Monday, May 20, 2013


        My buddy Orlando sent me one of his regular missives on Sunday -- not celebrating a rare Marlins win, but a player progress report: "Miguel went 4-4, hits 3 homers and had 5 rbi."
    Here's the thing: I never get updates from embittered friends on JJ, Reyes or Buehrle are doing in Toronto, or how Hanley is doing in LA.
    Fans -- including me -- were bitter when the Marlins dumped their high-paid players last year, but the truth is that Loria and Company spent a lot of money putting together a bad team of expensive guys who were bad last year and who this year are mostly mediocre or have produced little.
    Last year's team was not a great one. When the Marlins dumped Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante on July 23, the Marlins were 44-51 and in fourth place. Hanley went three days later.
    Technically, USA Today lists the Marlins as having a payroll of $118 million at the start of last year, but $19 million of that was for Zambrano, and most of that salary was paid for by the Cubs, who were all too happy to dump him.
    But here's a list of dumped players, their salaries last year and what they did last year and are doing this year.
    * Hanley Ramirez -- $15 million, 14 HR 48 RBI .246 in 2012 while in 2013 has .455 in a mere four games for Dodgers.
    * Josh Johnson -- $13.7 million, 8-14 with 3.81 ERA last year, this year a mere 19 innings with Blue Jays and 0-1, 6.86.
    * Jose Reyes -- $10 million, a solid 11-57-.287 with 40 SB in 2012, this year injured appearing only in 10 games with Blue Jays.
    * Anibal Sanchez -- an exception. He was 5-7 3.94 last year with Marlins but at a hefty $8 million, this year a solid 4-4 2.77 with Tigers.
    * Heath Bell -- $7 million, 4-5 with 5.09 ERA last year, this year 4.50 with eight saves with Diamondbacks.
    * Mark Buehrle -- $7 million last year with 13-13 3.74 ERA (not bad), this year struggling at 1-3 6.33 with Blue Jays.
    * John Buck -- $6.5 million. He never got above the Mendoza line last year, batting .192. This year he started hot with Mets, but has been cooling off -- 10 HR, .228 BA.
    * Emilio Bonifacio -- $2.2 million last year, now batting .196 with Blue Jays.
    *Carlos Zambrano -- Marlins paid about $2.5 million of his salary, according to USA Today. He was 7-10 4.49 last year, losing his starting role> This year, last I heard, he was trying to come back in Phillies farm system.
    Last year's team also saw considerably playing time by Gabby Sanchez (.202 before being traded), Bryan Petersen (.195), Chris Coghlan (.140) and Scott Cousins (.163).
    In other words, the most recent dumping of players was not like what followed 1997 and 2003, those bitter events still throb in fans' memories.
    For the year, the 2013 Marlins are now 12-32, the exact record of the hapless 1962 Mets at this point.

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