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Fishfan79

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If the Marlins do happen to get their stadium deal done soon, when do you think we'll be playing in it, and is there a possibility of having an All-Star Game there shortly thereafter?
-- Kevin D., Miami

Stadium talks are moving along nicely, and there is growing optimism that the matter will be resolved, perhaps around Opening Day. You mention an interesting point regarding an All-Star Game.

The team's series of leases with Dolphin Stadium expire after the 2010 season. If funding for the new park is secured by the spring and ground is broken early this summer, it takes about three years to build a stadium.

So, depending on how swiftly things progress, the Marlins could conceivably open their new home in 2010 or '11.

Seeing how the All-Star Game rotation is lining up, there could be a chance that Major League Baseball will award the Marlins' new home the Midsummer Classic in 2011.

The 2007 game will be played at AT&T Park (San Francisco), followed by Yankee Stadium (New York, '08) and Busch Stadium (St. Louis, '09). With the All-Star Game alternating from National League to American League parks, 2010 would be the AL's turn.

So that means 2011 would fall on the NL side, and by then, the Marlins hope to have another South Florida address.

Also, don't count out a new stadium being the championship site of a future World Baseball Classic.

It seems that the biggest question marks, at this point, are center field and closer. From previous mailbags, it seems that the closer role might be filled from within the organization. For center field, how about Preston Wilson? He's proven defensively that he can navigate Florida's difficult "Bermuda Triangle." He's a solid hitter who steals bases. Plus, the Marlins coaching staff is dealing with a lot of young players, teaching plate discipline, and it is certainly conceivable that they can make Wilson more patient at the plate and help him cut down on his strikeouts. He's still on the market, but I don't know what he's going for. What are your thoughts?
-- Dave S., Potsdam, N.Y.

Wilson re-signed with the Cardinals on Monday, inking a one-year deal to remain in St. Louis. Even if he were available, he was under contract for $4 million in '06 and at a fraction of that cost, it would have been out of the Marlins' price range. Also, after having some knee troubles, Wilson's days as a center fielder appear over. He saw limited action at that position in '06, playing more in left and right field.

At spacious Dolphin Stadium, the Marlins are looking for someone with more speed.

Right now, all indications are that the team will go into Spring Training with what it has in center field. Alex Sanchez, who signed a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training, will get a chance to win the job.

Sanchez, Alfredo Amezaga, Cody Ross, Reggie Abercrombie and Eric Reed will also see time at the position in February.

If the job remains up in the air in the spring, I look for the team to reexplore trade options before Opening Day.

Have a question about the Marlins?
Joe FrisaroE-mail your query to MLB.com Marlins beat reporter Joe Frisaro for possible inclusion in a future mailbag column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
First Name, Last Initial:

Hometown:
Email Address:
Question:

How can I get Marlins players' autographs?
-- Brian D., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

At each home game, fans are permitted to seek autographs until roughly 45 minutes before game time. Spring Training also is a time when fans have good luck getting autographs. Also, in early February, the Marlins will have their annual caravan tour, making stops throughout South Florida. Typically, a few players are at each stop. FanFest, at Dolphin Stadium on Feb. 10, is an event where just about all the players attend. There are autograph sessions scheduled for that day at the park.

Another option is to mail an autograph request to a specific player to:

Florida Marlins
c/o Dolphin Stadium
2267 Dan Marino Blvd.
Miami, FL 33056

With the way Josh Johnson performed in '06 -- being in both a reliever role early and a starter later in the season -- what do you predict for him throughout a full season in the rotation?
-- Bryan W., Beachwood, N.J.

Depending on which scout I've talked to, Johnson is regarded as either the best or second-best starter of the four rookies in the rotation in '06. Scouts love his size and makeup. Feedback from opponents repeatedly was that Johnson threw a "heavy fastball," meaning it had good sink to it and it was difficult to hit him hard.

However, he had a setback with his forearm in September, and, foremost, we have to see if Johnson is completely healthy. Depending on how his arm is responding, he may be moved along more cautiously, at least early in Spring Training.

There is no question that when healthy, Johnson is a tremendous talent. The experience he gained in '06 should only help. In assessing all pitchers, the issue of durability comes into play.

I'm hoping Jeremy Hermida rebounds in 2007. Having said that, do you feel that he is a better fit at the No. 2 spot? And would the Marlins be better served with Dan Uggla in the middle of the order?
-- Steve M., Weston, Fla.

You may recall that Hermida opened up last season batting second behind Hanley Ramirez. But early on, Hermida suffered his right hip flexor injury and Uggla became a fixture in the No. 2 spot.

Ultimately, production will determine where Hermida -- and the other players, for that matter -- bat. Right now, I'd suspect Hermida would open Spring Training batting in the sixth spot. But he has many of the qualities you look for in a second hitter. Hermida has an excellent eye and he is capable of drawing walks and working pitchers.

Uggla could also adjust to batting a bit lower in the order. He certainly benefited by hitting ahead of Miguel Cabrera.

When assessing the lineup, the strongest feelings I have is keeping Cabrera in the third spot, not cleanup. I like Cabrera there because he is guaranteed to hit in the first inning. Plus, with Ramirez and Uggla getting on base so regularly, it increases his RBI chances. What hurt Cabrera a year ago batting fourth was that Mike Jacobs was hitting in front of him. Jacobs had a bad right ankle and couldn't run well. Several times, Cabrera hit doubles that didn't produce runs because Jacobs was limited on the bases.

After Cabrera moved into the third spot, Jacobs and Josh Willingham alternated at cleanup and fifth. With Cabrera on base so often, it increased both of their RBI opportunities.

What are the chances for pitching prospect Rick Vanden Hurk for 2007? He had a good recovery in 2006 after Tommy John surgery. His performance in Hawaii Winter Baseball was really impressive, leading the league in strikeouts. Can you say anything about his future with the Marlins?
-- William van den Bremer, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Vanden Hurk is yet one of an impressive list of young arms in the system. The right-hander isn't on the 40-man roster, and he won't be in Spring Training with the big-league club. Depending on how he performs in Minor League camp, Vanden Hurk projects to begin the season either at Class A Jupiter or Double-A Carolina.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander threw 10 innings at Jupiter in '06, and he had 15 innings with the club's Gulf Coast League squad. His experience in Hawaii this offseason should prove beneficial. Vanden Hurk struck out 63 batters in 40 innings. But the team won't rush his development, because he is coming back from surgery and is in the process of building back up his arm strength and innings. Vanden Hurk may be another year or so away from being ready for the big leagues.

http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/articl...sp&c_id=fla
 
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Marlins are about to start a Netherlands marketing pitch!

VandenHurk is the real deal!
 

Marlins2003

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I think they have a baseball academy there (or are part of some consortium) and have for a few years.
 

Fishfan79

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Marlins are about to start a Netherlands marketing pitch!

VandenHurk is the real deal!


come see vandenhurk and get a free pancake? Or wooden shoes night?

:whistle
 

TSwift25

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I think they have a baseball academy there (or are part of some consortium) and have for a few years.

Yup
 

Hammerhead

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Marlins are about to start a Netherlands marketing pitch!

VandenHurk is the real deal!


come see vandenhurk and get a free pancake? Or wooden shoes night?

:whistle
Thats not stereotypical at all! :lol
 

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