Yesterday the Miami Marlins traded catcher John Baker to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc is a young left handed pitcher who has had limited work in the majors since 2008. His most active season was in 2010 when he started 25 games for the Padres. He went 8-12 with a 4.25 ERA. He had a WHIP of 1.42 and an opposing batting average of .279.
This move potentially tells us two things. First, the Marlins are comfortable going in to 2012 with John Baker starting at catcher and having Brett Hayes back him up. Second, I feel as if this move was a back up plan in case they do not succeed in trading for Gio Gonzalez or in signing Mark Buerhle. The team has wanted to add a lefty pitcher to the rotation for some time, and if they do not succeed with their top two goals, they will have LeBlanc ready to start. LeBlanc does have a few minor league options still available, so they can send him to the minors to work on things if he does not succeed or if the Marlins do sign Gio Gonzalez or Mark Buerhle.
I am slightly upset at the Marlins trading John Baker. John Buck is the starter, but I think Baker would have been a better back up than Brett Hayes. I like Hayes, but if you gave me a choice between the two I would choose Baker. He is coming off of Tommy John Surgery and hasn’t played a full year since 2009, but in the time that he has played with us he has been a good catcher. In 2009 he posted a .271/.349/.410 split. A lot of teams would love that type of production from their catcher position.
Also, one tidbit about Wade LeBlanc: He is cousins with actor Matt LeBlanc.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Marlins are one of six teams inquiring on Huston Street. The Colorado Rockies will use Rafael Betancourt as their closer next season and have made Street available. With Juan Carlos Oviedo (Leo Nunez) most likely not returning to the team next season, the Marlins are looking for different options at closer.
Huston Street would be a good option at closer if the Marlins get him for the right price. I am vehemently against overpaying for a closer. I personally think the Phillies made a horrible choice with the contract they gave Jonathan Papelbon and I’m only saying this because I think no closer deserves the amount of money he received. It’s not every day that a team gets a Mariano Rivera or a Trevor Hoffman. Closers can usually be rotated pretty easily.
Throughout his career, Huston Street has been consistent. In his 7 years in the majors he has only appeared in less than 60 games twice. He has a career 3.11 ERA and averages about 25 saves a year. His worst season so far was last season. He posted career highs in homeruns allowed per 9 innings (1.5), in hits per 9 innings (9.6), and in WHIP (1.217). One positive to last season was that he had a career low walks per 9 innings (1.4). For comparison, Leo Nunez averaged 3.1 walks per 9 innings when he was with the Marlins.
Once again, I would love Huston Street with the Marlins as long as we do not overpay for him. We’ll have to give up some prospects, hopefully it will be a C level and a low B level prospect. The bullpen for the Marlins is not a huge concern, so whether they make the deal or not I don’t think it will have a huge effect on the 2012 season.
The Miami Marlins and the Oakland A’s have been in discussion regarding Gio Gonzalez. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the A’s have asked for a trade package involving Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton. The Marlins declined both scenarios.
I agree with the Marlins declining the package that included Mike Stanton, but I think they should have maybe talked it out a bit more about Logan Morrison. He’s a great player, but I don’t really think he’s superstar caliber. I’ve said it before, his production can be replaced. Gio can be a solid number 2 or a great number 3 starter for this team. Imagine trading for Gio Gonzalez and signing Mark Buerhle. I would put the starting five as: Josh Johnson, Gio Gonzalez, Anibal Sanchez, Mark Buerhle, Ricky Nolasco. That would rival any team’s starting five.
Not only would Gio Gonzalez be just a great starting pitcher for us, he’s also a hometown player who bring out a lot of fans to see him play. He played baseball for Hialeah High and transferred to Monsignor Edward Pace High for his senior year. Last season Gonzalez was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA. He had a 1.32 WHIP, 197 K’s, and an opposing batting average of .230. If the Athletics are willing to let him go in a trade, the Marlins need to work on this and make sure they get the job done.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Marlins offered Jose Reyes a 6 year contract worth $90 million.
I was expecting the Marlins to offer him around $15 to $18 million a year, but I did not expect a 6 year deal. I was thinking it would be more around 4 to 5 years. I am not confident that his legs will hold up over the 6 year deal. I’m sure he’ll still be able to produce, but not at the level that we would be paying him.
Regardless of that, is this deal enough to get him to sign? Reyes has said he wants $100 million. Do the Marlins up the offer if he wants it? I know I would. I’m not saying it’s a smart thing to do, but because of who the Marlins are they need to overspend. In order for the Marlins to make an impact on this community they need to prove to the fans that they are committed, and right now the only way Miami fans will know this is to see the Marlins spend. They’ve put themselves in the situation that they need to overspend on Jose Reyes or Albert Pujols in order to get them to sign here.
While it is nice to hear the Marlins name in a lot of free agent rumors, it is not going to matter if they do not sign anyone. Because of all this hype, they need to sign one of the big three (Pujols, Reyes, Fielder) for the fans to pay attention for the next few years. The new stadium will obviously generate buzz for the first year it is opened, but if they want the season tickets to continue to sell year after year they will have to sign a big time guy. If it means paying $15 million a year for Reyes or $25 million a year for Pujols, they need to get it done.
The Miami Marlins unveiled their new logo and uniforms on 11/11/11. This event has been talked about by almost everyone since then. The logo isn’t new, we’ve all seen it before when it was leaked a while back, but the uniforms were not leaked until a few hours before the reveal. Personally, I like them. I have been a fan of the logo since I first saw it and I think the uniforms are good as well. I’ll always miss the teal and black, but I do understand that this team is undergoing a change. The city of Miami stepped up to the plate and offered to cover a large part of the stadium. If the state of Florida had done so, the team will still be called the Florida Marlins.
With the opening of the new stadium, the entire team’s philosophy is changing. The Marlins have already made contract offers to Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, and Mark Buerhle. Did anyone ever think this would happen one year ago?
This team is no longer the Florida Marlins. It is no longer the team that develops superstars and then trades them or lets them go once they hit free agency. This team will no longer have the lowest payroll in baseball or be a laughingstock for having the lowest attendance. The Florida Marlins are now the Miami Marlins, and they will contend for years to come.
The next player I will showcase is Mike Stanton. There really isn’t anything I can say about him that hasn’t been said already. Stanton is a star. He’s about to be 22 years old and he’s arguably the most feared hitter in the Marlins lineup right now. He had his first full season in 2011. He played in 150 games and hit .262/.356/.537 with 34 HR and 87 RBI. He’s only going to get stronger and more disciplined. Only real negative I see with Stanton is he struck out 166 times last year. For him to really be great he’ll have to lower that number.
I’m expecting big things from Stanton in 2012. I would not be shocked at all if he eclipses 40 home runs. I don’t think his BA will get any higher. I can see it capping at about .270, but as long as he’s putting up a +.850 OPS with the amount of homeruns he hits, I don’t think it’ll matter what his BA is at. The highest his average has ever been in the minors was when he hit .313 in 2010. Granted, it was half a season as he was called up to the Marlins that year. He was also sporting a 1.171 OPS during that half season. His best full year in the minors was in 2008. At the age of 18 he hit .293/.381/.611 with 39 home runs and 97 RBI. Again, this was at 18 years old.
Stanton is the type of player you don’t give up for any reason. The Boston RedSox were actively trying to acquire Stanton from the Marlins in 2008. Before they traded Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers, they were ready to pull the trigger with the Marlins. The only problem with the deal is that the Red Sox wanted Stanton. The Marlins knew what they had with Mike Stanton, and they made the right choice in not trading for Manny Ramirez. I also remember hearing once (don’t quote me on this, I can be wrong) that when the Blue Jays were trying to trade Roy Halladay, they called the Marlins to see if we could put together a package that included Stanton. I know I’ve said before that pitching wins games, but I still wouldn’t do this trade today.
The Marlins need to lock him up and quickly. This is not a player you allow to go into free agency. He still has another 4 seasons before this can happen, but they still need to get the ball rolling on a contract soon. He’s going to do big things for the Fish and hopefully he’ll do it for a long time.
With the free agency period under way, the three biggest free agents are: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Jose Reyes. The Miami Marlins are expected to raise their payroll to around 85 million (up from 56 million in 2011) this season. This makes them players for a few free agents. They have been rumored to express interest in signing one of the three of the names I just mentioned. Do they have a realistic shot at accomplishing this goal? Yes. Will it happen? I don’t think so.
The Marlins will definitely try. I don’t have any doubt in that. I just don’t think they can afford to get in to a bidding war with another team. The most expensive out of the three is obviously Pujols. He’s going to receive a 25-30 million dollar a year contract. Even if the Marlins raise their payroll to 100 million that still means they will have 25 to 30 percent of their payroll dedicated to one player. That’s honestly not that smart of a decision. I do believe Pujols will stay with the Cardinals. Unless a team like the Angels offers him a big deal, I don’t see him signing anywhere else. The only other team I would think had a shot is the Cubs; I don’t believe Theo Epstein will spend that kind of money on Pujols though.
Prince Fielder is the next option. He’s the slightly younger and slightly cheaper version of Albert Pujols. Fielder will most likely receive a 20-22 million dollars a year contract. He’s a big lefty power hitter with a good .282 career average. He also has a very good .930 career OPS. Prince will go to a new team. I can not see the Brewers offering him the kind of contract he wants. This may be an unpopular opinion but I would personally rather have Prince on the Marlins than Pujols. He provides the lefty pop that every team wants. Slotting him in between Hanley and Stanton would be beautiful. I believe he would boost the offensive more than Pujols will. The issue again though is with the salary. I’m not quite sure if the Marlins are willing to place 20%+ of their payroll on to one player.
Lastly, there is Jose Reyes. Out of the three available, I believe Jose Reyes is the most likely one to sign with the Marlins. I already spoke about this in a previous post, but him and Hanley are friends. Hanley has already stated that he would move to third base if the Marlins signed Reyes. His contract will be an (relatively) affordable 18 to 19 million dollars a year. He doesn’t have the power that Pujols and Fielder have, but he can hit for high average and be a menace on the base paths. Having him and Bonifacio at the top of the lineup would be a nightmare for opposing teams. It reminds me a bit of the Pierre-Castillo combination the Marlins had in ‘03. It remains to be seen if he’ll give the Mets a hometown discount. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets are prepared to offer a four year, 60 to 70 million dollar contract. If it’s true, the Marlins will either have to counter with more money or more years.
Personally, I just don’t see any of these three signing with the Marlins. I know most fans down here want it to happen. With the new stadium coming, it will be a great attendance boost if we signed one of them, but will it be a great baseball move? Out of all three, I think the smartest decision is Prince Fielder. It seems like Pujols wants to have this contract be his last. I do not want my team paying a 40 year old player 30 million dollars. Jose Reyes comes with an injury risk. He may not be as fast as he once was, and will only get slower. Prince Fielder is only 27 years old. We give him a 6 to 8 year contract and we will have a great player through all of his prime years. His contract will be a big percentage of the payroll right now, but who’s to say that the payroll wont go up as time continues? Adding a player of that caliber will almost guarantee a sold out year at the new stadium. If the team continues to win and continues to upgrade, the revenue could bring up the payroll to $150 million+.
It’s going to be a while before any of these guys get signed. The earliest will be the Winter Meetings, but I don’t even think it’ll happen then. Most likely the first of the three will sign around late December/early January. Once the first one signs, the other two won’t be far behind. Let’s just hope one of them signs with the Miami Marlins.
I went on vacation this past weekend and it has taken me a while to get back in to the swing of things. I’m working on a few new posts, so they should be up very soon!
Anonymous asked: who do you think is going to have a better record by all star break, The (FLORIDA) marlins or the mighty Braves? oooh ps i dont like the way MIAMI marlins sounds, or the new logo...lol
By the 2012 All Star break? The MIAMI Marlins. Let’s bet another hat! ;) lol
Next up in my profile of the 25 man roster is Josh Johnson.
Josh is a rare pitcher. He has the potential to be better than anyone in this league. Only problem is he can’t stay healthy enough to finish a season. In his 6 year career he’s only had one season where he’s started over 30 games. The other five seasons are 24, 4, 14, 28, and 9 starts.
When he is healthy he is almost unbeatable. His best season so far was in 2010. He finished with an NL best 2.30 ERA, a 9.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and a major league best 0.3 HR/9. His WAR for that season was 5.8, tied for 7th out of all players in the NL.
Josh has already had Tommy John surgery on August 3, 2007. He only required 11 months off to recover and came back strong. He has a fastball that normally runs around 95, but he has gotten it up to 100 before. He also mixes in a slider, change up, and curveball.
2011 looked like it was going to be a great year for Josh. I was personally predicting he would throw a no hitter or possibly even a perfect game. Four out his first five starts he had a no-hitter going until at least the fifth inning. There was a game against the Braves where he had a no hitter until the 8th inning before it was broken up. His only real bad game this past season was on May 5th against the St Louis Cardinals. He went 7.1 innings, gave up 5 ER, 8 hits, 4 walks, and 7 strike outs. Three of those runs came in that .1 of the 8th inning that he pitched, and two of them only counted because Josh was pulled from the game with two guys still on base and the reliever who came in gave up a three run homerun.
His last game for the Marlins in 2011 was on May 16th. He was initially pulled from that game (against the Mets) after being hit in the forearm by a ball during the 5th inning. He finished the inning but did not come back into the game. It was then reported that he was having right shoulder inflammation. According to the doctor that he saw he would only be out about two weeks. After the two weeks passed, this turned in to “around the all-star break”. As the All Star break came closer, Josh had a set back while having a throwing session and had to see the fabled Dr. James Andrews. Thankfully after they met, Dr. Andrews did not recommend surgery, but Josh was basically shut down for the season. He would not pitch again all year.
I’m hoping Josh comes back strong for 2012. If the Marlins have any hope to do anything in 2012 they need to have Josh Johnson be healthy all season. I don’t doubt that he can bounce back and have a good year. If he’s healthy, he can do it. Josh is a competitor. I don’t blame him for all his injuries (that goes to Joe Girardi) but I just sometimes wonder what this team could have done last season if he had stayed healthy all year. I don’t think we would have made the playoffs, but I think we may have been 3rd or somehow even 2nd in the division.
Pitching wins games. There’s no way around it. If the Marlins or any other team for that matter expect to win anything they need to make sure they have the pitching for it. Not just the starters, but also the bullpen. Josh Johnson is a winner, he may not be a healthy winner, but he’s a winner.