Entering the off-season Jeffrey Loria insisted he would spend on talent needed to improve the ball club, and I suppose it’s fair to say he’s kept his word. Today proved to be yet another interesting day for the Fish and their fans, as Larry Beinfest and co. inked former Giants center-fielder Aaron Rowand to a minor league deal and long-man Burke Badenhop for minor league catcher Jacob Jefferies.
Although an intruiguing choice, the move to sign Rowand isn’t all that surprising given the Marlins lack of outfield depth and veteran presence entering Spring Training. It’s unclear if Rowand has the upper-hand in winning a job with the team, but he’s always been a solid defender and the Marlins are presumably paying him the league minimum. Rowand was cut by the Giants in August after posting a .270 wOBA on the year. It’s safe to say he’s hardly been a quality major leaguer at all since his Philadelphia days but there’s no problem in taking a flier on a guy with some upside.
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When SB Nation launched their team blogs a few years ago they created a certain feature that totally zonked WordPress, Blogger and other blog platforms. It was their easy-as-ever commenting system, which users took advantage of by simply writing their thoughts and then clicking “post.” Once you were logged in, you were able to comment as much as you pleased. Obviously, WordPress doesn’t have that and it really gets tiring writing my name and email every time I want to comment on an article.
I first found out about DISQUS back when MLB Trade Rumors installed the program to their world-famous blog. I fell in love with it’s speed and easy posting features which encouraged me to finally add it to Marlins Daily. So, Marlins fans, if you don’t yet have a password you can create one in seconds by going to DISQUS.com and if you have one, comment away. DISQUS also allows you to reply and like or dislike other commenter’s posts, and that’s always fun too.
If you have a problem with DISQUS be sure to email me by clicking on the “contact” button on the right.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Marlins have inked yet another big name — this time, Mark Buehrle. As of right now, it’s a four-year deal worth $58 million, an average of $14+ a year. We don’t know for sure, but this presumably ends the Albert Pujols-to-Miami talk given the fact that the Marlins, like all teams, do have a budget and have already spent nearly $200 million this off-season. That said, Jon Heyman recently tweeted that even after signing Buehrle, the Marlins still plan on targeting C.J. Wilson and even Prince Fielder.
Buehrle, a left-hander, has earned the White Sox 3+ wins each of the past five years. I’m not sure whether or not it’s fair to say that the Marlins signed Buehrle to a “team-friendly deal,” but he’s a reliable left-handed starter who has managed to stay healthy basically throughout his entire career and post decent peripherals. In 2011, Buerhle rocked a 3.98 FIP while walking just under two batters per nine innings. Assuming the dimensions in Marlins Ballpark are as large as advertised, Buerhle should have even more success for the Fish than he did in previous years with the Sox.
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He hasn’t signed yet, but all signs suggest a potential deal is close.
10:10 PM — The deal does not include a no-trade clause, which I think is also a plus for the Marlins.
10:03 PM – According to a tweet from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins have signed Jose Reyes to a six-year deal worth $106MM.
We’ve been aware of the heavy Reyes interest from the Marlins since the season ended, but no one could have predicted the two sides agreeing to a deal. Easily one of the more coveted free agents on the market, Reyes now joins an infield consisting of a couple of the National League’s best players. The deal is pending a physical, which, we all could assume the Marlins will tackle carefully.
Should everything go as expected, the Marlins will have already signed a huge name (their apparent wish when the off-season started) and a semi-big name in Heath Bell. We don’t know the contractual breakdown as of yet, but it’s basically eighteen-or-so million dollars annually heading to the pocket of Jose Reyes.
Our good friends over at Fishstripes creatively set an overlay of the new ballpark’s dimensions over those of Petco Park’s. If these overlays are accurate, which we have every reason to believe, the ballpark looks to be as pitcher friendly as any big ballpark in baseball. It’s not clear what impact the weather will have on fly balls, but this image at least makes you wonder how extreme these dimensions really are.
It’s official, guys — it’s official.
Not too long ago, I read an article by good friend and colleague over at Beyond the Box Score, Satchel Price. The piece was opinionated and written to explain why Bryan Petersen, who at the time boasted a .428 wOBA for Triple-A New Orleans in what most consider to be a hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, deserved a starting outfield spot. While the article was well composed and provided some vital points, there were several inclusions that I disagreed with. But four-or-so months later I find myself thinking a similar question to that of Satchel’s — I’ve basically been wondering whether or not Petersen is a fourth outfielder or the lowest of lows, a four-A player.
Calling someone a Four-A player is the equivalent of telling someone they are fat, or even worse, being called “Jeff Mathis” (ouch). It’s such a tricky term to tag upon player due to it’s extremely unclear definition. Often, fans who don’t think a player on their favorite team is any good usually request giving him the boot. “OMG Ramon Santiago is a terrible hitter” or “dang, yo, can we ship Aaron Rowand to the coast of Greenland and leave him there permanently?” are typically irresponsibly said, and without reason too. What I’ve never understood is why the value of a fourth outfielder gets belittled so often. In the minors, projecting a player to be a fourth outfielder or backup catcher makes him a pretty decent asset to your organization. That’s much different than a four-A player.
Bryan Petersen doesn’t possess one standout tool and isn’t that good of a hitter, and that’s why I don’t think he’s your typical everyday center-fielder. But damn, he could be one hec of a fourth outfielder and at the very least, a healthy surplus on a team with three fairly young outfielders. In 266 major league plate appearances Petersen has amassed a disappointing 93 wRC+, however, his 2011 wOBA of .334 is well above average and he did indeed chock up a line of .265/.357. In Satchel’s article, he noted Petersen’s improved triple-A walk rate and decreased K-rate, both peripherals that carried on when he received a late-season call up.
Petersen’s real improvements appear in the aforementioned peripherals, considering K & BB rates are a constant regardless of league ballpark sizes or what have you. That’s a prime reason why I personally don’t use minor league stats at all when evaluating talent. But in any case, sometimes you have to work with what you’re given and Petersen definitely showed off enough to be considered “impressive” down in New Orleans.
The Marlins could definitely use a guy like Petersen playing several times per week. Better yet, every team needs one of those. If he can maintain a .330 wOBA while saving a few runs in the outfield he’ll provide as plenty more than just an average fourth outfielder. In any case, the Marlins don’t have much of anything better, so instead of stocking him down in New Orleans another year he should be getting a shot. He’s not that great, but by no means is he a quad-first letter of the alphabet.
So that was…exciting, no?
Update — 12:25 PM: Per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, it looks like the White Sox will be acquiring Ozzie Martinez in exchange for Guillen plus a minor league pitcher. This obviously contradicts some of what I said below, but at least Martinez isn’t a “make-a-difference” prospect like some suggested would be on the move. Ozzie Martinez, to me, never had a role for the Marlins and probably never would, and despite donning new colors in 2012 he still might not even deserve a starting role. Martinez doesn’t have one tool that stands out but plays good defense and has some speed. Still, I can’t see him being anything more than a backup middle infielder. As for the pitcher heading to Chicago, I would expect it wouldn’t be Josh Hodges, Chad James, Brad Hand and so on. As I said below, the Marlins can’t trade the future for a manager.
3:37 AM: The “when it rains, it pours” saying always seems rather comparable to a day filled with ever-flowing Marlins news. When controversy surrounds the Fish, it generally turns catastrophic, or at least incredibly dramatic. In any case, yesterday was another one of those days. Don’t be ashamed to admit you might have missed the news. If so, you probably spent the day’s entirety laying in bed with your eyes closed. To quickly sum everything up, I might as well begin with the announcement of Jack McKeon’s retirement. Trader Jack called it a career after several decades of involvement in major league baseball, and in a corresponding move, the Marlins received the man they’ve long been eyeballing. That would be Ozzie Guillen, and this took place after the White Sox “released him from his contract.” That’s the big story, and the one that highlighted this day in baseball, but don’t forget Omar Infante, who inked a two-year deal with the Fish. Anyway, let’s dig in to what’s most important.
My first reaction to McKeon’s decision to retire was “well, damn, now we have to deal with the ongoing rumors of Espada and other coaches in consideration for the job.” While I do tend to believe that managers don’t have as much of an impact on the game as people might imagine, I’ve long ridden the “the Marlins need a veteran manager” train. With that said, for some odd reason I did not have Ozzie Guillen in mind, simply because I couldn’t imagine that move actually gaining momentum, much less happening. Why? Well, I just had a tough time believing Guillen would leave the Sox for the lowly Marlins, granted it’s geographically close to his palatial estate. And guess what, people? He didn’t leave — he got fired, so I’m not that crazy after all.
Despite flurrying rumors that “this and that guy” were heading to the Southside as part of the deal, each and every Fish prospect could stay put. According to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, “The White Sox retain rights to compensation should Guillen accept a managerial position with another Major League team in 2012.” So what that means is that even though Guillen was sacked and released, the Marlins will still have to pay the White Sox green for his services. With that said, we did hear rumors that Kenny Williams wanted a “pretty decent prospect” and that “there were two minor leaguers leaving the Marlins organization.” That would have been rather silly, especially if it was a decent prospect like some reports suggested. The Marlins have set their sights on Guillen for who knows how long, but mortgaging the future, at least in my opinion, is inexcusable when trading for a manager. We’re talking about a manager. Not a player. A manager. Let’s be real…
The potential acquisition of Ozzie Guillen also displayed some significance. For the past few seasons but especially in 2011, the Marlins couldn’t do anything right. Even when things were going well, an annoyance always got in the way whether it be a heartbreaking injury or just bad Marlins luck (stupid, dumb luck dragon). This time, the Marlins got their man. Sure, the Guillen acquisition might be rather surprising, and there will definitely be those who disagree with the move. But the Marlins management had dreams of Guillen wearing rainbow, black and teal (still don’t get it) for the longest time, and Loria can finally express his excitement and encouragement regarding the Marlins preparation for 2012.
I’ve already seen on Twitter the jokes being made about Guillen and his mouth or his potential interaction with Logan Morrison. And you know, it’s incredibly annoying and ignorant. Sure, there will always be low expectations and jokes being thrown around when you have one of the most controversial managers in sports about to possess one of the strangest managerial seats of one of the weirdest teams in sports, but what can you do? If I’m a Marlins fan, I’m damn excited about this new change in management. With an experienced manager, albeit a loud one, and Joey Cora occupying the Florida home dugout next season it’s really hard not to be excited. At least be open-minded.