Taste the Happy, Michael: Fernandez Reunites With Grandmother

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Marlins released a heartwarming video about Jose Fernandez and his grandmother, Olga, who arrived from Cuba last weekend to see him for the first time since Fernandez defected as a teenager. Watch it below, we fucking dare you not to cry.

Also, Fernandez finished third in NL Cy Young voting. For some reason, six writers left him off their ballot.


Jose Wins 2013 NL Rookie of the Year

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jose Fernandez has been named the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year. He earned 26 of 30 first-place votes, winning in a landslide. Fernandez is the fourth Marlin to win ROY (joining Dontrelle Willis, Hanley Ramirez, and Chris Coghlan), as well as the first Cuban-born player to win the award in the NL.

Fernandez was seated beside his mother and grandmother when the announcement was made. His grandmother, Olga, traveled to Miami Sunday in advance of the announcement, seeing him for the first time since he escaped Cuba with his mother and sister as a 15-year-old. More on that here.

Jose's resume is impressive. He was second in the majors with a 2.19 ERA, and led the big leagues in hits allowed per 9 innings with 5.8. He had the most WAR among rookies (4.2) and opponents hit .182 against him.

Our favorite Jose stat: in 28 starts he made this season, he gave up 0 or 1 earned run 15 times.

Plenty of past ROY winners have struggled to maintain their performance (cough, Coghlan, cough), but we're guessing Jose will continue to dominate in the years to come. Congrats Jose!


Giancarlo Stays (for Now)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Newly-minted Marlins general manager Dan Jennings said Sunday that the Marlins will not be trading Giancarlo Stanton this offseason. 

"He will be in right field at Marlins Park on Opening Day," Jennings said. "We are building around him."
What exactly they will build around him is another question. Jennings said Sunday that the Angels' Mark Trumbo and Red Sox' Will Middlebrooks are enticing, but the team is "not there yet in terms of close to any deals."

This is not exactly surprising. While Stanton will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, his slightly-disappointing 2013 season means he likely won't get a huge payout in arbitration. The team is expected to offer him a longer-term deal in the near future. It will be interesting to see if the Marlins can offer him enough money and/or years to offset his misgivings about the franchise.


Area Man Predicts Sky Will Fall in 2014

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"What, me worry?"
Good news, everyone! Jeffrey Loria has finally released David Samson from his underground lair:
"We're getting ready for another season, and we're going to win more," Samson said. "I promise you this, we're not going to lose 100 games next year, not even close. Look what the Red Sox did. They had the same record we did in '12. They turned it around to be in the World Series in '13. Well, it's time for us to do the same. That's why we didn't book that concert in October. Why would we ever book something when we should be and will be playing playoff games?"
On one hand, very few teams lose 100 games two seasons in a row, so that part of Samson's prediction is not far fetched at all.

On the other hand, the Red Sox did a major roster overhaul last winter and had a payroll above $100 million this year, neither of which are going to be copied by the Marlins. Then there is the fact that the 2012 Red Sox weren't that bad. Sure, they lost 93 games, but their run differential would have predicted an 88-loss season (according to Baseball Reference). Miami's 2013 run differential was much worse (-133 to -72), predicting a 98-loss season.

Of course, with the Marlins pitching staff as it currently stands, it would take merely an average offense to improve the team's record next season. But the 2013 offense was historically bad (as we noted in our year-end round-up), so there is a lot of ground to make up.

Business consultants have a mantra: under-promise, over-deliver. Samson often does the opposite (as does Loria, who is the king of over-promising), and this case is no different. Nothing to see here folks, move along now...


The Diehards' End-of-Season Epistle

Friday, October 4, 2013

First we practiced our #Barves impression
Wherein Ted and Dave sort through the wreckage of the 2013 Marlins campaign.

Well Dave, another season is in the books and it's finished much like the last ten years. The Fish were expected to be a 100-loss team and they ended up being exactly that. Would you say the year went as expected, worse or dare I even say better? There certainly was a little more intrigue than I was anticipating, which isn't saying much.
I think we just witnessed the best possible version of a 100-loss baseball team we could have hoped for. Indeed, this was the best of all possible worlds for a pair of Haterade-swilling bloggers like us: Not only was this year's team historically bad, but it managed to do so with intrigue! First, the bad:
  • This was just the second 100-loss season in team history (btw, they underperformed by 7 wins
  • They CRUSHED the franchise record for fewest runs/game in a season (3.17 - next worst was the inaugural Marlins with 3.59) 
  • A whopping FOUR regular starters OBP'ed under .300 
  • Only two hitters were above average (in terms of OPS+): Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich 
  • They lost 26 games by 5 or more runs 
Despite (and in some cases because of) their eternal derpitude, the Marlins still managed to do all of this:
If your favorite team is not going to come close to even sniffing the playoffs, then this train wreck of a season is the only way to proceed. There have been plenty of less shitty teams in Marlins history, but none were even close to as memorable as the 2013 Marlins.

But even train wrecks get old. Where should new front office bosses Michael Hill and Dan Jennings start in their offseason improvement plan?
It is pretty crazy, huh? There are so many ways in which this season was setting historically bad marks and yet they somehow managed to avoid both being the worst team in MLB this year (Thanks Astros!) and the worst team in Marlins history.

I totally agree about this year being at least entertaining and memorable. Only a few non-World Series years stick out any more and I think ten years from now this will still resonate some as being so awesomely bad.

As for where the new crew starts? I really don't think there is anywhere to focus on. I don't get the impression Loria and Co. will be eager to spend big bucks again. It'd be best to build around this core and keep focusing and building a strong farm system. It is conceivable that 2015 and beyond can bring a pretty strong, dynamic club? Am I crazy?
Crazy? No. A little too optimistic? Probably.

The Marlins have lots going for them at the moment, especially with regards to their rotation. Jose Fernandez, Nate Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez should be a solid 1-2-3 for the next few years (and they will be really cheap). If we are lucky, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler become dependable starters as well.

But those hitters, though...

As it stands now, the Marlins have Giancarlo Stanton and the hope that Christian Yelich and Jacob Marisnick continue to progress into above-average hitters, and little else. Fun fact: Only three position players had a higher oWAR (offensive wins above replacement) than pitcher Henderson Alvarez. And his oWAR was 0.5, nothing otherworldly. The Marlins' offense was littered with past-their-prime roster filler and disappointments like Logan Morrison (a .709 OPS is not gonna cut it for a corner infielder).

There has been talk that the Marlins will use their surplus of minor league arms to acquire a bat or two this winter, and I would not oppose that. Colin Moran tore it up in high-A ball this summer, but he won't be on the big club in 2014. Beyond him, there are not many bats in the farm system that can help soon.

And if the Marlins wisely decline to bring back Placido Polanco or Juan Pierre, I will be a happy man.
 Stay tuned next week, when we bring in a few of our brothers in blog to join the conversation.


The Miami Marlins' 2013 Season Summed Up in One Unforgettable Moment

Monday, September 30, 2013


Marlins Promote Michael Hill, Dan Jennings

The Marlins announced Sunday that general manager Michael Hill will replace Larry Beinfest as president of baseball operations, with vice president of player development Dan Jennings moving up to Hill's old job. The move is a touch surprising: Jennings seemed to be the front-runner to replace Beinfest, while reports of the schism in the front office had Hill on the outside looking in with Beinfest. Instead, Hill will remain Jennings' boss.

Michael Hill, photo via NBCMiami.com
But even more baffling is this: Hill has been with the organization for 11 seasons, Jennings for 12. Beinfest came to the Marlins when Jeffrey Loria bought the team in 2002. If Loria was indeed unhappy with the direction of the team, why replace Beinfest with two guys who had been working for him for a decade?

Unless Beinfest was ruling the front office with an iron fist (and reports indicate that it was Loria who was doing that as of late, not Beinfest), it is unrealistic to think that Hill and Jennings will make the kind of changes necessary for the Marlins to be more competitive in the coming years. This seems like little more than a cosmetic change in the front office, where management will continually be hamstrung by their owner's notorious penny-pinching and micromanagement.

If there was one big damning fact hanging over Beinfest, it was his bad record in drafts through much of his tenure. While his staff hit big on early-round picks Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Johnson, none of Beinfest's first round picks from 2002-2009 made lasting contributions to the franchise. To be fair, recent years have seen the selections of Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich, but there was a time when Chris Volstad and Chris Coghlan looked like they would be important players for years to come, nothing is certain.

Regardless, the question that keeps coming up with regards to the dismissal of Beinfest is "Why now?" His draft record was no secret, and he has missed far more often than not on big trades before last seasons' fire sale. In all likelihood, Beinfest forced this on himself by reportedly asking Loria to either fire him or let him resume running the team without interference, and Loria (for once) did the right thing and bought out the final two years of Beinfest's contract.

So Beinfest will earn the remainder of his salary for two years, and will probably be courted by a number of clubs this winter (should he choose not to take some time off). Hill and Jennings got promotions, but I can't escape the feeling that Beinfest himself is the biggest winner of this episode.



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Henderson Alvarez has just thrown the fifth no-hitter in Marlins history, and the Marlins made it interesting. Miami did not score until the bottom of the ninth, leaving Alvarez in limbo after he struck out Matt Tuiasosopo to end the ninth inning:

Then in the bottom of the ninth, the Marlins managed to break through. Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison hit back-to-back singles with one out, then advanced to second and third on a wild pitch by Detroit's Luke Putkonen. After Chris Coghlan walked with two outs to load the bases, pinch hitter Greg Dobbs came to the plate with it all on the line.

On the first pitch, Putkonen got one by catcher Brayan Pena, allowing Stanton to score from third and preserve the wildest no-hitter in a very long time.

Excluding the two World Series victories, this is easily the best ending to a season in Marlins history, and certainly cements this year's edition as possibly the weirdest team in franchise history.


Later Larry

Friday, September 27, 2013

Today Jeffrey Loria finally did what everyone had been expecting him to do: fire president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest.

Marlins Diehards has obtained exclusive video of Beinfest being fired by Loria:

We'll have more on this later.


Stop me if you've heard this one before

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Remember the time last year when speculation abounded that Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was not long for his job? He is back on the hot seat, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:
Beinfest is miserable, major league sources say. You would be miserable, too, if your owner over the past four years had gone from merely meddlesome to completely hands-on, even vetoing minor league call-ups for reasons unrelated to performance.

The Marlins’ power structure, according to sources, essentially consists of Loria and VP of player personnel Dan Jennings on one side and Beinfest and general manager Mike Hill on the other. Loria’s stepson, team president David Samson, has been all but invisible this season and also is on the outs with Loria, sources say.
The Miami Herald corroborated much of Rosenthal's report,:
Sources said Loria is now making most – if not all – of the baseball decisions, which is fueling speculation that president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and team president David Samson could be ousted after the season.

“He has marginalized the front office,” said a major league source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “The front office isn’t making decisions. Loria makes them all.”
Plenty of people have soured on Beinfest over the past few years, but even a subpar front-office-type is better than Loria at building a baseball team. Loria has long had the reputation of wanting one or more of "his guys" on the coaching staff (guys like Ozzie Guillen and Tino Martinez, both of whom have been the "Loria guy" at different points - and those worked out great, right??). It seems highly likely that if/when Beinfest is gone, another "Loria guy" will find himself in Beinfest's old position.

But if Loria hates one thing more than having his brilliant opinions ignored by his subordinates, it's paying money for someone to not be his team's president, and Beinfest is under contract until 2015. Perhaps Loria is trying to make life so uncomfortable for Beinfest that he quits, letting Loria off the hook for his next two years' worth of salary. If anyone is shrewd enough to pull off such a move, it is Jeffrey Loria, because:


The Best of Jose Fernandez in gifs

Friday, September 13, 2013

It remains to be seen whether he can overcome Yasiel Puig in the NL Rookie of the Year race, but one thing is certain: it's been a giftastic year for Jose Fernandez. Here are our favorite gifable moments from the Marlins' rookie superstar.

He baffled opposing hitters:

Like, seriously baffled them:

He made some sweet defensive plays:

He ran into some wardrobe difficulties that one time:

He seemed happy just to be in the majors most days:

He admired his first career home run:

But most of all, he made Marlins fans feel like this:


Fernandez Goes Out With a Bang

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Making his final start of the 2013 season, it wasn't enough for Jose Fernandez to notch his twelfth win and hold the Atlanta Braves to 1 run over 7 innings. The kid also hit his first career home run and made the Braves extra salty in the process.

The home run (a solo shot) came in the bottom of the sixth inning. In the middle half of the inning, Fernandez was visibly angry in the Marlins' dugout. He could be seen angrily pacing, and manager Mike Redmond had to intervene to calm him down.

Braves 3B Chris Johnson could be seen jawing with Hernandez during his at bat that inning, nonchalantly mouthing "Nope" after one of Fernandez' pitches sailed high for a ball. That is probably what got Fernandez worked up.

Then Jose came to bat in the bottom of the inning, and he found the perfect way to vent his frustration. He deposited a Mike Minor pitch in the Clevelander behind left field, taking a few seconds to admire his shot before trotting around the bases. Here is his pimped-out home run trot.

Of course, baseball being baseball, the Braves were not content to let the 21-year-old Fernandez enjoy what was the capstone to his impressive rookie campaign. When he arrived at home plate, Braves catcher Brian McCann said a few words to Fernandez. He basically told Fernandez to tone it down next time. "He talked to me like a friend, a father," Fernandez said after the game.

But Johnson was livid, and came running down the third base line looking like he wanted to continue the hostilities. Probably because Fernandez did this:

Both benches cleared, and Johnson was pulled away from the scrum pretty quickly, but there was no further escalation (Watch the whole incident below). Judging from the way Johnson immediately stood behind the home plate umpire when he arrived near Fernandez, it's pretty clear he didn't actually intend to throw a punch (which makes it worse in my mind - either start something or don't, but definitely don't act like you're going to throw a punch then place an obstacle in your way so you don't have to follow through on your own hollow threat).

Either way, the night belonged to Jose. He came out in the top of the seventh worked out of a two-out jam with runners on first and second, striking out Justin Upton and walking off the field to a well-deserved standing ovation.

UPDATE: Mike Redmond, ever the wet blanket...


Last Chance to See Jose Pitch in 2013

This is your public service announcement. Jose Fernandez is making his final start of the season. Having thrown 165 innings and change, he is almost certain to surpass his 170 IP limit tonight. If you are in Miami and haven't seen him pitch live, do it! As always, there are plenty of good seats still available.

Fernandez will try to cement his case to become the fourth NL Rookie of the Year in franchise history, don't miss it. TV coverage is on FoxSports Florida, in case you can't make it to the ballpark. After tonight, there really is little reason to pay attention to the Marlins as they continue their quest to lose less than 100 games.


Get Your Jose While You Can

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's been no secret that the Marlins will shut down rookie pitching phenom Jose Fernandez when he hits the 170-innings mark for the season, and now we know exactly when that will happen. According to Joe Frisaro, the Fish plan to give Fernandez two more starts in 2013, and will skip his next turn in the rotation in part to ensure both starts will occur at home (ostensibly to give the team an attendance boost, scant as it may be).

So on Wednesday, rookie Brian Flynn will make his major league debut at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Fernandez is slated to start on Friday night at home against Washington, then again on September 11 against Atlanta (also at home).

You have two chances to watch Jose again this season. DON'T FUCK THIS UP. This concludes our public service announcement.


Summer's Almost Over

Thursday, August 29, 2013

But the Marlins find new ways to keep things interesting.

Exhibit A:

I haven't seen that since a very drunken afternoon of kickball in my old rec league.

Onto Exhibit B:

The theory is that someone in the stands called off LoMo as if they were another player on the field. If that is the case then we tip our hats to the Nats fan who pulled it off.


One More Jose gif for the Road...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Too perfect:


All Jose All the Time

Love watching Jose Fernandez pitch, but wish you didn't have to wait at least 4 days between his starts? Now you can watch these gifs nonstop while you wait for the next Cuban Jesus start (h/t Fangraphs).


Giancarlo's Got Rhythm

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Giancarlo's got rhythm
Giancarlo's got music
Giancarlo's got #Monsterdongs
Who could ask for anything more? 

Ask and ye shall receive...


All Jose Fernandez Everything

Monday, August 5, 2013

If you didn't watch Friday's game, you missed some dominance from Jose Fernandez:

During the 8-inning, 14-K shutout performance, Ted tweeted, "Our Fernandez-boner is approaching Stantonian levels." That begs the question: if Giancarlo is Sr. #Monsterdong, what shall we call Jose Fernandez? If the Internet cannot find a good solution, I'm not sure what I can believe in anymore.


Trade Deadline Snoozefest

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yesterday's trade deadline was one giant wet fart. The Marlins did absolutely nothing, though they apparently came close to trading Placido Polanco to the Yankees.

On the plus side, Jeffrey Loria declined to accept a ginormous offer for Giancarlo Stanton from the Pirates (unless he didn't). Either he wasn't willing to repeat the mistake of trading Miguel Cabrera, didn't want another massive fan backlash, or both, but we'll take it.

This brings us to the Trade Pool. With only Ricky Nolasco being dealt this year, everyone who entered the pool is in a tie for first place (since anyone with sense could see that move coming from a mile away). So here is what we will do. Instead of buying all of you a beer, we are extending the trade pool through the August 31 waiver deadline (for a good explanation of the mechanics of waiver wire deals, go here).

This is just a hunch, but the Marlins will place a bunch of their veterans on waivers in August (as just about every team does to test the waters), and we're betting some team will bite and try to work out a deal for Polanco, Juan Pierre, or one of Miami's relievers. So stay tuned...


Old Man Swag Alert at Marlins Park

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It didn't work (the Marlins lost 4-2 in 10 innings), but we love your style, Maury. (Can we call you Maury? We figured that was your name, since you're an old white dude. Either that, or Henry, or Ebenezer...)

Image via the Marlins' tumblr


Chad Qualls Pulls Off the "Inadvertant Barrel Roll" With Aplomb

Nailed it:



Tino Tino Tino

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tino Martinez spoke to Fox Sports about the incident that led to his resignation, and boy he sounds like a guy convinced that the world is against him for no good reason:

Martinez said he decided to speak out after talking with friends and asking them, "Do you realize I'm out of baseball basically because a couple of players didn't pick up balls in the cage when I asked them to? As a coach, when I asked them to pick up the balls, why didn't they just say, 'Absolutely, no problem, I'll do it right now.'"

Added Martinez: "I started thinking about it, thinking I've got to say something, not just let it go away. I've had a great reputation in this game for years. I walked away from the game with integrity. But now, to have a couple of kids try to ruin my name, I felt I had to say something and fight back."
Read the whole thing here if you wish, but here's a summary:

Like we said yesterday, if the Marlins were hitting well, the team might have let Tino's anger management issues slide. But if you're the hitting coach of a team with the worst batting average in the NL, being a jerk won't let you keep your job for long.


Tino Martinez Has Been Recalled to the Jerk Store

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned his position on Sunday. Not because the Marlins are slashing .232/.291/.337 (second worst in the majors), but because he's a jerk:

Martinez said he once touched a player in anger, grabbing rookie Derek Dietrich by the jersey in the batting cage early this season. Dietrich, recently demoted to Triple-A New Orleans, was among the players to complain about Martinez.
Martinez actually tried to resign on Friday, but Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (who hand-picked him to be hitting coach last offseason over the objection of manager Mike Redmond) wouldn't have it. Then a Miami Herald story detailing players' complaints about Martinez forced ownership's hand.

Then this happened:
We think there is only one person who should be the Marlins' hitting coach: 


Jose Fernandez is not above photobombing a dude

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jose Fernandez may be a rookie, but he knows the fastest way to the Diehards' hearts. The Photobomb Expressway:

Pretty good stuff, but he still has much to learn if he wants to compete with the patron saint of photobombs:

UPDATE: It's been gif'd(!):


Yelich and Marisnick Called Up: Instagram Weighs In

Social media is fun. Last night after the team announced it had called up uber-prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, the Miami Marlins posted a photo of the two on Instagram. A surprising number of comments on the photo took umbrage with the team's decision to send down fellow rookies Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich to make room for them (never mind the facts that Ozuna needs to do some major work on his swing, Dietrich is slashing .214/.275/.405, and sending two rookies with multiple options back to the minors gives the team much more flexibility than waiving Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco).

Here is a sample of their reactions:
Of all the people we could have sent down, why these two. If we are trying to get younger why send these 2 down. I'm excited to see yelich and marisnik called up, but upset to see ozuna and Dietrich sent down while they were succeeding.
In 57 games, Dietrich has amassed 0.0 WAR, making him the proverbial replacement player (for now). In this case, replacement = replacable. Ozuna's defense has been stellar, but he needs work on his swing, as mentioned above.
We want ozuna and Dietrich BACK!!!!!!!!
They were good!
I wanted Yelich and Marisnick called up, but they should've left Ozuna and Dietrich
When the Marlins fail to make the playoffs this fall, we'll know the reason why...
Got to say I would have rather seen Pierre, Palanco or Solano go down or even traded but as a Jacksonville native I will still get to watch these two gems play.
We're sorry you live in Jacksonville. Stay strong.
Ozuna was hitting .265 with 3 HR and 32 RBI and 31 runs that's more RBI & runs than Stanton. Eventually Stanton will be traded. Ozuna belongs in the Bigs and has earned it!

Then there was this:
Trade Dietrich
Suggesting the Marlins trade someone when their value is tiny? Is that you Beinfest?


And the ESPY for Most Obvious Jocular Reaction to a Steroid Scandal goes to...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Logan Morrison!



Who: The fine folks that brought us Faps Friday 1-4 are having the next installment in #SummerOfFaps at Marlins park, which is the greatest and worst idea of the season. If you have no earthly idea what we're talking about, you clearly don't follow the right people on Twitter.
What: Another gathering filled with copious drinking and fappage, and perhaps The Fish may even score runs and win.
When: Sunday, July 28th. Ballgame is a 1:10pm start.
Where: Starts at Marlins Park, where it ends nobody knows.
Why: Don't bother with why? Just go and have a real good time.
More Info: http://tweetvite.com/event/F5

Unfortunately Dave and I can't make this one, but we've both been to some of the predecessors of the #FF series. These are good people and if you can make it out you'd surely have an afternoon to savor. The Diehards instead will be hosting satellite celebrations for #CincoDeFappo. Good luck to David with the 10am local time start, that's a big day-drinkin' commitment.


At least Marlins fans have the decency to not show up...

(Via Deadspin)


Return of Misadventures of the Tangerine Troops

Sunday, July 21, 2013

This one hurts us more than it hurts you, Giancarlo...


This Story Sounds Familiar...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Former Marlin Mark Buehrle on the struggles of the Blue Jays:
Maybe we were overrated. Maybe we aren't as good as we thought we were.
It's as if acquiring a bunch of high-paid players from a team that lost 90+ games isn't sound strategy...

The biggest tragedy of this entire episode: Look what you did to Alison Brie!

Not cool, Jays


Marlins Will Wear 1956 Throwbacks on Saturday

Friday, July 19, 2013

Shortly after Logan Morrison spilled the beans on Twitter, the Marlins' told reporters that the team will be wearing 1956 Miami Marlins uniforms tomorrow (above) in Milwaukee as part of the Brewers' Negro League tribute (the Brewers will wear 1923 Milwaukee Bears unis). Below is a photo of the Marlins' unis, which look almost exactly like the version we posted last week:

We love that look, especially the shoulder patch. The team points out that the "29" patch honors Satchel Paige, the legendary Negro League pitcher who played for the Marlins (then a Triple-A club in the International League) from 1956 through 1958. We hope this is not the last time the Marlins trot out these uniforms (they have worn versions of the 1980s Marlins uniform in the past, which you can view here). 

Just before the Marlins unveiled their new uniforms in 2011, Ted wrote this about the 1950s uniforms
A blue and orange combo would pay homage to the old Miami Marlins (see left), which I think would be pretty cool.
Pretty cool, indeed.


Jose Fernandez' Innings Limit

The Marlins still expect to hold Jose Fernandez to a limit of 150-170 innings pitched this season, though with his stellar performance that limit will likely be closer to 170. The Miami Herald reported Thursday night that the team is wary of overworking the budding star, who threw only 134 innings in A and high-A ball last season.
Redmond said he never thinks about the long-term innings limit Fernandez is on when he takes the mound. He said he goes "solely on how he's doing that day."

"If he has a chance to win a ball game or whatever it is, and he's going good then we'll let him throw seven or eight innings," Redmond said. “I've never gone into a game going we can only let him throw six innings a day. I take it from game to game. If he has a chance to throw a complete game then I'll let him throw a complete game. If he keeps his pitches down and he has a chance he’ll go out there."

But protecting Fernandez's young arm for the long term is still important to Redmond. Fernandez, for his part, would love to pitch the entire season, but he said he has no problem with the Marlins' plans in part because they have been up front since the beginning.
The Marlins are being very cautious with Fernandez, and that is wise considering their chances of making the 2013 playoffs are effectively zero. The team took a bit of a risk in calling him up at the start of the season (and thus starting his arbitration clock early). Losing him for significant time due to injury stemming from overworking him is something the team cannot afford.

This is far different from the Washington Nationals' decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg last season for a number of reasons. First is the pennant race issue - no one will criticize the Marlins the way the Nats were trashed in some circles for benching their best starter. Strasburg was also coming off Tommy John surgery, while Fernandez is ostensibly healthy. Still, the team is right to slowly work up his inning count over a few seasons.

Right now, Fernandez is at 104 and 2/3 innings for the season. With 69 games remaining, it would be very surprising if he pitched into late September. If Fernandez continues to average just under 6 innings a start, we can expect roughly 11 more starts for Fernandez this season. His next will be on Tuesday at Colorado. Set your DVRs accordingly.


MDH Superfan of the Week

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We somehow missed this last weekend, and since it's the slowest sports week of the year we decided to post it now. Stephen Strasburg went on to have his worst outing of the season (-0.384 WPA) after the unknown twerker disrupted his warmup. We're not saying she's the reason why, but we do think she should keep doing this until we have enough data to determine whether or not she's making a difference. Twerk on, boo.


Fernandez Deals in All-Star Game

If he's not starting, a pitcher in the All-Star Game rarely gets more than an inning of work (if any). Appearing as a 20-year-old rookie (the first since Dwight Gooden to appear in an ASG) Jose Fernandez made the most of his outing.

Three batters, two strikeouts, and one weak popup from reigning MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. Fernandez let everyone know he is a force to be reckoned with, and not since Jeff Conine won the All-Star Game MVP in 1995 has a Marlin shone so bright at the Midsummer Classic.

He made us feel like this:


The Best All-Stars in Marlins History, Part 2

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We're counting down the best All-Star selections in Marlins history. For Part 1 and a discussion of our criteria, click here.

Now we move on to the cream of the crop. No one-year wonders in the bunch (with a lone exception) - these guys bring or brought it for years. First up is a quartet of players who just missed the 5-WAR threshold, none of whom were undeserving All-Stars. I'll call them the Hall of Very Good All-Stars:
18. Luis Castillo, 2003 (4.4 WAR, 106 OPS+): Castillo won his first of three straight Gold Gloves, hit .314, and scored 99 runs for the World Series champs.
17. Mike Lowell, 2004 (4.3 WAR, 127 OPS+): Lowell followed up his career year with a 44-double, 27-home run season. His .293 average was then a career high, and he topped .500 in slugging percentage for the second of three times in his career (.505).
16. Dan Uggla, 2008 (4.4 WAR, 126 OPS+): Uggla is best remembered for committing three errors, two of which came on consecutive plays. He was a monster with the bat that year, though, hitting 32 home runs with 37 doubles while piling up the strikeouts (177 - third most in the NL).
15. Charles Johnson, 1997 (4.4 WAR, 113 OPS+): The defensive ace won his third of four straight Gold Gloves and slugged .454 - not bad for a catcher. He led the NL with 2.6 defensive WAR, catching 56 of 118 base stealers (most in the NL). In his prime CJ was a marvel behind the plate.
We pause here for our He Was That Good? All Star:
14. Carl Pavano, 2004 (5.3 WAR, 137 ERA+): Better known as The Time Pavano Convinced the Yankees to Give Him $40 Million. He went 18-8, but could not recapture the magic thereafter due in large part to injury troubles (and later, age). 
Up next are the On-the-Cusp of Elite All-Stars, who are overshadowed only by some truly outstanding performances: 
13. Miguel Cabrera, 2005 (5.2 WAR, 151 OPS+): Winning his first Silver Slugger and finishing 5th in NL MVP voting, Cabrera hit "only" 33 home runs but slugged .565 and finished third in the NL with a .323 batting average. And his best was still yet to come...
12. Giancarlo Stanton, 2012 (5.5 WAR, 156 OPS+): Sr. #Monsterdong led the NL with a .608 slugging percentage and walloped 37 home runs in an injury-shortened season.
11. Al Leiter, 1996 (5.6 WAR, 139 ERA+): He led the NL with with 119 walks, but mad up for it by giving up just 6.4 hits per 9 innings. He also threw the first no-hitter in franchise history on May 11 of that year.
10. Cabrera, 2006 (5.8 WAR, 159 OPS +): Cabrera just kept getting better, setting a career high with 50 doubles and a .998 OPS. We miss him so much. Thanks for nothing, Cameron Maybin :(
9. Gary Sheffield, 1996 (6.0 WAR, 189 OPS+): Sheff set a franchise record with 42 home runs and led the NL with a .465 OBP and 1.090 OPS. He won a Silver Slugger and finished 6th in MVP voting.
8. Cliff Floyd, 2001 (6.5 WAR, 150 OPS+): Floyd was one of the most consistent but underrated hitters in franchise history (4 straight years of at least 115 OPS+, 3 straight .300+ BA). He hit 31 home runs and 44 doubles in the only All-Star season of his 17-year career.
7. Josh Johnson, 2009 (6.6 WAR, 133 ERA+): The big righty got some notice in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. He struck out a career-high 191 batters and was second among NL pitchers in WAR.
6. Hanley Ramirez, 2008 (6.8 WAR, 143 OPS+): Making his first All-Star appearance, Ramirez earned the starting nod in fan voting. He won a Silver Slugger, led the NL with 143 runs, and hit .301 while smacking 33 home runs.
And now we've reached The Pantheon. Here are the best of the best in Marlins history:
5. Kevin Brown, 1997 (7.0 WAR, 150 ERA+): I had forgotten how good Brown was in his two years in Miami. He finished fifth in the NL with a 2.69 ERA and was also an excellent defender. He threw a no-hitter on June 10, and then a one-hitter just over a month later.
4. Dontrelle Willis, 2005 (7.2 WAR, 152 ERA+): Willis won our hearts all over again with his 22-win (franchise record) season that saw him finish second in NL Cy Young voting. His 7 complete games and 5 shutouts led the NL, he also batted .261 that year(!).
3. Johnson, 2010 (7.2 WAR, 180 ERA+): He didn't have the flash of Willis, but Johnson's 2010 season was arguably better than Dontrelle's 2005. JJ led the NL with a 2.30 ERA, with the 7th-lowest WHIP (1.105) and second-best K/BB ratio (3.875).
2. Ramirez, 2009 (7.3 WAR, 148 OPS+): Remember when Hanley Ramirez was one of the most exciting players in the game? He won the NL batting title in '09, hitting .342 and getting his second-straight starting job in the Midsummer Classic. Hanley finished 2nd in NL MVP voting; this was the apex of his career in Florida.
1. Brown, 1996 (8.0 WAR, 215 ERA+): Simply put, Brown's 1996 season was the best pitching performance in franchise history. He finished second in NL CY Young voting, led the league in ERA+, ERA (1.89), WHIP (0.944), HR/9 innings (0.3) and, curiously, HBP (16). 


Jose Fernandez Knows the Joy of the #Monsterdong

Monday, July 15, 2013

That was Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez after Giancarlo Stanton tied Saturday night's game in the bottom of the ninth with a classic #Monsterdong. Jose's reaction lets us know that he has not let pro sports suck the joy out of him just yet, which we love. We'd totally hang with Jose.


The Best All-Stars in Marlins History, Part 1

With the annual All-Star Game on deck, Ted and I thought it would be fun to look back at every All-Star in franchise history and sort the wheat from the chaff. The Marlins have benefited from MLB's rule that every team must be represented at the midsummer classic, as you'll see below. Indeed, it is a double-edged sword: it allows fans of bad teams to have at least a little rooting interest in the game, but it also results in some very undeserving All-Star selections. Today we will look at the bottom half of the ledger, with the top half coming Tuesday.

For purposes of ranking, we looked at each players Wins Above Replacement (as calculated by Baseball Reference and either ERA+ (for pitchers) or OPS+ (for position players). We excluded Jose Fernandez, as he only has half a season of stats to compare, and did not account for any pre-/post-ASG split (because that would have taken more time than we were willing to invest). Incidentally, Fernandez already has more WAR than the bottom 6 players on the list (2.5), and should he continue his hot play could easily catapult into the top half of this list.

Onto the rankings, beginning with the Thanks for Showing Up division (* denotes ASG starter):
39. Alex Gonzalez, 1999 (0.7 WAR, 91 OPS+): Someone had to go in 1999, and it was Gonzalez. He didn't have a terrible year, but his .277 batting average was complemented by only 15 walks in 591 plate appearances.
38. Edgar Renteria, 1998 (0.9 WAR, 88 OPS+): See above. El NiƱo led the NL by getting caught stealing 22 times.
37. Gaby Sanchez, 2011 (2.7 WAR, 113 OPS+): Gaby wasn't that bad in 2011, but in hindsight Giancarlo Stanton (4.1 WAR, 141 OPS+) would have been a better choice. Sanchez hit .293 in the first half of the season, then took a major nosedive, hitting .225 in the second half.
Next up, the Good Thing Your Position is Not That Deep division:
36. Paul Lo Duca, 2005 (1.2 WAR, 92 OPS+): Look, no one expects a catcher to do that much on offense. But you do have to do something on defense every once in awhile. Lo Duca was third in the NL with 29 runners caught stealing, but also gave up the most stolen bases (89 - for a CS% of 24.6%).
35. Luis Castillo, 2002 (2.0 WAR, 95 OPS+): Castillo led the NL with 48 stolen bases, but got caught 15 times, second most in the league. He was solid on defense, and hit .301.
34. Charles Johnson, 2001 (2.4 WAR, 100 OPS+): CJ threw out 37 would-be base stealers (5th in the NL), but was the epitome of average at the plate.
Now let's pause and consider that democracy is not always the optimal decision-making mechanism. This is the Fan Votes are Flawed division:
33. Gary Sheffield*, 1993 (-0.1 WAR, 120 OPS+): Acquired in a late-June trade with the Padres, Sheffield was voted in by fans as a starter, even though he probably did not deserve it. His terrible defense (-3.0 dWAR) outdid a so-so offensive year (2.9 oWAR). His 34 errors were third in the NL. On the plus side, Sheffield went 2 for 3 with a home run in the game, so at least he acquitted himself nicely.
32. Hanley Ramirez*, 2010 (2.7 WAR, 126 WAR): Not that we didn't love watching Ramirez start in the All-Star Game for the third straight season, but this selection was based largely on his reputation (having won the batting title the previous season). He hit .300 in 2010, but in hindsight this season was the beginning of his decline into a very undistinguished hitter (though he has been very hot thus far in 2013).
Our next category is the Franchise Hero division, featuring two players who can do no wrong:
31. Jeff Conine, 1994 (2.8 WAR, 130 OPS+): Conine had a better year in 1994 than his other All-Star season, but he didn't win MVP in the 1994 game, so that knocks him down a few pegs.
30. Mike Lowell, 2002 (3.0 WAR, 116 OPS+): Lowell was better in 2003, but
29. Lowell, 2003 (2.7 WAR, 128 OPS+): Lowell had his best season with the Marlins in 2003, hitting a career-high 32 home runs despite missing the last month of the season with a broken hand. He also won the NL Silver Slugger for third-basemen.
28. Conine, 1995 (2.6 WAR, 135 OPS+): Not the most distinguished season, but Conine did win ASG MVP thanks to his decisive home run. 
These guys all had better All-Star years, but were still clearly deserving of the honor. It's the Better Seasons in the Portfolio division:
27. Dan Uggla, 2006 (3.0 WAR, 112 OPS+): He had better years to come, but 27 HR and .480 slugging as a rookie is nothing to be ashamed of. Uggla finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting, behind teammate and winner Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Zimmerman of Washington.
26. Miguel Cabrera, 2007 (3.2 WAR, 150 OPS+): His last All-Star year with the Marlins was his worst, but he still hit 34 home runs with a .965 OPS.
25. Cabrera, 2004 (3.4 WAR, 150 OPS+): 33 home runs, 112 RBI in his first full season in the majors. Yeah, he was pretty good.
24. Castillo, 2005 (3.6 WAR, 108 OPS+): Castillo won his third straight NL Gold Glove, hitting above .300 for the fifth time in seven seasons.
23. Dontrelle Willis, 2003 (3.9 WAR, 127 ERA+): The Rookie of the Year and folk hero of the 2003 World Series team, Willis could do no wrong. 
These two appeared in the midsummer classic during their only year with the team, making them the One-Year Wonder division:
22. Armando Benitez, 2004 (3.4 WAR, 319 ERA+): Led the NL with 47 saves, and had a crazy-outlier .176 BABIP. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good (and even better to be both).
21. Moises Alou, 1997 (3.5 WAR, 130 OPS+): Alou slashed .292/.373/.493 en route to a World Series title. Sheffield was arguably better among his teammates, but he did not make the All-Star team.
Rounding out the first part is the One-Timers' Club, both of whom made one All-Star appearance as Marlins (though both made additional appearances with other teams):
20. Ryan Dempster, 2000 (4.2 WAR, 121 ERA+): Hard to remember, but Dempster was once the ace of the Marlins' staff (shudders). He had 8.3 K/9IP, but benefitted largely from having no other good All-Star candidates on the team that year.
19. Bryan Harvey, 1993 (4.0 WAR, 257 ERA+): Harvey was third in the NL with 45 saves for the expansion Marlins, helped by a career-low .240 BABIP. His 0.841 WHIP was absurd.
Click here to read Part 2.


Throwback Thursday

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Via Billy Corben, check out the shoulder patch on that uni. So awesome, it makes up for the Mets-like blue and orange color scheme. We really wish Jeffrey Loria had taken a cue from the minor league Miami Marlins uniforms when the team rebranded two years ago, but alas.


Marlins Trade Block: Who's Next?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

With Ricky Nolasco shipped off to LA, our thoughts turn to who else the Marlins could send off into the Marlins diaspora before the July 31 trade deadline, and the answer is: probably no one.

Unless another team makes an offer with a bevy of top prospects, Giancarlo Stanton is not going anywhere (with three years of club control remaining, he is too valuable for even Jeffrey Loria to pawn off on a trade). This is entirely speculative, but I'm guessing the front office has learned its lesson from the Miguel Cabrera trade, namely that the best prospects are no sure thing, especially when they are exchanged for a budding young superstar.

Additionallu, there are not many more expensive contracts to unload. Placido Polanco and Adeiny Hechavarria are the highest paid Marlins now, each earning $2.75 million. The front office won't move Hechavarria, who won't be a free agent until 2019, and Polanco is not on anyone's wish list.

A few relievers could be dangled if another team offers an interesting prospect. Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn, and Steve Cishek fall into this category, though none make 7 figures. There are reports that teams are inquiring about Justin Ruggiano, but the Marlins may need him around to play centerfield and platoon with Juan Pierre in left field due to Chris Coghlan's back injury.

So we could be in for a quiet three weeks.


Giancarlo Stanton Strips Down for ESPN

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine is out today, featuring our favorite purveyor of #Monsterdongs, Giancarlo Stanton.

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at his photo shoot:

Stanton also did a Q-and-A with ESPN.com about his body:
If you could change something about your body, what would it be?
GS: To have better legs. They're not as cut as my upper body. It's harder to put weight on the legs with our schedule. Upper body isn't used all day -- you swing and throw -- but you're on your feet for five to eight hours a day, so the rest has to be maintenance for your legs. It's fine, I'm not a bodybuilder, but if I had to change something it would be that.
Read the whole thing here.


Ricky Nolasco's Real Legacy

Monday, July 8, 2013

Today at Fish Stripes, Micheal Jong has a measured piece about the legacy of Ricky Nolasco, who holds  most of the franchise pitching records (including wins and strikeouts). But we know where his most important legacy lies:

click to embiggen


John Buck Sure Knows How to Make the Marlins Regret Trading Him

Hey, remember a few months ago when John Buck was tearing up the NL and making the Marlins front office look stupid for giving up on him at the worst possible time? Well strap in, because it's time for an episode of Small Sample Size Theater!

On April 12th, I left a note to myself in our CMS:
At the time, Buck was slashing .351/.350/.865 with an absurd 6 home runs and 19 RBI in his first 40 plate appearances. It prompted articles like this from Hardball Talk, which pointed out that Buck had more RBI than the entire Marlins team at the time.

What has happened since then? Exactly what you'd expect. As of Monday morning, he's sporting a .210/.278/.390 slash line (better than his .192/.297/.347 from 2012 but worse than his career averages) with a 25.8% strikeout rate. He was especially putrid in June, hitting .165 and striking out 22 times in 84 plate appearances.

At least some things are still predictable.


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