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Florida Marlins: Three Finalists Remain for the Stadium Naming Rights

With the new season just underway, the Marlins are now focusing on trying to seal the deal on the name of their new stadium set to open in 2012.

Originally, the ballclub had hoped to have had the deal sealed during Spring Training and then again much earlier in the offseason but there have been delays along the way.  

Team President David Samson told Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal that the ballclub is in discussions to reel in one of the three companies for which the stadium will be named after. Samson did not disclose the companies with whom the Marlins are talking for obvious reasons.

All signs point to a deal being completed sometime by the end of April. 

Currently, the ballpark as been referred to publicly as “New Marlins Stadium” or “Miami Ballpark” in documents. 

The team is also pitching naming rights for the four ballpark quadrants/entrances, and could go to market for a sixth deal for the ballpark plaza.

Last September, I posted ten possible names for the new stadium, all with a local flavor of the biggest companies in South Florida or in Florida overall. 

Atop of that list was Carnival Cruise Lines, Bacardi (alcoholic beverage), and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. 

Out of the three, Carnival seems like the best name for reasons disclosed in the slideshow, however it has a tie-in with the Miami Heat since their owner is Mickey Arison, owner of Carnival Cruise Lines and for that reason it is likely it won’t happen.

My darkhorses from the same list would seem to be Publix, a grocery company familiar with the citizens of Florida and Hard Rock, the cafe with it’s headquarters in Orlando and it’s chain of theme restaurants around the country could look to expand into baseball. 

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MLB Rumors: Luis Castillo Might Return to the Florida Marlins

According to the Palm Beach Post‘s Joe Capozzi, the Marlins have begun discussions on bringing back former Marlin great Luis Castillo, who was recently released by the New York Mets

Castillo, 35, won three Gold Gloves with the Marlins and was a three-time All-Star while winning World Series rings in 1997 (though he didn’t play in the postseason) and 2003. Currently Castillo holds the franchise records in games played (1,128), runs scored (675), hits (1,273), stolen bases (281), walks (533) and triples (42).

A Castillo return to Miami wouldn’t be a response to reuniting the former Marlin to finish his career where it all began but, in part, due to the recent struggles of Matt Dominguez. A week and a half ago, his average was at .353 but that has dipped to near the Mendoza Line as more of the seasoned pitchers have been out there, as opposed to the invitees and minor leaguers with the season nearing.  

However, Castillo would be far cry from his Marlin days, which also included a team record 35-game hitting streak in 2002. Last season, the 35-year-old hit .235 in 86 games with 17 RBI, no home runs and eight stolen bases with the Mets as he was plagued with injuries. 

Other viable candidates for a bench spot would be Emilio Bonifacio, Donnie Murphy, Wes Helms and Ozzie Martinez. 

Yet there is no denying that Castillo has outstanding plate discipline and brings with him a switch-hitting bat, qualities that neither of the aforementioned bring combined. In the past three seasons, despite shaky numbers, he has drawn 158 walks versus 118 strikeouts in 315 games. 

In a strikeout-happy Marlins lineup, Castillo would bring balance, and if he stays healthy throughout the season would bring an advantage over the younger alternatives. It would seem as though Castillo’s return to the Marlins is a no-brainer to say the least. 

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Spring Training 2011: Which Florida Marlins Are Hot or Not Thus Far?

We’re halfway through spring training, and it’s come time to evaluate who is on the path for a major league roster and who might be cut or remain in the minor leagues until he can regain his stride.

Through Sunday, the Marlins are 5-10 in the Grapefruit League, but records only matter in the regular season.

Let’s look at who’s hot and who’s not through the Marlins’ first 15 spring training games.

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Hitter’s Paradise: Why Marlins’ Batting Practice at New Stadium Reveals Flaw

We are still a little over a year away from the Florida Marlins entering their new stadium; however, noteworthy is their recent trip which involved members of the Marlins brass (Jeffrey Loria and David Samson) and players Hanley Ramirez, John Buck, Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton who took the unofficial first batting practice at the new stadium while being on hand for the first seat installation. 

Now it was just batting practice, but a few home runs throughout the process may have forecasted a potential flaw with the plans of the stadium. Of note: a few baseballs came close to leaving the stadium, specifically one hit by Mike Stanton which cleared the stadium by essentially shooting through the invisible glass panels in left field and exiting the building. 

Even Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria felt worried his “Pitcher Park” would end up being something else, perhaps being a repeat of what happened to the Yankees in their first season at Yankee Stadium.

“Some of those fly balls—I’m not sure this is a pitcher’s ballpark anymore,” Loria said. “The building is gorgeous.”

Let’s examine the future home of the Marlins and current one for a second, shall we? Sun Life Stadium, while mostly considered a pitcher’s park is really a neutral park. 

According to ESPN’s Park Factor, which measures a stadium’s ability to be a hitters paradise or a pitcher’s park, the Marlins’ Sun Life Stadium ranked 10th in runs scored but 24th in home runs per game with 0.822. 

In terms of dimensions, the Marlins new stadium will be 10 feet further in left field (340 feet), 23 feet further in left center (384), 12 feet further in center (416 feet), 17 feet further in right center (392 feet), and 10 feet less in right field (335 feet). 

Nevertheless, dimensions aren’t the full cause of a stadium’s ability to be hitter-friendly or pitcher-friendly. The Marlins haven’t truly played baseball in South Florida indoors, so only time will tell how playing indoors and outdoors in the stadium will effect playing conditions come 2012.

Last season the Minnesota Twins opened their new stadium, Target Field, and ranked last of all 30 Major league ballparks in home runs per game, with 0.641 per game. Target Field’s dimensions are a bit closer to home plate than the Marlins’ new ballpark, but again, only time will tell whether the Marlins’ new stadium is truly a hitter’s or pitchers paradise in South Beach. 

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MLB Rumors: Florida Marlins Set Their Sights On Rangers Infielder Michael Young

It may come as a bit of shock, but the Florida Marlins aren’t done with their offseason shopping. is reporting that the Marlins are interested in Texas Rangers third baseman Michael Young who recently demanded a trade. 

Currently, the Marlins are entering Spring Training with the intention to have 21-year old Matt Dominguez, who hit .252 with 14 home runs and 81 RBIs in Double A Jacksonville last season, become the starter. 

The Marlins interest in Young comes a surprise since the team is entering Spring Training set with their revamped bullpen and complete starting rotation from the first time in years and seem to have met their budget in terms of payroll for the upcoming season, projected to be in the $50-$60 million range. 

However, for a trade to happen, the Marlins would need the Rangers to take on the majority of the remaining salary, diminishing the chances a trade would happen anytime soon. 

The 34-year-old Young is due $16 million in each of the next three seasons, and he currently has a no trade clause which he would have to waive in the Marlins case since they are on his no-trade list for approval being any action is made.  

Such a trade would have to involve players not relevant to the Marlins to compete, so minor leaguers would be at the forefront of trade discussions. A trade would also surely keep Dominguez in the minor leagues for a season more, possibly at Triple A New Orleans, a level he hasn’t played in yet. 

Long-term scenarios would impact Omar Infante’s tenure with the Marlins who is playing on the last year of his contract. He would be the odd man out after this season with Young likely sliding back to second base and Dominguez playing at third base in 2012. 

If a trade seems far fetched, remember, the Marlins will be entering their new digs in 2012, when they move into their 37,000 retractable dome stadium in downtown Miami and such move would likely pave the way for Young to take his talents to South Beach. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: How Much Would It Cost To Obtain Albert Pujols and Others?

As a typical fan, you always wonder what if? What if my favorite team made the postseason? What if my favorite team made a move to sign this hot name off the market? What if the team I hated had it’s franchise player suffer an injury like a torn rotator cuff?

Well it goes to show you we live in a world of what ifs and we always seems to wonder, what if.

Quoting the narrator for the 30 for 30 commercials, what if I told you what it took to obtain a player such as Albert Pujols or Hanley Ramirez? It would be a team’s dream to have one of those players and in light of the recent Pujols contract deadline, we examine his worth and other stars’ worth and what it would take to acquire his talents. 

Now in this instance, we examine baseball’s biggest names who might just find themselves out of town if their teams can’t win or sign a long-term deal to stay and what trade package it might take to land them. Some scenarios are likely, some are just thought but so that we just to stick to the real world, we will only look at those with the slightest chance of being traded in the near future.  

Let’s find out what price teams would have to pay if they were to trade for the superstar they desire.

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In DeWayne Wise, Florida Marlins Pick Up Their Center Field Insurance Policy

With Chris Coghlan and his repaired knee heading into new territory in center field, the Florida Marlins have made their move in assuring they will have a backup plan in case it doesn’t pan out.

The Marlins have signed outfielder DeWayne Wise to a minor league contract.

Back in December, prior to the Winter Meetings, I mentioned that Wise was a solid candidate for their fourth outfielder role and as a bench player. 

As we all know, Wise kept a Mark Buehrle perfect game intact back in 2009 by making a leaping catch over the center field wall at U.S. Cellular Field to rob the Rays’ Gabe Kapler of a sure home run. 

While Coghlan is the better hitter, should Wise play exceptionally well with the bat and Matt Dominguez struggle, look for Wise to become the team’s starting center fielder with Coghlan sliding back to his original position at second base.

Wise logged 239.2 innings (44 games) as an outfielder in 2010 and committed no errors, not a single one, and had a total of three outfield assists. In his career, Wise has only committed four errors (.991 fielding percentage) dating back to 2000. 

Wise hit .250 with three home runs, 14 RBI and four stolen bases in 118 plate appearances (52 games) last season with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he was teammates with current Marlin catcher John Buck.

However, should Wise fail to stay in the Major Leagues, other outfield insurance policies include spring training invitee Chris Lubansk and outfielders John Raynor and Scott Cousins. Cousins made his debut last season with the Marlins, hitting .297 with two RBI in 38 plate appearances (27 games).

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Road To Cooperstown: Five Solutions To Better the Hall of Fame Voting Process

Now that we’ve had time to digest the latest results of the Baseball Hall of Fame voting which welcomed two new members, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyeven, we examine the possible solutions to fixing the voting system.

Last week, controversy surrounded the steroid users or suspected users and therefore they got in some cases surprisingly low percentages, like Jeff Bagwell’s 40 percent and Rafael Palmeiro’s 11 percent. 

Now while one hasn’t tested positive for performance-ehnaching drugs (Bagwell), the other has and he deservingly so received a result quite less than McGwire who received roughly 23 percent of the vote his time around. 

See the difference? McGwire might be getting more because of his impact in the late nineties but one can easily point to discrimination at the hispanic Palmeiro for getting such low numbers his first time on the ballot and he has over 3,000 career hits, an automatic formula for entrance into Cooperstown versus McGwire’s .263 career batting average. 

The bottomline is the Hall of Fame voting system is flawed and many fans don’t know how it really works. For comparison, the voting system is similar to that of the absentee ballot for politicians in that it gets mailed to you for you to vote and send back.

The BBWAA, or Baseball Writers Association of America are currently the only ones who vote for the potential Hall of Famers. However, the current voting system, keeps things too secret without really knowing who voted for who and if they voted at all. 

Here are the five solutions to improving the voting system so that it becomes a lot easier to understand and becomes more in tune with the fans who watch the game: 

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MLB Rumors: Where The Top Remaining MLB Free Agents Will Land

While most of the winter’s biggest prizes have been snatched up (Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford to name a couple) and delivered as early Christmas presents to franchises, there still remains a solid group of free agents who can impact the upcoming season for many prospective teams. In the spirit of the New Year, let’s countdown from the Type Bs to Type As remaining on the Free Agent landscape and where they will land in 2011:

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2011 Florida Marlins Projected Lineup, Rotation, Bench, Bullpen and Predictions

With the majority of the major offseason activity behind them (trading Dan Uggla, Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin; acquiring Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Dustin Richardson, Ryan Webb, and Edward Mujica; signing Javier Vazquez John Buck, and Randy Choate; extending Ricky Nolasco until 2013), we take a glance at the potential Florida Marlins lineup, starting rotation, bullpen, and bench and put it all together to come up with bold predictions for the 2011 season in a crowded NL East. Let’s take an early look at what we can expect to see from the fish in their final season at Sun Life/Land Shark/Dolphin(s)/Pro Player/Joe Robbie Stadium.

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