One last thing

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Marlins preview for NBCMiami.


For your library

Loria's wife wrote a cookbook. The Dugout breaks it down. We are soooooo sending this (and this!) to Jonah Keri.


The 2011 Marlins Macropreview

Can the Marlins reverse their underperforming ways in 2011?
A long offseason finally ends tomorrow, which can only mean one thing at Marlins Diehards: it's macropreview time. For the third year in a row, Ted and I have compiled as many season previews and projections as we could find, and presented them in one spreadsheet for your reading pleasure. We looked for as many projection systems we could find (CAIRO, Marcel, Depth Charts, etc.), and also included less scientific projections from major media outlets and a few of our favorite blogs. Did we miss anything? Drop us a line in the comments, and we'll add it.

Here is the spreadsheet.The Marlins are once again projected to be a middling team, 83-79 and third in the NL East. The consensus on the Fish on the eve of the 2011 is quite clear. Most everyone acknowledges the Marlins' young talent, but they have a handful of question marks (relief pitching, defense, replacing Uggla, third base) that make it difficult for anyone to predict them  finishing above Atlanta or Philadelphia. The Marlins finished 80-82 in 2010, exactly as the macropreview projected that year. As always, we hope everyone is wrong about the Marlins, but we won't be surprised if things don't turn out quite as rosy as Jeffrey Loria would like.

Appendix: Other Marlins Previews:
New York Times
Big League Stew (1, 2)
Hardball Talk
The Hardball Times
SB Nation
Sports Illustrated


Happy Opening Day

It's finally here! Well, for the Marlins it's actually still not here. MLB has rearranged Opening Day(s) this year. What the hell Selig? You've taken the one decent Monday in the year and ruined it. Nonetheless, twelve teams begin tomorrow, with a couple games on ESPN. You can also watch the other games as most cable and satellite providers are doing a free preview of the MLB Extra Innings package.

As for the Marlins, we all know they open up tomorrow night against the Mets. FYI: The Maniac will be doing a live chat during Friday games this year and Dave and I will be contributing to those often. Here is the link for tomorrow's game chat. And as always, the conversation on Twitter should be very interesting.


The Countdown Has Finished Warmups


The Countdown Throws Heat

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The Countdown Reminisces

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Children of the Marlins Diaspora 14

Monday, March 28, 2011

Braden Looper, P

Played for Marlins: 1999-2003
Other teams: St. Louis (1998, 2006-2008), NY Mets (2004-2005), Milwaukee (2009)
Marlins fans know him because: Looper (who announced his retirement last week) was acquired from St. Louis in the 1998 Edgar Renteria trade. After spending 3 seasons setting up for Antonio Alfonseca, Looper was tapped to close before the 2002 season, and the results were... underwhelming. Looper lost his closing spot multiple times, forcing the team to trade for Ugueth Urbina during the 2003 season to shore up the bullpen. In short, Braden Looper is the reason the Marlins had to trade Adrian Gonzalez. He was the winning pitcher of Game 4 the 2003 World Series, striking out Aaron Boone with the bases loaded and forcing a John Flaherty pop out in the top of the 12th inning, immediately before Alex Gonzalez hit his walkoff home run. He also won Game 3 of the NLDS against San Francisco, despite giving up a go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning.
Everyone else knows him because: Looper was allowed to pursue free agency after the World Series, as the Marlins preferred to take a chance on Armando Benitez (which worked out pretty well for them), signing with the Mets. He closed two seasons for the Mets, then spent some time in St. Louis, winning a World Series, converting into a starter, and becoming the embodiment of middling (he pitched 199 innings in 2008, with an ERA+ of 102). After failing to catch on with a team in 2010, Looper singed a minor league contract with the Cubs this winter but opted to retire upon learning he would not break camp with the big club.
Best Marlins moment: It does not get better than escaping an extra innings bases-loaded jam, retiring the only two batters you face, and then watching your teammate hit a walkoff home run in the bottom of the inning. That times 1,000 if you do it in the World Series. His strikeout of Boone is among the more memorable K's in Marlins history.


The Countdown Gets Some Extra Hacks In


The Countdown Slogs Through

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The Countdown Rounds Third

Saturday, March 26, 2011


The Countdown has one week to go

Friday, March 25, 2011


Coming Soon To A Hot Corner Near You

Thursday, March 24, 2011



The Bleacher Report Report, Vol. II

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Bleacher Report Report is a new feature at Marlins Diehards. Dave and I will scan the vast array of quality commentary on the Marlins section of Bleacher Report and submit them to you, with our thoughts interspersed FJM-style.

For the second edition of TBRR we look at 2011 Fantasy Baseball: Florida Marlins Emilio Bonifacio = Steals and Eligibility. Now I don't really get much into fantasy baseball anymore, but it still revolves around actual baseball and there are a number of things in this piece that need addressing. Plus it's about Emilio Bonifacio, who we can't get enough of here at MDH. Let's begin.

At first glance, Emilio Bonifacio appears to have no position, and therefore no opportunity for regular at bats.
Yes. We very much like it that way.
As we look deeper at the Florida Marlins lineup for 2011, there are opportunities lurking just under the surface.
Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! #facepalm
I see the versatile speedster getting almost 500 at bats this season, and that will translate into a real contributor either drafted as part of your taxi squad or picked up in the first week or two of your season as drafted players are put on the DL or are sent down to the minors.
500 is a LOT of at bats. In 2009 he reached that level for all the wrong reasons. The team had flaws and started the season literally with no first-baseman, forcing Jorge Cantu to vacate his usual third-base spot. Enter Emilio. Also, a better utility man, Alfredo Amezaga, was hurt for most of the season. When you OPS just barely over .600, you shouldn't receive any playing time. Last year saw a just reduction down to around 200 ABs.
Matt Dominguez has a great glove at 3B but he might still be too raw at the plate. If he is hitting .205 and being overmatched at the plate by the end of April, the Marlins will have no choice but to send him back down to the minors to work on his hitting. This would either put Bonifacio at 3B or move Infante to 3B, thereby opening up 2B for him.
Dominguez either getting sent down early or not making the club at all seems a probability at this point, so no gripes there. But, Bonifacio certainly won't get all the playing time at 2B or 3B. Most likely, it would be a super-platoon between veteran Wes Helms, Donnie Murphy, and Bonifacio. Perhaps Ozzie Martinez, who had a terrific September last year, will also play some.

There's also a possibility that a Dominguez stint in the minors wouldn't last too long. Last year Matt struggled in the first half of the year but turned a corner and had a great second half. A similar trajectory this year would mean he'd be back with the team well before September call-ups.
During inter-league play, manager Edwin Rodriguez will look to get Gaby Sanchez's glove off the field. Watching the young first baseman stab at throws from the left side of the infield should inspire Marlin fans to vote for the DH. Those interleague games will also open up playing time for Bonifacio.
First of all, there will only be nine Marlins games played under American League rules, so that wouldn't be much of an increase in playing time for Emilio even if he gets the playing time that would be opened up. More importantly, Gaby's glove will remain on the field, just like it did in all nine AL-rules interleague games last year. At first glance he may not look the best defender but a look at the numbers proves otherwise. Gaby is middle of the pack. He'll make some errors (not as many as Ryan Howard or Prince Fielder), but he has good range and definitely holds his own. Besides, it's not like the team has a defensive wizard to plug in at first base.
I believe, presented with playing opportunity, Bonifacio, still only 25 years old, will end up hitting around .275-.280 with 80 runs scored and 35-40 stolen bases. His HR and RBI production will be limited, but that can also be said of Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn, players who are being drafted early in many leagues.
Emilio has never reached any of those statistical milestones, even in 2009. Even if he magically got to that 500 AB total and had a decent improvement (considering he is young and possibly still learning, though improved plate discipline is not easily acquired) those numbers are probably out of reach. Bonifacio has terrible plate discipline and strikes out a lot (career K-rate of 20%). This means he doesn't get on base, which is the prerequisite for stealing bases and scoring runs. The reason Pierre and Bourn are drafted early are because they are starters and statistically better across the board than Bonifacio (specifically in the runs and stolen bases category the writer mentions).

So there we have it. Surely Manager Edwin Rodriguez couldn't justify regular playing time for Emilio and will relegate him to bench duties, if at all.
Rodriguez said this morning that he'd rather see Emilio Bonifacio in the lineup every day than playing the utility role he's penciled in for but acknowledges that may not be possible.

"I would like to put him in the lineup on an everyday basis, somewhere, if it comes to that," Rodriguez said. "His energy, what he brings to the game. … I like the lineup when he's in the lineup.

Rodriguez may get his wish if third baseman Matt Dominguez does not make the team or if Coghlan is not healthy. Otherwise … "At some point in the season when everybody starts getting a day off, he's going to start getting more playing time."

Rodriguez says Bonifacio is above average defensively at second base and an average third baseman and outfielder.
The Diehards' response?


The Countdown Cools Off

Monday, March 21, 2011


Weekend Roundup

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Florida Marlins’ Gregg Dobbs knows his role: hit in a pinch, by Clark Spencer (Miami Herald):

They're hoping he is the Dobbs of 2008, and not the Dobbs of '09 and '10 when his average dropped off a cliff, sliding from .301 to .247 to .196 in that three-year freefall.

"Those are the ups and downs of baseball, and every player has a down year," Dobbs said. "I don't care how long you play. Don't care who you are. Obviously, my last year was not up to my standards and indicative of what I'm capable of doing."
Sanchez hopes to be recognized for more than brawl, by Juan C. Rodriguez (Sun-Sentinel):
"Every day," Sanchez said. "It was unbelievable. Every single time someone asked me a question it was always about that. No 'good season.' No nothing. It was, 'Hey man, you did great. Nice hit on Morgan.' [ed. note: It was pretty awesome, though]

"I was like, 'Come on, you've got to be kidding me.' I don't even think about it. It happened. I was protecting my teammate. He was doing what he had to do. We were doing what we had to do and that's it, but fans always get carried away with it."
Commentary: Florida Marlins will regret trading Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves, by Dave George (Palm Beach Post):
Infielder Omar Infante and reliever Michael Dunn, who came to Florida in the trade, are good players, but they won't improve the Marlins the way Uggla helps the Braves. [ed. note: False dichotomy, thy name is Dave George.]
Bonus coach profile! Perry Hill's unique drills give Marlins defensive edge, by Paul White (USA Today):
Perry Hill has a Gold Glove in his home near Dallas though he never played a game of major league baseball.

"I wouldn't have won it without him," says Luis Castillo, a second baseman who spent six seasons in the majors before he met Hill with the Florida Marlins in 2002, the year before Castillo's first of three consecutive awards for defensive excellence.

Gold Gloves have helped keep Hill, an innovative and effervescent 58-year-old guru of defense for the Marlins, in the major leagues. His drills are like no others, his love of glove unmatched in a game enamored with power.


You're Doing It Wrong

Friday, March 18, 2011

Earlier today, the Mets surprisingly (or not) cut Luis Castillo. It's not too big of a surprise considering the writing has been on the wall. There have been several reports this Spring about new Mets manager Terry Collins not being sold with the idea of keeping Luis Castillo as starting second baseman. The surprising part is that Castillo is in the final year of his deal and earning $6 million, which the Mets will have to pay in its entirety. Judge on your own whether this deserves the #MetsSchadenfreude tag.

End of story right? Wrong. Of course Luis being a former Marlin had fans instantly tweeting whether the team should consider bringing him back. And before you knew it, the beat writers started the blog posts detailing how the team is already talking internally about perhaps acquiring him.

Good idea? We're going to have to disagree. Look, it sounds logical. If Dominguez isn't ready to play third, Infante could. And Luis would play second. Except that unfortunately Castillo doesn't offer too much right now. Last year he hit just .235. His impact in the field has diminished as well. Without going too in-depth with FanGraphs numbers, just trust us that his gold glove days are well behind him.

The projections say he would rebound at the plate a bit. Plus, Rob Neyer thinks he was still the Mets' best option at 2B (of course he was). But do the Marlins need another table-setter? They already have Coghlan, Infante, and even LoMo as good on-base guys and line drive hitters. Dominguez won't hit for as good of an average, but he does offer some pop. Plus he'll be much better in the field and keep Infante at his preferred and better position. For a team that has stressed defense so much, still without any tangible evidence of improvement, this would seem the logical move. We love Luis Castillo as much as any Marlins fan should, but bringing him back would not be beneficial.


It's as if the Marlins don't want us to show up

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You may remember that the Marlins June 24-26 series against the Mariners was moved to Seattle due to a conflict with a U2 concert. Craig of Fish Stripes has discovered that it is literally impossible to get tickets to the series at Safeco Field:

Should you go to Marlins official website you will notice the "T " is missing for the three games. June 24-26. Not to be deterred, I went and checked the Marlners site. I mean the game is in Seattle after all so they may be handling the tickets. They aren't.
But wait, there's more. Read it, I'll wait.


Okay. Craig concludes, "This could only happen to the Marlins." Truer words were never spoken.


The Countdown Thinks It Over


Jeff Loria is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore

We suspected it wouldn't be long before Jeffrey Loria would start meddling with the Florida Marlins this year, but we thought he would at least wait until the regular season started to do so:
The Florida Marlins have lost nine Spring Training games in a row, and owner Jeffrey Loria is sick and tired of the Fish dogging it out there. When asked of his thoughts on the team after a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, Loria called the Marlins' play "Uninspired baseball."

Loria told the Palm Beach Post that the Marlins have been playing "uninspired baseball," adding, "Very few guys have focused on what they're here for. Very few."

"I know it’s only spring training," he continued, "but it’s time to take a look in the mirror. We're better than this. It's time to show it."

Loria wasn't done venting, though. Channeling his inner George Steinbrenner, he also told, "It's time to kick it into gear, because the switch doesn't turn on the first day of the season." Letting the complaints fly, he groused, "I'm here 10 days and I haven't seen us win one game."
How sad that Jeff's trip to Florida was spoiled. Both interviewers (Joe Capozzi of the PBP and Joe Frisaro of forgot to add #whitewhine to their stories.

Meanwhile, the fans in Jupiter booed Marlins pitcher Randy Choate after he failed to cover home and allowed a run to score in a rundown during yesterday's game against Tampa. Why is that awesome, while Loria's laments are not tolerated? Because Jeff Loria is simply perfecting his George Steinbrenner act, and Spring Training fans are genuine arbiters of good baseball.


The Countdown Lowers Its Shoulder

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A Look at Matt Dominguez

Dave has another Marlins-related post up at Today he writes about how third baseman Matt Dominguez is close to nailing down the starting job and a big league roster spot.

The Marlins third baseman of the future may be progressing ahead of schedule. Speculation is growing that Matt Dominguez, the Marlins' 2007 first-round draft pick could make the team out of Spring Training and man the hot corner for the Fish.

"If the season opened today, Dominguez would be in the starting lineup," Joe Frisaro of wrote in a Tuesday blog post. According to Frisaro, Dominguez has played stellar defense in Spring Training, which is no surprise given his reputation as a defensive wizard.

Frisaro also wrote that Dominguez "is walking and acting like he belongs" in the major leagues, but you could say that about most prospects in Spring Training.

He then goes on to discuss his numbers in the small sample size of Spring Training thus far. And of course no Marlins article written by Dave or I can be complete without mentioning that Emilio Bonifacio is bad at baseball.

Even so, it is worth remembering that the Marlins kept Emilio Bonifacio in the starting lineup for most of 2009, despite posting one of the worst on-base percentages in the majors.

I have to agree with Dave and Joe Frisaro that Dominguez is pretty close to winning the job and can start thinking about what his walkup music will be at SunLife Stadium. Not just the Marlins, but practically all MLB teams have a player that regularly starts that just doesn't offer much in the way of hitting. Most of the times, they are good defensive players. Best former Marlins example: Alex Gonzalez. Having stellar defense and saving runs on the field is just as important as contributing runs at the plate.

For a far more in-depth preview at what Dominguez might offer, check out MarlinManiac's Third Base Preview from last month.


Really, Nyjer Morgan?

Monday, March 14, 2011

You think Ricky Nolasco was throwing at you?
Six months after taking exception to a Chris Volstad wild pitch and charging the mound to start the brawl, Nationals center-fielder Nyjer Morgan claims Ricky Nolasco hit him with a pitch on purpose in the first inning of the Nationals spring training game against the Marlins on Sunday.

When given the chance to take the high road Sunday afternoon, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman declined, and instead said, "Nolasco is the only one who really knows if he threw at him or not." Nolasco denied hitting Morgan on purpose.

Before accusing him of headhunting, Morgan and Riggleman may want to consider the entirety of Nolasco's outing Sunday afternoon, his first game action of the year. Immediately after hitting Morgan, Nolasco issued a four-pitch walk to Alex Cora. He also hit another batter in the first inning. Nolasco himself admitted his control was not sharp, telling the Miami Herald, "I was just kind of all over the place."

It's difficult to accuse a pitcher of aiming at you (and connecting) when he can barely find the strike zone.
To quote GOB Bluth, come on!


The Countdown Relishes Perfection


The Countdown is Not Afraid to Clothesline a Dude

Sunday, March 13, 2011


The Mets Schadenfreude Train Rolls On

Via HarballTalk:

"Internally, the Mets believe they’ll be “lucky” if Santana pitches this year.”

That is a stand-alone paragraph in a Sunday morning report by Steve Popper and Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record. According to their sources, Santana has made very little progress in his ongoing recovery from September shoulder surgery and the Mets are ready to announce that he has been shut down indefinitely. The left-hander was already expected to be out until late June or early July, and now it's possible that he could be sidelined for the duration of the 2011 season.
The Mets are denying everything. But as Drew Silva concludes for HBT, "What we do know is that Santana has only begun playing light catch and is far from ready to step atop a mound."


Weekend Roundup

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Florida Marlins’ Burke Badenhop aims for roster spot, movie script, by Manny Navarro (Miami Herald):

The 28-year old right hander not only wants to cement his spot in the Marlins bullpen this spring, he's also hoping to go Hollywood soon, too. An aspiring script writer, Badenhop said he and friend Kris Braun, the 31-year old son of an agent, are collaborating on a screenplay they hope to pitch in the not-so-distant future.

They already have a connection: Marlins equipment manager John Silverman, who knows the agent of comedian Will Ferrell. Badenhop said he can't divulge the premise of his screenplay, but it's a comedy.

"Some guys play video games, I’m trying to write a movie," said Badenhop, who graduated from Bowling Green with a degree in economics and whose favorite movies are Superbad, Dumb and Dumber and Major League.
Where have we read this before...

Veteran Greg Dobbs hoping his bat wins him a spot with Florida Marlins, by Jason Lieber (PBP):
He should get plenty of opportunities this week as the Marlins look to trim their roster. At 32 he is the second-oldest of the 13 infielders on the team. The only older player in that group is Wes Helms, 34, who has been with Florida the past three seasons.
Florida Marlins' Emilio Bonifacio is adjusting to role as Mr. Fill-In by Manny Navarro:
Emilio Bonifacio believes he's going to be an everyday player again in the major leagues.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez and hitting coach John Mallee believe he will, too. But until that day comes — when Bonifacio proves his bat can be just as consistent as his glove — the Marlins' speediest player said he will happily continue to serve as Mr. Fill-In.

"I've always been an everyday player, so in the beginning I was kind of uncomfortable with this job last year," Bonifacio said. He started 106 games for the Marlins in 2009, then worked his way up from the minors last season and became the team's utility player.
Marlins' sloppy play sets off Gaby Sanchez, by Ted Hutton (Sun Sentinel):
"We embarrassed the Marlins today. It was just bad baseball, awful baseball," Sanchez said after the Marlins made five errors in the first four innings in a listless 10-0 loss to the Mets at Digital Domain Park. [ed.: How adorable that he's upset. Someone give Gaby a hug.]
Bonus Mets Content! Ronny Paulino finally expected to arrive at Mets' camp Saturday, by D.J. Short (HardballTalk)
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Ronny Paulino finally made it to the United States today after an extended delay due to visa issues in his native Dominican Republic.

Paulino, who signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Mets over the winter, is expected to report to camp tomorrow.

Man, you think the Mets would have learned their lesson with Ramon Castro. Stay away from former Marlins catchers.*

*Mike Piazza is not a former Marlin catcher.


The Countdown


The Countdown Says Way to Go Donnie!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Via @AnswerDave:
Donnie Murphy also a big fan of "Big Lebowski" and appreciates "Way to go Donnie!" and like phrases.


What am I supposed to do now?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

There has been a lack of posting here. We had the Spring Training Preview Week a couple weeks ago. We have the daily (well almost) countdown to opening day. But other than that it's been pretty quiet. As Strip Club With Stanton eloquently put it, Spring Training kind of sucks. I have actually had a huge amount of time to write and post. I've had some sort of mega-cold that's sweeping through Miami1 and every morning I sit down at my computer and think, "What can I write about the Marlins?" and come up empty. Dave and I probably could have stretched out our previews a little bit, but Marlin Maniac has pretty much dominated that, no need for overkill. I'd comment about the games, but seriously it'd just be rehashing beat reporters' tweets and posts, kinda pointless. It will probably get a little better starting this weekend, because some games will be on TV. That should provide some sense of normalcy as I can see with my own eyes such treasured things like a LoMo double, JJ strikeout, Bonifacio pop-out bunt. In the meantime, sorry for the lack of interest.

PS: Come on Miami Heat! You were supposed to make the month of March bearable. Instead it's worse! My suggestion? Petition the NBA to make games only 40 minutes long.

1 Seriously, if you live in South Florida, raise your anti-get-sick guard to its highest level. This virus is a bad one that knocks you out for about two weeks. All you can do is take over the counter cold meds and wait until you get better.


The Countdown Makes Progress


The Countdown Was There

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The Countdown Guns Down

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Spanning the Internet

Monday, March 7, 2011

I answered a few questions about the Marlins for C70 at the Bat's annual Playing Pepper series. Warning: rational skepticism abounds. Thanks to Daniel at C70 at the Bat for soliciting my opinions once again.


Spring Training Week In Review

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Overview: The Fish opened up Grapefruit League play on Monday with a win over the Cardinals. Then they lost four in a row but bounced back with two wins this weekend. They are 3-4
Positives: Opening Day is one week closer. Matt Dominguez has taken a nice first step towards making the team. Anibal Sanchez has had a nice couple of outings. And John Baker has had a few at bats and has looked good, going 2-3.
Negatives: Josh Johnson labored in his appearance. John Buck is off to a slow start (just 2-13). Oh, and there's still a bunch of these games before the real ones start.
Looking Ahead: The Marlins have eight games this week. Hooray split squads!

image via daylife


The Countdown Laughs

via Flip Flop Fly Ballin'


We Agree

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Weekend Roundup

Florida Marlins' Randy Choate brings an array of quirkiness, by Clark Spencer (Miami Herald):

The nightly ritual begins for Randy Choate in the second inning when he drinks his first can of Red Bull, a popular energy drink. It continues in the fourth when he drains a second can. By the time he runs in from the bullpen to pitch in relief – typically to face the other team's best left-handed hitter in some critical late-inning spot – Choate is wild-eyed and overcaffeinated.

Marlins confident Sanabia can contribute, by Joe Frisaro (
Sanabia, 22, had to fight to get a real look from the Marlins. Keep in mind, he wasn't drafted by the club until the 32nd round of the 2006 Draft, so nothing has been handed to him. And after a particularly brutal 2007 season at the Class A level -- he went a combined 7-11 with a 5.03 ERA at short-season Jamestown and low Class A Greensboro -- he reportedly considered walking away from the game.  
Not a strong week from the beat writers. Step up your boilerplate game, fellas...


The Countdown Takes Infield Practice


Who Will Be The Marlins MVP Of This Decade?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Recently, noted baseball writer Rob Neyer (now at SBNation) ran a series where he is projecting the Player of the Decade at each position. It was sparked by looking at his selections from 2000 for the players of the next decade. It's a fun exercise. At some positions there is really only one player to logically choose, but at others it's pretty much up in the air.

A couple of Marlins were under serious consideration. Hanley Ramirez was in a toss up with Troy Tulowitzki for shortstop. Neyer choose Tulowitzki, and I can't complain too much since he is younger and a better defensive player than Hanley. Also Mike Stanton was the first name mentioned after Jason Heyward for right field.

This got me to thinking of who I'd guess will be the Marlins Overall Player of the Decade for 2010-2019.

Hanley Ramirez

Pros: Hanley has racked up quite a few accolades in his first five years. He won Rookie of the Year in 2006. He won a batting title in 2009. And he's been an all-star each of the last three season. He's easily been the MVP of the post-2005 era and there is really nothing at the moment to suggest any decline. He's signed through 2014 and is pretty much a lock to break the franchise career records for most offensive categories.

Cons: If Hanley is that good, and the Marlins aren't winning, what are the chances of him staying past 2014? It's silly to think about, but Hanley has often talked about his desire to win and make the playoffs. It's conceivable that if the Marlins fail to break through in the next few years, he could get frustrated and ask for a trade or walk in free agency. The other con is that by the time the decade is over he'll be 37 years old. His numbers will eventually start to decrease and maybe there willl be injury concerns.

Mike Stanton

Pros: In the limited time we've seen Mike, he's been a beast. I mean, to my knowledge, he's the first Marlins player to have a blog written solely about him. There isn't as much of a track record as there is with Hanley but he's been a home run and RBI machine at every level in the minors and in his little over half season last year. Most scouts project him as a 40 HR a season guy which is something the Marlins have never had (with the exception of Sheffield's 42 in 1996). You'd have to think in the coming years he can slightly improve his batting and on-base percentages, which could lead to some insane OPS numbers. He's only 21 so you don't have to worry about him getting old and transitioning towards being a DH yet.

Cons: There is always a chance he can fall into the path of similar sluggers (Adam Dunn) and wind up as a power hitter who strikes out a ton and doesn't hit for a decent average. They are still good players and vital contributors, but 200 K's a year and a lifetime .240% hitter is not MVP-worthy. Even worse, he could be like Jack Cust who made a similar splash into the majors with a ton of home runs, but soon was figured out by pitchers and is now a just an average player. Of course there's always the risk of injury which is hard to quantify.

Josh Johnson

Pros: JJ is the Hanley category in that he has a good sample size of success already. Since coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2008 he has started 75 games and has an ERA under 3.00. He's also been an all-star the past two years. When it comes to health you'd think that'd be a con since he's already had major elbow surgery and had back issues last year. But, I think having the elbow surgery early in his career is a plus. Also this year he started training with former World's Strongest Man Mark Philippi to improve his core. That's a good sign that he will take his health seriously.

Cons: Age is a factor. Josh is 27 now and as he moves into his 30s you have to wonder if he'll lose any velocity on his pitches and whether that might force him to change his approach. Also, with pitchers there is a higher risk of injury. And if last year's trend continues and he gets poor run support and no bullpen help, he won't put up extraordinary W-L numbers. I, like many don't put too much into the Wins category for pitchers, but some do, and if he has pedestrian numbers that could cause him to be overlooked.

Logan Morrison

Pros: And now we are back to someone with a small sample size. Superb Twitter-user LoMo certainly doesn't possess the power of Stanton, rather he's an excellent line-drive hitter in the mold of a left-handed Paul Molitor. He won't hit too many home runs, but he should pile up great doubles and triples numbers while steadily increasing his batting average as he continues to learn Major League pitching.

Cons: The fact that he probably won't dominate at a specific statistical category may cause him to be overlooked. Also, there is no guarantee he'll raise his average and be a career .300 hitter. Finally, for some reason I've seen him in a trade rumor or two over the last few years. I would be very opposed to trading LoMo, but it's the Marlins, so that's always a possibility.


There's a decent chance the Marlins MVP of the twenty-teens isn't even in the organization yet. As of right now the farm system is pretty bare and there is no true highly ranked prospect that you could give serious consideration to. But the Marlins scouting department has a good track record and pretty soon there should be a wave of new talent coming in. Hopefully this unknown prospect will be ready to contribute in the last half of this decade.

If forced to bet, with even money odds on everybody, I'd guess Mike Stanton. We'll revisit this in nine years, maybe.


The Countdown Runs One Down


The Countdown Remembers

Thursday, March 3, 2011


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