Fish Bites: NL East Review

The Marlins finally became the Miami Marlins last night, and Fish Stripes was all over the scene. Had the scene gone a little more smoothly (the confusion at the start of the stream was classic), I would have a little more confidence in the happenings of the Marlins, but as it stands, let us approach the Fish as we always do: with cautious optimism. Here are your Marlins and NL East links for the past few days, from the crew at Fish Stripes.

Marlins Links

- The Marlins are making all sorts of offers to all sorts of players. Ken Rosenthal reported that the Fish made "substantial" offers to Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, and Jon Heyman added that Mark Buehrle was also offered a contract. Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel confirmed this with Loria last night.

- One other player the Marlins may be interested in is spurned former Philadelphia Phillies reliever Ryan Madson, according to Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun. This would be a mistake, as the Marlins would have to offer a significant contract akin to the one that Madson supposedly had with the Phillies before talks fell through; that contract was worth $11 million a year for four seasons.

- Another disappointing piece of news from Heyman is that the Marlins may yet stick with Juan Carlos Oviedo, previously known as "Leo Nunez," despite his visa difficulties following his deportation under a false identity and the fact that he will likely be earning $6 million via arbitration in 2012. It's sad to see the Marlins valuing a decent reliever like Nunez for more than he is worth because of his "closer experience."

- Josh Lodell of Examiner.com asks whether the Marlins can really achieve the attendance goals David Samson mentioned on Twitter. Samson mentioned that the Marlins were going to average 30,000 to 35,000 a night in the new ballpark (H/T Sun-Sentinel). As Lodell points out, the upper range would be almost double what the Marlins currently draw. Also, here's an interesting point I did not realize: the Marlins will be in the smallest capacity stadium in Major League Baseball, as the new park will house 37,000 maximum. Figures they'd cheap out on seats too, right?

- With all the hoopla surrounding the Marlins' pursuit of free agents like Jose Reyes, it was natural to ask star Marlin Hanley Ramirez his opinion. He welcomed Reyes, but repeatedly dodged questions about moving to third base.

"I’m the shortstop right now and I consider myself a shortstop," Ramirez said at a fundraiser Thursday outside the team’s new ballpark.

I can't blame the guy for saying that. What was he supposed to say? "Yeah, he's a better shortstop than me, so yeah, I'd move." If the team doesn't acquire Reyes, than Ramirez looks silly for admitting his flaws. Admittedly, he could have said "I'll do whatever the team wants me to do, so long as we win," but at a charity auction, he wasn't exactly prepared to field those questions.

- Here's an excellent interview regarding the changeover to the Miami Marlins done by Blaine Blontz of Call to the Pen. He interviewed the spectacular Strip Club With Stanton, and SCWS made note of one thing that I think still messes with the idea of Marlins fanhood:

"Are they trying to make themselves relevant by going after some of these guys? Of course," says SCWS. "And I think they’re serious about winning, too. I just don’t think it’ll matter in the long run in regards to people showing up and maintaining interest. As fans, we kinda stink."

It's true. South Florida fans really are terrible as a whole, for a variety of reasons. Witness their occasional inability to sell out Miami Heat games last season as a good example of that.

NL East Links

- Today we start with the Washington Nationals, and particularly with some excellent news. On Wednesday evening, we found out that Nats catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his native Venezuela, taken from his home while in the country playing winter ball for the Tigres de Aragua. From the ESPN linked article:

"Venezuelan security expert Luis Cedeno said Ramos' abductors probably belong to one of the country's highly organized criminal groups that focus on high-profile kidnappings, and are likely to demand a large ransom."

Thankfully, amid the Marlins hoopla, we found out that Ramos has been found by Venezuelan police and that he is safe and unharmed. We here at Fish Stripes are very thankful to hear that, and we wish Ramos and his family the best going forward.

- David O'Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution wonders if the Atlanta Braves will be on sale, whether Mark Cuban would be interested in buying the team, and whether MLB and Bud Selig would let him, rightly or wrongly. It's all very speculative but intriguing as well. There is also an interesting 1997 Marlins tidbit.. Personally, I'd love to see Cuban own an MLB team, as he seems to be one of the few owners in sports who legitimately cares about the team with which he is involved.

- Over at SB Nation's Talking Chop, they reviewed former Marlin Dan Uggla's season. It had its ups and it had its downs, from what I can tell. The best part? The comment section included one commenter who said this:

And yeah, most players turn out to border on pathetic if you cut out their hot streaks. Funny how that works.

He then followed that up with this:

What matters is that after having two horrible months, he finished the year out from June forward with a line of .263/.345/.523/.868. Compared to Prado’s career line of .293/.341/.434/.775 – yeah, I’ll take a guy with a similar OBP and significantly better power.

Now, that is at least somewhat better than the comments we've seen earlier this week at Fish Stripes regarding splitting stats, but it still cherry-picks to a degree; the guy took out his two worst months and examined the rest as "the real" Dan Uggla. The truth is that Uggla hit .233/.311/.453 this year. His first two months were fluky, and his hitting streak was fluky. He's somewhere in between.

- The Marlins have been pursuing Jose Reyes, and former Mets great Dwight Gooden thinks he is gone.

- FanGraphs' Mike Newman had two pieces on how the New York Mets' David Wright simply cannot be expected to change the team around via trade. Since 2009, he has a lost a lot of value, and while he is still a very capable player, he is most certainly not the consistent five- or six-win player we saw before 2009.

- Why did the Phillies spurn Madson? I can't answer that, but I can say that they signed former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon instead. Papelbon got a four-year deal worth $50 million with a vesting fifth year option. Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley has his take, and the readership over at SB Nation's The Good Phight also had their say. The consensus seems to be that a) Jonathan Papelbon is a great reliever; and b) the Phillies paid way too much for him.

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