Tag: Miami

Giancarlo Stanton Taking Big Bucks, Bigger Risk with Marlins, Loria

Giancarlo Stanton is about to ink a deal of epic proportions.

The Miami Marlins are close to signing the 25-year-old outfielder to the richest contract in baseball history: an unprecedented 13 years and a ghastly $325 million. The news was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the opt-out clause will come when Stanton is 30.

The deal is crazy on all kinds of levels. Stanton is coming off an MVP-caliber season in which he hit 37 home runs and 105 RBI while sporting a .288 average, .950 OPS and 6.5 WAR. Not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, it was long assumed that Stanton’s days in Miami would come to an end sooner or later.

After all, the Marlins have a history of dealing away their best players, and Stanton had made it clear in the past that he was unhappy with the way the organization had handled things. Just a few months ago, it seemed certain that Stanton would skip town the first chance he got.

Guess things change and differences are set aside when there are $325 million on the table.

It is hard not to question Stanton in the fallout of this news. That is not because he took the money. He has every right in the world to secure those riches, especially after suffering a nearly career-threatening injury at the end of last season when a Mike Fiers fastball hit him square in the face, leaving him with multiple fractures and lacerations.

It is safe to say Stanton’s life flashed before his eyes there. At the very least, he was reminded that nothing in this game or in life is guaranteed. It would not be surprising if that incident played a role in him taking this deal.

Combine that freak accident with all the zeroes being thrown his way and the notion that Miami was somewhat competitive in 2014, and you have all the answers as to why Stanton would make a deal with the devil—Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

What Loria has done throughout his history in baseball is the businessman’s equivalent to the scorched earth policy that the Soviets so famously used against the Germans in World War II. In other words, he has left a trail of nothingness, despair and destruction behind in his wake, all for his own personal success.

Previously an owner of the Montreal Expos, he is a huge reason why Canada only has one major league team now.

His reign as the ultimate decision-maker in Florida has been disappointing as well. He did bring the franchise its second World Series win in 2003. But from there, Loria tore the team apart. In an effort to slash payroll, Loria traded Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Brad Penny, Luis Castillo, Juan Pierre, Alex Gonzalez, Derrek Lee and Juan Encarnacion—all key members of that championship team—over the next two years.

Ivan Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett left via free agency during that span as well. In 2007, the Marlins traded Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera—now arguably the best hitter in the game—to the Detroit Tigers.

Fans distanced themselves from the franchise. Loria blamed a lot of the team’s problems on its stadium, so he struck a plan to use taxpayer money—the same taxpaying fans he had screwed over by scrapping a winning team—to build a new stadium in Miami.

It was a brand-new start in 2012 with Loria supposedly being a whole new man running things. The Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins, and they changed their colors and uniforms and moved into the luxurious and expensive Marlins Park in Miami. Keeping his promise of fielding a competitive team, Loria spent $191 million to bring in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. The Marlins traded for Carlos Zambrano and brought World Series champ Ozzie Guillen in to manage.

Marlins baseball was looking good again.

That would last half a year. Loria had the team trade Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez halfway through the 2012 campaign. That offseason, the Marlins shipped Reyes, Buehrle and a handful of others to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Fans had lost all faith and trust in Loria.

Which is exactly why it is so perplexing that Stanton would sign away the prime of his career to a man that lies so much that his pants are surely on fire by now.

With so much money involved, Stanton’s only way out will be that opt-out clause. If he doesn’t utilize it, then he is stuck in Miami until the end of those 13 years. The question is, will Loria also be willing to pay for and maintain a contender around him?

Based on history, the answer is an absolute no.

For Stanton, there were plenty of reasons to take this deal—dollars being a big one.

However, there are a lot of risks here as well. Loria has never been about winning. Instead, he is all about dollar signs. As long as he is making money, Loria has never cared what the product on the field looked like.

That is probably not the sales pitch he made to Stanton. Instead, there were probably a lot of promises about turning the team around, winning and bringing a new level of excitement to Marlins baseball with the young slugger at the center of it all. Just like he told fans in 2012.

Those were empty promises and lies. For Stanton’s sake, let’s hope that is not the case again.


All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com.

Gary Phillips can be contacted at gary.phillips@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.

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Mike Trout May Be the MVP, but He Shouldn’t Be Rookie of the Year

After watching him help the Angels sweep the Red Sox earlier this week, and based on his entire body of work this season, it’s clear that Mike Trout is one of the most exciting young players in the majors. He may even be the American League MVP when all is said and done, but there is one thing I don’t think the 21-year-old phenom should be:

Rookie of the Year.

Technically, Trout is a rookie. As the MLB rules state, A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).

Trout makes the cut…barely. He played in 40 games (32 starts) during 2011, in which he had 123 at-bats. This may qualify someone for rookie status the next year, but it seems like an awful big sample set for me.

Forty games is nearly a quarter of the MLB schedule, and in Trout’s case, these were not just meaningless down-the-stretch contests. His first appearance came on July 8 against Seattle, and he wound up playing 14 games in July, eight in August, and 19 in September as the Angels battled for both an AL West title and a Wild Card spot. They got neither, but Trout (who hit .220 with five home runs and 16 RBI) got plenty of experience.

This year, of course, has been a different story. Trout has been with the Angels since late April and has torn up the league with an AL-best .336 average, 41 stolen bases, and 103 runs scored (along with 25 home runs) entering last night. Much hoopla was made when he became the first rookie to have both 25 homers and 40 steals during the Red Sox series, but he just doesn’t feel like a first-year guy to me.

He was an everyday player for Los Angeles during a good stretch of LAST season, and while he may seem like an entirely different performer this year, Trout is in fact the same guy who had already seen plenty of big-league pitching entering 2012.

To me, a true Rookie of the Year (ROY) winner is a guy who debuts the year he captures the award, or at most plays in 10 or 15 September games the previous season.

Baseball is the only one of the four major professional sports that has this type of shady rookie status. Football players, of course, go straight from college onto NFL rosters and have zero pro experience entering their first year. Ditto for hockey players, who enter the NHL from college or the minor league ranks. And while basketball players may have overseas professional experience, the first NBA games for every Rookie of the Year are played during his initial season in the league.

My 11-year-old son Jason had a very perceptive comment when I mentioned this discrepancy to him. “If Mike Trout is able to do this, what will keep managers from making sure young players don’t break the 130 at-bat limit so they can get better and older?”

I found no proof of this with Trout, who Angels manager Mike Scioscia played all game, every game down the stretch of 2011. It would have been interesting to see what might have happened had Trout gotten six more at-bats, of course.

Jason also had another funny premise: if a guy came up from the minors for 10 games a year for three years, would he still be considered a rookie going into his fourth season? According to the MLB rules above, he would. This seemed too funny to be plausible, but it happened…the 2008 NL ROY, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, had played with Chicago for one game in 2005, 11 games in 2006, and 18 games in 2007. A fourth-year rookie!

I first started thinking about Trout’s freshman/sophomore status when Will Middlebrooks was shining for the Red Sox earlier this summer. A broken wrist derailed Middlebrooks in mid-August, and even if he had played out the string the chances are slim he would have put together stats like Trout.

But since Middlebrooks was a TRUE rookie whose 75 major games, 15 homers, and 54 RBI all came this season, one could argue (outside Los Angeles) that he is a more worthy Rookie of the Year winner than the guy who will get the award.

For some additional perspective, I looked back at AL and NL ROY winners from the past 10 seasons to see how they compare with Trout in pre-ROY experience. Soto was the only one I found with three MLB seasons under his belt, but one other player (Angel Berroa in 2003) had played shortstop for the Royals for a combined 35 games and 128 at-bats in 2001-2002. Talk about cutting it close to the 130 at-bat limit!

Most of the others fell into the more reasonable range of 15-20 pre-ROY games and 50-75 at-bats for position players and 5-15 games for pitchers. Six of the 20 awardees were “true” Rookies of the Year who saw their first MLB experience in their winning year: Chris Coughlin, Andrew Bailey, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, Dontrelle Willis and Eric Hinske. Honorable mentions go to 2006 winners Hanley Ramirez and Justin Verlander, who both played in just two MLB contests the previous season.

I think the system needs some revamping. Lower the pre-ROY maximum numbers to 20 games and/or 50 at-bats for position players, and 10 games and/or 30 innings for pitchers. This will ensure that September call-ups can still be considered rookies, but guys who played three months like Trout last year will be out of luck.

And what if Trout pulls off the double-win and captures both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP awards? He would be just the third man to achieve this feat, after Fred Lynn (in 1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001): two men who offer another contrast in rookies.

Lynn played in a reasonable 15 games in September of ’74, and while Suzuki was a “true” rookie in ’01 with regards to his MLB status, he did have nine seasons and more than 1,000 games in the Japanese professional leagues under his belt.

Now that’s another discussion altogether.  


Saul Wisnia lives less than seven miles from Fenway Park and works 300 yards from Yawkey Way. His latest book, Fenway Park: The Centennial, is available at http://amzn.to/qWjQRS, and his Fenway Reflections can be found athttp://saulwisnia.blogspot.com. He can be reached at saulwizz@gmail.com and @saulwizz. 

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Miami Marlins: A Look at Gaby Sanchez’s Struggles and Future Outlook

It’s no secret the Miami Marlins were in heavy pursuit of free agent slugger Albert Pujols this past offseason and dangled nearly $200 million for 10 years to get him signed, sealed and delivered to sunny South Beach. 

Fast forward to May 15 and the front office should be breathing a sign of relief they missed out on him, but maybe kicking themselves that they didn’t deal their own first baseman, Gaby Sanchez, after an All-Star season in 2011. 

Here is the tale of the tape on both Sanchez and Pujols this season (via ESPN): 



Sanchez, who had a 2.4 WAR (wins above replacement) in 2011, currently has a WAR of -0.8. And while Pujols is getting all the headlines—and with good reason after signing a massive contract with the Angels—Gaby’s struggles have gone under the radar. 

A deeper look reveals Sanchez’s struggles could be tied with an increased tendency to extend the strike zone. 

According to Fangraphs, his O-Swing percentage (percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone) has increased this season from 31.9 percent to 37.7 percent this season, and that’s when you take into consideration the average is 30 percent.

And while Sanchez has made more outside contact than last season (75 percent in 2011 versus 76.7 in 2012), you can tie that to his emergency swings down in the count that usually end up being fly ball or pop outs. 

So why the drastic change? Well, pitchers have been able to dominate Sanchez when ahead or even in the count (.181 batting average, 20 strikeouts in 84 plate appearances) as opposed to when Sanchez has gotten ahead in the count (.250 batting average, .400 on-base percentage in 35 plate appearances). 

Furthermore, Sanchez has not has much success with off-speed pitches.

According to Fangraphs, where a negative score indicates poor, if any success on a particular pitch, Sanchez has struggled on changeups (-2.20), sinkers (-5.88), and curveballs (-5.05). This has allowed pitchers to blow Sanchez away with their fastball in certain situations (-2.36). 

The Marlins will probably ride Sanchez a couple of more weeks before making a somewhat permanent change at the hot corner. At this point, Sanchez has little to no trade value. An injury-riddled team like the Brewers could use him, but he isn’t hitting better than what they have in Travis Ishikawa.

Perhaps a Francisco Rodriguez for Sanchez trade might not be far-fetched if Heath Bell continues to struggle (10.03 ERA). 

But as it stands, the Marlins face a tough decision with Sanchez as he enters his first year of arbitration. Logan Morrison, whose defense has been iffy at times in the outfield this season, looks certain to make first base his immediate future if the front office declines to offer Sanchez a contract. Morrison came up through the farm system as a first baseman, but Sanchez derailed that possibility.

The Marlins could explore signing a bat in free agency, and it should be interesting since there is somewhat of a deep market for outfielders this offseason.  

The front office could choose among the likes of switch-hitting Shane Victorino (32 years old at time of free agency), Melky Cabrera (28 years old), or Nick Swisher (32 years old). The Marlins could also target B.J. Upton (28 years old), or if they want to take a shot at the best free agent on the market, Josh Hamilton (31 years old). 

For now, Sanchez has to get better for the Marlins sake and his own. Ever since donning the All-Star jersey, Sanchez is hitting a miserable .216 (74-for-342) and has slugged nine home runs as opposed to the 11 the first half of 2011. 

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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Why Carlos Zambrano Is Due for a Bounce Back to Relevancy

During his last few years with the Chicago Cubs, new Miami Marlins starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano made headlines for his temper tantrums more than his work on the mound, but the change of scenery will bring Big Z back to relevancy in 2012.

Zambrano is an interesting name for fantasy managers every season. On one hand, he knows how to strike batters out and is a solid veteran; on the other hand, he can be a monster headache with all his random outbursts and foot-in-mouth type of comments.

That being said, the Marlins didn’t go out and acquire the former Cubs hurler without thinking they can control the big man. Who better to control Big Z than manager Ozzie Guillen, right? Exactly.

While I don’t expect Zambrano to pull any more of his usual outbursts during his first year on a new team, if he tries that stuff with Guillen, he’s going to get an earful and then some. There’s no way the new Marlins skipper is going to put up with temper tantrums from anyone but himself.

Zambrano had his worst season in MLB in 2011, and he still posted a 6.2 strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio. The native Venezuelan is a proven strikeout producer, and he’s a guy I’ve seen go either in the last round of drafts or undrafted in many fantasy leagues.

The newest Miami Marlin is only two seasons removed from a double-digit win year in 2010. Oh, and over his 11 seasons in the big leagues, Big Z strikes out an average of almost eight batters per nine innings.

If you’re sitting there questioning whether or not this former Cubbie is motivated, he’s actually spent the offseason working out according to the Miami Herald. Yes, you read that right: Carlos Zambrano has been working out!

The Herald stated that Zambrano has dropped an estimated two or three pants sizes since we last saw him take the mound. In fact, Big Z told reporter Clark Spencer that the only reason he didn’t keep shedding the weight was because his wife said he was beginning to look ill.

“She says I don’t look good, like I have cancer” the starting pitcher told Spencer.

I’m sure there have been plenty of managers who have been burned by this guy in recent seasons, but you can’t write off a proven veteran who boasts a career average of almost 200 Ks a year.

While I wouldn’t advocate drafting Big Z in, say, the 14th round of your draft or anything, he’ll be available in the final round most likely, and that’s a steal.

Now your league mates aren’t going to pat you on the back or scold you for taking their potential pick when you draft Zambrano, but you’ll have them kicking themselves later in the year when the Marlins hurler becomes one of your biggest strikeout producers.

While the congratulations are nice, it’s much more fun to watch your fellow managers wonder why they didn’t pick Big Z when they had the chance.

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Miami Marlins Top Prospects 2012: Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna

In 2011, the Miami Marlins possessed one of the worst minor league systems in the major leagues. Matt Dominguez was supposed to be the next top prospect to make the jump after Mike Stanton, but with a sub-par 2011 and Hanley Ramirez taking over the duties at third base, he may have missed his big opportunity. This left the Marlins without a highly touted bat for the future.  

Going into 2012, there are going to be few players in the lower levels of the Marlins’ system that will be on everyone’s radar. Two players who really started to make a name for themselves are outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

Both in single-A during the 2011 season, these two young prospects put together years that put them on the map and on top of most Marlins’ top prospect lists.

Let’s take a look at each of these prospects and try to get a clearer view of how they might give the Marlins one of the top OF trios in Major League Baseball. 

Begin Slideshow

Florida Marlins: Best and Worst Case Scenario in the Wake of SEC Ballpark Probe

Just as the Marlins were coasting enthusiastically through the offseason, wining and dining, and recently signing closer Heath Bell to a lucrative deal, they were dealt the usual blow when the US Securities & Exchanges Commission (SEC) opened a probe Friday investigating the controversial stadium deal green-lit by the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County. 

Usual you say? 

Why of course. The Marlins have gotten used to the highs and lows since their inception. They began as a thriving franchise with booming attendance numbers in 1993 but not even two seasons in and MLB grew dark as part of a players strike in 1994. This caused the attendance figures to never even come close to the over three million achieved during the inaugural season and with continuing mediocre play for these figures to get lower. 

Then a savior for the “Fighting Fish” was the 1997 season which saw the ballclub make strides and finally make it .500 and finally make it to the postseason. The end result was a World Series title after a pulse-pounding walk-off by Edgar Renteria in extra innings. The joy and spike in attendance was short-lived when the Marlins underwent a firesale in the offseason. 

The Marlins were left limping in standings the following seasons and bleeding fans as they pushed for some sort of hope for funding for a new ballpark. They were sold twice (by Wayne Huizenga in 1998 and again by John Henry in 2002) and hit a new low in 2002 when attendance was a mere 813,118 for the season. 

The Marlins finally breathed new life and got back on the saddle in 2003 when they won the World Series. But again failure to get a ballpark deal hurt them and caused a “Market Correction” in 2005. Just when it looked like the Marlins were going to relocate, they got hope of finally getting a ballpark in South Florida. 

After getting approved for a ballpark deal, former Philadelphia Eagles owner and local car dealer Norman Braman tries to stop it from getting built. Such fight by Braman caused the ballpark to ultimately delay its opening from 2011 to 2012. 

Just Another Usual Blow 

Now in 2011, the Marlins just fresh from formally transitioning from the Florida Marlins and making serious pushes for elite free agents are being sough after by federal authorities. 

According to The Miami Herald, the SEC is demanding financial documents dealing with the nearly $500 million in bond sales in addition to records of campaign contributions from the Marlins to local and state officials. 

Furthermore, the SEC is requesting that minutes of meetings between government officials, owner Jeffrey Loria, and Commissioner Bud Selig and the records of Marlins finances since 2007 be delivered by Jan. 6. 

While this looks like a blow to the Marlins plans in free agency, the ballclub came out with a statement today addressing the situation and how it affects their plans. 

From Joe Capozzi’s conversation with team VP PJ Loyello: “It will have no affect whatsoever on our roster plans,” said via text message by Loyello. 

From the Marlins themselves: “Yes, we are aware of the investigation that the SEC is conducting on the issuance of the county’s and city’s stadium and parking bonds. Of course we will fully cooperate with the SEC’s investigation as needed and assist in whatever way possible. Because this is an on-going matter, it is not appropriate to comment further.” 

Best and Worst Case Scenario 

At the moment, the Marlins say they are fully committed to staying the course and if they offer money the free agents will come because at the end of the day regardless of anything that happens down the road (from the teams standpoint) they are guaranteed of that salary. 

If this investigation turns sour for the Marlins, this could be a similar but yet different situation that soon to be former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt endured when dealing with finances of the team during a divorce with his wife, Jamie McCourt. 

Fans shouldn’t fear for another firesale because Major League Baseball will prevent it from happening by taking over operations like they did with the Los Angeles Dodgers

If Major League Baseball were to somehow ouster Jeffrey Loria in the wake of the investigation if it should come out that there were illegal doings, it can actually prove to be a good thing for some fans who just outright despise the owner for moves he has made (trading Miguel Cabrera and coming out with less than favorable logo and uniform schemes). 

If he should fail in his pursuit of the Dodgers, fans could see Mark Cuban throwing his hat in the ring for ownership of the Miami Marlins

Yes, its something fans would see as a savior for the franchise, put a fans’ owner in charge. However, first and foremost the best case scenario is that the investigation doesn’t derail the Miami Marlins goals and from the plan to finally be a competitive team every season.  

The last thing fans need is for this to have an effect on the teams performance on the field and for a scandal to be the headline for the Marlins with a brand new identity just establishing itself on the scene.  

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Florida Marlins: 5 People the Marlins Must Drop in Order to Succeed in 2012

With a young team, a pair of superstars and a new stadium set to open in 2012, the Florida Marlins are poised to begin a new chapter in their short but illustrious history. 

While the 2011 season was set to be a year full of promise, the young Marlins could not live up to the weight of their own early season expectations and squandered the chance to be in the Wildcard chase with a historically bad month of June.

In retrospect, it’s obvious that while the team has some legitimately talented pieces in Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez to build around, with top prospect Matt Dominguez on the way, there’s still quite a few holes the franchise needs to plug before taking the next step.

Here’s a few folks who should probably be thrown overboard if the Miami faithful wants to see their boys bring home a third World Series title.

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Florida Marlins: 5 Reasons Management Is Finally Serious

The Florida Marlins are well-known for dealing players such as Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera, Gary Sheffield and Edgar Renteria.

In fact, tracing back to 2004, the Marlins have been talking about becoming a spender once the new ballpark is constructed.

Unfortunately, despite placing clauses in player contracts such as Mike Lowell, the deal was delayed and the Marlins continued to gut the roster of talent throughout the years.

Surprisingly, there have been five moves during 2011 that indicate that the Marlins may finally be dedicated to build a contender for years. 

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Florida Marlins: Front Office Should Make a Splash, Trade for Mets’ David Wright

Already, the Florida Marlins are in excellent shape to make a run at the postseason for the first time since 2003. The Marlins have gotten a Cy Young worthy performance out of Josh Johnson and solid outings out of Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez, who nearly repeated his gem from 2006. Yet, they’re still waiting on Chris Volstad and Javier Vazquez to follow suit.

The bullpen has been tremendous, leading MLB in ERA (1.63) and BAA (.178), as of Saturday, they are one of two teams that has yet to blow a save this season (Dodgers). 

The starting lineup has gotten surprises from Logan Morrison, leading the team in home runs and RBIs despite now being out for the next two to three weeks with a foot injury, Gaby Sanchez, Emilio Bonifacio and even Brett Hayes.

Nevertheless, they have yet to get production from their best bats in Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton who are seemingly closing in on breaking out of their slumps; this makes the Marlins even scarier.

With all that said everything seems well with the Marlins but even the front office knows they are missing a piece. If you remember before the season started, the front office tried to make a splash by going after Rangers infielder Michael Young.

Such trade talks fell through mainly because Texas was asking for a lot in return for the 34-year-old and paying roughly half his salary ($16 million per season until 2013).  

Of course, the Marlins bowed out of the race, but hold on, why stop there? If the Marlins really are interested in going after Michael Young, a two-time Gold Glover, why don’t they go after a much “younger” version in Mets third baseman David Wright? 

Currently, the Marlins third baseman of future, Matt Dominguez is nursing a fractured elbow he suffered on April 1st in a Triple-A game and that has delayed his call-up to the major leagues. Many have blessed Dominguez for his Gold Glover caliber defense at third, it’s something that the Marlins love about him, but can he hit? 

In the minors, Dominguez has a .257 career batting average with 46 home runs and 219 RBI in 375 games. The Marlins want to give him the chances he can to succeed but if there is a chance to get to the World Series this season and even next season, is the team really going to the let that opportunity slip away?

Back in 2003, the Marlins had to deal their first overall draft pick Adrian Gonzalez to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina, who helped the Marlins on their way on their second World Series title in franchise history. 

In 2008, the Marlins could have pulled the trigger and traded for Manny Ramirez and potentially gone to the postseason at the cost of slugger Mike Stanton who would be a Red Sox. Yet the team knew Stanton can hit and was a physical specimen having played football in addition to baseball in high school. 

So we shouldn’t be surprised if the Marlins decide to do the unthinkable, but this time the front office needs to reward its fans and needs to show them that they are serious about making a run at the postseason and entering the new stadium with a World Series trophy. 

Considering the possibility that the Mets could be dealing Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez, and Carlos Beltran during the season to rebuild means David Wright will follow and the Marlins can’t afford to let it slip by and have a Phillies or Braves team swoop in and snag him.

David Wright is signed through the 2013 season, getting paid $14 million this season, $15 million in 2012, and a $16 million team option ($1 million buyout). 

Yes, the salary numbers are awfully similar to that of Michael Young’s, but Wright is six years younger than Young (Wright is 28 years of age), and perhaps entering the prime of his career. 

The Marlins currently have shortstop Hanley Ramirez signed through 2014 and their ace pitcher Josh Johnson signed through 2013. It only makes sense for the Marlins to go after David Wright, and if they fail to make a deep run, they can always cash in via draft pick compensation or a trade which the Marlins have done with their best players throughout the years. 

If the Marlins want to make it to the postseason, let alone the World Series, they need to make a splash with the fans, and what better way than with a leader in the clubhouse, a five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover who would cement the Fish as legitimate contenders. 

It might cost the Marlins a Gold Glove caliber infielder in Matt Dominguez, a promising everyday outfielder in Scott Cousins, and perhaps a solid infielder in Osvaldo Martinez but the Marlins owe to the fans and themselves to go after and acquire a player like David Wright and make it worth their while. 

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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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