July 24, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) talks with former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon (right) before a game at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
These are not happy times for the Marlins and their fans. Like many of us, I expected a crazy first season as the new Miami Marlins. Obviously in a beautiful new ball park. And with new players we could cheer for going forward. However, because things have not gone according to plan, now the Marlins are planning for next year and beyond. And surely this will bring change as the trading deadline approaches. Below, I am going to share the names of three players I believe will most benefit from players departing. There is no rhyme or reason as to why these players are the three I chose. I just feel like they may prevail the most.
1. Carlos Zambrano - Big Z is a free agent after the season. And with potentially a complete new starting rotation (Anibal, Johnson, and Nolasco traded now?), Zambrano could make a case for next season if he goes out there the next two months and pitches like he did at the beginning of the season. Its there for the taking.
2. Michael Dunn - Randy Choate is probably on the way out as many teams are pursuing this lefty specialist. Whether he stays or goes, Dunn could very easily become the lefty specialist for the rest of the season. And while I realize Dunn does not necessarily shut down the lefty batters the way Choate does, he could gain something in these last two months more valuable than learning a new pitch. He could secure a job in the Marlins bullpen next season.
3. Bryan Petersen - I expect Carlos Lee to be moved by the trade deadline. And if LoMo moves back to first base, that could potentially leave a starting spot for Petersen in the outfield the rest of the way. Honestly, I don't know if Petersen is major league starting material. But he has shown flashes. And if the Marlins are going to try some guys out, Petersen is as deserving as anyone else.
- Ozzie Guillen says the front office should not be blamed for the disappointment that has been this season. Instead, he says the blame should lay solely on the shoulders of his coaching, and his players' performances. What else is Guillen to say? The team looks like its waiving the white flag, regardless of what he or anyone else says. Here is what I think by the way. I would put 95% of the blame on Larry Beinfest. His player moves this past off season have not worked out. But in reality, his moves the last few years have worked out worse. (Editor's note: As I mentioned here, you can't analyze moves with hindsight. There's a reason expectations were high, and that was because everyone thought the moves were decent before the season went sour. -MJ)
- The rumor mill is on full blast this week. And for whatever reason, the Marlins are at the center of it. This particular piece writes about how any Marlin is available minus Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes. That means that Mark Buehrle is even available at the right price. In other similar reports, the Orioles have spoken to the Fish about Carlos Lee and Randy Choate. And the Blue Jays have emerged as a potential suitor for Josh Johnson. This is going to be a very busy next 48 hours.
- Wade LeBlanc is going to take the spot on the Marlins starting rotation vacated by Anibal Sanchez. This was the expected move. LeBlanc was already with the team before the Anibal trade as the Marlins have been carrying an extra pitcher. Plus, LeBlanc has earned the starting spot. He pitched well in spring training. And has pitched even better since he has been up with the big league club.
- The Marlins have activated Juan Carlos Oviedo from the restricted list. And conversely send him to the disabled list. A couple of key points here. First, remember that Oviedo is the reliever formerly known as Leo Nunez. With everything that went down related to his false identity, the Marlins decided to bring him back in the off season because of the type of pitcher he can be for them. Second, while preparing for his comeback, Oviedo injured himself. He is now a candidate for Tommy John surgery. The official diagnosis is sprained UCL. So as he was about to return, he is now out again. Unfortunately however, this time it could be for a longer period of time.
Around the League
- The Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki on Monday. Actually, there were a lot of trades on Monday in baseball. Nevertheless, this is great for Ichiro, the Yanks, and the Mariners. Obviously there is not much going on in Seattle. And the Yankees could end up in the World Series if things fall there way. This is truly a trade where everyone involved wins. Read more here.
- Players coming back from injury: Rays activate popular, and speedy outfielder Sam Fuld; Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley is activated from the DL after only missing one start; finally, Gavin Floyd returns to action after taking time off similar to what the Dodgers did with Billingsley.
- Jason Kendall calls off his comeback after one week. He had been away from baseball since 2010. After playing in a couple of double A minor league games, he called it quits for good. I will always remember Kendall as a catcher who could run on the base pads and keep pitchers' nervous.
At Fish Stripes