Its January and you know what that means? Only 2 months until the beginning of Spring Training (March 5 against the Cards). The world champs will play a totally different team. A winning team for sure. And as an added bonus, Marlins fans can't wait to ask Ozzie after that game, "What was the name of the lefty reliever that came on in the seventh inning for the Cardinals?" I'm sure he will just nail the name Rzepczynski!
-This week fans were relieved to read Hanley Ramirez now says he is fine with switching to third base for the upcoming season. He understands this accommodates Jose Reyes, who will now be the Marlins starting shortstop. And more importantly, the Marlins most talented player says he wants to win with the Marlins above all else. Great job my man. Would have sounded even better a month ago.
I quickly looked over the list of prominent players that have switched positions in the history of the sport. Its not a shabby list at all. Do you recognize the names Pete Rose, Ernie Banks, and Robin Yount? What about Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson or Yogi Berra? These are superstars of a different era, but superstars nonetheless. Many of their position changes were predicated by injury, trades, declining speed, or the need to open up a spot for a better player at that position (as in the case of Hanley).
Who would have ever thought Cal Ripken Jr. would play any other position other than short? Or who remembers that Ryne Sandberg actually started his career at third base, and not second base? The reality is very few players ever go an entire career at the same position. And whether or not a move to another position looks good on paper, this is a club of many. A club of players that have had to carry multiple gloves with them. So Hanley at the hot corner should work just fine.
-Breaking news. Rosenthal is reporting the Chicago Cubs are on the verge of sending Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins. Here comes the fifth starter the Marlins have been looking for all off-season. Trying to acquire CJ Wilson and Gio Gonzalez didn't work out. But in Zambrano, the Marlins are getting a risky, albeit exciting player. Plus, he is united with a friend in manager Guillen. Let me not share more about this for now because its not official. But with the Cubs expected to cover the majority of Big Z's salary, and the Marlins maybe only having to give up Chris Volstad in return, this is huge.
-According to sources, Greg Dobbs, an absolute bargain considering what he did last year for the Marlins, is back with the team after signing a 2 year deal. Great move for the Fish. He is a lefty, and he collects timely hits. Welcome back.
-Buster Olney of ESPN says that the attempted re branding of the Miami Marlins is the top story heading into 2012. Buster I totally agree. Plus, when have the Marlins ever been the top MLB story going into a season? Very cool.
-You've heard of the Big Three of the Miami Heat? How about the Big Six playing baseball for the Miami Marlins? Frisaro writes this week that's what the Marlins organization thinks about its team going into the new season. I can totally see where the Big Six is the equivalent to a Big Three in basketball (25 man roster in baseball compared to a 12 man roster in basketball). Read more.
Around the League
-The Rays are close to adding Fernando Rodney to their bullpen. Very similar move to last year when they added Kyle Farnsworth before the season.
-Joe Torre joins a group trying to buy the LA Dodgers. I guess he really loved his time out on the west coast when he was the manager there a few years ago.
-How in the world is a guy who converted 32 out of 34 save chances last year still on the free agent market? That's Ryan Madson. And you have to think he is getting a bit antsy. Baseball Nation predicts he will re-sign with the Phillies after all.
At Fish Stripes
-This week take a minute to vote for the Marlins all-time third baseman (see below). Any chance Bobby Bonilla overtakes the favorites? I doubt it.
-Mr. Jong this week writes about Gaby Sanchez lacking trade value. Let's remember that while this guy is a good player, he is not great 'yet.' And so sticking around with the Marlins another few years (while Gaby develops his game) might not be such a bad thing for this ex-University of Miami Hurricane.