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Something’s Fishy: the Marlins are Spending Money

February 1, 2010 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Josh Johnson was rewarded by the Florida Marlins.
The Marlins opened up their wallet in making a commitment to Josh Johnson.

Last week, we checked in on some of the off-season developments of the New York Mets. Today, let’s take a look at one of their NL East rivals, the Florida Marlins.

The big recent news out of south Florida is the four-year, $39-million deal the team gave to ace Josh Johnson last week. Not only did this conveniently answer criticisms that the Marlins were one of the teams not using their revenue-sharing income to improve their club, but it marked the largest investment the team has ever made to a pitcher.

Johnson is obviously driven to prove he’s worth it, as he’s already gotten a jump on Spring Training, as you can see in this video.

Florida Marlins Gear

He’s battled injury problems throughout his career, but showed what he can do when healthy in 2009, going 15-5 with an excellent ERA and striking out 191 batters in 209 innings while exhibiting tremendous command. Having just turned 26 on Sunday, there’s plenty of room for growth from Johnson, assuming he can remain healthy. Personally, I have my doubts about his ability to stay healthy, but owners won’t be disappointed with his work while he’s active.

The bullpen was a relative strength last year (well, it performed better than the rotation, at any rate), but the team is working on rebuilding it. Leo Nunez is still the closer, but the bridge to get to him will look different in 2010. Last week, the Fish signed Derrick Turnbow to a minor league deal, and he’ll have a chance to win a job out of Spring Training. Given his battles with elbow problems in the last couple of years that doesn’t sound like a real answer, but consider that his velocity is back up to 93 mph and the Marlins have gotten pretty fortunate in recent years with reliever reclamation projects (see the 2009 seasons of Brendan Donnelly and Kiko Calero).

Calero, a free agent, could still be re-signed, but the Fish have plenty of competition after his career year. The team has already made an offer to Kevin Gregg and is reportedly also looking at Chan Ho Park, Joe Nelson and Seth McClung. Taylor Tankersley, working his way back from elbow problems that cost him all of 2009, will be in the mix as well.

First base is expected to be an open competition. Incumbent Jorge Cantu is back, but prospect Logan Morrison will be given a chance to win the job, as will Gaby Sanchez. Morrison is obviously the long-term answer, but if the Fish are looking to add some pop at this position, they may consider bringing in Russell Branyan as a stopgap solution. He’s still available, and after bashing a career-high 31 dingers last year, Branyan could help transform the Marlins into one of the NL’s more powerful teams.

Over at second base, Dan Uggla was reportedly being shopped, but after the controversy surrounding the revenue-sharing cash, the Marlins have yanked him off the table.

Whether they mean it or not, the Marlins now seem focused on building a winning team that will christen their long-awaited new ballpark in 2012. And by then, outfielder Mike Stanton and third baseman Matt Dominguez – two of the club’s top prospects – will have arrived to supplement an already solid offense that includes NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez (who not only became the first Marlin to win a batting title, but was the first NL shortstop to win one in almost 50 years) and ROY Chris Coghlan (who clinched the award by smacking 113 hits in the second half – tied for the most post-break hits in the last 45 years).

If you’re a Marlin fan, you should be aware that on February 6 at 12:30 p.m. there will be a Hot Stove Report on Fox Sports Florida. The roundtable discussion will feature Fox’s Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton, Jeff Conine (former Marlin star and current Special Assistant to Team President David Sampson) and team Vice-President/General Manager Michael Hill.

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12 Responses to “Something’s Fishy: the Marlins are Spending Money”

  1. Tim Landry says:

    Loria is spending money because he has been ordered to. The man is a TOTAL loser (his name should be “Losea”. I would LOVE to place the man in the bottom of an outhouse and let him eat what falls for the rest of his life

  2. RotoRob says:

    Ha ha…why don’t you say what you really mean, Tim? Don’t beat around the bush, buddy. :)

  3. Tim Landry says:

    What can I say lol? He is the only owner who rates THIS bad an opinion. Even Selig, Schott and Steinbrenner are SAINTS compared to this jerk.

    However I DO LOVE YOUR SITE! The Team Reviews – and of course the look backs on drafts – and just the general effort that obviously goes into your site makes it a several times a day MUST VISIT!

  4. RotoRob says:

    Thanks, man! Much appreciated, Tim. Feel free to spread the love to everyone you know. May I recommend hiring a skywriter plane?

  5. Eddy says:

    I can’t say I’ve been a longtime Marlins fan (got into them, and baseball for that matter, in 2003)but I love them to death. Something about being an underdog every season has its benefits. The thoughts of Stanton in the OF make my mouth salivate. The kid’s got pop.

    I agree, our owners are cheap bastards who aren’t willing to give up more than $1 mil to ANYONE unless they prove for 10 consecutive years they’re good. It’s quite annoying.

    But what can I say, this season actually looks somewhat promising. I’m hoping that Maybin FINALLY breaks out and that Coghlan stats the year as he ended it. If so, ya never know what’ll happen!

    Great site!

  6. Tim Landry says:

    To Eddy – I have nothing against the team or the players. If it were another owner, I could see myself as a fan – but ANY Montrealer (which I am) has no other reaction to Mr. Losia other than a desire to vomit and crap all over him

  7. RotoRob says:

    Thanks for your comments, Eddy.

    Yes, Stanton is definitely one of the top prospects in the game. He’s going to be a major masher.

    Maybin is a good call — we’ve been waiting on him forever, but he’s only 23! He could still be a major factor. As for Coughlan, I’m not 100 per cent convinced he’s THAT good, but I will be very interested to see what he does this year.

    Good luck with your Fish, but sorry, dude, I’m a Phillies fan!

  8. RotoRob says:

    Ah, NOW I understand where you ‘tude comes from, Tim. Well, that’s perfectly understandable. Look on the bright side: you scammed your way to a Grey Cup this season. As for your Habs…well, let’s not go there. :)

  9. Tim Landry says:

    As for the Habs – we are just giving the rest of the world a turn at OUR Stanley Cup. Let’s see: Montreal Canadiens: 24 Cups. Toronto AND Detroit COMBINED – also 24 Cups. Most by anyone else: 5.

  10. RotoRob says:

    That’s very big of you to give other teams a chance. And hey, you don’t need to remind me of the Habs’ dominance over the years. It’s caused me to vomit uncontrollably many a time.

  11. [...] Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins (1): Ramirez spearheads a solid Marlin offense, and while Fantasy owners are probably a bit peeved that his homers and swipes slipped last year, [...]

  12. [...] 5. Mike Stanton, OF, Florida Marlins (26): Scouts rave about the power potential of this 20-year-old man child (he’s 6’5″, 240 already). And while he’s raw still, he’s already spent plenty of time terrorizing minor league pitchers (in 2008, he was second in the minors with 39 bombs; last year, he mashed another 28 between High-A and Double-A). Stanton is a fantastic athlete, and perhaps the best power prospect in the game, but he needs serious work on his contact rates. I love the fact he recorded a .390 OBP at High-A, but the .311 mark he had at Double-A suggests he still has work to do, and he’ll have to master this level before moving on to Triple-A. We expect Stanton to be ready just in time for the Marlins to open their new park. [...]

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