The Miami Marlins are not currently in a stable situation, with Ozzie Guillen's job in apparently jeopardy following a miserable 2012 season. Now it seems the Marlins may very well be moving further away from contention in 2013 in an attempt to reset the supposed errors of 2012. If the team makes any further trades this offseason, expect them to be "seller" trades of current talent rather than making moves to improve the short-term future of the team.
- The biggest name being floated around as "trade bait" is Josh Johnson, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Glove. Remember that Ehsan Kassim has already discussed the Marlins' difficult decision with Johnson, and it would seem as though, with the team considering not increasing payroll to remain competitive next season and not extending Johnson beyond 2013, the smart move may indeed be to trade Johnson. Interest or good matches may include the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, and Los Angeles Dodgers. That is a handful, and all of those teams should be willing to give up at least one top-notch prospect for the final year of Johnson's four-year, $38 million extension.
- The other name of course being bandied around to leave the team soon is manager Ozzie Guillen, whose job has been on the line since the day the season ended and even before then. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is apparently mulling a decision, with seemingly no one else in the loop as far as the front office is concerned. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Guillen is "in real jeopardy of losing his job," which is not a status change from the last two weeks really.
- Speaking Le Batard, he had a mostly-correct view of what happened in the Miami Marlins' 2012 season, and I applaud his words. For those complaining about the contracts before the year:
Miami’s biggest mistake wasn’t spending. The Marlins, believe it or not, did not spend poorly last offseason. Two of their three big free agent acquisitions ended up doing what they always do. Jose Reyes had a .347 on-base percentage and a .433 slugging percentage; his career averages are .342 and .440. (One of the many misfortunes of this season was wasting a healthy year from the oft-injured Reyes.) Mark Buehrle gave you the same 200 innings and ERA he always does.
He instead blamed the failure of the Marlins to develop talent internally, which was a hidden flaw of this organization for years. He also pinned blame on the front office for depending on the few young players who had succeeded, but the thing is that some of those players, particularly Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez, were supposed to keep doing well. You can hardly fault the organization for feeling the same way any team would have felt about those talents, only to see them fail spectacularly and unexpectedly. The only big problem there was that the Marlins had no depth on which to fall back.
- Meanwhile, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports a few scary things about the Marlins' organization in his latest Sports Buzz article.
### Even if the Marlins offer Giancarlo Stanton a longterm contract, he said he isn’t sure he would take it. He said he would like to be here, but hasn’t decided philosophically whether to test free agency after 2016. "It will depend on what’s on the table." He will get a huge raise after 2013, when he becomes arbitration eligible.
### We hear that beyond making decisions about what free agents to pursue, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria's involvement in personnel has been so extensive that it even included sending multiple players to the minors. But there's no indication that Loria will pull back on his involvement in baseball decisions.
The second bit is not all that surprising, but it is nevertheless still symbolic of the problems with the organization. Loria, as owner, should entrust Larry Beinfest and company to do the right thing with the team. The owner's meddling can only lead to disorganized decision-making at the top. As for Stanton, of course he would say this, as he does not want to yield any leverage that he has on the negotiating table. But in the end, if the Marlins offer a competitive extension this offseason, the team can keep him through a few free agent years and have a chance at offering him a Troy Tulowitzki- / Ryan Braun-style lifetime contract at decent prices.
Around the League
- The Marlins are not the only team making potential managerial moves. Jim Tracy has resigned as the Colorado Rockies manager. Early in-house candidates include bench coach Tom Runnels and Triple-A Colorado Springs manager Stu Cole.
- As one team gives up a manager, another one gets one. The respectable Terry Francona will manage the Cleveland Indians. Francona indicated that he would not have pursued other jobs had he not gotten the Indians job.
- You might have heard that the NL Wild Card game was marred by a questionable infield fly rule call on a popup that, well, left the infield. gondeee over at Talking Chop has his reaction to the situation and the scene that followed, in which Atlanta Braves fans littered the field with trash.
At Fish Stripes
- Check out the overview and tentative schedule for the Season Review series as well.
- Also on Friday, I discussed the report that Jeffrey Loria was being pressured by team executives to fire Ozzie Guillen.
- Conor Dorney made his Fish Stripes debut on Thursday discussing the Marlins' Arizona Fall League roster.
- Also, I discussed the report on how the Marlins were "aggressively seeking" an Ozzie Guillen replacement.
- Finally, I made the point that firing Guillen would not be the reason for improvement in the 2013 Marlins.