Although they've won two World Series titles in their short existence, the Florida Marlins are getting an entire makeover as a baseball franchise. The club packs it's bags and heads to their new stadium under a new team name.
There's no way to go but up for the Marlins, who sported a 72-90 record last season, good enough for last place in the National League East.
management has finally made a commitment to the baseball club, spending nearly
$200 million dollars in order to acquire free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath
Bell. If 3rd baseman Hanley Ramirez can return to his old form, the Marlins
have a chance to compete in the always tough NL East, where they will battle with powerhouses such as the Philadelphia Phillies.
Jose Reyes is coming off of a career season with the New York Mets in 2011, but couldn't
refuse the money that the Marlins were offering him. Reyes has a history of injuries, but nevertheless, his numbers last year proved that he hasn't slowed down, batting .337 with 7 HR, 44 RBI, 101 runs, and 39 SB.
from the injuries, one must question Reyes' "me first" mentality. In the
last game of the season, Reyes asked the manager if he could be removed from
the game as Ryan Braun was hot on his heels for the batting title. The manager
complied and Reyes won by default. A true winner want's to play every inning of
a game and not "back into" an award.
should feel rejuvenated in the city of Miami,
and look for Jose to have a huge year if he can remain healthy.
pitcher Mark Buehrle knows what it takes to win a World Series Championship, and now
he joins the long list of athletes who are chosing to take their talents to South Beach. Buehrle has signed a 4 year, $58 million dollar
contract with the Marlins and he will bring veteran leadership, along with consistency, to this evolving team.
season, Buehrle was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA. This is a pitcher that will provide
Miami with innings, as he is guaranteed 200 innings per year, and sports a
lifetime record of 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA. Buehrle isn't an elite pitcher, but
he's a grinder and has proven time and time again to be very reliable. With the change of scenery, look for
Buehrle's production to improve slightly.
Marlins will have an easier time in 2012 in closing out games thanks to the newly
acquired reliever Heath Bell. Bell is used to the very high temperatures in the
south, as his last stop was in San Diego. Coming from the Padres will actually be an asset to his
game, as he remains in the National League and the 34 year old closer will already be familiar with most of his competition. In his last 3 seasons, Bell has
amassed a total of 132 saves and has only blown 14 chances. Bell can also play
middle reliever, as he has 62 holds to his resume. This is a player in his prime
and a will be a great fit in Miami.
was a complete wash for superstar Hanley Ramirez due to an injured shoulder.
Ramirez has always been a leadoff hitter with power, but last year was moved to
the cleanup position. Jose Reyes is a pure leadoff hitter and this combination will work well for the Marlins.
sports a lifetime .306 batting average and is known for his power. Last season, he saw his
average decline 57 points in 92 games. I don't know if we're going to see the
Hanley Ramirez of old, but expect a comeback year from this 3rd baseman under
more preferable circumstances.
from the new additions, the Miami Marlins also bring back three solid hitters in
Emilio Bonifacio (.296 BA, 40 SB), Gaby Sanchez (19 HR, 78 RBI, .266 BA), and
power hitter Mike Stanton (34 HR, 87 RBI, .262). With cathcer John Buck and
Logan Morrison, this lineup no longer lacks depth. This offense contains
contact hitters, power, and speed, giving the Marlins a very well rounded team. Look for more production out of the
returning players as they'll have more opportunities to score and knock in
Buehrle will fit in well with this pitching rotation. There's no legitimate ace
but there's a group of pitchers that can pitch nearly 200 innings, throw under
or around 4.00 ERA and around the .500 mark. This is sufficient
enough to give the Miami Marlins an opportunity to win games and improve their reputation.
Buehrle, the Marlins will look for solid seasons from Javier Vasquez (13-11,
3.69), Anibal Sanchez (8-9, 3.67), Ricky Nolasco (10-12, 4.67), and Chris Volstad
(5-13, 4.89). With solid middle inning pitching from Randy Choate, Edward
Mujica, and Mike Dunn, the Marlins pitching staff looks to be very secure.
has made some nice off season acquisitions and are playing in a new stadium and
under a new name. Look for attendance to improve (which is much needed) along
with on-field performance. Overall, this is a dramtically improved ball club.
Marlins- 85-77 (expect dramatic improvement)