Ten Very Specific Predictions for 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's that time again...
  1. Giancarlo Stanton will not be traded before the July 31 deadline, as the Marlins will attempt (probably in vain) to work out a long-term deal with him in the offseason.
  2. In fact, the Marlins won't make any major trades this season. They don't have any big contracts to unload (except for Jarrod Saltalamacchia if you think $7M a year qualifies as "outrageous"), and will hesitate to part with any of their young pitchers barring a preposterously dumb offer. 
  3. All you assholes will stop complaining about the Marlins Park home run sculpture and learn to appreciate its kitschy charm (not really, but a man can dream, can't he?).
  4. Though the Marlins surprised many baseball observers by promoting Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich to the big club last season, they won't repeat that with recent first-round picks Colin Moran and Andrew Heaney. With Heaney, the reason will likely be the team's surfeit of quality pitchers, while Moran will be held back by the fact that the Marlins won't be contenders in 2014 and preventing Moran's service clock from starting too early will save the team money three years from now. 
  5. The Marlins' "revamped" infield will hit so poorly that Michael Hill will take the unprecedented step of signing Jose Fernandez' abuela to a contract. She'll slash .180/.450/.095, generating a ton of walks thanks to her Eddie Gaedel-like strike zone
  6. Marcell Ozuna will be the Marlin most likely to appear in a Misadventures of the Tangerine Troops post this season (based solely on these two gems from 2013).
  7. David Samson's efforts to increase attendance by quickening the pace of games won't the intended effect, but it hey, we won't have to watch as many hours of bad baseball, so we'll be okay with it.
  8. This will finally be the year that a Giancarlo Stanton #Monsterdong finally kills someone. It'll be worth it, though.
  9. Tino Martinez, still clearly not over his firing last season, will be seen outside Marlins Park holding a boombox iPhone over his head blasting Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" in early May. It will be the saddest reenactment of that scene Say Anything ever.
  10. 73-89, 4th in NL East (thanks to a very lifeless Phillies campaign), 


The 2014 Marlins Macropreview

Opening Day is finally upon us, and as we do every year, the Diehards have scoured the interwebs for all the 2014 projections we can find. We averaged the projections together so as to identify the conventional wisdom about the team heading into the season (we're not exactly Nate Silver, but we do recognize the power of aggregating different projection models into a kind of supermodel).

Like last season, the baseball world expects little of the Marlins (not that we blame them). Though the Marlins should have a deep starting rotation and respectable bullpen, their offense remains iffy beyond Giancarlo Stanton (and to a lesser extent Christian Yelich). Taken together, the projections have the Marlins as a 70-win team, with little variance. Here are the projections:

This is a case where the numbers match what is generally expected of the team, a modest improvement over last year's 62-win total, but nothing to inspire hopes of a playoff berth. If the Marlins wildly outperform expectations, they could flirt with a .500 record. But if injuries pile up, this team could lose 100 games just as easily.

Indeed, 2015 remains the earliest hope for a competitive season, but Marlins fans still have the benefit of watching Jose Fernandez and Stanton (for now). Those two, at least, should provide for some fun times this season.


Jeffrey Loria Won't Let Micky Arison Buy the Marlins

Monday, March 24, 2014

Micky Arison 
Every few weeks or so we see people in our Twitter timeline calling for Miami Heat owner Micky Arison to purchase the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria. It turns out Arison is pretty warm to that idea...
Going back to last year, Heat owner Micky Arison has expressed interest in buying the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria, according to a Major League Baseball official close to the situation.

But Loria isn't interested in selling to Arison, Jeb Bush or anyone else who has inquired.
That was from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson mentions that Loria has no intention to sell, and why would he? He got a sweetheart of a deal from MLB when he bought the team (getting the Montreal Expos off his hand in addition to an interest-free loan to cover the portion of the Marlins sale price that wasn't offset from the sale of the Expos), not to mention the albatross of a stadium deal that local governments awarded him years ago. It costs him literally nothing to own the Marlins (there's a reason he's considered such a villain in these parts: his ruthless efficacy).

What would it take to convince Loria to sell the Marlins? Jackson notes that he likes being a baseball owner, and despite the team's struggles he plans to stick around (indeed, his oft-reported stubbornness probably plays a role in this: wouldn't you keep this team long enough to see it succeed and vindicate your own vision?).

The answer comes down to money. Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002, and Forbes estimated the team's value at $520 million last season. He is probably not strapped for cash now, but if he ever becomes so, he will make a very handsome profit on his investment. But while Loria is among the "poorest" of sports owners (one site estimates his net worth at $500 million, less than half that of Angels owner Arte Moreno), he's not exactly eating ramen, either.

So don't get your hopes up.


LoMo: Miami Smells

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Logan Morrison may not play for the Marlins anymore, but that won't stop him from taking shots at South Florida. He made this hot take in an interview with Seattle sports-talk station KJR on Wednesday (via Miami New Times):
"I've been up to Seattle a few times and it's beautiful," replied Morrison. "I love the cleanliness of a downtown. You know Miami's not exactly the cleanest downtown. It kinda smells like moldy people and ...yeah it's hot, moist, and Seattle's awesome."

I don't live in Miami anymore, but I was in downtown Miami last December, and while it is more than a bit sketchy (especially after sundown), I don't remember noticing any moldy smell. Besides, Seattle (where I live now) may have a clean downtown, but it is not without its problems (like lax panhandling ordinances). It is a pretty awesome place to live, though.

Regardless, if urban odors are a problem for Morrison, then he should do his damnedest to avoid being sent to the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma (home of the Tacoma aroma). That would mean slashing a bit better than last season's .242/.333/.375 mark.

Morrison also said it would be nice to play in front of bigger crowds in Seattle, which as the New Times points out, averaged only 2,000 more fans per game than Miami last year. Mariners fans turn out in droves for Felix Hernandez starts, but less so for the team's other four starters (this should sound familiar to our readers).

Anyway, it's nice to see that LoMo has not changed and still counts ill-informed trolling as a viable PR strategy.


The Marlins Turn to Groupon (Again)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

via Marlins.com

It has come to our attention that the Marlins are taking to Groupon to help sell tickets to Opening Day:
Watch the Marlins on Monday, March 31st as they open the season against the Colorado Rockies and receive complimentary tickets to a future home game in April or May.
Here's the full deal. We're sure this news will lead to plenty of hot takes ("I thought the Marlins only used Groupon to find free agents!"), but we'll just repost what we said when the Marlins used a Groupon offer last year:
If only Groupon was around ten years ago. In 2002, Ted and I went to the Marlins' home opener, along with 23,875 other fans (or roughly two-thirds of Joe Robbie Stadium's baseball capacity). The highlight of the night came when a Mike Lowell home run was overturned (called a foul ball instead) and fans responded by throwing their schedule magnets (that night's giveaway) onto the field. The Marlins lost 10-2. Had our tickets been bundled with a merchandise voucher (as well as a voucher for tickets to another game, as in the current Groupon deal), we could all have thrown souvenir bats onto the field as well.
Also, we suspect whoever wrote this offer knows nothing about the Marlins that cannot be found in their Wikipedia entry.
Today, after some light rebranding to go along with the new ballpark, the rechristened Miami Marlins aim to continue traditions new and old, expanding their list of Hall of Famers.
Don't they know Mike Piazza isn't in the Hall of Fame yet??


The First Pratfall of Spring

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We waffled on whether we would tag this Misadventures of the Tangerine Troops, but in the end it was a no-brainer... But hey, who gives one shit about your kid when there is a chance to grab a baseball that retails for under 10?

Good luck, kid. Hope your dad doesn't pull the wagon near an open sewer drain or active volcano.


It's Never Too Early for a #Monsterdong

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ah, the first Giancarlo Stanton home run video* of spring. So majestic. Very satisfying. Watch below (or watch here while we try to make the mlb.com embed work):

*His second home run in Spring Training.


John Henry Manages to Be Pettier Than Jeffrey Loria

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Earlier this week, the Marlins front office got in a tizzy because the Boston Red Sox sent a lineup of scrubs to a spring training match-up against Miami at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The reason: the Marlins had charged a premium for tickets to that game, since they were facing the defending World Series champions. It's not great for business if you charge extra to see David Ortiz and Ortiz doesn't even show up.

The Marlins brought the issue to MLB, and a few days later Red Sox general manager called Marlins GM Michael Hill to apologize.

But just as it seemed that the whole incident was over, Red Sox owner (and former Marlins owner) John Henry decided to subtweet the Marlins like a bitchy high schooler:
Apparently Henry never paid anyone to tell him that stooping to the level of Jeffrey Loria does not make him seem magnanimous, but only makes him look more imperious and smarmy than Loria himself. Here are two things to keep in mind when reading this tweet:
  1. John Henry used to own the Marlins, but sold the team to Loria in 2002 after he had failed to convince local politicians to pony up for a new baseball-only stadium in Miami-Dade county. That's right, he's not even as effective a corporate succubus as Jeffrey Loria.
  2. In 2002 (when Henry still owned the team) Jesus Sanchez made 32 starts for the Marlins. Sanchez has a career WAR of -0.3 (yes, that's a negative number). Henry has yet to apologize for that.
I think we speak for all Marlins fans when we say this: FUCK OFF JOHN HENRY.


Loria Shells Out the Dough (Sorta...) for Jose

Monday, March 3, 2014

Jeffrey Loria did something recently that is a little out of character: he willingly gave one of his players a bigger raise than necessary. Sun Sentinel Marlins reporter Juan C. Rodriguez tweeted Sunday that reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez will earn $635,000 this season, well above the $500,000 he was scheduled to make under his rookie contract (though still at a ridiculously steep discount relative to what he could get in the open market).

Notorious for his reluctance to pay pre-arbitration players anything above CBA-mandated minimums (and also for low-balling players in salary arbitration on multiple occasions), Loria is definitely taking a new tack with regards to Fernandez. A day before he was awarded the ROY last fall, Fernandez was surprised by a visit from his grandmother, Olga, who left Cuba to see him for the first time since his defection six years prior. Loria and the team helped orchestrate the reunion, a fact Fernandez made sure everyone knew:
Considering the fact that Giancarlo Stanton (the other All-Star that Marlins fans would love to see rewarded with a long-term deal) seems less likely to agree to any kind of contract extension with the Marlins by the day, perhaps Loria has learned a lesson or two about building a relationship with his players long before he enters into a contract negotiation with them. Those lessons, plus a good-faith effort to build around his young stars, would go a long way toward making the Marlins a preferred destination among free agents in addition to giving them a better opportunity to retain talent.

But is a photo op and a modest raise all he can do? Loria could make an even bigger statement by doing what so many other teams have done with young stars and extend Fernandez's contract now, five full seasons before he can go on the open market. It will cost him more in the short term, but would also allow the Marlins to limit his salary during arbitration years and thereafter. It is what Tampa did with Evan Longoria, and Minnesota with Joe Mauer, to name a few examples.

This is a start, though, and hopefully the first of many management concessions to come in the ongoing relationship between Fernandez and the Marlins.

Speaking of dudes the Marlins should have locked up a long time ago, Giancarlo Stanton is either a reckless prankster, or he is resorting to possible self-harm as a negotiating tactic with Marlins brass. Regardless, we recommend he just leave the crocs alone...


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