Without a Shadow of a doubt we will see something that this town has not seen since 2005, a team built to contend for a pennant in the National League. In that year the Florida Marlins built around Josh Beckett’s pitching and Carlos Delgado’s bat, turned out to be an epic failure. With AJ Burnett not caring, Beckett’s blisters the aging bats in the line up the team could not make it into the playoffs or draw fans which cause the Fire Sale in the off season. The payment left from the “Market Correction” our new third baseman Hanley Ramirez. Everyone else who we acquired in those trades for Mike Lowell, Becket, Juan Pierre, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Delgado, Luis Castillo, is long gone playing for other teams in the Major Leagues.
Fast forward 6 years later, and the team is not even Florida Anymore. We are the Miami Marlins, new colors, new Logo, new stadium new identity, but wait same ownership. Trying to impress a fan base that shows up only for winners the Marlins made a (lack for a better word) splash this off-season, bringing in free agent talent to attempt to create a winner. Signing Jose Reyes, was the first big move in the winter meetings, only problem with this is it made our already All-Star short stop a little mad, because he now has to move to third base. Next was our bullpen, with the man formally known as Leo Nunez’s future unknown, the signing of Heath Bell former Padre closer is supposed to shut the lights out for the marlins back end of games. Meaning if Josh Johnson can stay healthy for more than a month this year, he may be able to leave the game with a 4 run lead and not worry about losing or getting a no decision. Mark Buehrle is up next being brought into the pitching rotation giving us a pitcher not afraid to give up strikes for outs, and hopefully at least 15 wins this season. So three free agents in and the Marlins were not finished yet.
Marlins traded over hyped over rated hometown pitcher from West Palm Beach Chris Volstad to the Chicago Cubs bringing in Big Z Carlos Zambrano a head case the last couple years walking out on his team, getting in fights and giving up early leads in games. This was a good trade though because Chris Volstad was a waste of time, effort and money. It’s a Contract year for Zambrano and the Marlins franchise is known for bringing in talent that has been off and making them money worthy. Examples you ask would be the like of Ross Gload, and Aaron Boone who got nice contracts after being with the Marlins for one season. You can also include Wes Helms in this but he was traded back to the Marlins from Philadelphia after being a let down for them. Hopefully in this contract year, Big Z will be just that big and win some games for the Fish.
We can expect to see a contender this year. The Phillies are only getting older, Atlanta proved that they do not have the pitcher management or contender last year as they blew a big 20 game lead to not make there way into the Wild Card spot. Washington National’s who looked good at parts of 2011 did not get the free agent first baseman that would have had them in the spotlight; Mets are down graded this year due to financial constraints. The National League east is wide open. The Central has lost star power also. Prince Fielder and The Machine Albert are not even in the National League anymore. This has put the home run crown in a box already addressed with Mike Stanton’s name on it. A line up mixed with speed and power along with B- to A+ pitching can mean a new flag will be put up in the new stadium. Only question is if the Marlins do make the playoffs, will the franchise be 9-0 in Playoff Series’ leading to a star studded parade down Brickel and A1A in November? Either way I am looking forward to the flying fish in the outfield with these bats at least I am guaranteed that.