Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Marlins fans! Here is a gift from me, a blog post from the guy who has been MIA (pun intended) for quite some time. Figures I would pop up at literally the dullest point of the in or off season. Anyway, hope everyone is having a great holiday. The Marlins have already given us a great gift in the removal of John Buck1. Then the Mets made things better by acquiring him! Here are a few other things I'd like from the organization:

  • An updated roster with pictures. I seriously don't know who any of these guys are.
  • A contract extension for Giancarlo Stanton, so he can keep giving us extensions in the pants.
  • Enact a "clothing required" ordinance for batting practice, just in time for Mike Redmond's first year as manager. (They are other ways to bust through a slump)
  • Better craft beer selections at Marlins Park
  • Resign Cody Ross
  • Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills DVD for the entire roster
  • Wins, more of them 
  • Revert to teal and black uniforms, kthxbye
Not exactly keeping my hopes up of receiving any of these. Carry on...
1And Emilio Bonifacio (!!!)


Placido Polanco?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today the Marlins found their 2013 third baseman in Placido Polanco, who signed a one-year deal worth a reported $2.75 million. He joins a murderers' row of SS Adeiny Hechavarria, 2B Donovan Solano, and newly-moved 1B Logan Morrison to fill out the team's infield next season.

I know, you're thinking one of two things right now:

  1. Him?
  2. $2.75 million?
Here's the deal with Polanco, who posted a Triple-A quality .303 OBP last season. He is by far the best option among the remaining free-agent third basemen (the Marlins were reportedly also looking at Brandon Inge and Miguel Tejada, both of whom haven't been effective everyday players in years). And while $2.75 million seems like a lot for a dude with back problems who is also past his prime, remember that Plan A was paying $5 million for Yunel Escobar, so this qualifies as a discount (of sorts) for the Marlins. The team's Opening Day payroll could be less than $30 million if they find a taker for Ricky Nolasco; that's why they are okay with paying that much money for Polanco.

Polanco is a stopgap solution on a one-year deal heading into a rebuilding season. It is highly conceivable that he could be dealt midseason for another prospect if the Marlins find a buyer for him (and they most certainly will be dangling Polanco as soon as tomorrow). All in all, it is a good deal for the team, buying them time to find a better long-term solution at third base, either in the farm system or through a later deal.


Yunel Escobar is the new Mike Piazza*

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

*Only if you ignore the fact that Yunel Escobar will never be in the Hall of Fame and we never got to see him in a Marlin uniform for a week.

The details:

The payroll-slashing Marlins dealt the shortstop and his $5 million salary across Florida to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night for minor league infielder Derek Dietrich.
The 23-year-old Dietrich, a second-round draft pick in 2010, was selected MVP of Class-A Charlotte this year, batting .282 with a team-high 10 homers and 58 RBIs. He was promoted to Double-A Montgomery on July 28 and finished with a combined .279 average with 14 homers and 75 RBIs.
On the plus side, the Marlins now have the lowest payroll in MLB!


Giancarlo is Here to Stay... for now

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Jon Heyman/CBSSports:
Beinfest wouldn't address whether Stanton might be traded, but other people with Marlins connections say he absolutely will be a Marlin in 2013. And executives from other teams who have inquired agree they see zero evidence Stanton might be moved.
I'm sure you're all as skeptical as we are, but frankly it would be hard to offer the Marlins a package worth trading Stanton, an amazing hitter who is under club control for the next four years.

But that doesn't mean the Marlins won't try to deal him in 2014, or 2015, or even during the 2016 season (his last before he becomes a free agent). As was the case with Miguel Cabrera six years ago, the question with Stanton is when - not if - the Marlins will deal him.

Enjoy Sr. #Monsterdong while you can...


Something to Spoil the Post-Thanksgiving Good Vibes

Friday, November 23, 2012

Via Flip Flop Fly Ball's Instagram page.


We Don't Care About Mark Buehrle's Feelings

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mark Buehrle:
"I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami," Buehrle's statement read. "Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I'm putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career."
Gee, if only there were some kind of contractual clause that blocks a team from trading him that his agent could have negotiated for last winter...

If a no-trade assurance was that important to Buehrle (and Reyes), then he should have demanded a no-trade clause. To expect Marlins management (who had executed a fire sale only a few years prior) to actually stick to a no-trade assurance is beyond deluded.


It's Official

Monday, November 19, 2012

MLB has approved the trade with the Blue Jays, and the Marlins made the official announcement. Bud Selig (not surprisingly) did not block the trade:
MLB commissioner Bud Selig said last week that he would review the trade, but he decided against blocking the deal. "This transaction, involving established major leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs (and) does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion," Selig said in a statement.
Miami gets the following players:
So long, JJ (and the other dudes in the trade: Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck. Ted and I mostly care about losing Johnson). This one's for you:


You Wouldn't Like Giancarlo When He's Angry

So much for that "all this money the Marlins are saving can go towards a long-term deal for Giancarlo Stanton" silver lining...
"I do not like this at all," Stanton said days after Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and others were traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for spare parts and minor leaguers.

"They talked about that, a winning philosophy, and how they were building a winner to play in the new ballpark," he continued, referring to the spending spree before the 2012 season that brought Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell to South Florida. "They talked about how they'd have Jose and [Emilio Bonifacio] and Hanley [Ramirez] in front of me and how they would go get a bat to protect me. Jose, Bonifacio, Hanley ... all three are gone now."
Stanton has four years left on his initial contract, so there is plenty of time for detente, but I'm guessing the Marlins will have to do a lot to regain their credibility with him (if that is even possible). I totally understand his frustration, though. It is hard to justify extending a contract with a club that is unlikely to keep its long-term promises. I'm going to enjoy watching Sr. Monsterdong while I can, but be totally prepared for the day when he leaves, voluntarily or not.

I have less sympathy for Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, who reportedly are upset that (SHOCKINGLY!) the Marlins reneged on verbal no-trade promises. Don't these guys have agents? Who can negotiate things like no-trade clauses? It's hard to see why anyone would trust the words of Jeffrey Loria or David Samson, but Reyes and Buehrle did for some reason. Buy another expensive car, Jose, you'll feel better.

Images via


Must-See TV

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Of course this trade got the Taiwanese animation treatment:

Best quote: "Loria is worse than [former Dodgers owner Frank] McCourt, but MLB still lets him own a team."


The Finances of a Fire Sale

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

(Note: for a solid baseball analysis of the Marlins' blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, see Fish Stripes. We will focus on the business side of this deal).

The Miami Marlins made their business strategy quite clear when they shipped half their remaining 2012 starters to the Toronto Blue Jays for prospects and spare parts: Cut payroll costs to the bone and reap profits from MLB revenue sharing and other MLB cash streams.

Back in April, I wrote the following about the Marlins' new stadium for NBCMiami:
Since the Marlins are the sole tenant, and no longer have to pay rent to the Dolphins ownership group (which also owns Sun Life Stadium), the team will get to keep more of the ticket sales, concession and parking receipts from their home games than ever before. The Marlins will also get added revenue from hosting events at the stadium when baseball is not being played.

The promise of this extra money allowed the front office to go on a spending spree this winter, handing a $106 million contract to superstar shortstop Jose Reyes and significant deals to Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle. Those additions created even more buzz for the team heading into 2012, leading to a spike in ticket sales that will give the team even more revenue to spend on its roster.

This feedback loop has overnight transformed the Marlins franchise from a penny-pinching punchline to a major-market heavyweight that can compete with its rivals in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta for big-ticket free agents and attention from the national media.
The team's struggles to compete proved that buying wins is not as easy as it looks, but the Marlins have opted to change course rather than reassess their personnel strategy. As a result, the team is looking at a few years of attendance that will make the late-1990s look like a golden age. Here is why they will profit regardless.

First, let's look at how much salary got dumped by the Marlins:

Yunel Escobar is the highest paid player the Marlins received. He will make $5 million in 2013, with team options for the same amount in 2014 and 2015. Jeff Mathis is arbitration eligible (he made $1.5 million in 2012) and will be a free agent next year. The rest are players under club control (pre-arbitration), they will make less than $1 million each next season. With big-bucks players like Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell already gone (and Ricky Nolasco potentially on his way out as well), it is quite possible that the Marlins will open 2013 with a payroll well below $30 million.

You'll remember that a few years ago Deadspin leaked the Marlins' financial report for 2008 and 2009. I took another look at the team's balance sheet, income statement, and notes to back out a rough estimate of the team's operating profit in 2013. This is a good time to point out I made a number of assumptions, which will be detailed below.

The Marlins netted average revenue sharing proceeds of $46 million per year in 2008 and 2009, along with $31 million in MLB Central Fund revenue and $8 million in MLB properties royalties, for a total of $85 million in MLB (or non-Marlins) revenue. Stadium and television revenue (both numbers which are surely higher now, though by what degree is hard to estimate*) came in at roughly $40 million. Operating expenses excluding player salaries averaged $75 million in those years, with debt expense of $5.5 million. That gives the Marlins $45.5 million to work with: keep player payroll below that level, and the difference (less taxes) is all profit. Even with crappy attendance, a Marlins team with payroll in the $30 million range is highly profitable (we're disregarding noncash expenses like depreciation and amortization for simplicity).

One perspective that has been bandied about goes thusly: the team spent a lot of money on personnel in 2012, didn't win many games, and did not draw many fans either (no team had a lower attendance in the first season of a new stadium in the past 20 years, the Marlins' 2.2 million fans were 18th in MLB this season). If breaking the bank doesn't work (from a baseball and financial perspective), why pay millions to Reyes, Johnson, et al to lose? This makes financial sense in the short term, but less sense in the long term (the Marlins' brand equity was barely positive to begin with, it is under water now). How does the team expect to cultivate a fan base after such a fire sale?

Another blog (I've forgotten which one) compared the 2013 Marlins to The Producers: an intentional flop meant to make a quick buck. This is apt. The Marlins can profit without competing so long as they keep payroll low (the Kansas City Royals have been doing this for years). This was the team's strategy in the years leading up to the opening of Marlins Park; it is 100% more insidious now that they have opened a new stadium financed largely by local governments. The fans are legitimately outraged, and calls for Loria to sell the team are entirely justified.

There is only one problem: as The Biz of Baseball points out, Loria will have to pay the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County a ton of money if he sells the team in the next 6 years, so a sale is not imminent.

We are stuck with Loria, that is, if we even want to be Marlins fans anymore. That, more than the trade itself, is the saddest part of this entire episode.

Image via the one and only Adam Smoot
*Stadium revenue for those years was depressed by the bum deal the team was getting from Dolphin Stadium. Even if their attendance falls back to 2008-2009 levels or lower, the Marlins will keep more of those fan dollars spent at the stadium than they did a few years ago since they don't have to share revenues with the Miami Dolphins (who own Dolphin Stadium).



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We're going to leave it at that for now. See our Twitter feed for more hand-wringing and feelings and stuff.


This is getting ugly

Here's what we know now:

  • Gone are Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson (SOBS ALL AROUND, YOU GUYS), Emilio Bonifacio (fine with that), and John Buck (SILVER LINING)
  • In are Yunel Escobar and a bunch of minor leaguers (who cares?)
  • The deal has not been finalized, but those reporting on the situation (Fox and ESPN) do not expect MLB to void it.
Reiterating some points made on Twitter: The Marlins don't need fans to turn a profit, thanks to MLB revenue sharing (provided they keep their payroll low, which obvi won't be a problem). 

Is this the worst fire sale in history? I say the 1997 salary dump was much worse (no one is breaking up a pennant-winner right now), but that debate is purely academic. 


Drink up, everyone, and enjoy basketball season, since that's the only sports-related joy South Floridians can count on for the foreseeable future.


Actual Fire Sale Alert!

Whelp, this won't end well:

I don't wish to revisit this summer's "Is this a fire sale?" argument, but that's no longer necessary. If Buehrle and JJ are being dealt, then we are without a doubt going through a fire sale that will make 2005 look like peanuts. Stay tuned...



Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanks for the support, y'all!


Happy Birthday Giancarlo

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Giancarlo Stanton's birthday, so here's some special Giancarlo-themed FAP material for you, our loyal readers:

Happy birthday, Giancarlo!


It's Redmond Time

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Marlins have once again ignored my pleas to forego hiring a manager. The team has tabbed former Marlin Mike Redmond to steer the ship:

Redmond, 41, was signed to a 3-year contract that runs through the 2015 season, the team announced in a statement. The details of his salary were unknown.
We'll have more to say about this soon.


One of the Four Rays of Sunshine on the Marlins Won a Gold Glove

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Only a handful of Marlins can be said to have met or exceeded expectations in 2012. One of those was Mark Buehrle, who bested all other NL pitchers for his fourth straight Gold Glove (and the first ever by a Marlins pitcher).
"I think the first one and this one mean a little bit more than the middle two," Buehrle said. "The first one and this one switching leagues — where I actually had to beat out Kershaw — and a whole new group of managers voting for you, it wasn’t like it was just handed to you."
Buehrle also won a Fielding Bible award for best pitcher (and they HILARIOUSLY listed him as a member of the Chicago White Sox). The nerds and the old guard agree!
He, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson are all we can say are indispensable this offseason, and all but Stanton are tradable for the right price.


Not too Shabby

Via the Miami New Times, check out this mural:



Friday, October 26, 2012

15 years ago today, Edgar Renteria drove in the winning run of the 1997 World Series:

Ted and I were there, sitting in the 100-level of Joe Robbie Stadium on the third base line with our parents. I'll never forget that moment. This video still gives me chills.


An Important Reminder Regarding Team Culture

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yesterday Larry Beinfest had this to say about Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins' search for his replacement:

Our managerial search begins immediately and our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture.
There is an important rebuttal to make here and it is this: Winning builds a winning culture, a winning culture (whatever the hell that means) does not lead to winning.

We were initially highly annoyed that the Marlins seem content to have scapegoated Guillen (along with the now-departed Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell) for their terrible 2012 season, but that emotion has subsided. Guillen is very clearly an insufferable dick whose personality is grating even when things are going well (as his tenure with the White Sox suggests). We won't begrudge any employer that dismisses an employee who creates a toxic work environment.

But to suggest that having the right manager can lead to a 69-93 team morphing into a playoff contender is beyond ludicrous. Having a more nurturing influence in the clubhouse would not have made Heath Bell pitch any better or Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes not be average hitters. There's a reason we keep suggesting the Marlins forego hiring a manager altogether - managers are almost entirely unnecessary.

And to suggest that chemistry and culture lead to winning (which is Beinfest's implicit assumption) flies in the face of reality. Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent absolutely loathed each other, yet the San Francisco Giants were one bullpen meltdown away from a World Series title in 2002. The Yankees teams of the 90s and aughts won plenty of games despite being a circus (though they pale in comparison to the Bronx Zoo Yankees of the 70s, who also won championships even though Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin made Bonds and Kent look like JD and Turk).

But we're just tilting at windmills here. The Marlins will improve next season (because how can they not?), and whoever the new manager is will get a good deal of credit thanks to the front office (and their enablers in the media) conflating correlation with causation. That doesn't make it correct, though.


Ozzie Gets the Ax

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ozzie Guillen, COCKPUNCHED:
The Ozzie Guillen era in Miami lasted just one season. The Miami Marlins fired Guillen Tuesday. Picked by many to contend for a playoff spot before the 2012 season, the Marlins finished 69-93, in the cellar of the NL East.

Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest made the announcement. The Marlins still owe Guillen $7.5 million for the three years remaining on his contract. The team traded two minor leaguers to the Chicago White Sox last fall in exchange for Guillen, who had managed the White Sox for the previous 8 seasons.
At least the dog still likes him. When we discussed whether the Heath Bell trade meant Guillen was safe this weekend, we said, "I think the case could be made that the team is willing to cut bait on any contract, including Guillen's." One point for Dave.

We didn't think Guillen deserved to be fired because Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes morphed into average hitters and Heath Bell became Jorge Julio 2.0. Like any respectable stat nerd, we assert that a good manager will add at most 2-3 wins over the course of a season. And it is hard to argue that Guillen could have done anything to improve the team's disappointing hitting (there is an argument to be made that his handling of the bullpen was suboptimal, since he stuck with Bell as closer for way too long).

The worst part of this move, though, is the fact that the team will likely improve dramatically next year, and that will allow Team Loria to give excess credit to the new manager (whoever that will be).

Speaking of new managers, it would not be shocking if Loria goes after Bobby Valentine, who was just fired by the Red Sox. He has long been on the Marlins' radar. I have no idea whether he would represent an improvement over Guillen, but I suspect it's a wash.

Finally, we must once again link to our 2010 piece that argues against hiring a manager at all.


Heath Bell is Gone, Let Us Rejoice

Saturday, October 20, 2012

That was quick. The Marlins did not even wait for the postseason to conclude to rid themselves of overpriced "proven closer," ice cream enthusiast, and legit clubhouse cancer Heath Bell, sending him to Arizona in the above three-team deal.

Our reaction:

In the annals of bad Marlins closers, Bell has to be at or near the top. In terms of disastrous play, I think Jorge Julio still has him beat, but Bell stuck around for a full season, and that has to count for something. Throw in the tidbit from the end of the season when the team locked out the media and listened to Ozzie Guillen trash Bell on the radio (after Bell did the same to Guillen in the media), and Bell is definitely the biggest clubhouse cancer in team history. He did more to divide the players than anything Hanley Ramirez ever did, but thanks to white privilege did not get called out for it nearly enough.

The Marlins likely had to pay a ton of money to dump Bell (who is due $21 million over the next two seasons). But that's a sunk cost, and Marlins fans should be happy the team recognizes that the money is better spent ensuring that Bell doesn't pitch for the Marlins.

[UPDATE: According to JCR, Marlins sent $8 million to Arizona, which we think is a BARGAIN. We were expecting a number in the $15 million range.]

As for what this means for Bell's nemesis Guiilen, Tom Green thinks it is a signal that the team will keep Ozzie. That is plausible, but I think the case could be made that the team is willing to cut bait on any contract, including Guillens (three years, $7.5 million remaining). So I'm going to keep Guillen in the "status unknown" category for now.

Larry Beinfest had this to say about the trade:
This should be a positive change. After a disappointing 2012 this gives us clarity as we begin our offseason roster improvement.
We agree.


A-Rod Rumor Gets Universal Denial

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In 24 hours, the A-Rod-to-Marlins rumor went from titillating what-if to mostly bunk:

Keith Olbermann reported on Wednesday that the teams had discussed a deal that would send Rodriguez to the Marlins in exchange for former closer Heath Bell. As part of the proposed deal, the Yankees would pay "virtually all" of the $114 million due to Rodriguez over the next five seasons and absorb Bell's remaining salary.

But Olbermann cited anonymous sources from both teams, and when his report came to light, officials from both teams vehemently denied any discussions took place.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told ESPN Wednesday night, "I have had no discussions whatsoever with the Marlins." Saying he has been fully absorbed in the Yankees' playoff series this month, he called the rumor "One hundred percent false."

Thursday morning, Samson got his opportunity to deny the rumor. He told, "There have been no conversations between the Yankees and the Marlins."
Asking another team to pay a guy $114 million to play in another league may be too much to ask even of the New York Yankees. We stand by our initial reaction:


Vote for us (if you feel like it)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So the good folks at the New Times have nominated your favorite Marlins Blog (non-Fish Stripes division) for a South Florida Web Award in the Sports Blog category!

Normally, we would not pay much attention to this (because we're too virtuous to trawl for votes in a popularity contest, obvs.), but seeing as we're the only Marlins blog nominated, we want to make a good showing.

The other nominees are Fins Nation (our favorite Dolphins blog, for the record), The Phinsider and Phin Phanatic (neither of which I read) and the allCanes Blog (The Seventh Floor got robbed, son!). Maybe if the Dolphins blogs split the vote, we can pull off an upset a la the 2003 Marlins. Or we can fall flat on our face like the 2012 Marlins.

Regardless, vote for us here! And all kidding aside, thanks to the New Times for the nomination, we are happy to find that you enjoy our little corner of the internet.


Napoleon's Hubris

Sunday, October 7, 2012

From the Miami Herald:
We hear that beyond making decisions about what free agents to pursue, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria's involvement in personnel has been so extensive that it even included sending multiple players to the minors. But there's no indication that Loria will pull back on his involvement in baseball decisions.
This is a bigger problem than Larry Beinfest. Ask Dan Snyder how well his team has done since he started meddling with player personnel issues over a decade ago...

Oh, and in case you want to spend the next hour crying at your desk:
Even if the Marlins offer Giancarlo Stanton a longterm contract, he said he isn't sure he would take it. He said he would like to be here, but hasn't decided philosophically whether to test free agency after 2016. "It will depend on what's on the table." He will get a huge raise after 2013, when he becomes arbitration eligible.
Excuse me, must go breathe into a paper bag now.


The Cycle Begins Anew

Thursday, October 4, 2012

That Jeff Loria sure does love firing managers, so this report doesn't surprise us at all:

Maybe after he fires Ozzie, Loria can address the grounds crew, since they bear just as much responsibility for this season's failures as Guillen (that is, close to none).


Another one in the books

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The season is (finally) over. This is how your truly looked while observing the Marlins for the last three months:


Week in Review

Monday, October 1, 2012

Overview: After a midweek sweep at the hands of the #Barves, the Marlins dropped two of three to the Phillies. But fear not! The season ends on Wednesday, and our suffering will lapse.
Line of the Week: Mark Buehrle got a tough-luck no decision on Friday (though the Marlins would go on to win in walkoff fashion). He has really been the only starting pitcher to perform as the team hoped he would this season, and we would be remiss if we did not at least mention that. His line from Friday:

8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 115 pitches, 0.300 WPA

Highlight of the Week: All-Star Dad was great, but nothing beats a moon shot from Sr. Monsterdong:
That's 36 for the season, even though he missed a month due to injuries. Unreal.
Looking Ahead: The Fish open a three-game set at home against the Mets today. Don't expect to get one last look at Josh Johnson before the long winter sets in, though. He was scratched from his start today, with no reason given by the team.


All-Star Dad

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nice catch, pops:



Marlins' Front Office Shortcomings Extend Beyond Beinfest

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[Note: Inspired by Deadspin, Strip Club With Stanton has initiated a Marlins blogger roundtable. Our first topic is an assessment of Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, who suddenly finds himself on the hot seat. SCWS' first entry can be read here, Michael Jong of Fish Stripes responds here.]

From: Dave
To: Ted, SCWS, Michael Jong


Like you guys, I have been wondering whether the assumption that Larry Beinfest should be fired is a fair one. I think we don't need to rehash what you two have written thus far regarding his less-than-stellar draft record or his iffy-at-best trade and free agent history. While he has pulled off some remarkable steals (Dontrelle Willis et al for Antonio Alfonseca et al, Ricky Nolasco et al for Juan Pierre) and found some amazing value in the draft (it is still hard to believe that Giancarlo Stanton was a late second round pick), those hits are accompanied by very many misses.

But what interests me most at this time is who would replace Beinfest. Last week's report that Jeffrey Loria would promote VP of player personnel Dan Jennings is troubling. It is easy to blame Beinfest for the Marlins' recent string of bad personnel decisions, but he is far from the only culprit. After the first 2-3 rounds of the draft, senior front office officials are largely absent from the war room; it is the mid-level execs and scouts who search for value after the early rounds. And Beinfest certainly is not in charge of assembling scouting reports on free agents and trade targets.

The fact is, the Marlins seem to have issues throughout its personnel and scouting departments. Even when discounting for bad luck, Beinfest seems to be relying on the opinions of scouts who thought John Buck and Heath Bell were worth signing. Any new guy who replaces Beinfest will still have to rely on these scouts to make crucial decisions, since the nature of the business demands lots of delegation in the personnel department.

Making an internal hire only exacerbates the problem, as it signals to the rest of the front office that their inputs were not the problem, it was the guy at the top who mis-interpreted (or misused) them. An external hire cannot immediately address the organizational problems, but someone from outside the Marlins organization will be much more likely to initiate a shake-up of the staff and look to bring in better talent evaluators from other clubs.

Firing Beinfest and promoting Dan Jennings (or Michael Hill for that matter) is the kind of cosmetic fix that the Marlins were guilty of making this offseason when they signed "proven closer" Heath Bell. It will draw praise from sportswriters and ESPN personalities, but could seriously jeopardize the team in the long run.


Beef Hell

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This story just keeps getting better and better. Ozzie Guillen had his chance to respond to Heath Bell's most recent criticisms on Tuesday:
"It was my turn this week," Guillen said of Bell's latest criticism. "Last week it was somebody else, the pitching coach. The week before it was the catchers, and the week before that it was the scouting report. When all these things pile up, then you don't have respect for someone. When you read every week, it's another [excuse], another, another ... all kind of stuff. You have to have principles. You have to look yourself in the mirror and blame yourself."
Sick burn, Oz. Making this all the better: the Marlins held a closed-door meeting to huddle around a radio and listen to Guillen's radio interview on Tuesday, so Bell had to listen to all of this with his teammates (probably) glaring at him. Bell said Tuesday that he's probably lost his teammates' respect (you think?).

But wait, it gets better.

First, Bell left Ozzie a voicemail apology on Monday night, only Ozzie never heard it because he didn't recognize Bell's number on his caller ID and deleted the message without listening to it. "I thought it was one of the media asking me about what happened," Guillen later said.

Then, Bell did whatever anyone does when they get caught saying something stupid: he blamed the media for being around to write down his dumb words:
All I have to say is what was taken yesterday on ESPN was out of proportion. I was not criticizing Ozzie one bit. I’m not retracting anything I said but that report on ESPN News, I’d say 80 percent of it was false.
Who said the Marlins wouldn't provide captivating drama when they fell out of the pennant race? Not me!

We (I) have a word for athletes who complain to the media about their bosses then chastise the media for directly quoting them: assholes.

Heath Bell is an asshole. Ozzie Guillen is no angel, but at least when he said something abominably stupid (even more idiotic than Bell's comments, but no need to beat a dead horse), he owned up to it and apologize. Bell went the petulant child route (I wonder where he learned that), and it is a color that doesn't suit him.


Heath Bell: Blame-shifter

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stop me if you've heard this before...
"It's hard to respect a guy that doesn't tell you the truth or doesn't tell you face-to-face," Bell said. "There's probably reasons why."
To be fair, Heath also said, "I stunk in April, plain and simple," but quickly moved on to a complaint about the fact that he's not closing now, despite having "a tremendous second half."

It's pretty clear that Bell senses he has become a scapegoat for the Marlins' poor performance this year (and he certainly played a big role), so he is trying to shift attention onto the manager who is on the hot seat. This is not a good look for you, Heath.


Kettle and Pot

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Media fight!

Fredi Gonzalez:
There's not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone
Jeffrey Loria:
I'm a little surprised because it’s classless — and you can quote me — especially because he was with us for five years and he was a colossal failure. Not nice. Not nice.
The "classy" thing to do probably would have been avoiding calling Gonzalez "a colossal failure," but what do I know?

Image via


Beinfest Safe, Ozzie on the Hot Seat?

Nevermind those previous reports about the Marlins firing president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. Both the Miami Herald and report that the front office will remain intact this offseason. First, the Herald:

According to two sources, owner Jeffrey Loria does not intend to make any major changes to his front office staff, and Larry Beinfest’s job would appear to be safe for at least another year.
Loria made it clear to the front office that he was keeping the status quo. If a shift in power were going to occur, that meeting was the time and place to do it. It also was made clear that there would be no reassigning of duties or responsibilities.
But both reports also state that Ozzie Guillen's status as manager is uncertain at best. Loria does not appear to have made any decision, but that can hardly be reassuring to Guillen.

I would rather see a change in the front office than on the bench. The Marlins have been plagued by poor personnel decisions for the past few seasons, and no manager is capable of making up for that. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, the Marlins brass will surely find more ways to infuriate us before this episode is over.


Big League Stew Wrap-up

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The kind proprietors of Big League Stew have asked me once again to pen the Marlins entry in their annual team bloggers' roundup. This year's theme is the concession speech, I hope you like it. Read it here.

Thanks again to Kevin Kaduk for letting me contribute.


Mike Lowell, Really?

Friday, September 21, 2012

More news on the management front today. First, Jeffrey Loria sort of denies the USA Today report saying the team will fire Larry Beinfest and replace him with Dan Jennings. "I never comment on any ridiculous and fabricated rumors," he told the Miami Herald. Loria did not say any else, though, making me wonder whether this is actually a denial. I think a change at the top of the baseball side is coming (based purely on a hunch and Loria's proclivity for firing people), so we probably have not heard the last of this story.

More interesting is a report from's Joe Frisaro, who wrote last night, "The Marlins, in considering a potential managerial change, have talked about ex-Marlin Mike Lowell as an option." Obviously, no decision has been made on retaining or firing Ozzie Guillen, but the fact that Mike Lowell has been brought up is setting off my bullshit alarms like crazy.

Unlike yours truly, Jeffrey Loria thinks a manager can significantly increase a team's win total. But if he believes that, why bring in a guy with no managerial experience whatsoever? I love Mike Lowell (who doesn't?), but he does not strike me as the kind of managerial candidate Loria prefers. Most likely, this "discussion" will stay just that, but if the team hires Lowell, it will mean one of two things:

  1. The team is making an effort to better market the team by making a former Marlin and hometown guy the figurehead.
  2. Jeffrey Loria is out of ideas
For the record, I think Loria will balk at firing Guillen because he will have to pay him the remaining $9 million or so owed to him regardless, and Loria will probably (hopefully) prefer to spend the extra money required to get a new manager on guys who actually hit and throw baseballs. But he's made crazier moves than this (like trading two minor leaguers for Guillen!), so I guess anything is possible at the moment.


Hazy Days

The Marlins are on their final road trip of the 2012 season, which can only mean one thing: Rookie hazing time! The team picked out some special travel outfits for its rookies Thursday, going with an Olympic theme. While it makes for some good photos, I'm not sure making a bunch of pro athletes wear Speedos and water polo helmets is the best way to embarrass them. I'm thinking 9 out of 10 baseball players are incredibly vain, they probably loved showing off their abs. But what do I know...

Image via Ricky Nolasco's Twitter


Larry Beinfest: On the Way Out?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

From USA Today:

The Marlins, according to two high-ranking executives but not permitted to speak publicly because the final decision will be made by owner Jeffrey Loria, are planning to fire Larry Beinfest, vice president/baseball operations, perhaps as early as next week. He is expected to be replaced by Dan Jennings, the Marlins' assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel.
This is not too surprising. I don't expect Guillen to get canned (if he survived the Castro controversy, he can survive one bad season). The shine has worn off of Beinfest in recent years, as the Heath Bell/John Buck signings and the long-term fallout from the Miguel Cabrera trade have overshadowed his earlier, more successful moves. Normally I'd be worried that we have fallen victim to recency bias, but the trend has become more clear (and more disappointing) over the past few years.
L-R: Beinfest, Guillen, Loria, and Samson in happier times
The trend aside, Beinfest has been in charge of personnel since 2002, so a change at the top could prove useful if only to shake things up. I am more concerned about his replacement than his firing. I cannot purport to know much about Jennings, but he has been in the Marlins front office for awhile, and the problems facing the team seem more organizational than individual. Unless Jennings has been a dissenting voice within the club (and there is some evidence to that effect), I'm skeptical that he will make a huge change as president of baseball operations.

In short, I am worried that Beinfest will become a scapegoat (though I don't necessarily oppose his firing), and bigger problems within the scouting and personnel department will be papered over by the new boss (who is part of the old regime). I don't think it is a bad idea to be skeptical when it comes to the machinations of Jeffrey Loria (which is obvious to regular readers of this blog), and this seems like a classic Loria move, one that looks more substantive than it actually is.

Also, what will become of Michael Hill? I'm not sure if he is above, equal to, or below Jennings in the Marlins org chart (both are listed as VPs on the Marlins website), but if the CBS report linked above is true, and he is in Beinfest's faction, he may not be on the job much longer either. I suspect we'll find out soon enough.


Listen to Ozzie, Don't Move the Marlins Park Fences

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Should the Marlins move in the fences at Marlins Park? Ozzie Guillen says no:
"We are not going to move the fence. That's it," he said. "If you want to be the hitting coach here and the fence is too far, go home. If you don't want to play here because the fence is too far, go home.

"I guarantee you – if you give them $100 million, they will play here. If you don't have a job, they will play here. That’s a bunch of [bleep]. We don't have home run hitters and the one [Mike Stanton] we have has 34. I don't see any [other] guy hitting 40 home runs – maybe Carlos Lee 30 years ago.

"We're not in last place because this ballpark's big. We’re in last place because we're bad – from the top to bottom, myself included." OK then. By the way, the Marlins have hit 30 more homers on the road than at home.
We agree with Ozzie, though not quite for the same reason. He is right to point out that Stanton is the only true power hitter on this team (though to be fair, only 13 of his 34 home runs have come at Marlins Park), so it's not like the stadium is preventing Jose Reyes from hitting 30 homeres.

But it is very difficult to argue that Marlins Park has not suppressed home run numbers. Instead of looking at the home run totals, as the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson did above, let's look at some other stats that use rates instead of counting.

At home, 7.1% of Marlins fly balls are leaving the park (all stats via FanGraphs). Only the San Francisco Giants have a lower HR/FB% at home (3.8%). Other teams at the bottom of the HR/FB% standings include all the usual big-ballpark suspects: Seattle, San Diego, the Mets, and (for some reason) the Dodgers. For comparison,  On the road, the Marlins HR/FB% jumps to 12.3%, better than all but 7 teams.

Is one season enough of a sample size to tell? @BoobiesNStanton and I argued about this over Twitter a few weeks ago; I say yes. The Marlins have hit 706 fly balls at home, and 642 fly balls on the road. That is a significant sample, but not enough for statistical significance (for a representative sample of a population that is within a 5% margin of error, you need roughly 1,050 data points).

So here I concede to Boobies and say that our sample size is not large enough - unless you count the plate appearances of visiting teams at Marlins Park and the Marlins' road opponents in the appropriate buckets. That would most likely put us over the 1,050 FB threshold, but I am tabling that project until the offseason.

Regardless of the whether Marlins Park suppresses home run numbers, I still say the team should leave the fences where they are. If the Marlins are hitting fewer home runs at home, so too are their opponents most likely. I would rather see the front office build a team that is best suited to Marlins Park rather than rejigger Marlins Park every few years to suit the needs of the team.

Additionally, though I will not attempt to statistically test this theory at the moment, I suspect the expansive outfield at Marlins Park provides other benefits, namely, a preponderance of triples and doubles. The Marlins have hit 21 triples and 121 doubles in 2709 home plate appearances at home, versus 16 triples and 125 doubles in 2878 plate appearances on the road. This benefit probably does not outweigh the reduction in home runs, but should be taken into consideration. I will take a deeper look at this during the offseason as well.


This one might not be shown in the Marlins Park Bobblehead Museum...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wednesday is Jose Reyes Bobblehead Night at Marlins Park, but there is one simple problem with the team's giveaway: the bobblehead doesn't look like the Marlins' shortstop...

"It doesn't look like me," he said.

"Not at all. Except for the beard."

He reached into his locker and pulled out one of the bobblehead dolls and said: "I mean, what do you think?"
Here's the bobblehead:
Image via PBP
For reference, here is Jose:

And here is a Lil Jose doll, which looks a lot like Reyes:
Looks like the Marlins need a new bobblehead vendor...


Week In Review

Monday, September 17, 2012

Overview: The Fish got swept in Philadelphia, then took two of three from the Reds.
Postives: The Diehards finally made their first trip to the new ballpark and the team put on a good show, winning 6-4 on Saturday. Stay tuned for a post about the new stadium experience. Two wins over the first place Reds is kind of cool.
Negatives: Everything else.
Line of the Week: Jacob Turner had the best game of his young career, beating the Reds on Friday.

W, 7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K

Highlight of the Week: Not much significance to anyone else, but David was super giddy to see the home run sculpture in action when Carlos Lee hit this two-run dong on Saturday.
Looking Ahead: Miami stays home for three versus the Braves and then goes to New York to face the Mets.


Don't Cross Ozzie

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On Friday, ESPN's Buster Olney posted a story titled "Ozzie Guillen's Uncertain Future," and (shockingly), Guillen wasn't cool about a suggestion that the Marlins have quit on Guillen:

In his own defense, Olney said he "referenced the opinion of rival evaluators on the Marlins' recent play," and not his own.

I'm sure this is exactly the type of exciting September action the front office envisioned when it assembled the team over the winter...


Clearance Sale on Ice Cream-Loving Closers

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Via the Miami Herald:
The Marlins will renew efforts this winter to trade Heath Bell, aware they probably will need to eat some of the $18 million he is still owed through 2014. They’re fed up with his performance and what they perceive as excuse-making.
If the Marlins pay less than $17 million of that remaining salary, I'd be shocked. I imagine teams will want Bell for less than the MLB minimum next season.


For the 1000th time, Loria says Marlins will compete

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The sun rises, Jeffrey Loria exudes confidence in his baseball team, the sun sets...

When asked Monday about the process to fix what ails the Marlins, Loria told the Miami Herald, "I don't think it’s going to take a long time at all."
Our official response:

My story notes that Loria has made confident predictions for his team in each of the past two seasons. When he stops being so optimistic, that will be news. For now, this is just a portrait of a man who needs to sell a bunch of 2013 season tickets but has received no help from his underperforming ballclub.


Week In Review

Monday, September 10, 2012

Overview: The Marlins split a four-game series against Milwaukee, then took two of three from Washington. With three weeks to go, Miami is 23.5 games out of first place in the NL East and 12.5 games out of the Wild Card. NBA season can't get here soon enough...
Positives: Even though he's missed 30 games this season, Giancarlo Stanton is only 5 home runs behind Ryan Braun for the NL lead (with 33 to Braun's 38). I weep when I think of how awful this season would have been were it not for Sr. Monsterdong.
Negatives: Too many to list, amirite?
Line of the Week: Good Ricky Nolasco made a cameo Sunday, shutting out the Nats:

9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 121 pitches, .205 WPA

Highlight of the Week: Sr. Monsterdong helped the Marlins shellac Nats' ace Stephen Strasburg on Friday night with this blast to centerfield:

Looking Ahead: The Marlins open a three-game series in Philadelphia this week, then host the Reds for three days starting on Friday. Ted and I will be making our first trip to Marlins Park on Saturday, hit us up on Twitter if you'll be there/want to buy us drinks at the Clevelander.


Same Old Marlins Fans

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We're (not) back!
Might be smallest crowd I've seen this year at #Marlins ... on Twitpic

Can't wait for a SCWS Marlins Park camo shirt to drop...

Also back: Ozzie Guillen's tweets(!):

So. happy. to. see. you. back. Oz.


Abbreviated Week In Review

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Marlins beat Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals 9-0 on Tuesday, Then they lost four game in a row, including a home sweep by the Mets. Even worse, there were no #MONSTERDONG sightings. We has a sad. Up next is a four game set against the Brewers, then three in Washington.


Twitter makes people lazy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Next time let's just credit @MarlinsMedia:


Spare us, Heath

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

For a fat dude, you'd think Heath Bell would be a little more jolly...

Bell felt the editing process made it look as if too much of blame on the disappointing season fell on him.

"It wasn't a good experience for me," Bell said. "It was a good experience knowing how television can ruin your life. It was fun. I like some of the guys, the camera guys. They're not bad guys. It's just the guys who were cutting and pasting, they can make it look like one person is the reason we didn't do well, or they can make it look like the team did bad.

"They definitely portrayed me as the only one having a bad year, because you heard it on just about every episode, but not everybody else."
I haven't watched The Franchise (because as Darren Rovell pointed out once, I'm a bad fan, obvi). But television "ruined" you life, Heath?
This season can't end soon enough...


Showtime Ends "The Franchise" A Week Early Because Can You Blame Them?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Showtime has decided to conclude the current season of "The Franchise" a week earlier than originally planned:
The original plan called for eight weekly episodes, starting July 11. But the Marlins have endured such a trying season that the team will end its run on Showtime this Wednesday — its seventh weekly episode — instead of Aug. 29.

The Marlins still will have upheld their agreement for eight episodes. They also did a special preview episode in April after manager Ozzie Guillen created controversy with his comments about Fidel Castro.
Anyone who has noticed the declining frequency of posts on this here blog knows that Ted and I totally empathize with Showtime. The network thought it would be airing a series about an exciting young team in the throes of a pennant race, and instead it got the biggest disappointment in baseball, a team whose biggest stories involved the Guillen-Castro controversy and the decision to trade away its former franchise player for peanuts.

Then again, do you actually even know anyone who subscribes to Showtime? I've never met a Showtime subscriber in my life, obviously they don't exist. No wonder their ratings are suffering!

UPDATE, via Fish@Bat, here is the trailer for the season finale:


Happy Birthday Earl

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The great Earl Weaver turns 82 today, so we're using that as an excuse to post our favorite YouTube video ever:

Long live the king.


When Worlds Collide

Ted and I are big fans of comedian and Twitter-genius Rob Delaney. So you can imagine my delight when he learned he shares a name with a relief pitcher in the Marlins' minor league system: 

Delaney the pitcher has a 2.50 ERA and 3.23 FIP in 57.2 innings at Triple-A New Orleans this season. So it could be worse. Delaney could be named John Buck.

UPDATE: Rob replies:

Pic via Rob Delaney's tumblr


Heath Bell will soon resume destroying your sanity

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Via Joe Frisaro:
Manager Ozzie Guillen is leaning towards going with Bell the next time there is a save situation. Guillen still holds the right to change his mind, based on circumstances, but look for Bell to be given a chance to lock down the final outs.
Were the Marlins not 10 games below .500 in August, I'd be more than a bit concerned about this decision. But with the Marlins far from contention, I'm not even going to get mad. I'm going to take a page from the Fins Nation playbook and just enjoy what remains of this trainwreck of a season for what it is: a human catastrophe that I can't help but watch with awe. I'll also be drinking heavily whenever I watch the Marlins, but that goes without saying.


The Marlins done got HACKED

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Deadspin reports that some glorious hacker has posted a number of inane messages on various MLB teams' social media pages, including the above (now deleted) Miami Marlins Facebook post. Pretty funny (I'm pretty sure owning a pitbull is no longer legal in Miami-Dade County), but the hack artists' other posts are better (Best one: "Fuck Bill Murray" on the Cubs' page).

If we were to hack the Marlins' social media accounts, though, we'd go for more of a kill shot. Something like "Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to sell the team to Wayne Huizenga, who promises to turn Marlins Park into world's largest Blockbuster kiosk."

But you can do better than that! Leave us your attempt at hackable humor in the comments.

Image via Deadspin


Marlins Making Trades of Little Consequence

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do the Marlins get to keep his magic levitating bat? 
Our blogbro SWCS said it best: the Marlins' fire sale has turned into a yard sale.

The Marlins are shipping Edward Mujica to St. Louis for 3B prospect Zack Cox. Mujica will be eligible for arbitration in 2013 (his third arbitration year) and will be a free agent thereafter. The team would have likely owed him a raise from his $1.63 million salary, and instead get a guy who can be plugged in to Hanley Ramirez' spot at some point (the team announced it will assign Cox to Double-A Jacksonville for now). Cox, St. Louis' 2010 first-round draft pick, has no big league experience. The 23-year-old was slashing .254/.294/.421 for the Cards in Triple-A, with 9 home runs.

As with the Omar Infante trade, this is a case of the Marlins dumping a guy who would have been on the 2013 roster, but not a major impact player, for a club-controlled prospect who will plug a hole for cheap. Regardless of whether Cox pans out, I don't think we'll ever regret the Marlins giving up Edward Mujica.

UPDATE: The Marlins have also traded 1B Gaby Sanchez and minor league P Kyle Kaminska to the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF
Gorkys Hernandez and a competitive-balance draft pick. Sanchez was an All-Star in 2011, then promptly lost all ability to hit. The Marlins sent him down to the minors twice this season, as he was slashing .202/.250/.306. Even though the team plans on getting rid of current 1B Carlos Lee (acquired only 27 days ago via trade), they are confident that the 29-year-old Sanchez is not in their long-term plans. He will be eligible for arbitration at the end of the season.

Like Cox, Hernandez is another top prospect whose success is an iffy proposition. Now in his fourth organization, he was hitting .213 in 26 plate appearances with the Pirates this year, his first cup of coffee. The Marlins say they are bringing Hernandez to the big club (presumably he'll take Mujica's roster spot). Now seems like a good time to cut losses with Sanchez, I only wish they traded him a few years ago when his value was highest.


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