Thursday, January 17, 2008

What's Missing: Florida Marlins Edition.

Florida Marlins - The Ability to Stop the Arbitration Clock, pitching, pitching, third baseman, pitching, and to either get a new stadium or relocate.

We knew going into the off season that the Florida Marlins had to do something. Two of their most recognizable players, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, were approaching arbitration and were going to get mighty expensive. But they surprised everyone by trading both of these guys away in the same deal.

But the clock now starts again for the Marlins and herein lies a potential problem. Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida, Mike Jacobs, Scott Olson, Cody Ross, and Josh Willingham have all completed their second year of MLB-service. Players can become arbitration eligible after three.


Another interesting subplot to the current Marlins team is how far their pitching has fallen over the past year. Dontrelle Willis was supposed to be a superstar. Never happened - at least not in Florida. Josh Johnson was supposed to be his trusty sidekick. He’s out the entire year most likely, following Tommy John surgery. Scott Olsen was supposed to be the great accompaniment to Willis and Johnson who would also get into fights with Miguel Cabrera. Instead, Olsen was the guy with a 5.81 ERA who would also get into fights with Sergio Mitre. And Anibal Sanchez was Mr. Perfect Game. He spent most of the year in the minors. It really wasn't that long ago that the young Marlins staff looked like the future of MLB.

Another thing they need to get sorted is their third base situation. Alfredo Amezega, Jose Castillo, and Jorge Cantu look to battle it out for the starting gig in spring training.

It’s not all bleak, however. The Marlins did get two top shelf prospects from Detroit in that Cabrera-Willis deal. Both Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller will get the chance to prove themselves at some point in 2008.

Okay now on to the stadium issue. Since the Florida Marlins inception in April 1993, the team has played at Dolphin Stadium. The team has now been trying for nearly a decade to have a new ballpark constructed. Several plans have been developed, and negotiations with the City of Miami continued to fell through. In 2005 the Marlins started to explore the possibility of relocating. Their lease at Dolphin Stadium ends after the 2010 season.

The latest news has the Marlins and the city of Miami on the verge a new proposal, which Miami-Dade County Commission voted in favor for one of two deal. Finalization of these proposals will be decided this month. If thing don't fall through yet again the team will be renamed the Miami Marlins and open in April 2011.