With the opening of the new Marlins Ballpark set for April 2012, the soon-to-be Miami Marlins are preparing to make themselves known at the Winter Meetings and make their presence felt on the baseball radar. Coming off a dismal season, the Fish named Ozzie Guillen their new manager, but that was just the first of the many expected changes to the Marlins makeup next season.
First off, the Marlins are hoping to roll out some dough on a few free agents or potential trade acquisitions in order to: 1) Bring in fans to their new stadium. The new park was proposed mainly because of the need for a real baseball park, but also to provide a cozy residence fans would be attracted to. The Marlins consistently had one of the lowest attendance rates in baseball, but one of the highest TV ratings proving there are fans interested in South Florida baseball. And 2) Be taken seriously. The Fish have also stereotypically been a poor team with a great farm system. So signing a big free agent would show that the Marlins can compete financially with bigger-market teams. But…
The Marlins have been one of the BEST small-market teams because of their stocked farm system. Just because they have money doesn’t mean they should dish it out like the Yankees. If the Fish can find a perfect balance between spending on quality players, and growing their own (who should not become too expensive to keep now that the team has money) they can be as good as anyone.
I’ve read quite a few reports recently that have mentioned the signing and/or trading for big name players.
1) Albert Pujols: He will be a free agent this offseason, which will most certainly create an extravagant bidding war. From my standpoint, I don’t see why the Marlins should go for Pujols. They have an all-star first baseman in Gaby Sanchez, and even despite the fact that Sanchez was a late bloomer he has the capability of becoming a big name star. Pujols and Sanchez share many similarities. They’re both right-handed first basemen, they are reliable defensively, and have similar batting stances. So who knows, Gaby Sanchez could be the next Albert Pujols. Besides, Albert is on the decline, in his prime he was the best player in the league, but it won’t happen for a fifth straight year.
2) Prince Fielder: ABSOLUTELY NOT! I can’t even begin with the potential problems the Marlins can/will have with Fielder…beginning with injuries. Basically, he’s too heavy. I’m totally shocked that Fielder hasn’t had a really serious injury yet. If you look around the league, there’s not a single player who compares to Fielder in size…around that is. Dimitri Young was Fielder-sized, but had knee, back, and heart problems, and ended his short career on the bench. I won’t expand further, just know that if the Marlins go for a first baseman, it better be Pujols.
3) Carlos Zambrano: Again, absolutely not! Zambrano is merely going to be a distraction in the clubhouse and will only get himself (and the team) into trouble. The Fish will already experience Ozzie Guillen’s distractions, and don’t need to divulge themselves further into unnecessary predicaments.
4) C.J. Wilson: As far as starting pitchers go, he would be the guy to go for. The lefty is a hard worker and would do well starting new with the Marlins. Miami will need a lefty in their rotation, and he would compliment Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez nicely.
There are many others the Marlins may go for, including centerfielder B.J. Upton, but the four I discussed are on the immediate radar. I like the makeup of the Marlins right now. They need to understand that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t win the World Series in the next few years. Rebuilding takes time, and they have the pieces to do so.