Strange things have happened to the Marlins this week, who seem to be going through a few more changes than they expected for the 2012 season. For one, they are planning and conducting interviews for managerial candidates for next year, making it apparent that 80 year-old Jack McKeon will not return in the dugout. Secondly, former closer formerly known as Leo Nunez was placed on the restricted list after his real identity was disclosed. And the only subject that maintained consistency over the past week was the deformed shape taken by a baseball after being crushed by Mike Stanton.
Ozzie Guillen, current White Sox manager, has been a target for the Marlins’ managerial position for the past 18 months or so. He is, was, and will be for the next several months the most likely candidate to take the job starting in the new park. Guillen has, in fact, expressed interest in managing the team. Joe Frisaro reported yesterday that Joe Espada and Bo Porter, third base coaches for the Marlins and Nationals respectively, will also be interviewed for the position. In my opinion, both Espada and Porter are qualified and would make fine managers. They both seem to be down-to-earth and passionate enough to take up the position. Porter was the third base coach for the Fish before he went to Arizona in 2010 followed by Washington this season. As much as I like both Espada and Porter, I think big league managing experience is something the Marlins need moving forward in 2012. Guillen is a fan-favorite in Chicago, and most likely will be in Miami.
Another change to be made for next season was realized when closing artist formerly known as Leo Nunez was placed on the restricted list this week after it was revealed that he signed under a fake identity as a teenager. Juan Carlos Oviedo, from the Dominican Republic, was under the same pressure as most Hispanic baseball players talented enough to go professional. A year or two in age will cost thousands of dollars on teenagers’ first baseball contracts. Once a Hispanic prospect reaches the age of 18, he is not as likely to be signed to a big deal. Nunez, or Oviedo, it appears used a fake identity when he signed as a teen; he also took a year off his age to boost his salary.
I often wonder how much Mike Stanton bench presses…I have no clue, but I do know that the glass panels in the Marlins’ new ballpark better be strong enough to take a shot from this kid. After his mammoth homers against Atlanta on Monday, many people speculate he has the potential to hit baseballs OUT of the new, cozy park. Glass panels overlooking downtown Miami will line the left field concourse in the Fish’s new pond, and will take shots from Stanton at least during batting practice. The Marlins are slated to host the 2015 All-Atar Game in Miami, meaning the Home Run Derby will also take place there the day before. If nothing else, I am looking forward to seeing Stanton participate in the 2015 Derby, and possibly hit balls out of the stadium.
The opening of the 2012 stadium is dangerously approaching, and the Fish are looking to solidify whatever uncertainty there may be in the team’s makeup proceeding into next season. A new manager, and/or closer might not have been the plans for the Marlins at the beginning of 2011, but I’m sure they will handle it and make 2012 a memorable year for reasons more than just the new park.