Tagged: Marlins

Regular Season Preview: The Florida Marlins

The Florida Marlins were big overachievers in 2008.  They came into the season without, face-of-the-franchise slugger, Miguel Cabrera because they traded him along with pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for a bevy of young prospects.  No one had any expectations, and most thought that they would finish fourth in their division, best-case-scenario.  The Fish shocked all of their doubters, though, when they went on to post a record of 84-77, missing the post-season by only 5.5 games.

They were able to last so long because a lot of their young players took big steps forward.  Coming into the season you would have thought that the Marlins were terrible at the infield corners.  But, first and third baseman Mike Jacobs and Jorge Cantu stepped up big time while batting in the heart of the Marlins lineup.  Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla were All-Stars once again, as the infield kept the offense alive.  The outfield was pretty thin; Cody Ross performed the best of them all.  Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco had a break-out season, and young guns Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad also helped the pitching staff out a lot when they returned from injury and got called up from the minor leagues.  Scott Olson was decent in the 4th slot.  The bullpen had a few nice pieces, including Matt Lindstorm, Kevin Gregg, and others.  It was a good team, just not good enough to capture the division.

Marlins

The Marlins didn’t do much to add to their team in the offseason, but they did open up some spots for young players in their trades.  The Fish worked quickly, among the first offseason trades were Mike Jacobs, Josh Willingham, Scott Olson, and Kevin Gregg.  Replacing the three departed players will be youngsters Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Gaby Sanchez and Matt Lindstorm.  There could definitely be some addition by subtraction here.  Maybin could easily outperform Willingham, Miller should hopefully be just as good as Olson was, and Sanchez adds a nice bat.  Even if he’s not as good as Jacobs, it’s still a good trade because they brought in some much-needed bullpen help in Leo Nunez.  Emilio Bonifacio adds some depth to the club.  If Gaby Sanchez needs to be bumped from the lineup, they could always move Cantu to first base, Uggla to third, and then play Bonifacio at second.  It hurts to lose Gregg because he could have been a solid middle-inning guy, but it’s good to see that Lindstorm will have a chance to close.  I liked their offseason.

They key to this club in ’09 will be how their young players perform, which is pretty much how it is every year.  If Andrew Miller and Anibal Sanchez pitch well in the rotation, it will be very good 1-5.  If Ryan Tucker pitches in the MLB coming out of the bullpen the way he pitched in the minor leagues, he’ll be a great set-up guy for Matt Lindstorm.  Lindstorm, an improved Tucker, and the addition of Leo Nunez should give the Fish a nice bullpen, but they need Tucker to step up.  If Gaby Sanchez brings at least close to the bat that Mike Jacobs brought, they’ll still have solid power in the lineup.  But most of all, the Marlins’ season depends on how well Cameron Maybin plays.  If Maybin can live up to his potential in his first season in the bigs, the Fish will have one of the best leadoff men in the MLB hitting right in front of Hanley Ramirez.

So as you can see, the Marlins’ season is once again up to the young players.  If they all step up, you will see a very good team take the field on Opening Day.  If the young players don’t step up, you will see a mediocre at best team.  If should be fun to watch as the fantastic four in the NL East square off against each other.

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Cubs Trade for Kevin Gregg; Kerry Wood won’t be Back

The Cubs have recently traded for former Marlin Kevin Gregg. Because of the move, Kerry Wood will not be back. Jose Ceda will be the prospect heading over to the Fish. I like this deal for both teams. The Marlins clear some more salary while getting a solid bullpen prospect in Ceda. They’re probably already done and free agency hasn’t even started yet. No more salary would have to be moved and all their young players have opening now. Overall, a solid deal for the Marlins.

I think it was a smart trade for the Cubs, but as a fan I am very upset that Woody won’t be back; he was one of my favorite players. It was a good idea, though, mainly because they needed to clear salary. There was no way that the Cubs were going to be able to afford Ryan Dempster, Wood, and Bobby Abreu. Gregg can come in for a cheap 4 million and be a solid set-up man for Carlos Marmol. So they will have about 16 million to spend on Dempster and Abreu while filling the void that Kerry Wood left in the bullpen. I feel very bad for Kerry. He took so many discounts to stay with the team and would have this time, also. But he doesn’t get the same loyalty back. Poor Wood.

Now that he won’t be back with the Cubs, he’ll be going to a different team this offseason. With so many good options suddenly out there at closer like Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes, Trevor Hoffman, and now Wood there probably won’t be a huge market for Kerry. The Mets, Cardinals, Indians, Tigers, Brewers are all in need of a closer. I think that the Rangers could enter the picture for Wood, however. He is from Texas and I don’t think the Rangers are nor should they be sold on CJ Wilson. They seem like the best fit to me.

So the Cubs replace Wood with Gregg, the Marlins clear more salary, and Wood could go to any team, but I like him with the Rangers.

Marlins Trade Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen to Nationals

After the Holliday blockbuster last night, another trade has happened. The Marlins have traded Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen to the Nationals for second base prospect Emilio Bonifacio and 2 other minor leaguers, shortstop Jake Smolinski and pitcher PJ Dean. The Marlins needed to clear salary this offseason, and they have done that by trading Mike Jacobs, Willingham, and Olsen already. I’m going to say it right away: the Nationals won this trade by a large margin. Willingham is a solid left field option; Olsen is an OK #4 starter. They gave up only Emilio Bonifacio whom is probably going to become the Willy Tavares of second base, a middling pitching prospect, and a decent shortstop prospect. Finally, a good move by Jim Bowden. I have no idea what the Marlins were thinking on this trade. I’m not upset they traded Olsen; he had to go. I’m not thrilled with it but I can understand why they traded Willingham. I’m more angry that they didn’t get anything back they could use. Current second base prospect Chris Coghlan is just as good if not better than Bonifacio. With Hanley Ramirez locked in at shortstop, there’s no need for Smolinski. The pitching prospect is decent, but that’s all they could use in this deal. To me this was a waste of players by the Marlins. It was clearly a payroll motivated move. The two good things we can take from this is that the trading season has officially started, and that Jim Bowden is not mentally insane. At least, I don’t think so.

Indians could trade Kelly Shoppach

It is known that the Indians could look to trade catcher Kelly Shoppach this offseason. The reasoning is to improve one of their holes while keeping Victor Martinez behind the plate. Then, they could either give Ryan Garko another shot at first base, or they could sign a free agent like Jason Giambi. They’re looking for a veteran starting pitcher, a late inning reliever, and an infield bat. The Reds, Red Sox, Tigers, and Marlins are possibilities for Shoppach. How about Bronson Arroyo and cash from the Reds for Shoppach? I favor the Reds a bit in this trade, but it still makes sense. The Reds would replace Arroyo with Homer Baily. The Red Sox could offer a young pitcher like Michael Bowden, but that’s if the Indians would accpet a young pitcher in return. I have no idea what the Tigers could offer. They don’t have anything the Indians want, and their in the same division. The Marlins make the most sense to me. They could fill two of the Indians holes easily. Kelly Shoppach for Kevin Gregg and Scott Olsen. The Indians bring in a verteran starter to add a bit more depth to their rotation. Gregg is a solid, cheap closer. The costs of all combined would probably only equal about an extra 5 million for the Tribe. So that would leave them with 10 million to sign a big infield bat through free agency. This trade makes sense for the Fish, too. They cut 10 million in salary between this trade and the Mike Jacobs deal, as well as open up a spot for prospects Chris Coghlan and Andrew Miller. Kevin Gregg wasn’t a necessary part of this team because of all the other bullpen talent on their team. The best part about it is that they can fill their weakest link last year: catcher. I like this trade for both teams.

Mike Jacobs traded to Royals for Leo Nunez

MLB.com is reporting that the Marlins have traded Mike Jacobs to the Royals for Leo Nunez. I like this deal a lot for both teams. The Marlins will add speed, defense, and pitching to their team all in one move. That is what they said they wanted to build around, and they didn’t lie. They now can call up Chris Coghlan, move Dan Uggla to third base, and Jorge Cantu to first base. That would help the defense. Coghlan’s speed would give them more versatility on offense. Nunez is a big addition to the bullpen and could help replace Kevin Gregg should he be traded this winter. On top of all that, the Fish are able to cut salary, something they had to do. The Royals did well, also. Some would have argued that they should’ve given Kila Ka’aihue and Ryan Shealy a full shot before trading for Jacobs, but the latter can come in and fill a big void in their lineup. Bringing him in, as well as a possible free agent bat could give them a solid lineup next year. If certain guys do well in the starting rotation, the Kansas City Royals might become the Rays of 2009. Overall, I think this was a good way to start off the 2008-2009 offseason.

Team’s Payroll

I will put the amount of money teams will have to spend this offseason along with their payroll from the previous year, arbitration eligible players, and the salary they have committed. This will make things easier when trying to guess who could afford the top-notch free agents. I was informed greatly from MLB Trade Rumors. This will be a side-bar link.

 

 Teams

 Last year’s payroll

 Salary Committed

 Arbitration Eligible

 Estimated money to spend

Braves

102 million 

48 million 

Casey Kothman, Omar Infante, Kelly Johnson, Matt Diaz, Jeff Francoeur, Mike Gonzalez 

 45 million

Mets

 138 million

104 million 

 Ryan Church, John Maine, Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez

28 million 

Phillies

103 million

100 million 

Cole Hamels, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Howard  

15 million 

Marlins

 21 million

 20 million

Scott Olsen, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Mike Jacobs, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, Matt Treanor, Alfredo Amezaga, Joe Nelson, Kevin Gregg, Logan Kensing, Eulogio de la Cruz, Doug, Waechter 

0 million

Nationals

55 million 

40 million 

Ryan Zimmerman, Tim Redding, Jesus Colome, Ryan Wagner, Willy Harris

10 million 

Cubs 

118 million

122 million 

Reed Johnson, Ronny Cedeno, Michael Wuertz, Neal Cotts, Chad Gaudin 

20 million 

Brewers 

80 million 

60 million 

Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy, Corey Hart, Dave Bush, Seth McClung, Todd Coffey, Chris Capuano 

20 million 

Cardinals 

100 million 

78 million 

Aaron Miles, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, Todd Wellemyer, Brad Thompson 

20 million 

Reds 

74 million 

54.5 million 

Bill Bray, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Lincoln 

15 million

Astros 

 86 million

88 million 

Humberto Quintero, Ty Wigginton, David Newhan, Brian Backe, Wandy Rodriguez, Jose Valverde, Geoff Geary, Tim Byrdak 

15 million 

Pirates 

 49 million

31 million 

Ryan Doumit, Adam LaRoche, Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Zack Duke, John Grabow, Tyler Yates, Denny Bautista 

8 million 

Dodgers 

59 million 

118  million 

Russell Martin, Andre Eithier, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Scott Proctor, Yhency Brazoban

50 million 

Diamond Backs 

 66 million

55 million 

Chris Snyder, Augie Ojeda, Conor Jackson, Chris Burke, Edgar Gonzalez, Chad Qualls

10 million 

Rockies 

68 million 

77.5 million 

Garret Atkins, Willy Tavaras, Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Grilli 

3 million 

Padres 

73 million 

44 million 

Jody Gerut, Scott Hairston, Heath Bell, Clay Hensley 

4 million 

Giants 

76 million 

64 million 

Fred Lewis 

10 million 

Angels 

124 million 

87 million 

Macier Izturis, Rob Quinlan, Chone Figgins, Ervin Santana 

30 million 

A’s 

48 million 

29 million 

Huston Street, Justin Duchscherer Rob Bowen 

10 million + 

Rangers 

67 million 

63 million 

Gerald Laird, Marlon Byrd, Brandon McCarthy, Frank Francisco, CJ Wilson, Kameron Loe 

10 million 

Mariners 

117 million 

88 million 

Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Jeremy Reed 

20 million – 

White Sox 

121 million 

108 million 

Bobby Jenks, DJ Carasco, DeWayne Wise

10 million 

Twins 

57 million 

54 million 

Jason Kubel, Matt Guerrier 

15 million 

Indians 

79 million 

64 million 

Kelly Shoppach 

15 million 

Tigers 

137 million 

115 million 

Marcus Thames, Ramon Santiago, Fernando Rodney, Justin Verlander, Gary Glover, Joel Zumaya, Bobby Seay 

5 million 

14 million

14 millionRoyals 

58 million 

52 million 

John Buck, Esteban German, Mark Teahen, Joey Gathright, Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies, Jimmy Gobble, Joel Peralta 

7 million 

Red Sox 

133 million 

92 million 

Kevin Youkilis, Kevin Cash, Javier Lopez, Jonathan Papelban 

33 million 

Rays 

43 million 

49 million 

Edwin Jackson, Dioner Navarro, Jason Bartlett, Gabe Gross, Jonny Gomes, Grant Balfour

5 million 

Yankees 

209 million 

140 million 

Xavier Nady, Wilson Betemit, Chien-Ming Wang, Brian Bruney 

50 million 

Blue Jays 

98 million 

80 million 

Jose Bautista, Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, Brandon League

15 million 

Orioles 

67 million 

63 million 

Freddie Bynum, Luke Scott, Nick Markakis, Jeremy Guthrie, Daniel Cabrera, George Sherrill, Chris Ray, Fernando Cabrera 

15 million 

 

Teams may look to Make Trades for Closers

With only four good closer options on the free agent market: Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, and Trevor Hoffman, and with the latter two likely to resign, some teams might be looking to make trades to fill a closer position rather than free agents. The Indians, Angels, Cardinals, Brewers, Tigers, and Mets are the other teams in search of a closer. The closers available could be BJ Ryan, George Sherrill, Huston Street, and Kevin Gregg. Ryan will not cost many prospects because of his salary, Gregg should be fairly cheap, and Street and Sherrill are signed cheaply but will need good prospects. Teams with large pockets like the Mets and Angels could consider Ryan a better option than Brian Fuentes because Ryan will have a shorter term. The Tigers would probably target Gregg because he’ll come cheap. The Brewers, Indians, and Cardinals will probably look into Sherrill and Street. If the Cards miss out on better middle infield options, then they might trade for Ryan. They’d still have 10 million to spend on cheaper middle infield options. The Oriols will probably target a young shortstop in a Sherrill trade, much like they did at the trade deadline. I don’t see the A’s trading Street unless they get a good left-side-of-the-infield player or just get a great offer. One possible idea is Street to the Cardinals for Bryan Anderson, then the A’s trade Kurt Suzuki to a team in need of a catcher for a shortstop or third baseman. Example: the Marlins with a pitcher for Matt Dominguez. Another idea would be to package Street with Justin Duchscherer to the Brewers to get either Mat Gamel or Alcidies Escobar. There are several possibilities. Who knows, we might even see a different team jump in.