Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh-Oh and Ah-Ha!

NYT reports in Monday's paper that Larry Starr, head trainer for Marlins 1993 to 2002, said he's talking to Mitchell's investigators. Florida Today said Starr is saying members of '97 champ Marlins used steroids. ... and then Starr sez he told investigators that he was misquoted. "If that team did anything, it drank a lot."
Meanwhile, the Great Ronnie gloats that Angels moaning about Marlins asking too much for Miggie -- "They must have read my comments" here at Marlins Maniacs...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Free Agent!

News flash -- Jeff Conine filed for free agency on Monday.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Uggla

Here are some numbers about Dan Uggla. All come from
1 -- He led the team by a wide margin in strike outs (167, Miggie was in second place with 127).
2 -- Batting with men on, two out -- .167
3 -- Batting with runners in scoring position, two out -- .133
4 -- Batting with runner on third -- .150
5 -- Batting with bases loaded (meaning this is a weak pitcher, in trouble) -- .154

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Link to Bonds Trial Q&A

Here's the link to a Q and A at one of my favorite baseball websites, The Hardball Times, on Bonds and the indictment and so forth. It's very informative, although I can think of at least one fairly recent high-profile prosecution that fell completely apart after the indictment was issued--the scientist Wen Ho Lee.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

DOMINOS FALLING IN L.A.: Is Miggy Trade Next?

Ronnie sez: What connection does the Orlando Cabrera for Jon Garland trade have for the Marlins? On the surface, nothing -- the Angels shipping a Gold Glove SS to the White Sox for a solid starting pitcher. But behind the surface, this could mean a Miggy trade to L.A. is coming soon. The reason: The Halos already have a full contingent of starting pitchers, so getting an innings eater like Garland could make it easier for them to ship a young arm -- as part of a package of players -- to the Marlins for the great Miguel Cabrera. (See today's LATimes for a sharp analysis on this.) Still holding out hope to see No. 24 hitting cleanup next year, but the train, they say, may already be on the tracks.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hard Stats on Small Ball Fredi

Bill James Handbook 2008 is out. It's a great read, stuffed with details, including the performance on managers. How’s Fredi compare? Let’s look at two small ball categories – sacrifice bunts attempted and intentional walks. That means giving up outs to make runs and putting opponent runners on base to, um, prevent runs. Guess what? Fredi is an ultra-activist, near the top of the league in both categories. Surprised? Not if you're a true Marlins fan.

Only Clint Hurdle (Rockies!?) and Willie Randolph attempted more sacrifice bunts in the Major Leagues last year, Bill James reports. Hurdle had 112, Willie had had 97, Fredi had 91. Bob Melvin, NL manager of the year, was far down the list with 74. (Far down for the NL, that is. The AL rarely walks people.)

Intentional walks? Fredi’s mentor, Bobby Cox, led the league with 89, and Fredi just had a hard time catching up, issuing 60. Bob Geren of the A’s also gave up 60. Clint Hurdle 61 (small ball advocate at Coors Field? What’s he trying to do? Mess up RW’s theories of evil Rockies?). Charlie Manuel did 62.

Now, James goes a step farther. He has a category called “Bomb” under intentional walks. That’s when more than one run scores in an inning after an intentional walk. And here Fredi tied for the ML league – with 16 Bombs during the season. Here, he showed that he wasn’t up to Bobby Cox speed: Cox intentionally walked 89 hitters and had 16 Bombs. Fredi walked 60 to produce his 16.

Make of this what you will. I personally hate giving up outs to score runs and putting runners on base to prevent runs. Melvin, NL manager of the year, by the way, issued a mere 38 intentional passes, which resulted in four Bombs.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Miggy: Go West, Young Man -- and maybe Dontrelle

ESPN "Hot Stove Report" sez Angels and Dodgers are best fits for the Miggy trade. ...
This is from LA Times:

The Marlins would like the Angels to include second baseman Howie Kendrick and top pitching prospect Nick Adenhart in any trade and would like the Dodgers to include pitcher Chad Billingsley or top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw, perhaps both. The Marlins traditionally insist on top young pitching in any deal.

If the Marlins ask for two pitchers as part of a package of three or four players, neither the Angels nor Dodgers figure to have the depth for a deal, unless Florida expands the trade to include pitcher Dontrelle Willis. The Marlins would free an estimated $20 million in payroll next season by trading Cabrera and Willis.

The Angels, according to another major league source, do not want to trade four players straight up for Cabrera, 24, who has a .313 career average in 4 1/2 big league seasons and has averaged 31 home runs and 115 runs batted in the last four years.

Though they have refused to part with Kendrick the last two winters, the hard-hitting second baseman is not considered untouchable.

But the Angels would trade Kendrick only if they felt the package was right -- they don't want to trade Kendrick and Adenhart and third base prospect Brandon Wood and one of their catchers, Jeff Mathis or Mike Napoli, for Cabrera.

If the Marlins do insist on four players, including Kendrick, they might be willing to add second baseman Dan Uggla, 27, who hit .245 with 31 homers and 88 RBIs last season, to the deal.

Cabrera is expected to make between $11 million and $12 million in arbitration next season, but he is a much cheaper alternative to free-agent third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is reportedly looking for $30 million per year for at least eight years.

New Angels General Manager Tony Reagins met with Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, in Anaheim before the GM meetings. Tuesday was the first day teams could discuss monetary figures with free agents, but Reagins said he did not extend any formal contract offers.

"We're still in the information-gathering process," Reagins said.

As for growing speculation that the Angels are the front-runners to sign Rodriguez, Reagins said, "I don't know where it comes from. Obviously, some of it is from people seeing our need, but I don't like to comment on speculation."

The Angels could explore the possibility of signing free-agent third baseman Mike Lowell, who earned most-valuable-player honors while leading Boston to a World Series win over Colorado. But they don't want to go four years on Lowell, who reportedly has a three-year offer of about $40 million to return to the Red Sox.

The Angels won the American League West for the third time in four years this season but were hit hard by injuries and swept by Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

"If the season started today, I like our club, when healthy," Reagins said. "I like our starting pitchers, our bullpen, and if we have a healthy Garret Anderson, Gary Matthews Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero, I think we're pretty good. I don't feel pressured to make a huge move, but if you can get better, that's what you want to do."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

OK, OK, this IS a Marlins blog, but it's the off-season and BB is the biggest story in baseball (now that the Yankees have doomed their future for a decade with A-Rod). Some more thoughts:

French sez: His story seems weird to me. Can Bonds really be so arrogant and stupid that, even after meeting with lawyers before his grand jury testimony, he goes in there and lies in a way that they can prove? The guy's got a lot to lose--forget about the baseball, he's a very wealthy man.
If Anderson didn't talk, how are they going to prove that Bonds lied when he said Anderson didn't inject him? If Anderson didn't talk, then the prosecutors seemingly behaved in a pretty sleazy, if not outright unethical way, by telling the judge that his cooperation was essential to the prosecution, and leaving him in prison for a year, and then proceeding to indict without Anderson's testimony.

This could be a federal prosecutor (the replacement for the one the Bushies fired) clearing his desk of a mess he inherited, and saying we ain't gonna waste any more time or resources on this, lets just go with the evidence that was not formerly thought to be sufficient to indict. It could also be the beginning of a whole bunch of indictments, stemming from that pitcher in Arizona (Grimsley?) the clubhouse attendant of the Mets, and whatever else they've been working on. We just don't know.

None of this has anything to do with baseball, of course, except that the reason baseball is the National Pastime is the way in so frequently intersects other aspects of our national life.

Dorsch sez
: And why did they wait for four years after his testimony to accuse him of perjury?

French sez:
The juxtaposition of Selig talking about a banner year, and ARod getting his gigantic new deal at the same time that others are writing about how this is about to be a terrible scandal and going to permanently damage baseball is kind of interesting. Steroids are bad for people who take them, and have devalued some major records in the sport. We certainly look at players and their achievements differently than we did before ... But it seems like you'd have to say they've been good for the business! Like I said, weird.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Look at the Indictment

The whole BB indictment is online now at and probably other places. Balco was collecting "biological specimens" from players for testing and feds have those specimens (labeled BB), which by DNA can be tied to Bonds. One test is for Nov. 2000. Others for early 2001. The indictment is for lying, not for taking drugs. Bonds first testified "not that I know of," but then emphatically denied he had taken during his run up to the single-season record mark. This "cream" and flax seed oil were later, he said. He testified that the trainer never gave him a shot. (There could be people who saw him getting a shot.) And if Greg Anderson has flipped or will flip .... Black Sox were found innocent at trial, but ML Commissioner still banned them for life.


I'm glad they indicted Barry Bonds.

But, I don't share the widespread view that he must have cheated because otherwise he couldn't have set the single-season and career HR marks.  

Rewind his career to before Balco, and fiddle with the numbers: if he played 10 years more, he was going to be at 700 or so. People didn't think of Bonds as a home run hitter then. Of course, they didn't think of Aaron at the same age as primarily a home run hitter, either ... And, just to make things even weirder:  if we'd been having a conversation after the rumors started and he supposedly got much bigger, we'd have said that, since steroids hurt a player's longevity, Bonds would be gone from the game (like Canseco and Caminiti) before he could threaten Aaron!

His single season mark is also not as bizarre as people think: 16, 39, 61, 33, 26. Those are the HR totals for 5 consecutive seasons for Roger Maris, with the 61 in the middle. Maris never hit over 40, except the year he hit 61.  Here's an even more bizarre series: 10, 18, 5, 43, 15. Davey Johnson's HR totals, 1970-74. Johnson never hit over 20, except the year he hit 43.  No one, so far as I know, accused Maris or Johnson of using performance enhancing drugs.

Of course this doesn't prove that he didn't take steroids, but he has been in an impossible situation--people making all kinds of accusations, and he can't respond.
And acting like a jerk and hating reporters hasn't helped much.

Now, he'll have a chance to tell his side of the story, and its long overdue. 


Ronnie sez:
Word breaking today is that catcher Yorvit Torrealba is going to sign with the Mets, not the Marlins. So why does this Marlin fan view this as a good thing? Because I could not understand why Fish brass would free up extra money for a player of Torrealba's skills, while searching high and low to unload the stunning talent of Miguel Cabrera. I know the two potential transactions are not directly related, but it struck a discordant tone to see us chase after an average, at best, player while looking to trade a Hall of Famer. Torrealba is a below average hitting catcher -- a .251 career hitter with a modest 30 career homeruns -- and a solid, but far from spectacular, catcher. The hope here is this deal falling through will shake this horrid offseason slumber. Now the Fish bosses must say to Miggy's suiters: No, thanks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Star Island

So, ARod is going to have to take a pay cut.  Now we know why he backed out of buying Shaq's house on Star Island. The house he has now has a better view anyway ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Amazing Cody Ross

On opening day 2008, chances are that Hanley will lead off and play short. After that, there are no certainties on the Marlins roster, although there are a couple of near certainties: Hermida will almost certainly be in right. Willingham will be in the lineup.

I want to put in a plug for Cody Ross. The guy's stats, when he played (60 odd games and about 200 plate appearances) are just wonderful--Miggy's OPS was .965, Ross's was 1.065. For comparison, Beltran's OPS was .878. 

I'm guessing he's going to be in center, although the Marlins list him on the depth chart in left. 

Catchers and Things

OK, let's get serious here. The PB Post, Herald and S-S all reveal this morning that the Marlins are fed up with Miguel Olivo, 12 errors, 16 passed balls. That's fine with me. Not much of a bat, not much defense. The Marlins could do better. S0 they're looking at Torrealba, who ranks near the bottom of the league in throwing out runners -- 19.7 percent of the time... Olivo was third in the league, throwing out 32.9 percent.... Charles Johnson 1997 and Pudge 2003 were great defensive catchers, and that's what you need to be a champ.... So please, no Torrealba -- or Barrett for that matter, who was mentioned in S-S. He's even worse than Torreabla, at 16.3 percent ... And while nobody asked, maybe if they deal Cabrerra they can find a second baseman and unload Uggla. Sure, he hits homers, but he strikes out a lot, particularly when there are runners in scoring position. And he's a crummy fielder. Look at those 2003 marlins -- and man, that infield was solid -- made those pitchers look good....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Game 6 Cubs-Marlins 2003 Playoffs Eighth Inning

It was a magical moment -- akin to a Harry Potter episode or Garcia Marquez 100 Years of Solitude: A fan dropped a foul ball and ... eight runs scored!

I kind of feel for the Cubs, having grown up in Illinois and think maybe it's about time they won another World Series (100 years next year).. but my buddy Ronnie says no, those Cubs fans are ugly and obnoxious and let them suffer.... Certainly, they were obnoxious on blaming eight runs on a fan ...
But in case you've forgotten, Fredi "Mr. Small Ball" Gonzalez was not there... and so guess how many times in that inning did the Marlins try to bunt... ?

Here's the replay, from Wikipedia:

The Cubs held a 3-0 lead going into the top of the eighth inning in Game 6 and, after Mike Mordecai hit a high pop fly to left field for the first out of the inning, had only two outs left in the inning—leaving the team a mere 5 outs away from their first World Series berth since 1945.

Prior had retired the last eight hitters and had allowed only three hits up to that point. Center fielder Juan Pierre (who was later traded to the Cubs) then hit a double off Prior to get to second base.

On the eight pitch of his at bat, Luis Castillo hit a high foul ball toward the left field wall. Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou headed toward the stands to catch the ball for the potential second out. As Alou reached for the ball, Cubs fan Steve Bartman, along with others near the area, did the same. The ball bounced off Bartman's hand and into the stands. Though the Cubs pleaded for a call of fan interference, the umpire ruled that the ball had left the field of play and was therefore up for grabs.

As a result, Castillo remained an active batter at home plate. On the next pitch, Prior walked Castillo with a wild pitch that got away from catcher Paul Bako, also allowing Pierre to advance to third base.

Next, Iván Rodríguez hit an 0-2 pitch hard into left field, singling and scoring Pierre. Miguel Cabrera then hit a ground ball toward Cubs shortstop Alex S. Gonzalez that could have ended the inning on a double play. Gonzalez, who led all NL shortstops in fielding percentage, closed his glove a little too early and the ball landed in the dirt, allowing Cabrera to get on base, loading the bases. On the next pitch, Derrek Lee (a future Cubs All-Star) drilled a double into left field, scoring Castillo and Rodríguez to tie the game at 3-3.

Prior was then taken out of the game and replaced by Kyle Farnsworth, who intentionally walked Mike Lowell to load the bases. Jeff Conine then hit a sacrifice fly to right field for the second out of the inning, allowing Cabrera to score from third and the other runners to each advance one base. This gave the Marlins their first lead of the night. Farnsworth intentionally walked Todd Hollandsworth (another future Cub) to once again load the bases.

The Marlins now having batted around the order, Farnsworth faced Mike Mordecai, who was looking to make up for his earlier out. This time, Mordecai prevailed, hitting a bases-clearing double to left-center field, allowing Lee, Lowell and Hollandsworth to score and making it a 7-3 Marlins lead.

Farnsworth was then taken out of the game and replaced by Mike Remlinger, who gave up a single to Pierre to score Mordecai from second base. Finally, Luis Castillo hit a high pop fly ball to shallow right field for the third out.

Score: Marlins 8, Cubs 3

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Lessons on Small Ball

Where was Fredi when the Marlins needed him back in 1997? He could have told Jim Leyland how you need to bunt to move runners along and win games ... Instead, Leyland had to struggle through on his own.
Here it is, Game 7, World Series. Bottom of the Ninth.

Indians 2 Marlins 1.

Alou singles.

Bonilla batting – 3-2. "Do you send Alou?" Bob Costas asks, "to stay out of the double play? Or do you play it safe?" Alou’s not going. Bonilla strikes out. If he was going it could have been a strike-em-out, throw-em out double play.

Charles Johnson – single to right. Alou to third. Gregg Zaun runs for Johnson.

Counsell batting – Deep drive to right. Caught by Manny Ramirez. Alou scores. 2-2

Friday, November 9, 2007

Disbanding the Marlins

The more I think of it, the angrier I get. Murray Chass knows baseball, but he certainly doesn't appreciate Florida (except probably during the month of March). This is what he wrote in Thursday's NYT: "If the Florida teams sank in Florida's waters, Major League Baseball wouldn't miss them." He says MLB blew an opportunity six years ago when it voted to disband two teams -- it should have picked the Marlins and the Rays then. Well, Murray, here's two numbers to consider: 1997 and 2003. What two numbers can the Mets give us? Or perhaps we should institute a rule that any team that annually leads the MLB in salary and can't win a World Series in seven years should be disbanded?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How Rich Are The Marlins?

Well, French first mentioned it ... and it's true -- Forbes says they're the most profitable team in baseball.... Meanwhile, Murry Chass of NYT says Marlins and Rays are pathetic, and if MLB just lopped off the State of Fla, no one would care .... I haven't been able to figure out hyperlinks yet, but if you go to and do a search for Business of Baseball 2007 you will a ton of stuff -- including this for Marlins:
Revenue 4 $122 mil
Operating Inc. 5 $43.3 mil
Player Expenses 6 $31 mil
Gate Receipts 7 $16 mil

Why the Mets are interested in ARod

It may be that the Mets are talking with ARod because what they really need is starting pitching ... To get Santana, they may have to give up an all star quality young player. So, they trade Reyes or Wright to Minnesota for Santana, and then ARod fills the open infield spot.  

If that deal doesn't work out, then they go after Dtrain (who has always done well in Shea), but who do they given up? Lastings Milledge? Beinfest ain't buying that.

Of course, Boras is salivating at having the Angels and Mets competing for ARod. 
Loser gets Miggy.  Maybe its the other way around--the real winner is the team that gets the young, clutch-hitting, WS ring-owning man who never saw an arepa he didn't like, and the loser of the ARod sweepstakes is the team that signs  the troubled superstar who has failed to drive in something like the last 30 guys he had a chance to drive in during the post-season.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mr. Optober and the Profitable Marlins

From French:
I saw the article in the Times about negotiating strategies that seemed to say that ARod and the yankees still may get together. Somehow I doubt that--the next generation Steinbrenners probably don't want to begin their tenure by backing down to the selfish and unloved superstar...
In fairness, I should say that I read a really interesting article in some on-line offshoot of Fortune that discussed the Yankees based mostly on the financial data the Yanks had to publish as part of their bond offering for the new stadium. The conclusion was that the Yanks will be rolling in dough once the new stadium is up and running, and $30+ million is not at all unreasonable.
I agree with you that in terms of what he's been quoted as saying, he's over-reaching--why sign someone to a 10 year deal because in 7-8 years he might be going for some big and famous records?-- and announcing during the WS probably means that Selig's minions are working the phones behind the scenes to try to keep some owner from doing something really egregious. Of course, Selig seems less adept at that than Ueberroth was.

But the columnists I read (espn, cnnsi, fox sports for Rosenthal) aren't saying anything about the possibility that ARod has painted himself into a corner... If anything, their consensus seems to be that Boras had a deal pretty close to in place before ARod opted out (I love his new nickname--Mr. Optober), citing JD Drew's experience last year. Of course, those guys have to write something, and there's not all that much to write between now and February. But no one is writing articles about why ARod may be headed to Japan ...

The good part of all this is that Lowell will get a bunch more money than he might have otherwise. Good for him.

On the Marlins: In addition to being one of 3 teams to win multiple WS sin '97, they are (according to Forbes) the most profitable franchise in MLB.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


By Jon Heyman,

ORLANDO -- Florida third baseman Miguel Cabrera is officially on the trading block.

The Marlins have begun contacting selected teams about the possibility of a Cabrera blockbuster. The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Angels are all expected to have interest.

Florida will likely seek a package of three young players, including at least one or two top-tier talents for Cabrera, 24, who is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.

The cost-conscious Marlins, whose payroll was below $30 million in 2007, don't want to dedicate too much of their budget to one player. Cabrera's salary is expected to rise from $7 million to about $12 million through salary arbitration.

The Marlins may also entertain offers on star pitcher Dontrelle Willis.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where Was Fredi When We Needed Him?

Fredi knows small ball. Get a guy on first, and Fredi needs a bunt like a smoker needs a cigarette. Alas, Fredi wasn't around for Game 3 of the 1997 World Series. Tied 7-7 going into the ninth.

Bobbie Bonilla starts with a walk. Bunt him to second, that's what Jim Leyland should have done, Fredi would say, but no. Daren Daulton hits a single to right, throw to third ends up in camera well, Bonilla scores. Grissom charged with error. Daulton to third. 8-7.

Alou strikes out. Floyd pinch-hitting. How about a bunt, Leyland? No, Floyd walks. Runners on first and third. Squeeze play, Jim?Eric Plunck throw to first gets away from Tome. Error. Daulton scores. 9-7.

Floyd hits to second on hit and run. Fernandez covering second, ball goes into right.

Counsel batting. Costas and Morgan speculate about a squeeze. Grounds to second. Bounces away from Fernandez. Error. Runners on first and second. 10-7.

White strikes out.

Renteria walks. Bases loaded.

Pitching change. Jose Mesa. Sheffield singles to right. Two runs score. Runners of first and second 12-7.

Bonilla batting. Wild pitch. Runners move to second and third. Single to right. 14-7.

Daulton flies out to center.

Final score 14-11.

Yep, Marlins gave up four runs in the bottom of the ninth, and won.... No small ball here..... I guess Leyland just didn't get the message...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Who Wants A-Rod?

This from Saturday Night Live: "A-Rod declared for free-agency, looking for a team with a lot of money that wants to lose."

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Did Girardi Ruin Young Arms, Etc.?

First this from the NYT: "Another note of caution is Girardi’s handling of young pitchers. Three rookies from his Florida rotation — Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Aníbal Sánchez — sustained major arm injuries last season. Cashman was not specific, but he said he was “very comfortable with the knowledge of what went on in Florida.”

And now this from Herald: Mark Wiley comes back as pitching coach. "Wiley, 58, is hoping he can restore some of the glory to Willis, who has been in decline the past two seasons.''There are a lot of different things that can happen to lead to [a slump],'' Wiley said. ``There is a certain strength that Dontrelle has to have to perform at his best, and I think at some times, there were certain parts of the strike zone that he didn't command as well as he did in that year where he won all those games.''

Did Girardi ruin some young arms? Why is Dontrelle now so bad? Did he ruin himself last year by pitching in that spring World Classic? He hasn't been the same since... There are mysteries to pitching I don't understand...

Friday, November 2, 2007

A-Rod a Marlin?

Marlins' management's announcement that A-Rod could be a Marlin is ...
A -- laughable?
B -- desperate for publicity?
C -- the silliest thing you've heard this week?
D -- all of the above.

Is Fredi worth it?

Fredi's salary is $650,000 a year, according to USA Today at -- that's only $50,000 a year less than Willie Randolph. ... Manny Acta is at $500,000 -- Charlie Manuel at $800,000 -- it's just a low-paying division compared to AL East....