Last season, the Marlins netted young catcher Rob Brantly in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. Many felt that Brantly was the future for the Marlins at the catcher position, and since the future is now for the Marlins, the job was Brantly’s to lose coming out of spring training. The Marlins also acquired catcher Jeff Mathis in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays during the offseason, with the expectation of Mathis tutoring the young Brantly as his backup. Unfortunately for the Marlins, neither player was able to cement themselves as a bona fide starter for years to come.
Jim Leyland has experienced some of the highest highs the game has to offer, but also endured difficult rebuilding periods in both Pittsburgh and Florida.
Six years after the Orange Bowl was demolished and replaced by a new baseball home for the Miami Marlins, college football is coming back to the same site in Little Havana. The inaugural Miami Beach Bowl will be played in 2014 (likely Dec. 22 or 23) and will feature a team from the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East) and Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference or Sun Belt Conference, with preference likely given to FIU if the Panthers are bowl-eligible and available.
The model teams are playing in October. The postseason has given us the heavy-spending, star-filled Dodgers, Red Sox, Tigers and Cardinals, and it has given us the scrappy, spend-wisely Pirates, A's, Rays and Indians. The model the Marlins are identifying most closely with is that of the grinders. "When I see Pittsburgh, when I see Oakland, when I see Tampa Bay, when I see Cleveland, those clubs are kind of the blue-collar teams who have to go out and create their own mindset," Miami's new general manager Dan Jennings said. "They almost have a chip on their shoulders with the way they play."
Without the risk, the Marlins may not have experienced the ultimate reward. To Jack McKeon, going with Josh Beckett on three days' rest was not a gamble. It was the smart move, a no-brainer when a World Series championship was on the line. A decade ago, the then-72-year-old manager entrusted the 23-year-old kid pitcher to pull off the unimaginable at the most storied shrine in American sports. It worked. Destiny defeated a dynasty on a chilly 56-degree night on Oct. 25, 2003.
Fernandez is a true ace, an All-Star and a building block. Nathan Eovaldi has to get more consistent. If he does, he is a legitimate No. 2 starter. Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter in the final game of the season, so we saw what he is capable of. Jacob Turner was up and down, and he still needs to polish up his mechanics. Tom Koehler, when he throws strikes, is a strong option as either a fifth starter or reliever. Brad Hand and Brian Flynn, two lefties, each gained some experience as September callups. And Kevin Slowey has agreed to return.
The Marlins showed this season that they aren't afraid to accelerate top young talent to the Major Leagues. Jose Fernandez made the Opening Day roster and never looked back. Several of Miami's top hitting prospects, including Derek Dietrich, Jake Marisnick, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, also arrived at Marlins Park earlier than anticipated. Colin Moran, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, appears to be on the fast track as well. The Marlins sent him straight to low Class A Greensboro after he signed for $3,516,500, the second-highest bonus in franchise history behind Josh Beckett's $3,625,000 (part of a $7 million big league contract in 1999). After Moran acquitted himself well in his pro debut, batting .299/.354/.442, Miami challenged him again by sending him to the Arizona Fall League.
College football is returning to the grounds of the historic Orange Bowl site. The Marlins on Thursday, in partnership with the American Athletic Conference, officially introduced the creation of the Miami Beach Bowl, which will be played at Marlins Park in December 2014. The annoucement brings a bowl game back to the Little Havana section of Miami, where college football as well as Super Bowls were once played for decades.
Around The League
Just about everything that could go wrong for the Cardinals went wrong in Game 1 of the World Series against the Red Sox. The Cardinals desperately need short memories, because otherwise this could continue looking a lot like 2004 all over again.
As expected, the Cardinals will start Joe Kelly against the Red Sox in Game 3 of the World Series, which will be played at Busch Stadium on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT air time on FOX, 7:07 first pitch).
Following speculation that Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester had a foreign substance in his glove during Game 1 of the World Series, Major League Baseball said in a statement that there is no conclusive video evidence of Lester violating MLB rules. The Cardinals consider the matter a "dead issue," with Lester saying it was only rosin, the same stuff that is available behind every pitcher's mound in baseball.
Mariano Rivera has received countless tributes since he announced this would be his last season. The Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, which he received from Bud Selig before World Series Game 2 at Fenway Park on Thursday night, has added significance, baseball's all-time saves leader said.
At Fish Stripes
Working off of an SB Nation piece, Dakota Schmidt attempts to bring some optimism back to an otherwise depressing scenario.
Fish Striper Jeremy Hulme's take on an alternative history of the infamous Bartman game.
Here at Fish Stripes, we have reviewed each and every important name from the 2013 Miami Marlins. Now, we will hand out the final report card, starting with Giancarlo Stanton and the team's position players.
The Miami Marlins got enough solid pitching performances and one transcendent season from a rookie phenom to earn positive grades for their pitching staff.
Although official regular season awards are not given until November, Sporting News announced Jose Fernandez as their 2013 Rookie of The Year on Wednesday. Here are some reactions from around the league.