Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Royals vs. Marlins -- Sad Comparison 2

    In an excellent analysis, the Los Angeles Times has shown how a small-market team like the Royals could build a national champion.
    There were a lot of smart moves, but at the core was the draft.
    From 2005 through 2008, the first picks of the Royals were outfielder Alex Gordon, pitcher Luke Hochevar, 3B Moustakas and 1B Hosmer.
    The Marlins had a bunch of first round picks during those years for various reasons involving free agent compensation (I think). They were Chris Volstad, Aaron Thompson, Jacob Marceaux, Ryan Tucker and Sean West (2005), Brett Sinkbeil and Chris Coghlan (2006), Matt Dominguez (2007) and Kyle Skipworth 2008.
    You might recall you saw Coghlan in the playoffs with the Cubs. What did the Marlins get in return for that trade? Well, there wasn't a trade. The Marlins granted him free agency in 2013.
    Now, the LA Times noted that the Royals picks were at the very top of the draft, because the Royals had finished at the bottom the year before. The Marlins highest pick was Skipworth, sixth overall in 2008, a high school catcher that received a $3.2 million signing bonus.
    Skipworth's only appearance in the Show was in 2013 -- when he made four plate appearances with the Marlins, getting one walk and no hits. After the 2014 season, he became a minor league free agent. He was signed by the Reds. During 2015, he struggled at AAA and AA.
    In eight minor league seasons, he batted .214 with a total of 93 HR.
    The Royals also did some smart things. In the Latin American signings, they got catcher Perez, the World Series MVP, for 65,000 pitcher Yordano Ventura for $27,000.
    After their World Series lost in 2014, the Royals decided they couldn't afford to retain pitcher James Shields, designated hitter Billy Butler and outfielder Nori Aoki. They went into the free agent market to get Edinson Volquez, Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios as replacements. Total cost: $48 million, same as the Dodgers spent on Brandon McCarthy, the LA Times reported.
    Meanwhile, the Marlins signed free agent Michael Morse for $16 million for two years. He didn't make it to the end of the season.
    When the Royals had starting pitching woes, they traded three young pitchers for Johnny Cueto, who threw a WS shutout. The Marlins sent a young prospect to the Reds for Latos, who also didn't make it to the end of the season.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mets vs. Marlins -- a Sad Comparison

     They both used to be losers in the NL East. Now one of them is still a loser …
      During the post-season, I've been gathering data. 
     Of the top eight batters and four starters:
     The Mets have built their team like this: 7 from drafts, one from the amateur free agent (meaning basically smart draft option), three trades and one free agent.
      The Marlins have six from the draft (one being Rule 5: Bour), five from trades and 1 amateur free agent.
       I was expecting that I'd see the Mets with a lot more draft picks, but now let's break it down.
       First of all, what didn't we see? The Marlins wasted money on two free agents – Salty at catcher and Morse at 1B – that weren't part of the end-of-year roster I'm using for this comparison.
       What's more, the Marlins dumped two young pitchers – Andrew Heaney, 24, who ended up in Anaheim 6-4 3.49, and Anthony DeSclafani, 25, with the Reds 9-13 4.05.For these two young two young pitchers we got two old pitchers – now gone – and Dee Gordon, an All-Star second baseman.
      The rumblings were that DeSclafani and Heaney in brief appearances with Marlins in 2014 hadn't been as good as hoped, and so they were better off dumped. So ...maybe the drafting folks weren't as good as they should have been.
      As the Marlins give away young pitchers, what did the Mets do? They dumped a successful older pitcher, Dickey, and picked up a super young pitcher, Syndergaard, as well as a young starting catcher, d'Arneau.
      And this year, in a last-minute deal that sent Mets prospects soaring, they obtained Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers for two young pitching prospects. Imagine: They have four young fabulous pitchers in their rotation and they still had so much depth in the farm system that they could give up two more pitchers for a (temporary?) super-star.
     Another contrast that with the Marlins: Two young pitchers Eovaldi (14-3, 4.03) and German (injured), a super prospect in minors, were traded for Prado.
      Free agents: The Mets picked up Granderson, a great addition; the Marlins picked up guys like Salty who didn't even make it to the end of the season.
      Quality drafting: Mets pitchers Harvey, deGrom and Matz. Marlins drafted pitchers: Fernandez, Koehler. Think Mets would trade one of those guys for Koehler, who's in the mix only because the Marlins dumped other pitchers? 
      Marlins management could say the team would have done better if Stanton wasn't injured, but in fact their play improved in last part of season without him. AND Wright, the Met's traditional star, missed a lot of the season with a gimpy back.

                       "Show Me the Money" 

    So let's look at the money. At start of season, the Mets were spending $101 million on payroll versus Marlins $68 million.
    The Marlins have less to spend because they get less money from fans. The Mets TV contract must be a ton larger than the Marlins (nothing can be done about that). The Mets had attendance of 2.6 milion in 2015, compared to 1.7 million for the Marlins. This translates into less money.
     How much less. On the web, you'll see that the average Met ticket price is $25.30 versus the Marlins $28.96.
     But I'm thinking that this must be list price – the way that hospitals have list prices that nobody pays.
     In fact, I myself attended eight games at an average cost of $12.50, because half the games I got in free as an old fart. I'll bet the Mets don't give old farts free admission.

                 Loudly Ticking Time Bomb: Stanton

      Now, let's get to the worst part. There's a loudly ticking time bomb. The Marlins – and Stanton – agreed to backload the $325 million contract. This year, he was paid a mere $6.5 million – with the idea that front office would have enough money to start building a winner, drawing fans to the ballpark, creating more revenue, for better ball players, etc.
        So by going after Latos and Morse et al, they've basically blown a year.
       Next year, Stanton costs $9 million, according a Forbes report. In 2017, it's $14.5 million and by 2018, it's up to $25 million.
      The clock is certainly ticking on building a winner. Forbes noted earlier this year: Of the past 46 major league playoff teams, only nine spent more than 17 percent of their payroll on a single player. Stanton will currently eclipse those percentages.”
    You do the math.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Woody Allen Index of the Marlins.

         Woody Allen once said: "Eighty percent of success is showing up."
          With that in mind, I measured Marlins for 2015 who kept showing up and performing: Total bases, walks, net stealing (steals minus caught stealing times 2). I'll call this index Total Total Bases.

Player TB BB Net Stealing Total Total Bases
 Gordon, D
257 25 18 300
 Yelich, C
198 47 6 251
 Prado, M
197 37 1 235
 Bour, J
196 34 0 230
 Realmuto, J
179 31 0 210
 Ozuna, M
176 31 -4 203
 Stanton, G
169 34 0 203
176 23 3 202
 Suzuki, I
111 34 1 146
 Dietrich, D
114 23 -4 133

Interesting that Bour and Realmuto ranked well even though they weren't starters when the year began. I wish Prado had more power, but he consistently produced. Yellich was coming on strong at the end. I always thought Hechavarria's high batting average should have moved him up in the batting order, but he doesn't walk and he doesn't steal. Dietrich wasn't on the team till near the end of the season, but he almost as well as Suzuki. And Ozuna shouldn't steal.

Note: Stanton has been in the lineup about 75 percent of the time in his first full years. Pujols played in 95 percent-plus during his first years.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

If the only offense is Stanton, and Stanton is injured ...

Friday, June 26, 2015

All Hail the Cardinals

    Ah, man, do the Cardinals look like a great organization. 
     I went to Thursday night's game with a son -- and saw yet another humiliating loss. The same old story: no offense, mediocre pitching.
    The economics: I got in free on old fart's Thursday, but paid $32 for son's ticket. We each probably spent about $25 on concessions, so Loria plucked $82 from my wallet (and an apartment guy got another $10 for parking).
    Dan Jennings is now 14-22, according to Baseball Reference, compared to Redmond's 16-22 to start the season.
    The pitching is likely to get better pretty quick with Jose returning, but (as I feared before the season began) the offense is basically Stanton and nothing else.
    Look at those Cards: No. 2 in attendance (with 43,000 a game), compared to Marlins' 28th (with 21,000 -- a figure I'm certain is inflated with squirrelly accounting). And I'll bet the Cards price per ticket is far higher than Marlins.
    The Cards have great fan support -- and a wonderful stadium that's right downtown, near public transit, freeways and the river. Last year, visiting St. Louis, we had a short stroll from our hotel to the ballpark. Contrast that with Marlins Park, a thoroughly pleasant place that was dumped in Little Havana, far from downtown, public transit, hotels.
    At 48-24, the Cards have by far the best record right now in MLB. Yet, according to, their $120 million payroll is exceeded by 10 other teams. Translation: Smart management.
    Deadspin has Marlins last at $68 million. Remember: Stanton's big payday years are a ways off.
    At the beginning of the season, Fangraphs gave the Marlins a 27 percent chance of making the playoffs. Now it's 3 percent.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Chuck Hernandez for President -- or at least the Iowa Caucuses

    Starting on a bright note, then descending to reality:
    I usually blog only when I'm pissed, but ... to set the record straight (?!), I should note that in the past few days, we've had two important pitching match-ups that turned out well.
    One was Eovaldi and Phelps last Tuesday -- pitchers traded for each other (more or less). Eovaldi imploded -- 8 runs in 2/3 of an inning, Phelps 2 runs in 7 innings, making the front office look damn smart on that trade (at least temporarily).
    Then Saturday, we saw DeSclafani (whom we traded to get Latos) give up three runs in five innings, while Nicolino (whom we didn't give up) pitched seven shut out innings.
    Never mind the DeSclafani has an ERA of 3.48 (and years before free-agency) while Latos is at 5.37 and will likely be gone next year. These match-ups worked out at least this week.
    Probably purely fantasy, but every time I suggest that Hernandez be fired, he seems to fire up the pitching staff and they do better. At present, we have (probably temporarily) a surplus of solid starters, with various injured guys set to return. 
    Having said that, after this short, miserable road trip (1-4 in NY and Cincy), the Marlins are in fourth place -- right where they deserve to be.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I voted

15 times at -- including Stanton, Gordon and Hechavarria. Gordon's BA is slipping, and Hechavarria doesn't have any national audience, but it'd be a true outrage if Stanton wasn't in the starting line-up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

At least we're not the Yankees

         As much as I complain about Marlins management, I occasionally have to remind myself about how much worse I'd be feeling if I were a Yankees fan.
         Now that the vaunted Yankees have dropped two in a row at Marlins Park, let's pause to think about the team that has won far more World Series than any other.
         This year -- as usual -- their payroll is well over $200 million. (A-Rod isn't even their most expensive player this year. CC and Teixeira both earn more than his $22 million. Tanaka also pulls in $22 million and Ellsbury isn't far behind at $21 million.)
         Smart owners should be able to put together a championship team for these kind of bucks ($217 million this year overall). Instead, they haven't made the playoffs the past two seasons, and the three years before that they lost in the playoffs before even reaching the World Series.
        Maybe Yankees management should consider hacking into the Astros computers to learn how to build a solid (and cheap) team. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

How Sweet It Is

       Four of us went on the free-for-old-farts Thursdays, and well ... it's good watch an utterly pleasant ballgame. The starting pitching didn't implode -- Stanton not only whacked a rocket for a three-run HR but had a 10-foot squibber that stopped by the foul line for another RBI. So 6-0 lead going into the ninth and we don't have to fret a closer blowing it. That's a good strategy for any manager.
        Batting Stanton fourth worked just fine and I'd sure like some more thought given to having a .300 hitter near the top of the lineup more often, rather than batting eighth.
        Why not try a Gordon, Hecavarria, Yelich, Stanton at the top? I know Hech  doesn't get a lot of walks, but he seems to be improving. And he made one fabulous fielding play Thursday -- a rocket that struck the pitcher first before dribbling to him.
         This was my fourth game of the year -- and first night game. The hot dog guy across from the Clevelander has added a new Italian sausage at $5, which is worth the extra buck. On the way to the game we found ourselves lamenting how Bud seemed to dominate the beer scene at the park, but we found a booth along the third base line serving premium beers like Fat Tire and SweetWater (albeit at $14 for a large draft, meaning that Loria recovered quite a bit after giving us the free tickets).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Problem: Opponents Too Good

          We Loria loyalists know that the problem isn't Jennings (8-14), a vast improvement over Redmond (16-22).
           The problem, dear Brutus, is in our star opponents. 
            Radio guys on Wednesday afternoon, as Marlins were getting swept by Blue Jays, said, "We just keep running into hot opponents." 
            They were warning us that we have the Yankees coming up, who are in the middle of their own hot streak. 
            So ... it's the MLB's fault. If they just gave us an easier schedule -- say the Phillies and Brewers all the time -- well, then we'd be set.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Almost at the Bottom

Sports Illustrated's latest power rankings are at

Top is the St. Louis Cards, and why not.

Among the low-payroll-we-better-be-smart teams the Pirates are 3, Royals 4, Astros 6, Rays 7, Twins 8. (Big payroll Dodgers are 2, Yanks 5.) So a bunch of cheap teams are doing pretty damn good.

And the Marlins? They're 24th -- up from 28th the previous week.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Fire Chuck Hernandez Part II

    A while back I suggested the firing of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, mostly tongue-in-cheek as a way of saving Redmond's job.
    Since then, I keep hearing -- particularly from Van Horne and Geffner on radio -- that Hernandez is highly respected throughout baseball, even as they go on to describe another problem with the pitching.
    Well, how much is a pitching coach responsible for? And how much is the front office's analysis of pitching? This struck me this morning when The Herald reported that the Marlins' draft brain trust last year selected a high school pitcher, Tyler Kolek, now in low minors, rejecting Carlos Rodon, who is already in Bigs, playing for White Sox.
    Sure, the Marlins have had a bunch of injured pitchers. Setting that aside, many pitchers do worse with the Marlins than they do when they're with other teams.
    Matt Latos -- 3.25 ERA last year with Reds, 6.12 this year with Marlins.
    DeScalfani -- 6.27 last year with Marlins, 4.15 this year with Reds.
    Eovaldi -- 4.37 last year with Marlins, 4.16 (and 5-1) with Yankees, despite moving to AL, where ERAs trend higher.
    Phelps -- 4.38 last year with Yankees (in higher AL), 4.68 this year with Marlins.
    Cishek -- 3.17 last year, 6.98 this year.
    Dyson -- 2.14 last year, 2.93 this.
    Morris -- 1.82 last year, 3.95 this.
    Alvarez -- 2.65 last year, 6.45 this.
    There have, however, been some exceptions to this trend.
    The Marlins traded Hatcher (3.38 last year) to Dodgers, where his ERA is 6.88.
    Dan Jennings went to White Sox (1.34 last year, 7.83 this) for Andre Rienzo (5.89 last year, 3.38 this). Looking good.
    Also Koehler has improved slightly: (3.81 last, 3.72 this) as has Hand (4.38 last 4.24 this).
    But then there's Andrew Miller, a case that continues to bug me (the trade that will live in infamy).  A washout as a starter with Marlins, some genius in another organization found that he could be a great reliever. This year with Yankees, his ERA is 1.08 with 17 saves.
    Since we Loria loyalists know that the front office can do no wrong (ahem!), surely then the fault must lie with the pitching coach.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Win Now -- or Else

    When Loria fired Redmond after a slow start, he showed he was desperate to win this year. Here's why: He's mortgaged the future.
    Yes, we have Stanton signed for a (theoretical?) 13 years and Yelich for seven, but we have Latos (our most costly player this year at $9.4 million) for a mere one year, having given up a young pitcher who will be with the Reds for years.
    We have Dan Haren for one year, trading away another young pitcher. We might have Dee Gordon until he becomes a free agent in 2019, at ever-increasing arbitration rates. We're paying Morse $16 million for two years (alas) at first base and to many scouts it's not year clear whether Bour is the long-term answer. We have Prado for two years, and I'm not sure that his weak power numbers are what a championship team needs at 3B.
    What's more, this year's team is on the cheap, designed to build a quick competitor. Stanton gets $6.5 million this year and next. The Dodgers are paying all the salaries this year for Gordon and Haren ($12.5 million) and Yankees are paying $3 million of Prado's $11 million this year and next, according to (These savings are off-set by the $7 million Marlins pay for Salty to play for Dbacks.)
    At some point, Marlins payroll will skyrocket and fans aren't paying for it (See earlier blog "We are the enemy").
    Michael Jong at has a disturbing analysis of all this: "Marlins' lack of organizational depth makes unique roster situation."
    Jong points out two young prospects -- Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran -- went to Astros last season to get Cosart. He says one minor league expert has the Marlins right now 29th in terms of  prospects.
    So at the moment it's looking like now or never.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dee Gordon -- Just Askin'

He leads the league in batting average, he leads the league in hits -- and stolen bases. Batting behind him is the top RBI hitter. Yet he's tied for 22nd in runs scored. Why is that? And is that a major problem in Marlins' lack of run production?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Why Redmond Had to be Fired, Part II

1 -- He couldn't get anything out of Mike Morse, who will cost Loria $16 million over two years.
2 -- He failed to inspire Saltalamacchia, who is getting paid $7 million this year to play for the Dbacks.
3 -- He also failed to inspire Mat Latos (1-4, 6.12) ERA, getting $9.4 million this year and then becomes a free agent next year. Meanwhile, James DeSclafani is 3-4 3.41 with Reds and doesn't become a free-agent until 2021.

Naturally, Redmond had to go as Loria brought in someone from the front office who had helped make these brilliant deals and will know how to get the most out of the team -- and improve that key cost-wins ratio.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Best Analysis Yet

Michael Jong at has the best analysis I've seen about what's wrong with Marlins: Most stunning accusation is that they have barely gotten started with sabermetrics, one of two "non-believer" teams in MLB. Add a mercurial owner and you see why Astros, Cubs, Pirates (and I might add Royals) are surging in long-term rebuilding programs while the Marlins have a glum, under-performing clubhouse.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How Expensive It Is

          Stat of the day: The Marlins right now are spending $4.7 million for each of the wins they have gotten this season, according to This could be seen as a basic measure of how smart management is.
          At this point in season, 11 teams are smarter than the Marlins' management: Among others the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cards are spending less per win than the Marlins.
          Smartest team? You probably guessed it: The Houston Astros, spending $2.3 million per win.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ozzie -- Better than A-Rod

       You thought my suggesting Ozzie was silly, well, Buster Olney, senior writer at ESPN Magazine says Jennings be dumped in favor of ... Alex Rodriquez. We are getting close to '62 Mets buffoon status here.
         Writes Olney (available through, subscription required for full article): "As the old saying goes, the only sure things in life are death, taxes and a new Miami manager."

    Saturday, May 23, 2015

    Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie!

           OK, I'm ready for a change -- a big change in the Marlins.
           After starting his career with five straight losses, manager Dan Jennings is a joke. The team hates him -- and hates the front office that he sprang from. Even the good guys on the team -- the ones who always show up for charity events -- skipped the Marlins Fish n Chips fund raiser Thursday. That certainly sent a message.
         I woke up in the middle of the night with an easy answer: Ozzie Guillen. First of all, he's still under contract to the Marlins, so I'm figuring he wouldn't cost anything. Loria could just call him up and say be at the ballpark Saturday night (Sunday afternoon at the latest). We all know Loria's a cheapskate (despite the Stanton signing) so that Guillen's price tag would appeal to him.
        Now, longtime Marlins observers may say, "But Guillen won't let Loria tell him what to do, and Loria likes to tell managers what to do."
        Exactly! We fans sure don't want a manager listening to Loria.
         Let's look at the career numbers:
        Ozzie Guillen -- 747 wins as a manager, twice AL manager of the year, brought the ChiSox their first World Series victory in almost a century.
        Jennings -- zero wins as manager.
        What's more, Ozzie has the experience backed by playing 1993 ML games. Jennings' ML experience: Zero.
        Jennings was supposed to provoke a spark in a team that was considered  good but uninspired. So first thing he did was to call his good buddy Bill Parcells, a football has-been who messed up the Dolphins and then ran away. What'd Parcells suggest? Block better at the line of scrimmage? And then Jennings goofed on a reliever match-up and explained he had gone with  his "gut" -- based on what experience? Nada. Friday night, he brings in the struggling Cishek in a crucial situation and the crowd (smarter than the manager) boos.
        Rather than responding to a fired-up new manager, the players are reacting like rebellious, sullen school boys who can't seem to put one foot in front of the other. Or a ball out of a glove. On Thursday afternoon, when a bunch of us went to the old-farts-get-in-free game, we saw several stupid plays in which sure outs turned to hits because the fielders couldn't get the balls out of their gloves. That's not the inspiration that Jennings was supposed to fire up in his players.
        I'd give Guillen the chance to pick his own staff -- including a pitching coach.  Chuck Hernandez certainly has been getting the least out of a staff that was supposed to be pretty good. Actually, I'd be happy for Ozzie to replace the front office staff too -- all of them -- but that's probably allowing a bit too much fantasy in my thinking.
        At first, I was going to suggest that Ozzie not be allowed to talk to reporters about anything other than baseball. But on second thought, let motor mouth go to work -- on Fidel, Venezuela or anything else he wants. That would take some of the limelight off the players, who could use a (comic?) break for a bit. 

    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    The Bullpen

    Are the Marlins getting their advice from Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers? Just askin'

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    Our Closer and the Infamous Miggy trade

             Let's hope this is the low-point of the Marlins' season. Two blown saves -- after starting pitchers do a great jobs and the hitters give you enough runs for a win -- are a real kick in the gut. And so it's natural that the team follows that up with a complete collapse in a 11-1 loss, saving the heartbreak of another blown save.
             Friends have been calling for Cishek replacements, with a heavy dose of sarcasm. One suggests we pick up Kevin Gregg, who reportedly was just released by the Reds. I suggested Heath Bell, who retired this spring after being released by Nats. Another buddy asks: "Is Ugueth Urbina out of jail yet?" (Yes, released in 2012, according to the NYT after serving five years for setting workers afire, but he hasn't pitched since 2005.)
              This brings me back to the trade that will live in infamy: Miggy to Detroit. One of the washouts the Tigers sent us was Andrew Miller. We dumped him to the Boston Red Sox in 2010 for Dustin Richardson.
               Well, guess what: Miller (with proper coaching?) is now a super-star closer with the Yankees -- 13 saves so far this year, with a 0.00 ERA. Somebody -- not the Marlins -- had the bright idea of converting him from a starter to a reliever.
               And what about Richardson? Well, the Marlins quickly dumped Richardson without compensation. And where is he now? He signed as a free-agent this spring with the Dodgers -- having never made it to the Big Leagues. So we could probably pick him up for a song.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    Blown saves

    As the great Yogi Berra once said: "It's deja vu all over again."

    Monday, May 11, 2015


                   Well, for several days I've been thinking of posting a smart-ass follow up to my post on firing the pitching coach: Basically, as soon as I wrote that post, the Marlins started pitching started turning itself around. After a start of a season that was truly miserable, the starters went through a stretch of 7-10 days of ERA below 2. And -- ahem! -- I was going to take credit for this by lighting a fire under Chuck Hernandez, who must have read my posting and decided he needed to fire up the pitchers.
                  Well ... ... Sunday afternoon, after Latos had another good outing, I was writing the post in my head when in comes Cishek to blow it all away. As of Monday morning, the Marlins have 3 saves in 10 opportunities -- the worst ratio in the Majors.
                  Pitching remains such a mystery.
                  Latos btw is now 1-3 with an ERA of 4.72 but is on an upswing. DeSclafani is 2-3 with ERA of 2.50 in Cincinnati.

    Sunday, April 26, 2015

    We Have Met The Enemy ...

    ... and he is us.
          I gripe a lot about management and its decisions, BUT ... they've spent a ton of money on his team over the past winter and going into Saturday, they had won three in a row. Five of us went to Saturday's game -- getting $21 cheap seats in the home run porch behind Stanton.
          A Saturday 4:10 game, a new improved team on a hot streak, and the listed attendance was 18,129. They didn't even open the upper deck -- on a Saturday. I doubt if more than 10,000 were in the stands, though a ton may have been crowded into the Clevelander for a beer-tasting special.
          After seeing four games on the West Coast in ballparks with far higher attendances, I have to think that ultimately no team with such dismal fan support can prosper in the long run.
          Anyway, we saw a great game, with the center field sculpture twice coming to life. Go Marlins.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Fire Chuck Hernandez!

    Pitching Coach Chuck Hernandez
        We fans know Loria. He's seething, he's moaning. He has to do something. Such a dismal start after he spent a ton of money on this team.
                Baseball is still sometimes a game of mystery when teams come/don't come together. It's early in season .. Stanton has to adjust to pressure of biggest contract ever and I hope/think he can do so successfully, but there are a lot of parts to team. 3B, 1B and C big question marks .... 2B doing a lot better than I expected.
        But Loria is not a patient man. I'm tempted to wisecrack that he might soon sell everybody to Blue Jays, but my gut tells me that if things don't change pretty quickly, the easiest change will be Redmond. Right? You can't blame upper management for assembling this team, so somebody has to take blame.
        But Redmond has always struck me as a pretty steady, smart guy.
        So what to do? Rather than throw him under the bus, let's look for someone else. The Marlins have the worst ERA -- by far -- in the majors.
        Their starting pitching is utterly miserable. Their closer has had a rough start. So if Loria feels like dumping, why not pick the pitching coach?
        Must be his fault, right?  He just isn't telling the staff to throw good pitches. Or strikes. Or avoid home runs. (What the hell do pitching coaches talk about? I always think of that meeting on the mound in Bull Durham, in which the coach says, "Candlesticks always make a nice gift.")
         It was management that grabbed Latos in exchange for the young Anthony DeSclafani, Phelps for the always disappointing Eovaldi, Haren for Andrew Heaney (disappointing last year in his Marlins debut). And you can't blame management, right?
        But ... but ... Last night Eovaldi shined for the Yankees, giving up one run in seven innings. Heaney is the top minors prospect with the Angels and DeSclafani (2-2, 6.27 ERA last year with Marlins) is now 2-0 with 0.86 ERA with Reds.
          So maybe Marlins pitching coach is not getting full potential out of his staff. Or maybe  everybody should just stay cool for a while. Season is still young.  Who knows? If baseball weren't so complicated, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

    Saturday, April 4, 2015

    You Can't Have Too Much Pitching

    My analysis of starting pitching for 2015

    1 -- Henderson Alvarez -- 12-7 with 2.65 ERA in 2014. What's not to like.  And he's only 24.

    2 -- Jarred Cosart -- 4-4 and 2.39 with Marlins last year after a poor start with Houston. Also 24. Big upside but how consistent will be. In other words, um, he's a gamble?

    3 -- Dan Haren -- 34 -- 13-11 with 4.02 last year. 3.77 lifetime. Has produced for 176-186 innings each of past three years. Probably a dependable inning-eater, but that's about all.

    4 -- Mat Latos -- A Cincy fan says -- "he's good, when he's healthy, and he's not healthy quite a bit." So a question mark.

    5 -- Tom Koehler -- 28 -- 191 innings last year 10-10 3.81. Probably another Haren.

    Waiting in the wings:

    David Phelps -- 28 -- 0.95 in 19 innings this spring. Last year with Yanks, 5-5, including 17 starts, with 4.38 ERA in AL, likely to be lower in NL. I'd like to see him get a chance  as soon as someone falters.

    Jose Urena -- 23 -- Starting season in AAA -- 13-8 3.33 in AA last year. Organization says he has a lot of upside, as does the next guy.

    Justin Nicolino -- 23 -- Also starting in AAA. Last year 14-4 2.85 in AA last year.

    And oh yes, maybe at some point Jose Fernandez will be back. -

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

    Next Year's Line Up

               Well, Marlins management was either paying close attention to my blog worrying that Stanton might turn out to be like A-Rod in Texas, or maybe they were just exhibiting good sense. At any rate, they've made a bunch of moves. Are they enough to get Marlins to playoffs? Here's my analysis of the position players.
    1B -- Michael Morse. 33 on opening day. He had 208 total bases in 2014, on base percentage of .336, costing $8 million . Replacing Garrett Jones, who will be 34, who had 204 total bases and .309 OBP and would have cost $2.75 million, if I understand correctly. This feels in my gut like an upgrade but numbers don't show a lot of improvement.
    2B -- Dee Gordon. 26. 64 stolen bases in 2014, with an OBP of .326. Replaces a ton of not-quite candidates. Exciting disruptor at top of lineup. But here's a warning from “Gordon is not without question marks. Prior to last season, he had hit .256/.301/.312, so this is essentially the Marlins buying high on an otherwise mediocre-appearing player. ... Gordon struggles with plate discipline. ... This probably contributes to why his strikeout rate is so high (16.5 percent career) despite good contact numbers.
    “... In fact, Dee Gordon may very well be a younger, perhaps slightly better Emilio Bonifacio. Boni similarly struggled with strikeouts, contact, and worked hard to improve his middling walk rates. He had no power, but used tremendous speed to eke out one strong season at the plate. Gordon is a better runner, and there's a chance he maintains his phenomenal baserunning numbers, but Miami is getting a Juan Pierre / Bonifacio-type player in this trade.”
    SS -- Adeimy Hechevarria. 25. OBP .308, not a base stealer, 191 TB. Not great numbers, but every time I go to a game it seems I see him make a play that takes my breath away. I like him, despite the numbers and some questions about his defense in complicated fielding matrix.
    3B -- Martin Prado. 31. To me this is an improvement. McGehee had a great first half, but to get to the playoffs, you have to have a 3B with more power than McGehee's 4 HR. Prado last year was 12 HR, 221, TB, with a .321. OPB. McGehee was 220 TB with .355 OPB. Prado might not be final solution, but he's an upgrade.
    Catcher -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia. 29. I know he was with a Red Sox champ, but I don't think this type of catcher gets Marlins to World Series. He has considerable defensive liabilities. 11 HR, 135 TB, .320 OBP.
    Left field -- Christian Yelich. 23. He's still young, with a lot of upside. Last year 21 SB, 9 HR, 234 TB and .362 OBP. Only going to get better.
    Center field -- Marcell Ozuna. 24. Same as Yelich – young, lot of upside. Maybe a LOT lot if he improves plate discipline. Last year 23 HR, .317 OBP, 257 total bases.
    Right field -- Giancarlo Stanton. 25. This guy is literally the franchise for years to come. Of course, everyone expects him to come back from beaning – but how quickly? Stanton can't get them to the playoffs by himself, but he needs to be a star or the Marlins won't make it.
    More on pitchers later.