For the fifth straight year, Playing Pepper returns to C70 At The Bat. If you aren't aware, this series helps get a feel for the other 29 teams in baseball by asking those that follow them the closest--their bloggers. We've got spring training action going, so it's time to play a little pepper.
69-93, fifth in the NL East
It was going to be different this time.
Gone were the days of peaks and valleys, of fire sales that started with the last out of a World Series title. This time, the Marlins were going to do it right. They had a new ballpark which would attract fans and casual passersby alike and went out and pre-spent that windfall on a number of marquee players. It was time for a change.
Until it wasn't.
The ballpark opened to mixed reviews, the team struggled out of the gate and, eventually, plummeted into the cellar. Anibal Sanchez was shipped out at the trade deadline, but that was just a precursor of the massive trade that was to come, as almost every Marlin with a name or a significant salary was sent elsewhere, mainly to Toronto, in a deal that was mocked and derided from just about every corner of the baseball world.
In all of this mess, sometimes it's hard to remember that there are fans that still follow this team, that take the gut punches. Ehsan Kassim is one of those fans who writes about Miami at Marlin Maniac, part of the FanSided network. You can also find him on Twitter @MarlinManiac.
Stick around as we go over that rough offseason and talk about what Marlins fans can expect going forward.
MM: If I were grading the Marlins offseason purely on it being baseball moves, I would give it a C+ or a B-. I don't feel the Marlins did too bad in getting fair value for Heath Bell. I was not expecting anything in return for Bell, so even a Yordy Cabrera seemed fair to me. As for the fire sale trade with the Blue Jays, the Marlins did a great job of getting the Jays to eat all of the salaries involved and still got a decent prospect haul. The Marlins needed to hit the reset button and did well in their return.
Unfortunately, it was not just a baseball move. The Marlins trading away their best players, some of them in the first year of their brand new contracts, the Marlins caused a P.R. disaster. The team alienated their fan base, their players, future potential free agent targets, and even the commissioner of baseball. For all of that, even considering the shrewd baseball moves, the Marlins get an F!
C70: What's the situation with Giancarlo Stanton in regards to his happiness in Miami?
MM: Stanton made it clear on Twitter after the trade occurred that he was not happy with the move. He has done little to prove that he is in any better state now. For his credit, when told Jose Reyes felt bad for him, Stanton stated that nobody should feel pity for him. Stanton is still upset, but has done a great job of being professional about it. As is the case for most any problems in any sport, winning should solve any issues Stanton has at this point. But, wins don't seem to be in the Marlins immediate future, and it does not look like Stanton will fit into Loria's billfold for much longer, either.
MM: Ricky Nolasco's trade prospectus lies in his hands. If he pitches well in the first half this season, the Marlins will certainly deal him away for a prospect or two that could make an impact on the Marlins next contending roster. If Nolasco struggles as he has the past few seasons, it will be difficult to see any team handing over anything of significance for Nolasco while taking on his entire salary. If he struggles, it would be hard for the Marlins to rid themselves of his contract for even a PTBNL. With free agency also impending, Nolasco's future is riding on his shoulders.
C70: What rookie will make the biggest impact in 2013?
MM: If the Marlins are smart about it, neither of their top two prospects, Jose Fernandez or Christian Yelich, should see the majors before the end of July or early August, if they prove they can handle Double-A. If that is the case, those two are not going to make too significant of an impact on the Marlins season. So that leaves us with some smaller scale prospects. My favorite is Adeiny Hechevarria. I don't believe he will deliver much for the Marlins on the offensive side, but his defense will make him a decent player for the Marlins.
C70: What will be the final record of the team and where will they finish in the division?
MM: I have the Marlins right now between 70 and 75 wins, which, yes would be an improvement over last season. That is a rough estimate for me right now. Still working on the analysis and will figure out the win total when I finish that up. But I can tell you that the Marlins will finish dead last in the NL East.
I'm going to assume that Ehsan just overlooked that last question, not that he couldn't come up with at least something worth watching this season in Miami. If nothing else, Stanton's power display should be worth coming to the ballpark for. My thanks to Ehsan for his insight and best wishes to him as he continues to be a Marlins fan!
The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end
awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America. These
awards can be found at the official site in October with links back to the voters,
ensuring transparency and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball