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.


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