Money Talk and Rotation Inflation

The Marlins must think they are the new Yankees: spending freely, garnering attention, and shaping up to be all talk and no play. Hopefully, this is not the case, and their performance on the field will reflect the hype of the offseason. It is true that the Marlins have been spending freely and getting more public attention than Prince Fielder at a buffet, but right now the Marlins don’t currently own the money they are promising to players.

In the last week, the Fish have dished out contracts to three different free agents totaling 13 years and $191 million. Jeffrey Loria courted both Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle in Miami, showing off the wondrous city (that I haven’t yet visited) and the glistening new ballpark, with which he is banking on paying said players. But there’s one slight issue for the time being, the revenue that will *inevitably* come from the new park is not yet here. Despite the fact that very few South Florida residents made the effort to see Florida Marlins games, the team did consistently have one of the highest TV ratings in Major League Baseball. So there are fans interested in Marlins baseball, but they’ll have to show up in person next year or else the Marlins might not have another offseason this busy again. But for now, only the Angels made a comparable splash to the Marlins’ during the winter meetings in Dallas this week, signing C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols for themselves.

The latest of the Marlins free agent signings occurred on Wednesday when Mark Buehrle agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract. On Tuesday, the Marlins offered a $200 million contract to Albert Pujols, and executed the next move perfectly. As I alluded to in my last post, it was imperative that the Marlins sign or walk away from Pujols quickly so that they would not miss out on pitching, which they needed even more than the three-time MVP. Miami set a deadline for Pujols to sign sometime Wednesday, and were perfectly fine walking away from him when he didn’t agree to the deal in time.

Quickly, the Marlins turned around and signed Beuhrle to add depth and star power to their starting pitching rotation, which already features an All-Star in Josh Johnson. As of right now, the 2012 starting rotation looks like this:

1) Josh Johnson: Even after the signing of Buehrle, Jeffrey Loria stated that as long as JJ is healthy, he will be the Opening Day starter for Miami. Johnson made the National League All-Star team in 2009 and 2010, and led the league in ERA until May of this year when he was sidelined for the remainder of the year due to a shoulder injury.

2) Mark Buehrle: With a fresh contract, Beuhrle’s star power will complement JJ’s talent nicely, making Miami’s rotation as dynamic as that of the Phillies or Braves. Beuhrle is most famous for his 2009 perfsect game.

3) Anibal Sanchez: Sanchez has a no-hitter on his own resumé, a 2006 blanking of the D’Backs. He almost accomplished the same feat against the Rockies earlier this year when he was able to complete his third career complete-game shutout. Sanchez’s fastball averages in the high 90s and can even blaze into triple digits.

4) Ricky Nolasco: The three and four slots can be flip-flopped, but Sanchez’s impressive 2011 campaign lands Nolasco at number four. Ricky has been with the Marlins since 2006, and has been a top starter since ’08.

5) Chris Volstad: For now, Volstad possesses the number five slot due to his big league experience. The lanky, 6’8″ righty has had control problems, but showcases a hard fastball mixed with good off-speed stuff. But he better watch out because Miami has some quality younger talent ready to jump into the rotation.

Among potential sixth starters, or rotation-ready sleepers are Sean West, Alex Sanabia, Brad Hand, and Wade LeBlanc, all of whom have big-league experience.

Also worth noting: Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nuñez) will not face charges for false identity in his native Dominican Republic. It is uncertain whether he will return to baseball next season.

With newly-attained credibility in the form of extreme spending on three big-name free agents, the Miami Marlins are prepared to gloriously enter their glistening new ballpark in April with a revamped starting lineup and pitching staff.

9 thoughts on “Money Talk and Rotation Inflation

  1. The Marlins made a mistake getting C.J. Wilson, Trevor Cahill, or Gio Gonzalez. Those are all guys that would be better pitchers for the team, and they’re all a lot younger also. Buehrle is on a decline and was clearly overpayed by the Fish. With Hanley as a trade piece, they still have a chance to bring in some good pitching.
    The Rays Rant-

  2. I think you mean “not” getting, and I agree that Buehrle was overpaid. I don’t think the Marlins want to trade Hanley. He likes it in Miami, and he doesn’t want out, and the Marlins don’t want him out either. As long as they resolve where Ramirez will play, he’ll stay with the Marlins.

    1. Benny, the Brewer Fan December 11, 2011 — 12:02 pm

      I’ve always seen Hanley as the face of the Marlins, it would be weird seeing him somewhere else.
      Brewers Today:

      1. You’re definitely right, Everybody wants Hanley to be the face of the Marlins, and that’s why he shouldn’t be traded. Ozzie Guillen said that he wanted to build the team around Hanley, and I imagine that’s what he’s going to do.

  3. I think eventually if the control problems continue for Volstad the Marlins should consider him in the bullpen. He seems to mirror Jon Rauch and maybe oneday could be a very effective setup man leading the league in holds.

    1. Interesting theory. It’s very possible, maybe a long-relief role. We’ll see. I really want to see Sean West back in the majors though.

  4. I think the Marlins were nothing but smart in terms of who they landed and how they balanced their persuits of the different free agents. As for money, big name free agents are always stupid expensive any more with contracts that will most likely seem terrible by the final year. There’s nothing to be done about that except gamble or stay out of it all together. Some years, we’d all rather gamble.
    — Kristen

  5. I’m glad you think that way, and I concur. They got who they needed, but the only problem is whether or not they will take in the necessary revenue to pay these players. It seems that it is necessary nowadays to gamble.

  6. First off, Buehrle is a fine addition and once I can spell his name, he will be an even finer addition. Don Mueller , the famed Mandrake the Magician has left us. His nickname came from his unique ability to get more than his share of “seeing eye” hits. I remember him for another reason and one that might amaze some younger fans for it featured Willie Mays, and not in a shining light. When Willie first came to the majors, he was often too exuberant. One would have to review the unique dimensions of the Polo Grounds OF to understand this. Willie would often run in front of Mueller in RF (Mueller was not the greatest of defenders out there) to catch a fly or cut the ball off, then have to spin around in order to throw to second or third base, and not throw at his best because of his contortions. He was roundly critcized for this and eventually broke the habit. Yes, sports fans, Willie Mays was once criticized for his defensive play. And as I mentioned to our blogger, it is interesting to compare Willie’s puutouts with those of Richie Ashburn. Willie probably had the most real estate to roam of any centerfielder after the advent of outfield walls, but Ashburn had a statue on either side of him. But of the two, Ashburn seemed to catch more fly balls than our living legend. It is rumored that he got himself in trouble with the daughter of either the owner or a member of the Front Office and this individual had a lot to do with Ashburn not recognized for the superior player that he was and not being elected to the HOF for a very long time. I wonder….

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