Say it ain't so...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Marlins Manatees: COCKPUNCHED!*
The team is trying to keep the decision quiet, but several current and former big dancers confirmed it to Riptide, and one of them even started a Facebook page to try to change the team's mind.
Join the Save the Manatees Facebook page here. Now that the Marlins have their new fugly uniforms in stores, they can ditch one of their more embarrassing projects while maintaining their SMHAR (shake my heads above replacement team).

*S/O to Fins Nation, the greatest purveyors of dick jokes in the sports blogosphere.


Week In Review: Winter Meetings Edition

I don't think we've ever done a week in review at some point in the offseason, but if there was ever a good time for one, now would be it.


Marlins sign Jose Reyes
Hanley is upset, or is he?
Marlins sign Mark Buehrle
Miss out on Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson


A few weeks ago most people were still wondering if the Marlins interest in all of the top free agents was just a publicity stunt. They were proven wrong. The Fish exit the winter meetings with a trio of upgrades. Heath Bar Bell will help the back end of the bullpen and should allow the Marlins to say adios to Juan Leo Carlos Nunez Oviedo. Jose Reyes adds a spark to the front of the lineup. And Mark Buehrle is a big upgrade and rounds out the pitching rotation. Add those three legit all stars to the current team, who were without all stars Hanley and Josh Johnson for most of last season, and it looks like a pretty good ball club.


He ended up getting an obscene amount of money, but could you imagine the lineup had Albert Pujols signed for Miami? Reyes-Hanley-LoMo-Pujols-Stanton, wow. So good it will have to stay just a dream. Also, a C.J. Wilson signing could have set up a downright nasty rotation. If the Marlins do not add another starter via free agency or trade, we could be stuck with Chris Volstad in the fifth-starter spot (gulp).

Looking Ahead

It's likely the Marlins aren't done with significant moves. They still could do some trading. One rumor that persists is that the team is looking to unload Ricky Nolasco (mainly because of his contract). I also wouldn't be surprised if the team jettisoned Gaby Sanchez for a starting pitcher (especially if Nolasco is moved). Logan Morrison would take over at first base but the Marlins outfield options would be pretty thin. Of course Cuban defector Yoennis Cespedes is still out there and I wonder if the Marlins have some money leftover from not adding Pujols, might they make a big push for him? We'll see.


Angels Poach CJ AND Prince Albert

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The LA Angels just pulled a Marlo Stanfield and signed Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson out from under the Marlins (Whitlock'd). Wilson got 5 years for $77.55 million, while Pujols got 10 years for $250 million.

The Marlins offered Wilson an extra year for a total of almost $100 million, but he wanted to play close to his home in California. Seems like a lot to pay for a guy who has two years of a starter under his belt.

As for Albert, I'm mildly relieved the Fish won't be paying him $20+ million when he's in his early 40s and can't DH.

Even so, the Marlins come home from the winter meetings with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell in tow. They still have a shot at signing Prince Fielder (though the beat writers are adamantly shouting that the team has no interest in Prince). For what it's worth, if Prince signs with the Fish I will gladly share my dynamite recipe for Swiss chard.


CJ Too?

Not satisfied with just Mark Buehrle, the Marlins want CJ Wilson. I'm not sure what to believe anymore. A rotation with those two, JJ, Anibal and Nolasco would be pretty rad, though.


Pitching Upgrade: Achievement Unlocked!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Forget that Albert Pujols guy. The Marlins have moved on from signing the mega star to an interplanetary record deal and instead refocused their efforts. Ken Rosenthal (and everyone else now) is reporting the team and LHP Mark Buehrle have agreed to a four year deal worth $58 million.

Take a look at his FanGraphs page and it's pretty obvious why the Marlins wanted him. He fits all needs they were looking for in a starting pitcher; left handed, innings eater, consistently very good. It's possible too that his 3.83 ERA could come down playing in the new spacious Marlins Ballpark. Not to mention he is reunited with manager Ozzie Guillen. Reportedly they have a great relationship and hopefully that rubs off on the rest of the clubhouse.

As for the money, it's quite a lot. Buehrle will be 32 by the time the 2012 season starts so this deal takes him through age 35. For a pitcher who isn't quite a superstar, especially one who annually logs 200 innings and has never been injured, that's a gamble. The Marlins offseason hasn't exactly been an exercise in risk management. But hey, we aren't footing the bill so what do we care?  The question really is if the team's actions and attitude mean they will be spending like this every offseason, or tapering off after this year? We'll see

I asked on Twitter for a good mnemonic for remembering how to spell Buehrle. Your two winners:
  • But Unlike Evil Hanley Ramirez, Lefty Excites! via @danspacesmith
  • Better Use Every Hitter, Ramirez Lost Everything via @Apdirtybird


Non-Hanley, Non-Pujols News

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Via Business Insider, well, the title of their post says it all:

That Hideous Marlins Home Run Sculpture Is Going To Be HUGE

I know the consensus is that this structure is going to be ugly, but I think I'm going to like it.

I never thought I'd blog about the Marlins 4 times in one day in early December, but that was before the Marlins tried to become the Yankees...


What He Said

SB Nation's Jeff Sullivan, on reports that Hanley Ramirez would rather be traded than play third base:
But they don't have to. See, it doesn't much matter how Hanley feels. I mean, it matters a little, but it isn't Hanley who's in control of this situation. The Marlins are in control of the situation, and if they play Jose Reyes at shortstop, and if they want to play Hanley Ramirez at third base, then Hanley Ramirez will end up playing third base. He'll suck it up and go out there, just as countless players before him have done.

The obvious comparison here is Michael Young. Young raised a stink when he was bumped from short to third, and he raised a stink when he was bumped from third to utility. He demanded a trade. He wasn't traded. He stayed with the Rangers, and the first time he was moved, he batted .322. The second time he was moved, he batted .338. People talk about Young as a leader. Young is a leader, despite his previous outbursts.
The Marlins had Hanley Ramirez. Do you think they would've committed six years to Jose Reyes if they thought it would've caused a whole mess? Hanley will live, and the Marlins will be fine. Fine and fabulous.
Let's see what happens before we hang Hanley in effigy.


Prince Albert

You're discussing an offer with WHO?
Marlins Up Offer to Pujols: Report

For serious, I feel like I'm living in a dream world right now.

Text message exchange Ted and I had earlier today:

Ted: This is very weird but I actually think the marlins shouldn't sign pujols.

Not that we don't love the idea of Pujols, H2R and Sr. #MONSTERDONG in the same lineup, but it'll get weird in 2018 when they make the rookies take turns feeding Albert his applesauce and changing his bedpan.


Game Time

Q: Which of these headlines is not from a Bleacher Report post?

Miami Marlins Free Agent Signings Closely Resemble 1997 World Series Moves
Is Marlins' Hot Stove Spending a Prelude to Another Fire Sale?

A: This one. Summary: The last time the Marlins spent this much money, they had a fire sale a year later. Does that mean there will be a fire sale in 2012? POSSIBLY. How do we know? Jose Reyes does not have a no trade clause. DO I EVEN NEED TO SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU PEOPLE?

When I saw the headline in a Google Alert, I thought, totally BR. But no! Tortured analogies are all over the internet!

Also, apparently Yankees fans are capable of forming analogies now! Good work, guys!


To the surprise of no one

Someone doesn't want to play third base all of a sudden.

Or does he?


More on Jose Reyes

Monday, December 5, 2011

As you are well aware, Last night the Marlins and Jose Reyes agreed to a deal, pending a physical. It was first reported as a six year deal for $106 million. It is actually for $102 million, with a team option for a seventh year. They can decline it at that time with a $4 million buyout. Also of note, there is no no-trade clause in this contract. The Marlins are notorious for never budging from the stance of not offering no-trade clauses.

On the surface, this is a fantastic get for the new Marlins. While the team didn't have a need for a shortstop, this signing essentially fills the black hole at third base by shifting Hanley Ramirez to the hot corner. There's been reports that he's unhappy and won't do it, but it's likely just speculation. ESPN has written he's already agreed to move. Hanley's defense at short has suffered the past few season. Reyes isn't a terrific defender like some are suggesting, but he's an improvement over Hanley and Hanley is an improvement over most third basemen we've employed the last several years.

Reyes also gives the Marlins something they've sorely been missing, a leadoff hitter. For years it seems the team has been looking to alter their lineup to get more on-base guys and less power hitters. Even after trading Dan Uggla though, the Fish had trouble at the top of the lineup. This move should solve that. Reyes has all the attributes of Emilio Bonifacio, who the Marlins remain enamored with, but obviously to a much greater degree. Having Reyes set the table for Hanley and Mike Stanton is a great lineup.

The debate about this signing is about the risk involved. Jose Reyes has had injuries the last few seasons. He barely played in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 he missed a total of 65 games. Not only the missed games, but the fact he is a player that relies on speed and athleticism has some worried. If those tools begin to erode, he may not be a guy who is worth $17 million a year. But, when your the Marlins, you need to assume a greater risk than usual. Even so, there are contrasting opinions about just how risky this is; see here and here. In the end, it's hard to measure. We should just hope for the best. If his average seasons are anything like 2010 or 2011, it will definitely be worth it.

Two things make this a very interesting move: One, it's the biggest signing in Marlins history (at least for now) and two, the team has signed a star from a division rival who I hated. There's not much to say about point number one. We could see this coming as all indications were once the Marlins got a new stadium the team would abandon their penny-pinching ways and spend some money to field a good team. Point two intrigues me because I wonder what the fan reception will be. If the instant Twitter reaction means anything, he will be loved and maybe even push Hanley Ramirez aside as one of the most beloved players.

As usual, we focus on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom here at Marlins Diehards, so we'll be keeping an eye on that in the future.

Some free advertising for a friend of the blog: Check out the new t-shirt available at the SCWS, courtesy of the always hilarious @BoobiesNStanton


Reyes Signs(!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buddies for life, you guys!
Jose Reyes will be a Miami Marlin, according to ESPN and others. Oh, and they're dead fucking serious about signing Pujols, too. We have not done this in awhile:

The Marlins are not playing around this winter. They expect their revenue to shoot up next year, they had few big contracts already on the books, and according my own third-hand info, they've built up a nice cash pile over the past few seasons. We used to call Jeff Loria "George Steinbrenner with less money," we may need to drop the "with less money" part now.

We'll have more on this later, of course, but suffice it to say I heartily approve.


We're Going to Need a New Closer Nickname...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Heath Bell immediately after learning the clubhouse spread includes prosciutto-wrapped melon
If you had Heath Bell in the "First Marlins free agent signing of the winter" pool, you just hit the jackpot:
The Miami Marlins made their first big signing of the offseason Thursday night, signing former San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell to a 3-year, $27 million contract.

According to, Bell and the Marlins have all but agreed to the deal, which may include an option for a fourth year. Bell is expected to take a physical on Friday.

All that future revenue from the new stadium set to open next season must have been burning the figurative hole in the Marlins' pocket. Bell will make more money than all but Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson in 2012.
Two years ago, when the Marlins were reportedly in talks to acquire Bell via trade with San Diego, Ted noticed that Bell's rotundity might bode well for the Marlins. We can only hope the pattern of fat closers being lights-out for the Fish continues.

There has been quite a bit of debate about this signing on Twitter since the news broke. Here is the deal: The Marlins are paying $9 million a year for a guy who blew one fewer save than Leo Nunez/Juan Carlos Oviedo did last season. The similarities continue: both struck out roughly 7.5 batters per nine innings and had very nearly the same BABIP (.268 for Nunez and .261 for Bell). Nunez would have cost the Marlins $5-6 million in 2012. So that is $3 million for a few extra saves a year.

Bell posted 0.5 WAR in 2011, even with his gaudy saves total (43 - his third straight year of 40+ saves). In five years with San Diego, he put up 8.2 WAR, or 1.6 WAR per year. If that can be assumed to be a reasonable expected WAR/year, then the Marlins have just paid $5.5 million per win, which is a bit too much for my tastes.

There has been speculation that the signing sends a good message to other free agents that the Marlins are willing to pay for talent. This is nonsensical. The Marlins could send the same message by simply offering a lot of money to any of their other targets who either play every day or pitch more than 80 innings a year.

The other argument being thrown around is that the Marlins can overpay for a closer now that they will be raking in the dough from the new stadium. This ignores two important facts:
  1. No team (not even the Yankees) has unlimited money. The $27 million being paid to Bell over the next 3 years could be better spent in a variety of ways, like locking up Mike Stanton long term.
  2. As Michael Jong of Fish Stripes has pointed out, the Marlins have had much success in recent years patching together a bullpen on the cheap, and Steve Cishek and Edward Mujica could both have been viable closer options at a fraction of the cost of Bell. Just because you have the money does not mean you should spend it on a splashy free agent.
This is not to say that Bell is a bad closer. He will probably be good (so long as his dip from 11 to 7 K/9 in 2011 is not the beginning of a bad trend). But he is not worth $27 million, at least not in my opinion.


How did we miss this?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

From Dave Brown of BLS: BASEketball almost predicted the Marlins uniforms in 1998

This movie was a classic from our adolescence. How we did not remember this, I don't know. Bravo, @AnswerDave, bravo.

Image via BLS


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