Hook, Line, and Sinker

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Hook, Line, and Sinker

The Marlins are “relaunching” next year.  Will a new stadium and new look save this retraction candidate?

Marlins logoThis article came to mind because the Miami Herald posted what seems to be the leaked logo for next year.  It’s so retro that it looks like it’s going to lead to another Disco Demolition Night.  

Don’t get me wrong - I like retro.  I go to diners, I wear old clothes, I enjoy throw back uniforms.  These aren’t throwback uniforms though; this is a throw back franchise.  It’s not the same as a one game uniform, it’s the face of the franchise. And the Marlins can barely throwback because they haven’t been around that long.  The most throwback they can go is “Ace of Base Night”.

That logo is not going to get people pumped up for baseball.  

The Marlins are struggling to fill seats and need to fill their new stadium.  Earlier this season, they claim it was because of Hurricane Irene but the sky looks clear, the Marlins had an un official count of 347 fans.  Is this a Miami thing or a Marlins thing?  I would assume that Miami would be a great market for baseball.  In Boston I went to the Cape Cod All-Star game this year and it had more people than 347.  I went to a Red Sox game this year it was delayed almost 3 hours,  went 14 innings, was a Monday night, and ended after public transportation, and at the last pitch there was more than 347 people.  So what is it about the Marlins?

Let’s start with Logan Morrison.

Miami's empty stadium He’s not their best player, and he’s not the face of the franchise, but he could be their most marketable player.  Maybe I’m crazy, but he’s one of the most active celerity twitters out there.  He hasn’t said anything too over the top to offend the team, and people talk about him.  How does the team repay him? They send him down to the minors as punishment.  Maybe they should let him tweet; let him talk to fans.  How great would it be to have contact (even just through twitter) with someone on the team?  Have giveaways, contest, and let him speak to fans.

That’s a marketing problem.  The way they manage their roster is also a marketing problem.  They hold on to a player like Hanley Ramirez because they need a star to open their new stadium.  You know what teams like more than a solitary star? Winning! Just ask Charlie Sheen (Is that joke considered retro yet?).  They already have a future star in right field.  They have the best young power hitter in the game.  Mike Stanton is 22 years old and has 34 home runs.  Remember all the hype Jason Heyward had last year?  Stanton has lived up to that hype.  Why not trade Hanley for a huge package and proceed with Stanton as the face of the team?

A decision needs to be made with Josh Johnson too.  

He’s possibly the best pitcher in baseball when he’s healthy.  However, he’s never healthy.  2009 is the only year of his career that he’s ever pitched over 200 innings and the only year he’s pitched over 184.  Maybe it’s time to move him for a good package too.

Marlins World SeriesLet’s make a winner in Miami.  It’s not like winning is too far distant.  The Marlins won the World Series in 1997 and 2003.  That puts them in a small group of successful teams. 

I’m not yet a believer in top prospect Matt Domiguez but give him a shot next year.  His best year ever was in 2008, single A, .296 average, 18 home runs, 70 RBI, .354 OBP, .400 LSG, and .853 OPS.  If that can ever be recreated in the majors than he can be an everyday starter but that’s the only time we’ve seen it and we’d like to see more power.  So if the Marlins trade Hanley and Johnson they already have the corners set.  Between Stanton and Morrison in the OF, the Marlins need a CF. -With Domiguez and Gaby Sanchez in the infield, they need a SS and 2B.  They can also use a catcher and pitching.

Here are two Hanley Ramirez deals I would make; I’m not sure which one I would offer first.

Hanley RamirezDeal 1.

Hanley Ramirez to the Nationals for Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris (or maybe Wilson Ramos) and one other high prospect.  The Nationals would have a great lineup to support Strasburg and with Harper soon, the only holes in the lineup would be LF and CF and harper would fill one.  The Nationals also have two high catcher prospects, so they can afford deal one.  The Marlins would get a starting C for years and a decent middle infielder that can start plus another prospect.  Both Norris and Espinosa have 20+ home run power.

Deal 2.

Hanley Ramirez to the Pirates for Jameson Taillon, Tony Sanchez, and Jose Tabata.

This would give the Pirates a huge bat, which they’ve lacked in their lineup.  They would fill their biggest void, at SS, but leave a hole at LF.  The Pirates could sign a decent LF.  The Marlins would get Tabata to go at the top of their lineup; he’s a speed/defense guy, which the Pirates have in McCutchen.  Tabata could be their starting CF for years.  Sanchez had a bad year, but he still has a lot of potential.  Taillon could be their ace of the future.

When it comes to Johnson - Everyone could use a pitcher of his caliber.  Once they deal Hanley, see where the holes are, and fill them with a Johnson deal, or replenish the farm system. 

The key is to produce a winner.  

Empty Marlins stadiumThese deals will make the Marlins better.  Winning is the real way to open up the stadium.  All of the deals I propose are saving the team money while making them better.  With the money saved they could even attempt to make a splash in free agency.  If they don’t want to explode their payroll they should over spend on one of the GMs.  Like I wrote about in the Cubs article, hire Theo or Cashman to run the team - Make them team president.  However, trying to convince either of them go to Miami will be harder than trying to sign Pujols.

I know it’s hard to sell your fans on trading your stars, but the Marlins need to think big picture.  It’s not like the team would be fielding bad players, they’d have a solid lineup all the way through.  A lineup with no easy out is better than a team with only one dangerous hitter.  If the Marlins don’t start to sell seats, how long can they last as a franchise – even with their new stadium?

By Mike Lavery
Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011

Andrew McCutchen, Boston Red Sox, Brian Cashman, Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris, Florida Marlins, Gaby Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Jameson Taillon, Jason Heyward, Jose Tabata, Josh Johnson, Logan Morrison, Matt Domiguez, Mike Stanton, Pittsburgh Pirates, Stephen Strasburg, Theo Epstein, Tony Sanchez, Washington Nationals, Wilson Ramos


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