- Baseball in the Garden of Eden, A Book ReviewPosted 776 days ago
The Marlins & The Future
- Updated: August 31, 2011
With 72 losses already, their ace out for the season (Josh Johnson=Gimpy?), and their best hitter taking it easy (Hanley Ramirez Exposed!!, more on that next time), the Marlins have nothing to lose. But we can all see that Ole Man McKeon is playing every game like it’s his last (which each game very well might be, bless his leathery soul) and he doesn’t care about the Marlins future, just wins for his smokey gravestone.
I miss the Marlins of the late 1990′s and early 00′s, years when we entered spring training hoping to win 80 games, and we knew the team was just going to trot out possible talent and hope they’d grow into superstars, with no expectations of playoffs, wins or respectability. These days, probably due to the new stadium, it seems we are trotting out has-beens with no future and no chance at winning in order to stay “respectable”, which leaves me with nothing to root for (or watch).
Marlins fans are a funny breed. For years our team has conditioned us to live our lives with an “All or None” attitude, either win it all, or save our strength and plan for next chance. But the past few seasons brought Marlins fans into September with possibilities they weren’t regularly used to, and maybe made us a little more like Yankee fans and a little less like Cubs Fans. But the Yankee fan’s life is just full of disappointment, and I don’t like what I’m becoming. Deep down, I miss those old bottom of the market Marlins, and watching a team grow before my eyes as different pieces matured and came into place. I loved it when friends laughed at our chances and I laughed at their bloated payrolls + aging lineups = long term ineptitude (U know who u are).
It could be we are seeing it today, with Stanton, JoJo, LoMo, Gaby and H2R, but it just doesn’t feel the same. It feels like we hit our apex last year, and the dismantling is coming. Maybe that is just injuries, bad luck, or an older me. But it doesn’t hurt to remember those low payroll years, and hope that the team is planning on building on our core with new young talent, instead of trying to get by with our current middle of the pack team. Just because we can’t pay $20+ million (per season) for a Prince Fielder doesn’t mean we should pay $18 million for a John Buck (for three seasons, but u get the point). Let’s invest in some more youth, and use our new stadium money to keep our young talent. Let’s lose 100 this year, so that we can make better decisions on our young question marks, and move forward more confidently next year. Let’s figure out next year’s options for CF and 3B now.
On that note, I shall rant.
I wish they would stop wasting games with Mike Cameron in centerfield when Bryan Petersen should be playing center-field everyday. Remember that Traitor Jack (can’t help it; I love the guy, but his nickname is too easy) told the Condor on July 2nd, “You’re not going to impress me if you go 5-for-5 or if you 0-for-5. I just want you to relax, have fun and do whatever it takes to help us win a game.” That is exactly what the good ‘ole Marlins would tell a youngold prospect when he came up, especially when they were 16 games back. But four days later we picked up Jack’s old buddy Mike Cameron (who according to Clark Spencer we aren’t paying for, thank G-d), and “McKeon said that he envisions Cameron as a starter and letting all of his outfielders “get plenty of work” once the former All-Star shakes off some of the rust.” Petey had gone 6 for 19 (with no walks and average defense) in his starting role, but the experiment is over, apparently because the Marlins need to win games (and hurt their future) this year to get people to come to the new stadium next year, and starting a battered 38 year-old center-fileder who has so far (in 2011) contributed a negative amount of Wins Above Replacement is the best way to win (just ask the Knee Jerk Debtropolit … oh wait, they just have a young guy who plays like he’s senile, and has stomach issues).
Why should all of the outfielders “get plenty of work” when we have one spot (CF) to fill between one prospect and two journeyman (Cameron and Dewayne Wise)? While Wise and Cameron are still very good defenders (both better than Petersen right now based on dWAR), and Cameron has had a few clutch hits, in a lost season the team should not be taking PAs from someone like Petey.
Same thing goes for shortstop / second baseman Ozzie Martinez, who has still never been given a steady starting shot. When HanRam went down, why would the front office put Bonifacio at SS (his worst defensive position) and journeyman/lifetime pinch hitter Greg Dobbs as our starting third baseman? If I wanted to manage this team with an eye towards the future, and not just toward selling seats next year, I would have Bonifacio play 3rd until Matt Dominguez (btw, don’t want to jinx anything, but he is on a mini-tear since he came back from injury) is brought up and let Ozzie play short until Hanley comes back (here’s hoping it’s Wednesday). Not only would we find out what we have with Ozzie (whether as trade bait for an extra arm a la Robert Andino, a possible second baseman if the Marlins don’t resign/overpay Omar Infante, or a potential fix for when Hanley moves to 3rd/outfield), but Boni has more experience at 3rd and can showcase his sometimes inaccurate strong arm.
What I’m saying is, let’s bring back the Glory Days of Marlins Baseball, and set ourselves up to be a Pudge and a (homicidal) Ugi from another championship that only Marlins fans saw coming, ever so slowly…