Anibal Sanchez first jumped onto the scene in 2006 when he threw a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his thirteenth major league start. The future appeared bright for the young rookie. In the summer of 2007 things went downhill though. On June 21 it was reported that Sanchez would undergo torn labrum surgery. He would return on July 31, 2008.
When a pitcher gets surgery, especially something severe as a torn labrum, one would think that the pitcher's velocity would be affected. When I went on to Brooks Baseball I was surprised at the results I discovered.
From 2008-2009 Sanchez pitched 137 innings in the majors, and his fastball averaged around 91 MPH. Seeing that he gained an extrea half mile per hour or so in 2009 is good to see, but the next three seasons he did even more. From 2010-2012 he saw his fastball hit 92 MPH.
That's almost 2 MPH more than his first season back from his injury. I haven't seen any studies done, but I imagine that a 2 MPH gain is pretty significant. Maybe i will look into that down the line.
Since 2010 he's posted a walk rate slightly above 7%, while striking out roughly 21% of all batters faced. His 8.3 HR/FB% was right around average, and was a big to his FIP. Overall Anibal Sanchez's 85 FIP- ranked 15 since 2010. For a guy that you don't hear a ton about, that's pretty darn good. His 45% groundball percentage is essentially league average, as his 71% left on-base percentage.
The past few seasons, Sanchez has seen the whiff/swing% on his change-up slowly increase. In 2010 it was around 32%, and just this past year it was at 36%. He's also seen his slider generate some pretty good whiffs, although in 2012 it fell to around 28%. One could say that in 2011 peaked, so it's possible 28% is around what we can expect as we go forward.
in 2010, Anibal Sanchez''s f-strike% was essentially league average. It was 58.4%, compared to a league average one of 58.8%. The following year he it spike up to 63.3%, and in 2012 it rose even more, finishing at 65.7% Obviously pitching becomes a lot easier when you're able to generate first pitch strikes. Sanchez saw an impressive improvement after his surgery. Before his surgery, and a year or so after, his f-strike% sat around the low to mid 50s.
There are a few teams that could use a pitcher like Sanchez. The Tigers, who acquired him during the deadline, could look to bring him back, but they already have Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Doug Fister. Rick Porcello also had a solid year. Still, one can never have too much pitching.
The Red Sox and Cubs could also use pitching. The Cubs backed out of the Dan Haren deal, and their starters aren't that great. Boston was also rumored to be in on Haren, and they may also take a stab at Sanchez.
Finally, if the Angels aren't able to sign Greinke they may also take a flier on Sanchez.
This is all pure speculation on my part, and in the end I could see Sanchez receiving a 4 year deal for around $50 million dollars. If he can stay healthy, and continue his success from the three seasons that would turn out to be a fantastic deal.
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter Follow @AKienholzBtB
Like almost everyone else in the region, I had been without power for five days, and just finally got my internet back today. Hope you're all doing well out there..... Anyway, here's the two most important stories I missed.
First, here's the good news via ESPN New York:
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has informed the team he intends to pitch next season, general manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand on Saturday.And now the bad, or at least what I would consider bad news. Rafael Soriano has opted out of his contract and is looking for a four-year deal, and wants to close.
"He wants to play again," said Cashman, who was informed by the reliever of his decision Friday. "I'll work with his agent, Fernando Cuza, on the details of a contract."
"I don't think Soriano would sign here if he's not going to be the closer," Cashman said. "And I don't think we would do again what we did before. He's going to want closer money and I doubt he would want to come back here as a set-up man."With Mo coming back for one final year, the Yankees are still going to need to find a replacement and Soriano proved this year that he could be that guy. In my opinion they should do what they have to do to resign him and promise him the closers role once Mo retires. That said, it doesn't seem like that will be the case.
According to Yankees president Randy Levine, who negotiated the Soriano deal, Boras believes Soriano can command a contract in the neighborhood of four years and $60 million based on his 2012 season, in which he converted 42 of 46 save opportunities after assuming the closing duties from Rivera, who suffered a season-ending knee injury May 3.
"Based on that, I understand why he would opt out," Levine said. "I hope he's right. We love him here at the Yankees but we wouldn't pay him $60 million for four years."
The Miami Marlins have some decisions to make in 2013 regarding what direction the club will take. Will the team try to acquire some wins on short-term contracts in order to come closer to contention and reinforce a future 2014 core, or will the team make some more trades looking towards the future and reset the roster once again around Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton. Those are questions the Marlins will have to face, but in either case, an important aspect of their decisions will involve the salaries the team will carry into 2013.
The Marlins are planning on paring payroll down to $80 million next year, and they already began that process earlier in 2012 when the team traded Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante. The club continued that by trading Heath Bell and eating just $8 million of his remaining $21 salary. In performing these trades, the Marlins were cutting costs on two players who were not meeting contract expectations and using one other asset in order to acquire better trade pieces. The three moves involving those players were each highly beneficial for this latest version of the Marlins given that the team saved money that it could use in future signings. Unfortunately, with the club cutting costs (again) this offseason, some of that money appears to once again be heading to the coffers of owner Jeffrey Loria and company.
So how much money do the Marlins have with which to work this offseason? After their series of trades, can they still make free agent or trade additions and still maintain the desired $80 million budget they supposedly will have in 2013? Let us take a look at their currently committed salaries and see just what the team will have remaining after accounting for their current contracts.
Salaries Under Contract
The Marlins have the following contracts set for next season, provided they make no changes to the current roster.
*Heath Bell is owed $4 million in 2013 and 2014 as part of the trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks
The Marlins in total have $57.8 million committed for next season. That is essentially even with what we had mentioned before the season ended, minus the spectacular coup that is the shedding of Bell's salary to the Diamondbacks. Still, the Fish have committed close to $60 million on seven contracts out of the team's 25-man roster.
The next consideration is the Marlins' arbitration salaries. Luckily for them, there are only a few arbitration cases left on the team thanks to a number of their players from 2009 and 2010 either not hitting the cutoff for Super Two status (Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison) or not remaining on the roster at all (Gaby Sanchez, Chris Coghlan). As a result, the team has only two players who are still on the roster and are arbitration-eligible: Emilio Bonifacio and Ryan Webb.
*Estimates by Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors.
The Marlins only owe an additional $3.4 million in arbitration salaries, as expected given the team's recent trades and otherwise unspectacular crop of homegrown players from recent years. This season was set to be a relatively light arbitration year for the Marlins, with only Bonifacio likely to make a significant amount of money. This puts the Marlins' payroll now at $61.2 million.
Now the team has to fill its roster with pre-arbitration players, who can be assumed to make an average of $0.5 million for round number's sake. The additional 14 players that it would require to fill out the 25-man roster would cost the Marlins an additional $7 million, leaving the team's current payroll at $68.2 million.
Remember that the target goal for the Marlins' payroll this year was going to be around $80 million. That leaves the team a decent amount of money with which to work in 2013, to the tune of almost $12 million. With that much in hand, the Marlins would likely be able to afford a mid-level free agent signing or two mid-level "prove himself" contracts. Either method would marginally benefit the club in 2013, but a long-term deal may help fill a difficult hole for a more foreseeable future, so that may also be in the cards. Then again, it is said that long-term deals for mid-level players that are worth around $12 million a year could prove very bad for signing teams that will be paying likely for decline years.
What if the Marlins decide to trade Johnson and / or Nolasco? Well, the Fish would be able to clear a significant amount of salary, as those two players are being paid $25.25 million this season. If the Marlins cleared either or both of their salaries, they could likely pursue a free agent if they desired, likely one in the starting rotation. Unfortunately, there is a very good chance that the Marlins will be wary to dip into free agency this year, especially with a relatively weak class and the team's failures in 2012.
With the trading of Bell, the team opened just enough salary in 2013 to potentially go after a free agent who could support the team in the next three seasons, but the question remains whether the Miami Marlins still want to dip into a weak free agent pool with their remaining flexibility. At the same time, if they do not, this team will not improve, and without trading either of Johnson or Nolasco for assets, the team will end up wasting those final seasons without a return or hope for contention.
Baseball Card Show Purchase #4 – 1981 Fleer Kirk Gibson Rookie Card I’ve been wanting to add a rookie card of Kirk Gibson to my collection for some time. And while my preference would have been his Topps rookie card, … Continue reading →
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Sitting there on a hot, muggy July night, I wasn't exactly thrilled.
It was the 9th inning of a Carolina League game between the Carolina Mudcats and Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and not much had happened. It was a 2-1 game, and there had not been much for the scouts in attendance to take note of. Neither starting pitcher had made it past the 6th inning, meaning that we got a firsthand experience of the Single-A bullpen. In came what I expected to be another soft-tossing side-arm pitcher, destined to dominate the Carolina League and nothing else.
Instead, I got quite the opposite.
Trey Haley, former 2nd round pick by the Cleveland Indians, touched 97 with his first fastball. Now I was watching. He hit 97, then 96, then he hit 98. I remember thinking to myself, what exactly gives a person the ability to throw upper 90s? Is it pure muscle, height, and work ethic? Is it mechanics? Hell if I knew.
In this series I will attempt to figure out what I couldn't on that night in Zebulon, North Carolina. What is it that gives pitchers the ability to throw so damn hard?
Scouts will often look at a pitcher's body and refer to it as a projectable frame, meaning that the pitcher has room to add some weight and fastball velocity with it. Such examples of this would be a 6'3 180 lb guy, or a 6'4 175 one. So one could presume that the majority of Major League pitchers have filled out their projectable frames, and are now fully grown into their bodies.
I ran a quick study of starters from 2007-2012 and their heights and fastball velocities, which should show if there is a relationship between height and velocity. I chose starting pitchers because typically they have to throw many more pitches than relievers, meaning that they cannot throw max effort with each fastball. The results from this study show practically no correlation in either direction between height (inches) and fastball velocity:
As one can see from the R-squared of 0.012, there is no relationship between height and fastball velocity. That is to be expected as there are many different forms of a 6'3, all of which could fall on different ends of the weight spectrum. Because of this, I ran the numbers for weight-fastball correlation, but ended up with similar results (weight measured in lbs):
Well, maybe this is going to be harder than I thought. On the bright side the R-squared was three times higher this time, but on the not-so-bright side it is still just a minuscule .0387. It does make sense that weight is not closely related to fastball velocity, as Derek Holland sitting at 195 lb throws much harder than the 245 lb Livan Hernandez.
I figured that even though neither weight nor height correlated with velocity, that maybe I should combine them and see if that is a better figure. I simply calculated the lb/inches for each player, and then ran that with fastball velocity to see if there was a relationship:
Well, it appears as though this was no more useful than either of them alone. After all this I know about as much as I knew before. Based on this sample of data from 07-12, I can surmise that weight and height have next to no effect on the velocity of a pitcher's fastball, and pitchers from all ends of the weight and height spectrum can throw hard.
In the next installment, I will take a look at certain mechanical attributes that might lead to harder fastballs.
The Colorado Rockies had a lot of injuries in 2012 -- their 25 DL trips for 1,283 days were among the most in the league. Even worse, the players that were lost were among their best -- Troy Tulowitzki, Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, and other major contributors were all out for a very extended period of time. Much of what we've heard from the front office about the 2013 team going forward has been about this topic -- how the 2013 team has a lot of talent, and if it is healthy, the Rockies will be in contention.
Here's the problem with that assertion: if the Rockies had been injury-free last year, they still probably would have finished in the cellar of the NL West. After all, they finished 12 games behind San Diego in 4th, 18 games below .500, and 24 games out of a playoff spot. That's a lot of ground to be made up simply with injuries.
Baseball Prospectus took a shot at quantifying the effect of injuries on the teams in the NL West this year, taking into account time missed and the players who missed it. Colorado rated worst in the division in WARP lost with 5.87, with Tulo's injury accounting for over 40% of that. While I might quibble with the amount of lost wins attributed to pitching injuries (Chacin is only -.59 WARP, De La Rosa at -.37 WARP), it's the most scientific look at the impact of injuries on the Rockies that I've seen yet -- and the impact was nowhere close to 12 games.
The Rockies were terrible in 2012 due to a confluence of factors -- they had a myriad of young pitchers who adjusted very poorly to a tough hitting environment, they relied on a bunch of scrap-heap type pitchers to fill in the gaps when starters failed to give the team good length, the defense was execrable, the offense hit very poorly on the road, and yes, they had quite a few injuries to key players.
The point is that perfect health in 2013 will not be the panacea that brings the team back to contention. Better health should be expected to a degree, which is why I will be surprised if Colorado is below 70 wins next year. However, for the Rockies to make the leap into even 80 win territory, an improvement by the team's talented young players (including a regression up to the mean by the starting pitching) will have a greater impact than any health bounce.
No, injuries aren't the reason Colorado was bad in 2012 (and likely will be bad in 2013). They're just the most convenient excuse.
Manager Search Update
The great unknown manager candidate, Matt Williams, will interview a second time for the job today. Williams already has experience as a base coach at the MLB level, plus he is currently the manager of an Arizona Fall League team. He's another guy that would garner respect simply for his playing career, though his impact on the porous defense and beleaguered pitching staff would be less clear.
SI has their NL West hot stove preview -- basically, Colorado isn't expected (or advised) to do much.
Chris Lund of the Hardball Times tries to reconcile old school and new school baseball fans.
Finally, Fox Sports Ohio had a long and candid interview with Indians GM Mark Shapiro a little while ago. Among the nuggets gleaned from this fascinating interview was the fact that Shapiro placed the value of a win on the free agent market at $9 million and his thoughts on mid-market payrolls.
After completing his eighth season for the Braves, it's easy to gloss over Tim Hudson's base stats, and simply think "good ‘ol reliable Huddy." And it's not entirely wrong either, because according to his base stats, Tim Hudson looked like more of the usual solid work he had given to the Braves pretty much every year: his 16 wins led the team; at 179.0 innings thrown, he was one away from tying with Mike Minor for the most innings pitched, and a 3.62 ERA over that span is acceptable, considering his career averages. 749 batters stepped to the plate against Huddy and hit .248/.304/.361, which is just about par with his career average slash-against line of .248/.310/.364, leaning towards slightly better.
But as always is the case, the base statistics are not necessarily the most sufficient degrees of analyzing a player anymore these days. As solid of base numbers that Tim Hudson had put up in 2012, the bigger picture leads to hypothetical questions of age beginning to catch up to Tim Hudson, and the subsequent decline that often is associated with the aging process. At 36-years old at the start of the 2012 season with 14 MLB seasons under his belt, Tim Hudson was at the age where even the best pitchers begin, if they already haven't, show some signs of aging.
On August 28, Tim Hudson was cruising, and the Braves were nursing a 1-0 lead over the Mets in Atlanta, on Chipper Jones Appreciation Night. In the seventh inning with two outs, and two runners on, the Mets' Lucas Duda stepped to the plate. After getting Duda to a 1-2 count, Duda would proceed to foul off three pitches and nurse the count full. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Huddy would hang a fastball and Duda launched a go-ahead, three-run home run that would ultimately win it for the Mets. Turner Field went quiet. I went quiet. Failure to secure the clutch out from Tim Hudson was something not a lot of us were used to. It didn't look like something that even Tim Hudson was used to.
Across the board, we do have legitimate reason to believe that perhaps 2012 was the year where age had begun to catch up to Huddy; just about every number on his Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference pages are worse than the prior year, and/or his career averages. We're not going to be too critical of these drops; everyone ages, and it's not like Huddy had any drastic extremes towards the negative; in fact, I'd be willing to wager that there are lots of veteran pitchers would have felt lucky to have aged as gracefully as Tim Hudson had over the last five years or so.
But the truth of the matter is that yes, Tim Hudson had dropped a little bit in just about every pertinent category. Huddy allowed 8.4 hits/9 (168 H), which is exactly where his career averages are, but it is also a declining trend from his last two previous seasons where he allowed 7.4 and 7.9 respectively. Huddy has never been a strikeout pitcher, but his 5.1 K/9 (102 Ks) rate is the second lowest he's turned in over his 14 year career, and the worst since 2004, when he was still pitching for the Athletics, and is almost an entire K lower than his career average of 6.0 K/9. At 2.4 BB/9, Huddy was still below his career norms of 2.7 BB/9, but again it is a decline from the previous year. 0.6 HR/9 is exactly the same as it was in 2011, and it's better than his career average of 0.7 HR/9, but consider the fact that Hudson had yielded 12 HR in 179.0 innings, whereas he had allowed 14 HR the previous year in 36 more innings total.
As is often the case with a groundball specialist, Tim Hudson does not fail to outperform his FIP of 3.78. His xFIP isn't as pretty, as his 4.10 xFIP is his worst since 2006. His WHIP rating of 1.21 is a little bit of decline from the two previous years, and looking at some of the more advanced stats, Huddy's tERA and SIERA were not favorable, and showed more considerable decline: 4.21 tERA, 4.14 SIERA.
But enough of the robot numbers, we're here to analyze and figure out just what led to this belief that Tim Hudson had a little bit of a stumble in 2012. For starters, as is the natural norm, with age comes a decrease in velocity, and Tim Hudson is no exception to that rule. Never known as a fireballer by any means, Huddy still had a fastball that averaged around 90-91 MPH throughout his career, but 2012 marked a season where his fastball averaged at 89.0 MPH, according to Fangraphs. Across the spectrum, all of his pitches lost a little bit of zip, and in the game where 1 MPH can easily make the difference between a 1-ish ERA to a 3-ish ERA, this is not something that can be dismissed.
The degradation of velocity is no more evident than in the plate discipline statistics for Tim Hudson opponents in 2012. Hitters were able to make contact with 84.3% of Tim Hudson pitches, almost 4% higher than his career norm; but anything inside the strike zone is being touched at a 92.2% clip. Both marks are career-highs for collective Tim Hudson opposition, and if you look at it in the perspective of 92% of pitches being touched, that exponentially means a high percentage of things to possibly go wrong.
In 2010, we witnessed a Tim Hudson season where 64.1% of batted balls ended up on the ground and where 32 double plays were turned. Both marks were fairly absurd in a good way as Braves fans, but also compared to Huddy's career averages. In 2012, almost an entire ten percent fewer balls ended up on the ground, and at 55.5%, marks the lowest GB% that Huddy has notched since 2002, a year removed from when Fangraphs even started logging GB% at all. Obviously, the number of double-plays turned is proportionate to the quality of the infield defense behind him, and Dan Uggla/Revolving Door SS isn't Martin Prado/Alex Gonzalez, but for a guy who has averaged 20 GIDPs turned behind him a season, Huddy's nine GIDPs forced in 2012 was scathingly low. To make matters worse, with the decline of GB%, came an increase in line drives and fly balls in general; never necessarily a good sign.
One eye-test observation that many a 2012 Braves fan may have made about Tim Hudson this season, was his susceptibility to the big inning. How many times did you watch a Tim Hudson start and thought "Man, he's through five innings in 48 pitches. Maybe he'll go the distance?" or something along those lines? If you're like me, probably more than you want to remember. Just eight times out of his 28 games did Tim Hudson actually throw more than 100 pitches, and one of them was indeed a complete-game shutout (vs. MIA, 6/5), but to no surprise, Huddy was very economical with his pitch counts overall. On the flip-side however, in eight of his 28 starts, Tim Hudson yielded four or more runs in a single inning, confirming that he was susceptible to the big inning.
The first inning was problematic to the point where it became routinely discussed on television and radio commentary, about how it was notable whenever Tim Hudson made it out of the first inning with no runs allowed. Cumulatively, batters hit Huddy at a .316/.372/.462 (.834 OPS) and stretching him out to a 6.75 ERA. Throughout the season, Huddy yielded more XBH in the first inning than any other inning.
However, on days in which Hudson didn't get burned in the first inning, they weren't days where Braves fans could really relax either; on the days in which it seemed like Hudson would cruise through seven, it would be the seventh inning where Huddy had worse results than all his first inning woes. Naturally, the fatigue factor from having pitched in six prior innings comes into play here, but we all witnessed days where it looked like Huddy would go all nine and should theoretically cruise through the seventh. Regardless, batters would go on to compile a .349/.417/.508 (.925 OPS) slash line against Hudson in seventh innings, with a 7.98 ERA.
On this note, the third time through the order for Tim Hudson throughout 2012, saw 202 batters hitting Huddy at a .291/.374/.477 clip; which is a stark contrast to his career average of .264/.329/.390 when hitters see him a third time in a game. It's safe to assume that fatigue has to do a lot with this, but at the same time, the declining velocity certainly stands out, at least in my mind.
An interesting deviation I noticed in Tim Hudson's numbers this year were his home/road splits. Throughout Huddy's career, he's typically pitched better at home (combined OAK/ATL) as indicative by the .239/.299/.349 slash listed for "home" starts, and an overall .247/.304/.357 at Turner Field. 2012 saw a season where Hudson was a noticeably better pitcher away from Atlanta than when he pitched at the Ted. Opposing hitters were hitting .266/.314/.369 against Hudson in Atlanta, all higher than his career norms, but when Tim Hudson situated in someone else's home, he was holding hitters to a .227/.293/.353 line.
In conclusion, in 2012, Tim Hudson did have another solid season for the Braves, overall. Perhaps it was age beginning to catch up to him, or the fact that he missed the start of the season while recovering from off-season back surgery, and occasionally had some ankle issues throughout the season, but it also wasn't the smoothest of seasons of his long and productive career. Maybe it was both. But for what it's worth, he was without question a positive contributor to the Braves, with fWAR liking him more at 2.3 fWAR over bWAR's 1.3 score. Let's face it though, WAR in general has never been as kind to contact pitchers and groundball specialists like Tim Hudson, so measuring him on that alone isn't necessarily the best measure. There's still fewer things more relaxing than seeing Tim Hudson mow through an inning on eight pitches with three groundball outs, whether or not it can be measured statistically.
As reported earlier this week, Tim Hudson was among the names of Braves players whose options were picked up for 2013. So it's great news that the Braves will have the luxury of Tim Hudson's services for at least one more year. At 37-years old come the start of the 2013 season, Huddy has stated that he isn't sure what lies ahead for his future, but that his health and pitching performance will tell him everything he needs to know on whether or not he wants to keep playing beyond 2013. I can't say I'd complain if he turned in more quality work in 2013 and were willing to sign another team-friendly extension for another year or two, and finish out his fruitful career with the Braves.
It’s been a little over a week since the Tigers were swept by the Giants and now the talk is about what they’ll be doing next year. They’ve already said that Delmon Young, Jose Valverde and most likely Gerald Laird are gone and one of their pursuits is going to be locking up Anibal Sanchez. [...]
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Baseball Card Show Purchase #3 – Lot Of 3 1990 Frank Thomas Rookie Cards!!! You can never go wrong when adding rookie baseball cards of a future Hall of Famer to your collection. Even more so when you are paying just … Continue reading →
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Now that the Miami Marlins have completed their manager search by hiring former catcher Mike Redmond as the team's latest clubhouse leader, the team can finally move on to the personnel aspect of the offseason plan. There is no doubt that the Marlins rightfully took their managerial search seriously, but there is also no doubt that what the Marlins do with their offseason is far more important in terms of their on-field performance. No matter what managerial coat of paint you put on the Fish in 2013, the underlying product is what will make or break the Marlins in 2013. Beyond that, the team's performance and how it compares to the horrific 2012 year will be important for the future of the organization's appearance to the paying fan base; a bounceback campaign with a number of extra wins may be the difference between 28,000 paying fans per night or 18,000.
The problem with the Marlins in this offseason is that the team will likely be doing a lot less than they did last season. Last year, the Fish were greatly expanding payroll in order to make a splash and improve the team to the point of contention. While their plan and execution was decently sound outside of one major hiccup, the result in 2012 did not justify the means, and the team quickly abandoned that plan during the season. This year, the team is expected to pare down payroll to $80 million, which would significantly hamper the ability of the team to be improved via free agency.
With this situation in mind, the Marlins have a lot fewer options than they did in 2012. Without the likelihood of significant spending, the Marlins can only marginally improve the team via free agency, as it would be difficult to acquire impact talents on what is left in the Marlins' budget after arbitration and salary raises for a number of players under contract. The good news for the team is that the club has a number of holes to fill on the team, so any signing should theoretically upgrade the Marlins by the full number of wins of the signing. Positions like second or third base or one of the outfield spots could use a major upgrade over replacement-level talent.
Another option that the Marlins have is to sack the roster of players without long-term contracts in order to get future talent, without regard for the consequences of 2013. The Marlins already did this to some degree by trading Heath Bell and all but $8 million of his salary away, freeing up salary with which the Marlins can work. The team could do the same with two other players on the roster, starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco may not net much of anything in return, much like Bell, but given that the Marlins are almost certainly not going to have Nolasco return after this upcoming season, the club may be wise to get anything that it can out of his remaining year. The same goes for Johnson, except that his talent level is still high enough that the Marlins could get a good return for one year of his play, especially coming off of a healthy 2012 season. If the team is not planning on competing by adding players, trading Johnson with the future in mind rather than playing for 2013 may be beneficial.
The final option the team has in 2013 is to stay put and go with the club that they currently have, hoping that full seasons from Emilio Bonifacio and Logan Morrison will be enough to improve the Marlins enough along with a bounce back from some of these players. While this is a possibility, it is unlikely that the Marlins would be able to improve enough via regression with their current roster that the team would look significantly better than how they ended up last season. This option may be the worse choice, if only because it would look as though the front office is uninterested in improving the team due to payroll restrictions, which was a common refrain for years with the Marlins.
Given the situations, the Marlins should either consider pursuing short-term deals aimed to garner the team a few wins and potentially push them closer to 80 victories in 2013 or trade Johnson or other short-term contracts on the team in order to continue building for the reinforcements arriving in 2014. While this offseason's choices may not be as dire as the one they faced in the 2012 offseason, they still remain important for the club's future in terms of both the roster and attendance and its financial implications.