There is no need to look back at the past, making comments about Dan Uggla or the front office of the Florida Marlins. We all know their style, and we all know that they try to do what is best for the team. Whether we, the fans of this baseball team, agree with it or not, is completely up to us. It is easy to sit here and criticize, but it doesn't take much thinking to realize that something good might come out of this.
Let's review. The Marlins lost Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin, and Andrew Miller. The return products were Dustin Richardson, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Omar Infante, and Mike Dunn. Those are the names of five big league ready, but more importantly big league proven, baseball players. Out of the five, four of them will be added to a bullpen that in 2010 could have arguably been called the worst in baseball. While the setup role got filled towards the middle of the season, the closer role was a problem from Week 1. Leo Nunez is not a proven closer, and Clay Hensley can only be efficient for so long. Although most of these arms will be used in the later innings, not including the ninth, they will help starting pitchers earn more wins throughout the course of the season.
It is obvious that Josh Johnson is a 20 game a year winner, and will some day most likely earn a Cy Young. In 2010, the bullpen blew 7of Josh Johnson's potential wins, or games the Marlins were leading in until the bullpen was called upon. One of the most reliable starters in the game, Johnson is the type of guy that will blame himself, when it was really his counterparts to blame. With the addition of two young lefties and two talented right handers, it is safe to infer that Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco's win total, assuming they are healthy throughout the year, combined should reach the mid-30s. More reliable arms in the bullpen will result in more wins for the starting pitchers.
With the departure of Dan Uggla earlier today, the position of second base is currently vacant. It has previously been determined that Chris Coghlan, once healthy, will play at third base. The Fish will either look for a cheap CF, or give Scott Cousins a look. Omar Infante, one of the two pieces sent to the Marlins from the Braves, will most likely be the Opening Day second baseman. The irony behind this is Uggla was not voted into the All-Star Game, while Infante, being the super utility player he is, was. Uggla and teammates felt that he deserved to be there, but the managers begged to differ. The two will now be swapping places.
There may be one individual, however, that most are forgetting about. Does the name Donnie Murphy ring a bell? If it doesn't, Murphy was that guy that just came up with walk-off hit after walk-off hit. Towards the waning days of the season, Murphy broke his wrist and didn't appear in another game. It appears that he will be ready for Spring Training in February. While Murphy will not be a favorite to start at second, he may see significant time there and in center field. Perhaps a platoon situation, with Scott Cousins? While we know we won't be hearing "His name is Dan Uggla" this season, it may not hurt to hear "Donnie bleepin' Murphy" a few times. Uggla's departure also allowed the team to sign free agent catcher John Buck. Buck will be a nice addition to the Marlins, and once John Baker is back, the catching situation will be the best its been in a while.
While it is the responsibility of fans to criticize each and every move the front office makes, whether it be positive or negative, they do know what is best for their team. The bullpen was a priority, and they took care of it. Although they will be losing several homers, walks, and RBIs, the Marlins now know that the offense will have to step up, and will most likely be successful after being presented with this challenge. Many of the rookies will be entering their sophomore years, which means they will know what to expect, and be ready to contribute. The veterans are the veterans, and they will be in control of this very young team. Being optimistic, this trade may work out for the best in the long run.