose Offerman's Lifetime Ban Incident, by Joe Cappozi of the Palm Beach Post:
"I went to the clubhouse and saw the police looking for him to take him to jail, I was like, Wow, if I knew all this would've happened I would have thrown the ball back nice and easy!" Paulino said.
Florida Marlins' Bryan Petersen Impressing with Hard-Nosed Play, by Clark Spencer
Bryan Petersen admits he isn't naturally "gifted," blessed with the kind of baseball tools that cause scouts to take instant notice. But in the words of manager Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, the 23-year-old outfield prospect makes up for it in ways that aren't as evident.

"He's not going to blow your eyes out with above-average speed or an above-average arm," Gonzalez said. "But he comes out and plays baseball the right way, and that's a good thing for me. That's a compliment." [ed. note: Ugh.]



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Via Joe Frisaro:

Manager Fredi Gonzalez repeated on Thursday what he's said for a while, [Jorge] Jimenez could make the club as the regular third baseman, if he surprises in Spring Training. The Rule 5 pickup, was obtained by the Marlins in December to complete the Matt Lindstrom trade to Houston.

If Jimenez shows he can hit, and no winner emerges in the first base competition between Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez, the Marlins may use another option. In that scenario, Cantu would flip back to first base, and Jimenez could go to third.

"Who knows, Jimenez might win the job, we have that kind of flexibility," Gonzalez said. "Let's not put it out of the realm of possibility. If he plays well, we could put him at third and Jorge at first. It fits."
I do not wish to equate Jimenez with Emilio Bonifacio, but this is how we ended up with Emilio Bonifacio as the starting third-baseman for 82 games last year.

I'm not the only person noticing this, right?


Spring Training Contest

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Win Free Beer!

To kick off year two of The Diehards, we are going to have another go at a contest. Our first attempt last summer, the Trade Pool, was very underwhelming, as we all whiffed. The second contest, the playoff bracket challenge, went better as Adam Smoot emerged victorious. However he has yet to claim his prize. Also the Yankees won the World Series, so we can't really call that a success no matter who won the contest. So without further ado...

The Spring Training Nostradamus Challenge

It's pretty simple. Below I have listed some spring training awards that will be won by a Marlins player based on the final stats of spring training, which can conveniently be found on or For your entry, please list the player you think will win each award. Any correct guess will be worth one point. The entry with the most points will win.

The Cody Ross Silver Slugger: The player with the highest batting average, minimum 30 at-bats
The Kiko Calero Ace: The pitcher with the lowest ERA, minimum 10 innings pitched
The Jeremy Hermida Ironman: The player with the most innings played in the field
The Anibal Sanchez Innings-Eater: The pitcher with the most innings pitched
The Dan Uggla Frying Pan Glove: The player who commits the most errors in the field
The Emilio Bonifacio Speedster: The player with the most stolen bases


Please also include your guess for how many runs the Marlins will score in their 33 Spring Training games. In event of a tie, whoever came closest (you can go over) will be crowned the Spring Training Nostradamus. The winner, as always, is entitled to a 12 pack of beer of their choice, courtesy of Dave and Ted.

How to Play
  • Leave a comment on this post (preferably with an email address)
  • Send an @ reply or direct message via Twitter to @Dave6834 or @tedhill
Image via this dude's Flickrstream



    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Daniel at C70 at the Bat asked me for my thoughts on the Marlins this year for his Playing Pepper series. His post on the Marlins is up this morning. One note: Since we exchanged e-mails over a week ago, I was not yet aware that Logan Morrison was a realistic possibility for the first base job, so you can throw him in with Gaby Sanchez in the rookies who could make an impact section.

    Many thanks to Daniel for including me.


    A Few Links

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Something to start the week:


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