2011 Archives http://marlinsbigcatch.com/table/2011-articles/march/ Tue, 23 May 2017 20:38:44 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Marlins Finish Spring Training and Finalize Roster http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/marlins-finish-spring-training-and-finalize-roster.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/marlins-finish-spring-training-and-finalize-roster.html After their 6-5 comeback win over the Mets on Saturday the Marlins finished off their spring training with a 11-12 record, and although they still have two exhibition games against the Yankees at the new ballpark before the season opener the Marlins made the moves after the game to set their opening day roster.  The Marlins sent Wade LeBlanc and Donovan Solano, arguable the Marlins two best players this spring outside of Hanley Ramirez, down to Triple-A New Orleans, this means that Donnie Murphy has secured the final bench spot and Chad Gaudin won the final bullpen spot.  While I feel a little bad for both Solano and LeBlanc for now winning roster spots after playing so well, but manager Ozzie Guillen wants both players to keep up their production in Triple-A in case they are needed rather than sit on the bench with the big league club.

The other big news from the last two days has been that Logan Morrison, Giancarlo Stanton, and Greg Dobbs have all been able to return to the Marlins line up and will be ready to go on April 4th.  Which means the only player who will not be with the team who the Fish were counting on this year will be Jose Ceda, who will be out all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery.  The Marlins have still not named who will be replacing Ceda in the bullpen.

Looking over the stats from the Spring Training games, obviously the productivity of Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Omar Infante really does stand out. At the start of the spring it was thought that the Marlins would go 1) Reyes, 2) Bonifacio, 3)Ramirez in the batting order, Infante's productivity this spring may change that.  Originally Bonifacio was penciled in for the #2 spot because of his ability to steal bases (had 4 this spring) and thus be able to get himself into scoring position for when Hanley is up, but with Emilio just hitting .218 this spring and Omar batting .364 one has to believe that if his struggles continue in the regular season Ozzie maybe quick to swap Boni and Infante in the order.  The other thing that stands out was the poor play of Gaby Sanchez and Mark Buehrle.  Gaby batted just .224 this spring and while that is low for him, the more concerning thing is that he was among the team leaders in strikeouts and he actually struck out twice as much as he walked.  Last year even when he struggled at the plate in the second half of the season Gaby is someone who usually puts the ball in play and is someone who did not strikout all that often.  Buehrle on the other hand, his numbers were just plain bad this spring.  In 21 innings, Buehrle gave up 16 earned runs and 28 hits while only striking out 14.  Dispite his numbers Manager Ozzie Guillen is not concerned with Mark's performance.  Ozzie, who has coached Buehrle the past several season in Chicago, said that Buehrle has never put up good numbers during srping training and has played fine once the season starts.  Lets hope that that's still the case now that he is down here in Miami.

Marlins will play the New York Yankees tomorrow at 1:10 from Marlins Park and then again on Monday at 7:10 before their nationally televised home opener on Wednesday against the Cardinals.

 

Spring Training Stats
Player AB H R RBI SO BB HR SB AVG
Gaby Sanchez 49 11 4 5 10 5 0 0 .224
Jose Reyes 58 17 8 2 8 3 1 3 .294
Emilio Bonifacio 53 12 8 2 10 2 1 4 .218
Hanley Ramirez 49 20 6 7 8 9 3 2 .408
Omar Infante 44 16 8 2 7 4 1 0 .364
John Buck 45 10 2 3 5 5 2 0 .222
Chris Coghlan 44 11 3 3 7 3 0 0 .250
Giancarlo Stanton 17 3 1 1 4 2 0 0 .176
Logan Morrison 9 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 .333
Austin Kearns 43 14 5 10 2 2 3 0 .326
Donnie Murphy 42 10 3 1 8 3 0 2 .238
Brett Hayes 32 7 1 4 7 1 1 1 .219
Greg Dobbs 11 4 4 3 1 2 1 0 .363
Donovan Solano 41 17 4 0 3 3 0 3 .414
Player W L SV IP ER R H SO BB HR
Carlos Zambrano 0 2 0 12.3 7 7 14 16 10 0
Ricky Nolasco 1 0 0 22 8 8 25 6 14 1
Anibal Sanchez 0 0 0 9.6 7 7 11 12 1 1
Mark Buehrle 1 1 0 21 16 17 28 14 6 4
Josh Johnson 2 2 0 22.3 6 6 21 10 24 1
Chad Gaudin 1 0 0 14.3 2 2 11 6 11 1
Ryan Webb 0 0 2 9 0 2 6 7 1 0
Randy Choate 0 0 0 1.6 0 0 1 1 1 0
Mike Dunn 0 0 0 4.3 1 1 3 3 2 0
Edward Mujica 0 0 0 6 1 1 6 6 0 0
Steve Cishek 0 0 0 10.6 1 2 6 9 3 0
Heath Bell 1 0 1 8 0 0 3 10 2 0
Wade LeBlanc 2 0 0 20.6 3 4 10 2 19 1

By the way if you get a chance to go to a New Orleans Zephers game you may want to check them out.  With Wade LeBlanc, Alex Sanabia, Matt Dominguez, Donovan Solano, Bryan Petersen, Scott Cousins, and Chris Hatcher all on the roster among several other good prospects the team should be pretty good.

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Sat, 31 Mar 2012 23:18:05 +0000
Recap of Spring Training Week 2 http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/recap-of-spring-training-week-2.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/recap-of-spring-training-week-2.html With two weeks down and two weeks to go the Miami Marlins have a 7-6 record and are coming off a week in which they went 2-4-2, whoever unlike the record would indicate the fish had pretty good outing form most of their major league pitchers and in a few cases just had a minor league in at the end of the game who got hit hard.  For example on Sunday the Marlins loss 4-2 to the Cardinals, but saw Carlos Zambrano go 4 inning in which he gave up just one run while striking out 7.  They lost the game because Rob Delany gave up three earned runs in the 8th.  Also in the Marlins split squad loss to the Twins, Nolasco had 5 good innings giving up only one run, but Eli Villanueva gave up 5 hits and three runs in the ninth after Mike Dunn gave up a run in the 8th and the Marlins lost 5-2. 

The Marlins other real problem has been from the plate.  In the eight games the Marlins played this week they averaged just 2.125 runs per game, and many of the Marlins big time hitters are not producing.  Jose Reyes is only 4 of 25 (.160) so far this spring, and guys like Gaby Sanchez, Scott Cousins, Donnie Murphy, Chris Coghlan, Giancarlo Stanton, Bryan Peterson, and Brett Hayes all have batting averages under .240.  The four players who are really carrying the load for the Marlins has been Hanley Ramirez (11 for 22 with 4 runs, 6 RBI, 2 HR), Emilio Bonifacio (7 for 24 with 4 runs, 2 RBI, 1 HR and 2 stolen bases), Omar Infante (7 for 18 with 3 runs, 1 RBI, 1 HR), and Donovan Solano who continues to produce (10 for 24 with an run and 2 stolen Bases).  Matt Dominguez, John Buck, and Austin Kerns have also been having nice springs, all with identical .286 batting averages.

However the most impressive player this spring continues to be Wade LeBalanc.  He came in for a relief of Anibal on Wednesday and pitched four perfect inning as got his second win of the Spring.  So Wade, who the Marlins received from the Padres for John Baker,  has pitched 10 1/3 innings and has given up just one hit and no walks while striking out nine.  Compare those numbers to Mark Buehrle who was the Marlins big free agent pitcher signing this winter who in 9 1/3 innings has struck out five, walked four, given up 15 hits and 10 earned runs.  It may only be spring training, but with the way that LaBlanc is pitching the Marlins may need to think about finding a way for him to pitch some games this year and possibly using a six man rotation instead of five,

Meanwhile Greg Dobbs (small tear in hamstring), Logan Morrison (sore right knee), and Giancarlo Stanton all were held out of most of the games this bast week due to various injuries.  None of them are suppose to me that serious, but Logan Morrion has only played in two games thus far this spring.  While Stanton was hit by a pitch last week on the wrist, xrays were negative.  The injury that is currently keeping him out is sore ness in his left knee.  Stanton is currently unable to run on it right now and hopes to make it back in a Marlins lineup when the fish take on the Yankees at the new park on April 1.  The one reliever for the Marlins who has still yet to make his spring debut is Randy Choate, who is out with a strained muscle on his right side and he hopes to be ready to go on opening day.  The one good note on the injury fron is that Anibal Sanchez was able to make his first start of the spring on Wednesday; he pitched two inning giving up just two hits and striking out four.

The Marlins also this week cut down their Spring Training roster so we should see way more of the Marlins players who are expected to start the season with the team next week.  Some of the moves that were made were; Sean West, Matt Dominguez, Chris Hatcher, Sandy Rosario, Kevin Mattinson, Dan Jennings, Alex Sanabia, and Tom Koehler were all optioned to the New Orleans Zaphers and Brad Hand, and Evan Reed were optioned to the Jacksonville Sun.  It should beinteresting to see how long Nick Green and Aaron Rowan stay with the Marlins as both players have struggles to say the least so far this spring (Rowan is 2 for 29 with 5 SO and Green is 2 for 16 with 4 SO).

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Mon, 19 Mar 2012 15:02:14 +0000
Stanton Leaves Game For X-Rays http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/stanton-leaves-game-for-x-rays.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/stanton-leaves-game-for-x-rays.html Giancarlo Stanton left Sunday's rain shorten Spring Training game in Port St. Lucie in the third inning after Mets reliever Chris Schwinden hit Stanton on the left wrist with a fast ball.  Stanton was taken out of the game at that point an went to the hospital to have x-rays taken.  For now the Marlins are calling the injury a left wrist contusion.

**UPDATE** Stanton's x-rays were negative and he is listed as day to day.

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Sun, 11 Mar 2012 20:55:36 +0000
Marlins Cut Roster Down to 26 http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/bc-castaldo.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/bc-castaldo.html The Marlins opening day roster is all but set now with the Marlins making five roster moves today.  The Marlins have decided to option RHP Burke Badenhop to Triple-A New Orleans, along with IF Ozzie Martinez and C Brad Davis.  Also the Marlins optioned RHP Jhan Martinez to Double-A Jacksonville and reassigned OF Dewayne Wise to Minor League camp.

This means a couple of things for the Marlins, first of all the bullpen is now set.  Brian Sanches, Edward Mujica, and Burke Badenhop were all fighting for the final two bullpen spots.  Now with Badenhop in Triple-A it means that the Marlins bullpen will be Leo Nunez at the closer, Clay Hensley as the setup man, along with Brian Sanchez, Edward Mujica, Ryan Webb, and the lefty options will be Mike Dunn and Randy Choate.  Neither Choate nor Mujica had great Spring Trainings, so hopefully they will be able to do better when the season starts.  While Choate may have some slack if he gets off a poor start, the same will not be true for Mujica.  If he continues his poor play into the regular season look for Badenhop to be right back up in the majors.

This also means the Marlins bench is all but set.  The bench should be Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs, Emilio Bonifacio, Scott Cousins and Brett Hayes.  Technically the Marlins have not made an official decision on who will be John Buck's backup, but with Brad Davis being optioned and John Baker still recovering from Tommy John surgery, the job is Brett Hayes' for now.  Baker for now is the 26th man on the roster, but he should be placed on the DL and then play some games in the minors before joining the team.

Unfortunately Dewayne wise is just the odd man out when it comes to the numbers game for the Marlins.  Wise has played well enough this spring to be on the Marlins roster, even despite his sprained left big toe.  The problem for Wise can be look at as a result of Matt Dominguez not making the Marlins roster.  Without Dominguez, the Marlins need to find a spot on their 40-man roster for not only Greg Dobbs, but also Donnie Murphy (who will be starting most of the time at 3rd base).  So, to then try and make room for Wise on the 40-man roster as well was just to difficult.  Personally, and I believe many in Marlins organization as well, would have preferred to have Wise be the 4th outfielder and have Scott Cousins play everyday in Triple-A.  What makes it worse is the fact that Wise has an option to become a free agent if he does not make the major league roster, while the Marlins hope that he declines that option the chances of that happening are pretty slim.  Wise has played to well this spring.  As soon as he becomes a free agent he should be quickly picked up by another team looking for an upgrade and/or depth at their outfield position.

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Tue, 29 Mar 2011 19:49:35 +0000
2011 MLB Predictions http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/mlb-2011-predictions.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/mlb-2011-predictions.html American League

AL East:

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Baltimore Orioles
  5. Toronto Blue Jays

Notes: The Red Sox are going to score a s*** load of runs this year and their starting pitching is good enough (I think Beckett will have a bounce back year and Dice-K is the only suspect pitcher).  The Red Sox main issue is their bullpen, and I expect Bard to probably replace Papelbon as the Red Sox closer at some point this year.  Everyone knows the Yankees have issues at the back end of their starting rotation, but with the bullpen they have (maybe the best in MLB)  the staters will really just need to pitch 6 good innings.  With the bats the Yankees have they should be able to out score a lot of teams in the first 6 innings before handing the game over to Chamberlain, Soriano, and Rivera to close the door.  Finally don't be shocked if (as long as they stay healthy) the Baltimore Orioles are able to over take the Rays for third place.

AL Central:

  1. Chicago White Sox
  2. Minnesota Twins
  3. Detroit Tigers
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Kansas City Royals

Notes:  The upside for the White Sox is almost to great not to pick them to win the division.  Adam Dunn is going to give them even more power to a lineup to a solid lineup, but what the White Sox really will need is for Gordon Beckham to have a bounce back year, and for him, Alexi Ramirez, and Juan Pierre to be on base as much as possible to give the power hitters a chance to drive in runs.  The White Sox also have a solid rotation that could be the best in the Central depending on how good Jake Peavy is when he gets healthy.  It should be noted that both Chicago and Detroit have been very up and down with their play the past several seasons, and meanwhile the Minnesota Twins continue to be reliable.  If the White Sox do waiver at all this year the Twins will be right their getting their usual 87-92 wins in the most unflashy way as possible.  Also just don't be surprised if the Indians are competitive this year.  While they are not going to be in contention for a wild card spot, they are not going to be a push over either by any stretch of the imagination.

AL West:

  1. Los Angeles Angles
  2. Texas Rangers
  3. Oakland Athletics
  4. Seattle Mariners

Notes:  The Texas Rangers are not going to sneak up on anyone this year and while they have a solid bullpen and hey may have improved their lineup by adding Adrian Beltre and moving Michael Young to third, I picked the Angles to win the division.  My main issue with the the Rangers this year is that the departure of Cliff Lee leaves a hole in their starting rotation that has gone unfilled.  C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis are both very good pitcher, but neither is an elite ace.  Meanwhile the Los Angles Angles did a smart move in adding Dan Haren to their rotation last year at the trade deadline, and then they also picked up Scott Kazmir this off season.  The Angles will not be able to out score teams the way the Rangers will, but if Kendry Morales and Vernon Well get healthy and stay healthy then they should be able to score enough for Weaver, Haren, Santana, Kazmir, and Pineiro win a number of ball games.  AS for the other two teams, the Athletics should be very competitive and after last year why would anyone pick the Mariners to do anything by finish last?

National League

NL East:

  1. Philadelphia Phillies
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. Florida Marlins
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. New York Mets

Notes:   The Braves could beat out the Phillies for the division crown, but I am going to stick with the Phillies.  For details check out my post breaking down the division

NL Central:

  1. Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Cincinnati Reds
  3. St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Houston Astros
  5. Chicago Cubs
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Notes: Call me crazy, call me insane, but I am going with the Brewers.  The Brewers have the most home run power in the division (Fielder, McGehee, Braun, Hart), and once Zack Greinke gets health (should be ready to go in mid to late March) the Brewers rotation of Gallardo, Greinke, Marcum, Wolf, Narveson could also be the best in the division.  The Brewers main weakness is at bullpen where we will just have to wait and see if John Axford can duplicate his 2010 performance.  I would have put St. Louis ahead of the Reds if Weinwright was healthy because I am not sold that the Reds can maintain their play from 2010, but without I have to give the edge to the Reds.  One of the biggest mistakes I think the Cardinals made this off season was adding Lance Berkman to be an everyday player.  I know they thought they would need more power to keep pace with Cincinnati Jon Jay is to good of a player to not be playing everyday and the Cardinals could have used the money they spent of Berkman to improve their middle relief or back of their rotation.

NL West

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks

Notes:  This may be the easiest division to pick, it is just San Francisico and a bunch of scrubs.  The Padres struggled to score runs last year when they had Adrian Gonzalez, and now without him look for their struggles to worsen.  I know that they added Brad Hawpe, but his numbers should drop greatly when you figure he is switching from playing most of his games in one of the best hitters parks in Colorado to playing in the worst hitters park in the majors.  The Diamondbacks continue to turn players over and tinker with their lineup from year to year, and I'm at the point where they need to show me that they can win before I can consider picking them.  The Dodgers, I will admit, I do like most of their roster but their ownership situation is still a mess and if they are really thinking about starting Jay Gibbons in the outfielder I can't pick them to really challenge for anything this year.

Dark Horse Teams: 

AL:  Oakland Athletics--  Oakland just needs to follow the same path as the 2010 San Diego Padres and they could be a playoff team.  They need to their strting rotation (which as group 1-5 is one of the best in MLB) to live up to expecttions, have their bullpen be one of the tops in the majors, and just do enough offensivly to win games.

NL: Florida Marlins--  If this team has fixed their bullpen problems from last year, and Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton all don't have major sophmore slumps in 2011, than the Marlins are good enough to win 90-92 games this year.


Playoffs:

  • East:          Boston Red Sox         --      Philadelphia Phillies
  • Central:      Chicago White Sox   --       Milwaukee Brewers
  • West:          Los Angeles Angles  --      San Francisco Giants
  • Wild Card:  New York Yankees    --      Atlanta Braves

WORLD SERIES PREDICTION:     Philadelphia Phillies over Boston Red Sox in 7games

-I am not as confident in this pick as I have been in past years, but these are the two teams that I am going with.  This year I thing their is a good of a chance that the Phillies play the Red Sox in the world series as the odds are that the White Sox play the Giants. 

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Sun, 27 Mar 2011 20:00:08 +0000
Breaking Down the NL East http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/nl-east-break-down.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/nl-east-break-down.html With the start of the MLB season less than a week away now is the time to take a good hard look at the NL Easr, and there is no doubt that the NL East is going to be tough this year.  It is with out a doubt the strongest division in the NL (contains 3 of the top 6 NL teams for 2011), and is arguably as tough as the AL East (AL East better hitting, NL East better pitching).  This off season also saw a lot of movement as well with the Philies putting together, on paper, on of the best starting rotations since the 1971 Baltimore Orioles which had four pitchers go for 20 wins.  The Braves added power to their lineup by aquiring Dan Uggla from the Marlins, the Marlins made several additions to balance their lineup and strengthen their bullpen, and the Nationals even added Jayson Werth to give them a formidable middle of the order with Zimmerman, Werth, LaRoach, and Ankile.  The Mets were also in the news this offseason, but it was because their ownership is just about bankrupt after losing millions to Bernie Madolf.

chatphillies-teamlogo1. Philadelphia Philies-- After an offseason that made most people put the Phillies as an almost lock to go to the World Series, Philadelphia has had a Spring Training that had me really wanting to make the Braves the favorites to win the division.  It is now expected that both Chase Utley and Brad Lidge will be starting the year on the DL for the Phillies, and while it Luis Castillo and Ryan Madson are fine replacements these injuries shine a big spot light on the Phillies two spots; the bullpen and a lack of power from the plate.  The bullpen with the Phillies when all healthy would have Lidge as a closer (and you never know if this is going to be a good year or bad year for Lidge), Madson as the set up man, and then Jose Contreras, Danys Baez, J.C. Romero, Antonio Bastardo, and Scott Mathieson.  While it is not a poor bullpen, it is not that great either.  Most likely it will end up being ranked somewhere in the middle to of the NL when all is said and done.  But the real concern with the Phillies is the lack of power that they have in their order behind Ryan Howard.  The Phillies decided to let Jayson Werth go this past off season, and he signed a huge contract with the Wshington Nationals, and Werth was really the only other true power hitter in the lineup after Howard last year.  Going into 2011, unless Ibanez bounces back to 2009 form, the argument could be made that Chase Utley (who looks like hewill be on the DL to start the year) is the Philies next best home run hitter.  Victorino does have some power as well, but Polanco, Rollins, Castillo, and Ben Fransisco (who is replacing Werth in right field) are all mostly hitter for average rather than power.  Even with those concerns, when you look at the starting pitching rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton it is just hard to pick against Philadelphia to win the division.  With the rotation the Philies have, if the top 4 guys can stay healthy in 2011 the Philies could sign me to be their 5th starter and they should still win 80 games.

logo2. Atlanta Braves-- I have made it pretty clear that I am a Dan Uggla fan, and I truly do believe that the Braves made the best acquisition of the off season by trading for Dan Uggla.  I have seen several different projected Braves lineups, and they have changed their batting order a lot this spring, but if they are smart and have Jason Heywood bat third and Uggla fourth then they will have one of the most dangerous lineups in the NL (Lineup I would go with-> 1. Prado, 2. Jones, 3. Heywood, 4. Uggla, 5. McLouth, 6. McCann, 7. Freeman, 8. Gonzalez).  The Braves have decent pitching rotation with Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, and Brandon Beachy.  Combined with their hitting the starting pitchers should be able to rack up a good numbers of wins each, even though I would rank their starting staff behind both the Phillies and the Marlins.  The Braves biggest question mark is their bullpen.  This spring they have had a competition between Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel for the closer role, and even though it appears that Kimbrel will go into the start of the season as the closer niether is that experienced.  Of the rest of the bullpen (Eric O'Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Scott Linebrick, Geroge Sherrill, and Scott Proctor) none of them are really dominant or intimidating.  Come trading deadline time their is little doubt that the Braves will be on the look out for middle relievers, and maybe a closer, to sure up their bullpen for the playoffs.  Even though the Braves are going to play a lot of games against both the Phillies and the Marlins, and the teams are probably going to beat the hell out of each other, the Braves should still be a playoff team in 2011 either via the Wild Card or by winning the Ea3.st.

floridamarlinsinq3. Florida Marlins-- A few days ago the Marlins had a lot of questions that needed answering going into the start of the season, but in a matter of days it seems as though most of those questions have been answered.  The Marlins are going into 2011 season with the most turnover in their opening day roster from one year to the next since Hanly Ramirez's rookie season.  Hanley's double play partner, Dan Uggla, was dealt to the Atlanta Braves for his new partner Omar Infante and relief pitcher Mike Dunn.  Marlins will also have outfielders Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton in their first full season, free agent pick ups Javier Vazquez and John Buck, and several new relief pitchers.  The Marlins were hoping to have top prospect Matt Dominguez win the starting 3rd baseman job, but he was sent down to the minors (he will most likely be sent up after a month or two).  it looks as though Donnie Murphy will be the Marlins primary starter at 3rd, but don't be surprised to see bench players Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs, and Emilio Bonifacio also get time at 3rd from time to time.  No doubt the Marlins do not have as much home run power as they had at the start of last year (Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu, Dan Uggla all gone), but they should still score about the same amount of runs thanks to the fact that they should hit for a higher average as a team.  The Marlins do have a solid starting rotation with Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Javier Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez, and Chris Volstad if they can all stay healthy, and if Volstad can finally put together a good FULL season.  Really for the Marlins it all comes down to that redone bullpen.  Consider this the Marlins in 2010 were 80-82 despite having one of the worst bullpens in the Majors blew the lead they were handed over 20 times (led MLB in that category).  So the Marlins added Ryan Webb, Randy Choate, Michael Dunn and Edward Mujica to a bullpen that already had setup man Clay Hensley, and Closer Leo Nunez.  Burke Badenhop and Brian Sanches are also to go Marlins relievers were retained and are fighting for spots in the bullpen.   If the bullpen can do its job and hold leads late in games then the Marlins will be right there at the end of the year in the Wild Card race.

chatnationals-teamlogo4. Wshington Nationals-- Call me crazy, but I do not think that the Nationals are going to be the bottom dwellers of the NL East this year.  Is Jayson Werth worth that large $120 million contract that the Nationals gave him, probably not.  I am not a real big fan of the Nationals idea to have Werth hit 2nd in the order with Zimmerman batting behind him.  However if you put Werth behind Zimmerman, and then Rick Ankiel and Adam LaRoche behind Werth and that is a solid middle of the order.  It will also really help the Nationals to have Livan Hernandez and Pudge Rodriguez continue to play like age is just a number.  Washington middle relief is a little suspect, but if their starting pitchers can stay in games and get the game to setup man Tyler Clippard and Closer Drew Storen then the Nationals are going to have a good chance to win quite a few ball games.

New_York_Mets.jpg5. New York Mets--  Are the Mets a better and more talented team then the Nationals?  Yes.  Do the Mets have a better starting rotation then the Nationals? I think so.  So then why did I pick the Mets to finish last?  It is for several reasons.  First they do not have that great of a bullpen, even if you don't look at the legal and off the field issues that their closer Fransisco Rodriguez is going to be dealing with.  Also the Mets' Carlos Beltan is still battling injuries and it does not look like we will be ready for the start of the season. Without him the Mets really do not have a lot of power in their lineup outside of David Wright and possibly Jason Bay, who is coming off a just horrific 2010 season.  However the real reason that I pick this team to finish last, it is because this team has mid season fire sale written all over it.  Unless the Mets have a very surprising start to the season, the Mets are going to be realistically out of the playoff race earlier this summer and when you look at the money this team has tied up between Wright, Rayes, Beltran, and Bay, and then look at the fact that ownership is broke...well something has to give.  The Mets are going to have to dump a lot of payroll this year most likely and that should add up to a lot of losses coming in the 2nd half of the year when the Phillies, Braves and Marlins are all trying to make a playoff push.

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Sat, 26 Mar 2011 15:08:12 +0000
Matt Dominguez and 4 Others Sent to Minor League Camp http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/matt-dominguez-sent-to-minors.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/matt-dominguez-sent-to-minors.html In a shocking move this morning the Marlins sent top prospect Matt Dominguez down to Minor League camp.  Dominguez came into spring training with the starting third baseman job his to lose, and while he proved that his defense was there his struggles from the plate did him in.  He started this spring hot from the plate leading the team in homeruns, RBIs, and had a batting average over .300, but he has been in a big slump recently and has gone 8-42 (.190 average) from the plate with a .292 on base percentage.

Edwin Rodriguez has come out saying that Omar Infate will not be moving from 2nd to short (although that maybe the best move), but rather right now he plans to platoon Emilio Bonifacio and Donnie Murphy at third base.  The Marlins may look to trade for another 3rd baseman, but at this point unless another teams prospect is in limbo between the minors and the majors, the asking price will be relatively high.  It should also be noted that Bonifacio is an option to fill in for Chris Coghlan, if he can't start the season with the Marlins.

The Marlins also sent Josh Kroeger, Frank Mata, Joe Thurston and Ruben Gotay down to Minor league camp while outfeilder John Raynor was asked to be released.  The Marlins roster is now down to 32, and will been to be cut down to 25 in the next week.

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:04:57 +0000
More Questions than Answers http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/more-questions-than-answers.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/more-questions-than-answers.html Going into this spring the Marlins only seemed to have one big question, which was is Matt Dominguez going to be the starting third baseman?  If the answer was going to be no then it was assumed that Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs would platoon at 3rd base.  The only other questions on the Marlins line up was who would be on the bench and who would be the last guy in the bullpen; Burke Badenhop or Brian Sanches.  But as the spring has gone one none of these questions have seemed to have been answered, and with only a week left in spring training the Marlins seem to have more questions now than they did at the start of the spring.  Here are some of the questions that need to be answered within the next week.

1. Who will start at 3rd base?  It is still possible that Matt Dominguez could win the starting job, after all he was one of the best hitters in the lineup earlier this spring. However, if Dominguez can't get out of his slump and his average can't get over .200 then he should start the year in the minors, and if that happens then the Marlins have several options to consider.  Option one is that the Marlins stick to the original plan and just platoon Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms at third.  Personally this is the option I would go with.  Dobbs has had a great spring and him are both solid and reliable veterans.  While they may not excel and be all-stars at the position at the potion, they should be able to do a good enough to keep the Marlins afloat.  Option 2 is the Marlins move Omar Infante over to 3rd and have Emilio Bonifacio play 2nd base for the team (or Ozzie Martinez could also play here as well).  Edwin Rodriguez has loved the way that Emilo has played this spring and was already on playing him a lot when giving regular starters a day off.   While moving Infante to 3rd maybe a smart move, as he is a better 3rd baseman than 2nd baseman, but like most Marlins fan I still remember Emilio's struggles when he was the everyday for the Marlins a few years.   Option 3 is that the Marlins go out and get another 3rd baseman.  ESPN.com reports that the Marlins may be open to going somewhere outside the team to get a new 3rd baseman, but that would also mean the Marlins would have to trade for someone at this point (and it will not come cheap at this point in the season), unless the Marlins go for a prospect that could not make a Major League roster somewhere else and is to good to go back down to the minors.  It should also be noted that the Marlins had a chance to bring in veteran 3B Eric Chavez (signed with the Yankees) and 2B Luis Castillo (signed with Phillies) and passed on both players.

2. Will Chirs Coghlan be in centerfield on opening day and will it work?  The Marlins decided to take a risk this year and put (natural 2nd baseman) Chris Coghlan into centerfield, well its three weeks into spring training and he has yet to play that position for the Marlins.  While most believe that Coghlan has both the speed and arm strength to play the position, but their is still a more to the position to than that.  The centerfielder job is to also instruct the other outfielder and he is suppose to be the leader out there, but Coghlan, Stanton, and Morrison have yet to play together in the field together.  These guys need to be able to build up their chemistry so that they do not have communication errors in the field, and it looks like they will need to build that chemistry during the regular season.  Chris Coghlan has only played in part of 8 games this spring, but most of that has been as a DH.  The Marlins have a few options for centerfield if Coghlan is not ready in Emilio Bonifacio and Scott Cousins, but the player who will get the most time is Dewayne Wise, who has had a good spring and has the best glove of the three.  At one point it was up in the air if the Marlins would even keep Wise on their bench as a fourth outfielder because of the play and versatility of Greg Dobbs and Emilio Bonifacio, but with Coghlan playing so little this spring and Dominguez struggling it looks as though the Marlins will keep Dewayne Wise out of necessity. 

3.  What are the Marlins going to do with their lineup and Mike Stanton?  After getting hurt in the first spring game of the year against the University of Miami, it looks as though Mike Stanton should return to the Marlins outfield by Friday.  But even with the return of Stanton, it is still unclear where he will hit in the Marlins batting order at the start of the year.  The original plan for the Marlins batting order was to be 1.Coghlan 2.Infante 3.Ramierez 4.Stanton 5.Sanchez 6.Morrison 7.Buck 8.Dominguez 9.pitcher, but with Coghlan and Stanton both being hurt this spring and not getting a ton of appearances at the plate the Marlins may need to reshuffle the lineup.  Most likely if Coghlan is in the lineup Stanton could move down to 6th in the order, but if Coghlan can't go Stanton may bat 5th with Infante moving up to 1st and Morrison up to 2nd.

4. Who will be the backup catcher?  With John Baker out until this summer at the earliest their is an ongoing competition for the backup catcher spot between Brett Hayes and Brad Davis.  Most likely Hayes will get the spot as he has more experience and is hitting .100 points higher this spring, but Brad Davis does have more of an upside and neither one has really separated themselves this spring.

5. What will be the order of the Marlins rotation?  This maybe the least important question that the Marlins have to answer.  Truth be told with the exception of the playoffs and the last month of the season, the order of a teams rotation really does not make that much of a difference.  What we do know is that Josh Johnson will be the #1 and Chris Volstad will be the #5.  The 3-5 order was orignally expected to be Ricky Nolasco, Javier Volstad and then Anibal Sanchez, but if you go based on their performances this spring the order should be Javier Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez and then Ricky Nolasco.  But once again this really does not matter.

6. Who is going to fill out roster spots 15 thru 25?  We all know that Chris Coghlan, Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, Leo Nunez, Clay Hensley, and John Buck will make the team, but who will be the others to fill out the roster?  You know that one of the roster spots will go to the backup catcher and the third baseman (which for argument sake we will say it will be Matt Dominguez), but that will still leave 9 roster spots open for competition.  It is almost positive that Emilio Bonifacio, Wes Helms, and Greg Dobbs will all be on the bench and Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, and Michael Dunn will all be in the bullpen.  That leaves 3 open roster spots to be deciced between Dewayne Wise, Ozzie Martinez, Randy Choate, Brian Sanches, Burke Badenhop, and possibly another player or two I have not mentioned or who could be cut from another team in the next few days.  A lot could go into who gets the final roster spots between whether or not Dominguez wins the job at third, the health of Coghlan and Stanton, do the Marlins want to carry and extra bullpen pitcher or bench player, do the Marlins want to carry a fourth outfielder or will they use Dobbs and Bonifacio in the outfield to give players a day off, and what players are cut by teams in the day leading up to opening day.

All these questions, both big and small, need to be answered before opening day against the Mets on April 1st.  While everything maybe alright and work out for the Marlins, with each passing day the Marlins do not answer some of these question the optimism many Marlins fans had for this season coming into spring turns more and more into concern.

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Wed, 23 Mar 2011 20:34:28 +0000
Notes from the Past Week http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/marlins-spring-training-week-3.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/marlins-spring-training-week-3.html Here are some news and notes from Marlins Spring Training in the last few days.

  • In the middle of this week after the Marlins loss their next two games after Manager Edwin Rodriguez admitted that he was a little conerned over his team 's poor performances, the team owner, Jeffery Loria, voiced his frustrations with the team.   Loria said Wednesday that "It's time to kick it into gear, because the switch doesn't turn on the first day of the season.  I'm here 10 days and I haven't seen us win one game."  He continued by saying "I see a lack of energy at the moment, and it doesn't make me happy.  We have some extremely skilled athletes here, and hopefully they'll come out of it when the season starts. ... Our players are not ready to play yet."  The team has actually been able to respond by winning 3 of their last 4 games improving their Spring Training record to 8-14 and percentage points ahead of bottom dwelling Arizona in the Grapefruiut League standings.
  • Rodriguuez also came ouut before trhe game on Friday and told reporters that Matt Dominguez was on pace to win the starting third base job, but since then Dominguez has continuued to struuggle from the plate and has not been able to secuure that job.
  • The Marlins while a little banged up do apear to be getting healthy.  Chris Coghlan has begun playing outfield in some Minor League games while Mike Stanton has been playing DH in the Minors as well.  Also in the last three days Ricky Nolasco has made his 2nd start of the spring, and Javier Vazquez and Anibal Sanchez both made theri last start after being scrached from their starts earlier in the week.  Also despite suffering minor injuries, Omar Infante (hit in the ledt elbow by a pitch) and Dewayne Wise (bruised big toe) have both continued to play in Spring Training games.
  • Also Marlins made four more roster moves Sunday sending Pitcher Elih Villanueva, outfielder Tim Torres, outfielder John Raynor and catcher Clint Sammons all to Minor League Camp.
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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (Brian Castaldo) March Mon, 21 Mar 2011 01:57:28 +0000
Slumping Dominguez Leaving Door Open http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/dominguez-slumping.html http://marlinsbigcatch.com/2011-articles/march/dominguez-slumping.html Over the past few weeks I have said that all that Matt Dominguez needs to do is hit consistently during this Spring and he will be handed the starting 3rd base job, and he had been doing a good job for most of the spring.  At one point his batting average was up over .316 this Spring, but he has been going through a bad slump and his average has dipped under .200 (currently .184).  This has changed things so that Matt, him gone from looking like an almost sure thing to be the opening day starter, to now it being a real question if he will be the starter.  His slump could be because of a few things that happen during in Spring Training, especially to rookies like Dominguez.  As the spring has gone on you have starting pitchers going longer into games and teams cut down on the number of pitchers in their rotation to get it down to who will really be in their big league bullpen.  Also the Marlins themselves have cut down on the number of players on their roster so Dominguez is now getting more at bats.  So while in the first few weeks Matt may have gone 2-3 in a game, if you look at the at bats he may have gone 0-1 against the opposing teams ace, go 2-2 against 2 pitchers who will start in Double-A in April, and then he may have been replaced in the game and then get the next day off.  Now Matt has games going 0-4 with him going 0-2 versus a teams starter and then 0-2 against decent major league bullpen guys.  Also with the Marlins playing St. Louis 8 times, New York Mets 7 times, and Washington 4 times some pitchers may have seen him before and now know some of his tendencies as opposed to the first time against him when he was some what of an unknown.

What is also hurting Dominguez's chances of starting is the fact that Greg Dobbs is having a very good spring training, he is still hitting .400 this spring.  Dobbs gives the Marlins the option of having a 3rd base by committee with Dobbs and Helms alternating based on who is hot and who matches up better.  The Marlins signed Dobbs in the off-season to a Minor League contract just so they could have this option.  However another option has also arisen for the Marlins with the Mets cutting second basemen Luis Castillo.  Castillo, a former Marlin and a fan favorite, could be an opotion for the Marlins as well.  While the Marlins have yet to contact him, if they do the plan would be to have Luis Castillo play 2nd base and then move Omar Infante to 3rd bse where he has played before.  It should be noted that Castillo, while he did have a poor 2010, the Mets cut him primarily because of the fact that they owed him $6 million (and it's no secret the Mets are in serious financial trouble) and played less than 90 games 2 out of the last 3 seasons.

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bcastaldo2000@gmail.com (BC Castaldo) March Sun, 20 Mar 2011 17:49:36 +0000