The Miami Marlins head into the 2012 winter meetings with an entirely different approach than last season. Last year, the team was aggressive in chasing free agents, being linked to names like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Albert Pujols, and C.J. Wilson. The Marlins seemingly considered every top name in the market last year, and they were good enough to sign Reyes and Buehrle, along with Heath Bell, to free agent contracts to bolster a team that was in last place but had a decent chance to bounce back in a big way. As a result of these signings, everything seemed to be going right for the new-look Miami Marlins.
But it all dissipated quickly as the 2012 season went down the drain and the Marlins ended the year short of 70 wins for the first time since 1999. As a result, the Miami Marlins went on yet another fire sale to reset what they believed to be a failed experiment and a failed roster in only one season of time. Gone are Reyes, Buehrle, and Bell, along with Josh Johnson, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck, all players expected to play a major role at least through 2012 and into possibly 2013 and 2014.
Instead, the Marlins are slated to open the 2013 season with a plethora of prospects and stopgaps filling out their starting lineup and rotation. But just because the Fish are going to be lacking in the name recognition department outside of Giancarlo Stanton does not mean that the team is ready to enter next season with this roster. The Marlins apparently want to make some additions to this team, as odd as that sounds given their recent mass exodus. Fish Stripes is here to review just what is in store for the Fish in the 2012 winter meetings.
Looking For Power
As mentioned earlier this past week, the Marlins are primarily searching for a power bat to hit behind Giancarlo Stanton. But as I mentioned last week as well, the Marlins may have difficulty finding a part both useful enough to be an upgrade for the team at a current position and cheap enough to be within their salary range. A player like Mark Reynolds may appeal to the Marlins, even with their current third base position filled by Yunel Escobar, but would that be a real upgrade over anything the club already has?
In this pursuit of power hitting, the Marlins appear to be chasing a characteristic rather than following a model I have often touted on this blog: chasing wins. Rather than trying to find players who fit a particular criterion like power, this Marlins team should be more focused on finding wins wherever it can.
Unfortunately, the team is more focused on finding someone to protect Stanton, but the market is fairly thin on power hitters, especially at the positions the Marlins need and the prices the team can afford. With offense down league-wide, it may also be difficult to acquire a power hitter via trade, especially one with a favorable contract.
The Marlins are an extremely young team, and the club may also be in the market for a veteran starter who can help anchor and mentor the staff next to incumbent Ricky Nolasco, who himself might be dealt. Currently, Carl Pavano seems to be interested in a Marlins return, and he would fit well as a fifth starter for the team, pushing Wade LeBlanc to a more suitable long relief role.
A signing of a player like Pavano to a minimal contract does not help or hurt the Marlins much. Pavano did spend two seasons prior to this with the Minnesota Twins pitching really well for a pitcher his age, and at this rate a one-year deal could not hurt the Fish. The team may even be able to turn him into a minor league asset at midseason if he proves himself healthy enough to stay on the field and effective. Anything a player like Pavano provides off the field in the form of tutelage to a young staff led by top prospect Jacob Turner is a bonus.
Their Own Trades
Do not believe for one second that the Miami Marlins are potentially done making trades, either to acquire or unload talent. The Marlins have claimed that Giancarlo Stanton is off limits, as well he should be given how difficult it would be to find a fair trade for him. But the Marlins still have some other players with whom they may be willing to part for the right price.
Ricky Nolasco: Nolasco is the last vestige of the 2006 era of the Fish, but he is only here because no one else seems to be interested in him. Nolasco is in his final season of a three-year extension that will pay him $11.5 million in 2013. A number of teams have expressed interest in Nolasco, and if the Marlins are able to dump the majority of his salary, the team could get some payroll relief with which to sign a player on a one-year flier. If not, the Marlins can at least take on something in return for a final year of Nolasco which will not amount to any contention or good play.
Yunel Escobar: The Marlins may very well not be interested in paying for Escobar's paltry $5 million despite the fact that, as bad a hitter as he was last year, he was at least a one-win player in the worst season of his career. Despite having talked to him and gotten his approval to move to third base, the Marlins may still opt to trade him and his remaining guaranteed contract year (with an additional two club options at the same price) for whatever young players they can find.
Personally, I believe this to be a mistake, as the Marlins can likely get more out of an Escobar deal if they let him play out the start of 2013 and see if he cannot have a bounce back performance. If he is able to bounce back and do well, the team can trade him for better value if it is still concerned about his meager salary. If not, the team has an answer at third base for a couple of seasons.
There have been rumblings of the Marlins being interested in Ryan Raburn, who could provide some pop to the middle infield, third base, or a corner outfield spot. His plate discipline is shabby and his defense in the infield leaves a lot to be desired, but the Fish could do worse than a guy who has averaged 19 home runs per 600 PA for his career and at least has the versatility to man multiple spots. If the team can sign him to a short-term deal, it would at least strengthen the bench.
The Marlins may also still be in the market for a center fielder, and there are still players available who can play the position at the price the team can afford. In particular, Nyjer Morgan seems like an interesting choice to bolster the bench and supplement the lineup in case Justin Ruggiano falters in his first full season as a starter. Morgan could be acquired for cheap and would have a season remaining in arbitration, though his skills would probably be on the decline. Still, a one-year deal definitely could not hurt.
Rule 5 Draft
The Marlins recently claimed first baseman Joe Mahoney from the Baltimore Orioles and placed him on the 40-man roster. That leaves the Marlins with two spots open on the 40-man which could be used for the Rule 5 draft. This draft holds a specific interest to Marlins fans because it brought in one of the better Marlins of recent history in Dan Uggla. Uggla came in the 2005 draft and immediately contributed to the 2006 post-fire sale Marlins in a big way. Can the team find another name this season to fill one of their various holes?
These are some of the stories that you should be following with the Marlins in the 2012 winter meetings, and rest assured, Fish Stripes will be following these stories. Keep an eye out for more as the winter meetings progress here on Fish Stripes.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — John Kruk is following Bobby Valentine and Terry Francona into ESPN’s Sunday night baseball booth.
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You may remember that back in early September, I went to see Tony LaRussa speak at a tiny bookshop[...]
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Every winter about this time of year, fans gather to say things like "I can't believe that team overpaid so much for a flawed player," and "I can't believe that team made such a stupid trade." I'm sure we've all wondered if we could do better. Well I wanted to see if we could! I have organized thirty participants to represent all thirty teams in a Winter Meetings Simulation. Over the course of this week, fellow SB Nation editors, writers, and contributors will be making trades, negotiating for free agents, and angering fans. Here are the ground rules.
Monday, December 3, 9am ET - Simulation begins - teams can trade, negotiate/sign free agents
Tuesday, December 4, noon ET - All club (or mutual) options for players must be picked up or declined. Declined options go into the free agent pool.
Wednesday, December 5, 5pm ET - All arbitration-eligible players must be tendered or non-tendered. Non-tendered players go into the free agent pool.
Friday, December 7, 1pm ET - Simulation ends
Transactions will be posted here (I will denote them with TRANSACTION in the header). Comments are welcome, but please try to limit discussions so this thread does not become unwieldy. Teams participating may advertise their team needs here (but you must attribute it to Jon Heyman!)
After the simulation, I'll have a wrap-up thread where participants and observers can talk about how it went.
Here is a Free Agent Tracker I will update nightly.
Here is a List of Options and Arbitration Tenders you will have to make decisions on this week that I will update nightly.
Good luck! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The baseball world is descending on Nashvegas for their annual Winter Meetings -- a time when General Managers and club executives come together and trades get done and free agents get signed. The Atlanta Braves, though, have already signed their big free agent, and made a big trade. So what, if anything, is left to do?
B.J. Upton is in place in center field for Atlanta. Tommy Hanson is out of the rotation, and Jordan Walden is in the bullpen. The Braves have even done one of their annual waiver claims of a random pitcher, selecting right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from the Red Sox last Friday.
The Braves have stated that they would still like to get a left fielder, and after trading Hanson they likely have an extra $3 to $4 million on top of the rumored $10 million they had left after signing Upton. That's a pretty good chunk of change to work with.
One of the fancier rumors -- that would use up all of that change and more -- came from Jon Heyman of CBS, who reported that Braves President John Schuerholz said not to count out Atlanta on Zack Greinke. Sounds crazy, but if Greinke wants a less stressful environment closer to home and is willing to accept less money, then he would definitely be in the Braves wheelhouse. That move would eat up all the Braves available cash, and perhaps tie their hands on doing anything else, so one would think a move to free up salary would also need to happen, unless they severely backloaded the contract -- something the Braves don't like to do.
As for left field, there's still that lingering flirtation with Justin Upton that everyone keeps bringing up. But as long as the Diamondbacks are insisting upon Andrelton Simmons, I don't see how Atlanta makes that move, having no ready replacement for their young shortstop.
The Braves could take a run at one of the free agents to fill left field. Shane Victorino would fit with the Braves desire to stay speedy in the outfield, and he would fill their leadoff void. Ryan Ludwick or Cody Ross would add more right-handed power to the lineup, though there probably wouldn't be any bargains in that group.
It certainly seems like the Braves are primed for action over the next few days. They've already been one of the most active teams, and moving Hanson could signal a desire to do some radical remaking of their roster after hardly making a move last off-season.
Baseball Card Show Purchase #2 – Johnny Bench & Don Mattingly 2004 Fleer Greats Two eras. Two generations. Two MVP’s!! Two men squatting – LOL!!! I have always been a big fan of the 2004 Fleer Greats set. And I … Continue reading →
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Baseball Card Show Purchase #1 – 5 Modern Card Lot Of Kirby Puckett These five baseball cards were pulled in sequence, 5 cards in a row. My thought process went something like this when I saw card 1 through 5: … Continue reading →
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There is a lot of off-season left. In fact, more is left than has already transpired. Few are those that believe Dayton Moore is done dealing this winter (for better or worse), with the specter of some sort of blockbuster deal hanging over those of us that follow the club.
Even without the 'other shoe' ever actually dropping, there are almost certainly a minor move or two or three, a spring training surprise and worse, an injury or two, looming in the future. Knowing full well that things will change, either minutely or massively, let's take a stab at what the 2013 Opening Day roster will look like knowing only what we know now.
As a bit of warning, I have written this type of column two or three times each off-season (certainly using the same title at least three times) and it has quite often been followed later in the day by an actual roster move. I keep telling you guys: I actually do run the world.
THE TWENTY FIVE
I know. There is so much that has to go right with these five that it seems virtually impossible that this will be anywhere close to even league average. Guthrie has to be the guy he was the last half of 2012. Santana has to AT LEAST be the guy he was two years ago and the same goes for Chen. Hochevar has to, if not turn the corner, at least change lanes and Mendoza... You know, if I had to wager anyone was going to repeat their 2012, it would be him.
At some point, the Royals will welcome back Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino. When and how effective they will be in 2013 is up for debate, but maybe the organization will get lucky on the pitching injury/recovery side for once. While there is mixed opinions on what Jake Odorizzi might be in the majors, I will look forward to him being someone different with some hope at some point in June.
Will Smith will get a look, so will Everett Teaford and maybe Guillmero Moscoso, but the house money is on the above five right now.
The last two spots, maybe even three, are pretty much up for grabs. This is the spot where someone comes out of nowhere in spring training and makes the team, so it's a guess. The Royals will want two lefties, I'm sure, so that's Bueno or Teaford or maybe Donnie Joseph. The Royals also love reclamation projects and Gutierrez fits the mold. Soria? Maybe, but I think the market is getting away from Kansas City on that one. Truthfully, as long as the top four are in place, this is going to be very good bullpen.
Why seven relievers? Because the world would implode if you didn't have that many. Just be happy it is not eight.
Too easy as they are the only two catchers on the 40 man roster. If everything goes right, the Royals will play Perez as much as any catcher in the league, so I understand if you stopped reading this section after 1. Salvador Perez.
Anyone doubt that Ned Yost won't fall in love with Chris Getz all over again come March? That said, the Royals have no ability to really make a plan and stick with it at second - at least not since Mark Grudzielanek was in blue. There seems little point to send Giavotella back to AAA once more (unless they want to expose him to other defensive positions), so I can easily foresee this team carrying two guys who really can't play anywhere but second.
I like Abreu over Falu at the actual utility spot, but for no real reason. They both bring some ability to the table, but neither is likely to make anyone clamor to have them play everyday, either.
Can Cain stay healthy? How long will the Royals make us all wait to see Wil Myers. Gaming service time gets annoying more often than not, but at this point, waiting until late April to have Myers under control for almost seven years instead of six makes complete and total sense. So, assuming something really awful doesn't happen at the Winter Meetings (you know what I mean) Myers will surely be up sooner rather than later. I mean, he has to right? RIGHT?!
Now, the Royals could go with a fifth outfielder (David Lough) and one less second baseman. It makes more sense from a roster construction standpoint, but other than using Dyson to pinch run for Butler, the combination of Ned Yost and American League ball makes most of the bench pretty irrelevant.
That is the early December take on the 2013 Royals roster. Feels like 76-86 to me, but the winter is young: that might be a good thing.