With the new year starting this coming Sunday, the number of days until Opening Day 2012 are getting smaller and smaller. The Marlins will start 2012 with a new ballpark that is currently almost 100% complete, a roster that includes recently signed free agents Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle, and a team that might be only one arm away from making the postseason.
It seems as if the front office has tried their best to make sure they put a winning team and contender on the new field in 2012. Although they went out of their way to spend some money, they cannot guarantee that nobody is going to be injured throughout the course of the long, 162 game season. Losing Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez hurt the Fish in the stretch last year, so now matter what pieces are around them, their health is the key to success.
- The Sun Sentinel reports that even though there is still no name for the Marlins' new home, ticket sales will put the Marlins in the top eight or nine in all of baseball. Ticket sales rapidly increased with each of the major free agent signings, Bell, Reyes, and Buehrle, with sales increasing respectively.
- The Bleacher Report wonders why the Marlins are not yet thinking about extending Mike Stanton. Stanton was productive in a variety of roles in 2011, and showed that he can play above average defense in right field. Although Stanton has yet to go through arbitration, an extension would show the fans of Miami that they want the slugger to here for years to come. Even though it should be considered, an extension for a pitcher, such as Anibal Sanchez, may be more likely.
- MLB.com reports that the new Miami Marlins ballpark is currently 91% complete. The two, 450-gallon fish tanks have been installed and will be placed on the first and third base sides of the home plate wall. The hope was to distract opposing pitchers, with the Marlins' pitchers already being used to the swimming fish. The tanks are currently empty, but will be full of colorful fish by Opening Day.
- Multiple sources have reported that Bobby Ramos was hired by the Marlins to be the new Latin American player development coordinator. A position that was not filled by the Marlins in past years, the Fish thought it would be good to have somebody to connect with both the Latin American players and community.
Around The League
- The Oakland Athletics traded closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Josh Reddick, prospect Miles Head, and minor league pitcher Raul Alcantara.
- Ryan Madson is considered to be the best free-agent closer on the market, but FanGraphs explains why he is the loser of the offseason because he has yet to be signed.
- Utility man Melvin Mora has retired after playing major league baseball for the last 13 seasons. Mora last played for the Diamondbacks, and hoped to play for an east coast team in 2012.
- Venezuela's professional baseball league has suspended Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba 66 games for striking an umpire. The Rangers have not yet decided whether they will suspend their catcher to start the 2012 season.
- The Chicago White Sox have signed lefty John Danks to a five year, $65 million extension.
At Fish Stripes
- According to many, the new Miami Marlins may be the team to watch in 2012. With the addition of multiple free agents, the Fish will certainly be contenders, but will they have what it takes to make the playoffs?
- First baseman Gaby Sanchez has a lot going against him. The Marlins could trade him and receive starting pitching in return. They have a lot of depth at the first base position, so they likely would not be hesitant. If Logan Morrison had to move back into the infield, signing a left/center fielder would most likely not be a challenge. Then again, he is cost-controlled and is talented enough that the Marlins could stick with him.