Imagine for one minute Dwyane Wade getting hurt and missing action (wait that already happened this season). Or Jason Taylor at his best having to miss time. Regardless, of the injury or the situation, the one thing you can count on with these players is that whenever they return, they will be alright. Actually, they will be better than that. They are in the end, special players with superior talent.
Brings me to Hanley Ramirez, who is coming back from injury. While I realize the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder did not happen until late in the 2011 season, it was still a serious enough injury where he required surgery. And with all the news this offseason about a possible move to another team, his reported disappointment with switching positions on the field, or further questions about his attitude and drive, one thing we don't have to worry about is him not being able to produce on the field because of injury.
Because Ramirez is still in his prime, I am also confident we will never see a batting average like the one he finished with last season. He is to good and to dominant a player to finish under .250. In fact, with the new supporting cast around him, he doesn't have to overdo it. Reyes and Bonifacio will be on base when he comes up. Stanton and Gaby Sanchez should be able to bring the former shortstop home. The crowd will totally be into it this season at the new ballpark. And Ozzie will take the focus off of Ramirez post game (unless he's not hustling).
All in all, Hanley should be great this season. And more importantly return to his former self. Check out what Roto Hardball predicts for Hanley this upcoming 2012 season: .297 avg, 25 HR, 97 RBI, 106 runs, 32 SB and 147 games played. Sweet. Hanley can definitely do this.
- Sooner or later, Anibal Sanchez is going to get paid. He is a candidate to receive an extension according to MLB Trade Rumors. In fact, the club already offered him an extension towards the end of last season. And while Sanchez and his group did not accept it because they were looking for a little more money, eventually this will get done. Just remember what the Marlins were prepared to offer to C.J. Wilson. Even though that did not work out, if Sanchez goes out this season and pitches just as good as he did last year, the Marlins will lock him up.
- Are you still having a hard time adapting to the new Marlins colors and jersey? I know this will help. Check out these stud pictures of the Marlins in their new uniforms. Fox Sports Florida shot these for the purposes of promotional materials. Players in this spread include Buehrle, Johnson, Sanchez, Ramirez, Reyes, and Buck. Go ahead and get your uni!
- Miami Marlins announce when single game tickets are going on sale. There is actually a lottery-like type system for opening day seats. This is huge because as we all know that live locally in Miami, since there were few Marlins sell-outs the last few years, you could always walk up and buy tickets the day of the game. Doesn't look like that will be the case now.
- Wade LeBlanc and Sean West are not the only options the Marlins have on the farm this upcoming season when they need an extra starting pitcher. The ball club recently added a few quality arms that could help out at some point. Among them are Chad Gaudin, J.D. Martin, and Gary Glover.
Around the League
- Livan Hernandez was signed to a minor league deal on Tuesday by the Houston Astros. He should crack the starting rotation easy for a ball club that is rebuilding and could use him eating up innings.
- How is Edwin Jackson still a free agent? He's young, durable, and has pitched in huge situations. The guy may not be a top-10 pitcher in the national league, but its hard to believe we're on the eve of spring training and no team has picked him up.
- Derrek Lee and Mike Gonzalez are also free agents. Maybe the Marlins can get involved here? Because while some other names fill more immediate needs (Edgar Renteria, Casey Kotchman, Raul Ibanez), Lee and Gonzalez are coming off of a great 2011.
At Fish Stripes
- I agree with M. Jong this week when he writes about Josh Johnson. Basically, if the Marlins are going anywhere, they need Josh Johnson to pitch, and to pitch deep into games. His arm sets the stage for the rest of the staff. After all, he is the ace.