Of Minor Importance

Monday, November 29, 2010

MLB released its 2011 Hall of Fame ballot today, and included in the list of first-time candidates is the first Marlin and child of the diaspora Charles Johnson. To the best of my knowledge, Johnson is the first Marlin to be considered for the Hall that spent a bulk of his glory days in Florida. It is highly unlikely that he makes the Hall (Baseball Reference lists Andy Seminick, Ed Bailey, and Ernie Whitt as his closest comparables, none of whom are in the Hall of Fame). Nonetheless, I can't help but mark the occasion, since I have never even had to consider whether or not a former Marlin should be in the Hall of Fame (disregarding Andre Dawson, whose Marlins stint played no role in his election to the Hall of Fame last year).

Also included on the ballot for the first time are children of the Marlins diaspora Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Benito Santiago, Ugueth Urbina, Ismael Valdez, and Lenny Harris. I'm 99% certain that none of them will make the Hall. Also on the ballot is Tim Raines, who finished his career in Florida, is on the ballot again. Here's hoping he surpasses last year's 30.4 percent total and joins fellow Expo/Marlin Andre Dawson in the Hall of Fame. In my mind, he certainly deserves it.


Marlins Finally Land Vazquez

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In a move that has been weeks in the making, Javier Vazquez has signed a one-year deal with the Florida Marlins. Financial terms have not yet been disclosed. Vazquez is a valuable innings-eater who has posted 200+ IP in 9 of the past 11 seasons. He will join Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, and Anibal Sanchez on the starting rotation (5th starter TBD).

If the Marlins get the 2009 Vazquez (5.2 WAR), then this deal will be a rousing success. If they get the 2010 Vazquez (0.0 WAR), then the deal will be a bet that didn't pay off. Either way, I like this move. One would hope that moving from the AL East to the NL East would benefit a starting pitcher, and in general a move to the NL works well for pitchers. Vazquez is no ace, but can definitely be the middle-of-the-rotation starter the Marlins have so desperately needed the past few years to complement Johnson and Nolasco.


Happy Birthday Jack

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In our heart of hearts, there is room for only two managers: Jack McKeon and Earl Weaver. Today is Jack's 80th birthday. Joe Frisaro has a profile of the birthday boy up at MLB.com. Read it, and savor the glory of a man who never hesitates to follow up his workouts with a big-ass cigar, age be damned.


Yeah? Well we're already with another second basemen

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Uggla looking forward to future with Braves


Something to Compound Your Dolphins-related Hangover

Friday, November 19, 2010

Via the always wonderful Flip Flop Fly Ballin'...


Trade Analysis, For Real This Time

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Okay, we've all had a chance to react to the Dan Uggla trade and reconsider our initial reactions, so here are my thoughts on the matter. While it will be sad to see Uggla go, I am not surprised that the team ended up dealing him. Uggla turned down a 4-year, $48 million offer, which would have put his average annual payroll just below that of both Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson. I don't think Uggla is worth more than either, and I was sure the Marlins would not come back with a higher offer. And frankly, for a guy who has already made $14 million in his career, a guaranteed $48 million doesn't seem that bad.*

But I digress. After rejecting the Marlins' offer, it became clear that one of two things would happen: Uggla would be traded, or he and the Marlins would have gone to arbitration, and he would remain a Marlin for the first part of 2011, at least. As I've mentioned before, Uggla was at times one of the only reasons to be excited about the Marlins, and I have nothing but fond memories of his time in Florida. At the same time, I'm kind of relieved the Marlins will not be paying $10+ million in 2013 and 2014 for a power hitter on the wrong side of 30. Uggla does one thing well: hit for power, and when that goes, it goes fast, and the Marlins could have had a real albatross around their necks. It is no guarantee that his dropoff will come in 2013, but neither is it a guarantee that it won't, and I was never really comfortable with that risk.

So if the Marlins weren't going to keep Uggla long term, it made sense to trade him while his value is high, but I'm not convinced this deal works for the Marlins (I'm not the only one). Uggla was good for 5.1 WAR last year. The pieces received in return, infielder Omar Infante and reliever Mike Dunn, were not nearly as valuable (2.7 WAR for Infante, 0.1 for Dunn, albeit in only 19 IP). While Infante and Dunn will make a combined $3 million (ostensibly freeing up an extra $7 million for the Marlins to spend elsewhere), I can't help thinking that the Marlins pulled the trigger on this deal too soon. It is only November, after all. Who knows if holding out for better chips could have worked? But I am not privy to the Marlins' internal discussions, nor do I know what they had been offered from other teams for Uggla. Nonetheless, it doesn't seem like the Marlins got all that they could from an Uggla trade.

As my Twitter feed made abundantly clear this evening, the natives are restless amongst the serious portion of the fanbase. Here's hoping Mike Stanton can fill Uggla's shoes as the power-hitting bat to complement Hanley Ramirez, someone emerges to play centerfield, and the young bullpen arms the team has acquired this week pan out. But if Emilio Bonifacio ends up starting on Opening Day 2011, it may be time for a code red.

*Joe Frisaro tweeted that he heard Uggla was asking for 5 years, $71 million, which is way more than I would want to pay, fwiw.


The Uggla Trade: More Analysis



Context. Further commentary forthcoming.


What Just Happened?

It was a crazy day for Marlins roster transactions, let's get straight to it. First in unconventional Marlins fashion the team signed free agent catcher John Buck to a three-year, $18 million deal. Then out of nowhere, this evening they traded Dan Uggla to the Braves for Omar Infante and LHP Mike Dunn. First reaction:

And that seemed to be the reaction of most Marlins fans/followers. I won't try to totally defend this move, but I do see some upside. For the last few years we have been complaining about not having enough guys that hit for average instead of hitting for power. We also all know the bullpen issues. But let's be honest, Uggla deserved better and we deserved better. This is no prize haul. We'll have more later. In the meantime you can find more thoughts on Twitter here and here. Also check out MarlinManiac: Twitter and Website.


Trouble Brewing?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Via Ken Rosenthal:

The Marlins, unable to reach agreement on a contract extension with Dan Uggla, plan to trade the second baseman, according to major-league sources.

The team is "down the road" with several clubs in trade discussions, and a deal could happen within the next week, one source said.
I try not to put too much stock in trade rumors, because my own anxiety about possible trades does nothing to influence the outcome, so I defer the anxiety for later. However, if the Marlins do trade Uggla, within a week of trading away the two major chips received in the Miguel Cabrera trade, the Marlins may have a fan revolt on their hands.

And if the Marlins trade Uggla to a division rival (!) I will have a hard time forgiving them.


Bye Andrew

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Last night the Marlins traded LHP Andrew Miller to the Red Sox for LHP Dustin Richardson. Here are his career numbers, he's probably not a diamond in the rough. He strikes out hitters at a good clip but also walks a lot of batters. It looks like the Marlins are hoping he can be a situational lefty out of the bullpen next year, though that is just a guess on my part.Red Sox blog Over the Monster wrote of Richardson, "Richardson wasn't likely to crack the bullpen out of spring training, and probably didn't have much beyond a middle/long relief ceiling." Of course, we would take any effective bullpen arm we can get, so if this gamble pays off, all the better it only cost the Marlins Miller.

We would not even be mentioning this trade were it not for the fact that the Marlins acquired Miller in the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade with the Tigers in the winter of 2007. Miller never lived up to the hype surrounding him as a first-round pick out of UNC, posting a career ERA of 5.84 thus far and spending most of 2010 in the minors. Truthfully, it looks like the Marlins gave up on Miller about a year after Marlins fans did. That's the breaks with high profile prospects, though. Sometimes Harold Baines yields Sammy Sosa, other times Jay Buhner yields Ken Phelps.


Let's all wring our hands about Uggla leaving now so we can get it out of the way...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Marlins have offered Dan Uggla a 4-year, $48 million contract extension, and Uggla is passing, according to Ken Rosenthal:

The Marlins' frustration with their inability to lock up Uggla is understandable; they offered him the highest average annual salary in club history. A fifth-year vesting option could bridge the gap — if he indeed wants to stay. If not, he potentially could enter the market next offseason as the only second baseman with five 30-homer seasons.

Advanced metrics portray Uggla as a below-average defender at second, but his offensive consistency is remarkable. He's hit between 27 and 33 homers in each of his five seasons with the Marlins, with an OPS that was never above .877 and never below .805.
Ken neglected to mention that Uggla is on the wrong side of 30, and it is far from a foregone conclusion that he can keep up his amazing offensive numbers in two years, much less five. Craig at Fish Stripes thinks Uggla's rebuffing of the offer has more than a little to do with is not entirely unrelated to the Cody Ross waiver claim, but I am not so sure. I think he and his agent sincerely think they can get more money on the open market, and are using that to squeeze a few extra bucks out of the Marlins (as is their right). It's only November, this story is far from over.

If Uggla declines to sign a deal this offseason, the Marlins will likely take him to arbitration for the final year of his contract. He earned $7.8 million in 2010, and could make even more next year. If no deal is done and Uggla does go to arbitration, he almost immediately becomes one of the biggest potential midseason trade chips in baseball should the Marlins struggle in 2011.


End of Season Awards

Our end-of-year awards are long overdue, as filling out our BBA ballots took a lot more time than expected. But enough with the excuses, on with the awards...

Dontrelle Willis Out of Nowhere Award, given to the player who was completely off the radar in Spring Training that made a big impact on the team: This is a tough call, since the Marlins' trio of impact rookies (Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, and Logan Morrison) were all closely watched in Spring Training. I will give the nod to Sanchez, since we all assumed he was merely keeping the first base spot warm for Morrison when he won the job out of Spring Training. But to his credit, he posted a respectable .273/.341/.448 slash line with 19 home runs and 2.4 WAR over the year, and convinced the team to convert Morrison into a corner outfielder.

Jorge Julio Award
, given to the new addition to team who completely flopped: Nate Robertson. The Marlins acquired Robertson from the Tigers at the end of Spring Training, hoping the lefty could be a reliable back of rotation starter for 2010. It didn't work out, as Robertson posted a 3.59 BB/9 and 5.47 ERA over 100 innings, and the Marlins released him in late July. He wasn't terrible, but since he was one of a scant few offseason acquisitons, he was bad enough to join Emilio Bonifacio in the Jorge Julio club. On the plus side, Detroit paid most of his salary.

Darren Daulton Deadline Dandy, given to the best midseason acquisition: Nobody. Sure, the Marlins received Evan Reed and Omar Poveda in the Jorge Cantu trade, but both stayed in the minors after the trade, and the Marlins were clearly sellers in 2010. As such, the DDDD will be vacant this year. We'll give an honorable mention to Giants playoff hero Cody Ross, but giving him the award outright would only add insult to injury to some jilted Marlins fans, and I don't want to ruffle any feathers.

Next Member of the Marlins Diaspora, self explanatory: Dan Uggla. Sure we gave him this award last year. Why should that stop us from doing it again? We all love Uggla, but the dude is on the wrong side of age 30, and signing him to a long-term deal could leave the Marlins with an albatross of a contract in 2012 and beyond. I know the team is currently in contract discussions with Uggla, but as with last winter's Josh Johnson sweepstakes, I'll believe a long-term Uggla deal when I see it.

Bret Barberie Bizarre Boo-Boo: given to the player with the weirdest injury of the season, named after the time former Marlin Bret Barberie missed a game due to a case of habanero juice in the eye: Chris Coghlan, who tore the meniscus in his left knee while giving Uncle Wes Helms a shaving cream pie after a walkoff hit. This injury will live on in infamy.

On with some other, more generic awards...

MVP: Uggla. With 5.1 WAR this year, Uggla clearly outperformed everyone on the team this year. He also became the first second basemen to slug 30 home runs in four consecutive years and 25 home runs in five straight years. The man earned his $7.8 million salary and then some in 2010.

Best Pitcher: Josh Johnson. Speaking of earning his pay this year, Johnson again put up stellar numbers for the Fish (6.3 WAR, 2.30 ERA, 9.1 K/9 in 28 starts and 180+ innings). His 11-6 record would have been even better had the bullpen not blown so many saves in his starts this year, and he had some Cy Young consideration until he was shut down in September due to nagging back and shoulder issues.

Biggest Surprise: Alex Sanabia. The 22-year-old got called up in June to bolster the struggling rotation, and performed admirably in his 12 starts and 3 relief appearances, throwing 72.1 innings and posting a FIP of 3.65 and ERA of 3.73. His 1.99 BB/9 rate is a little troubling, but he appears to be a strong candidate for the rotation in 2011.

Biggest Disappointment: The bullpen. Certainly our expectations for this collection of journeymen and iffy prospects were not that high, but when the bullpen blows 25 saves (most in the NL, second only to Baltimore overall), I can't help but be disappointed. As Michael Jong at Marlin Maniac pointed out early this year, the Marlins have long utilized a bullpen strategy of assembling a collection of high-risk high-reward free agents and prospects and hoping for the best. This year it didn't work, but that probably will not lead to a change in strategy (only a higher payroll could change things). Marlins fans have to hope the bullpen regresses back towards the mean in 2011, or things could get ugly.


Q: How do you make someone in his mid-twenties feel old?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


His age (tomorrow): 21



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Via Sports Pickle/Vin Scully Is My Homeboy:

When I get a Joe Angel tattoo, it will read, "And the Marlins are in the win column!"


Everything's Coming Up Edwin!

The Marlins have removed the interim from Edwin Rodriguez' title, naming him manager for the 2011 season. I have nothing to add, as the move seemed inevitable after the team was once again rebuffed by Bobby Valentine. Congrats to Edwin, but don't get too comfortable, since you still work for Steinbrenner 2.0.


Programming Note

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

El Niño

It is officially the offseason, so posting will be light around here for the next four months. We'll pop in from time to time when necessary. In the meantime, there's always the Dolphins and Heat (note, if the Fins Nation dudes start a Marlins blog, I will retire). I've yet to receive a phone call from David Samson about my application to be the next Marlins manager, but I'm sure I'll be hearing from him any day now...


BBA Award Roundup

Monday, November 1, 2010

The BBA announced this year's crop of awards winners over the past few weeks (see my ballots here, here, here, and here). In most cases, Ted and I ended up voting with the crowd, so in this case I will praise the wisdom of crowds. Onto the NL winners...

Connie Mack Award

  1. Bud Black, San Diego (9) 53
  2. Dusty Baker, Cincinnati (7) 51
  3. Bobby Cox, Atlanta (2) 33
  4. Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (3) 29
  5. Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia (1) 27
  6. Brad Mills, Houston 3
  7. Mike Quade, Chicago 2
We might have mentioned this one or two times, but we are not very enthusiastic about giving managers credit for anything. So we didn't vote in this one. Sue us.

Willie Mays Award
  1. Buster Posey, San Francisco (15) 103
  2. Jason Heyward, Atlanta (10) 86
  3. Jaime Garcia, St. Louis 20
  4. Starlin Castro, Chicago 7
  5. Ike Davis, New York 7
  6. Gaby Sanchez, Florida (1) 6
  7. Tyler Colvin, Chicago 2
  8. Mike Stanton, Florida 2
  9. Neil Walker, Pittsburgh 2
I'm baffled that Gaby got a first place vote, but not so much that I'm willing to look up the culprit. We liked Heyward, but Posey was a fine choice. We weren't alone in our choice, though.

Goose Gossage Award
  1. Brian Wilson, San Francisco (17) 104
  2. Heath Bell, San Diego (2) 52
  3. Carlos Marmol, Chicago (5) 41
  4. Billy Wagner, Atlanta 19
  5. Arthur Rhodes, Cincinnati (1) 5
  6. Hong-Chih Kuo, Los Angeles 2
  7. Matt Belisle, Colorado 1
  8. Jonny Venters, Atlanta 1
Apparently, Ted and I were the only bloggers enamored with Venters, though plenty shared our appreciation of Certified Ninja Brian Wilson.

Walter Johnson Award
  1. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (19) 133
  2. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 66
  3. Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 52
  4. Josh Johnson, Florida 43
  5. Tim Hudson, Atlanta 16
  6. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco 7
  7. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles 2
  8. Mat Latos, San Diego 2
  9. Heath Bell, San Diego 1
  10. Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee 1
Halladay was the unanimous choice among the NL bloggers, and deservedly so. Our guy Josh Johnson pulled in a respectable fourth-place finish, not bad for a guy on a team no one watches, amirite?

Stan Musial Award
  1. Joey Votto, Cincinnati (16) 252
  2. Albert Pujols, St. Louis (3) 197
  3. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado (1) 118
  4. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (1) 101
  5. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego 98
  6. Troy Tulowitski, Colorado 98
  7. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington 93
  8. Matt Holliday, St. Louis 84
  9. Aubrey Huff, San Francisco 32
  10. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 17
  11. Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 16
  12. Josh Johnson, Florida 16
  13. Dan Uggla, Florida 16
  14. Jayson Werth, Philadelphia 16
  15. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee 13
  16. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee 10
  17. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia 9
  18. Martin Prado, Atlanta 7
  19. Jason Heyward, Atlanta 6
  20. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee 5
  21. David Wright, New York 5
  22. Adam Dunn, Washington 4
  23. Kelly Johnson, Arizona 4
  24. Andres Torres, San Francisco 1
Our 1-2 choice of Votto-Pujols was popular, though we apparently undervalued Carlos Gonzalez. We didn't include pitchers on our ballot, because we're the kind of people who prefer to keep pitching and non-pitching awards separate.

The BBA also gave awards for the American League, but we don't have voting rights for AL awards, so we'll just link to the results here. At some point, we will post our Marlins awards. I promise...


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