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Don't push the panic button on the Marlins just yet...


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Once again the Florida Marlins are under construction, and like the last time, the trades they have made look awful on the surface.

 

But once you begin to take a deeper look, the Marlins did OK.

 

They will be very young and make lots of mistakes, but if new skipper Joe Girardi can keep the confidence up, they could be surprisingly solid next season. The NL East has become much better, and the Marlins might not be able to contend for the division title. But they also won't be as bad as most people think.

 

Below, we take a look at how the starting lineup would look if Florida took the field this weekend. Rumors have the Marlins still dealing, and if they can acquire a centerfielder (they are in talks with Tampa Bay about Joey Gathright), and maybe some experience for the bench, they could be the surprise of baseball in the 2006 season.

 

# 1B -- Mike Jacobs. In 30 games last season with the Mets, Jacobs hit .310 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI. He is a pull hitter and has lots of potential. He also has spent some time at catcher, so that gives Girardi more options.

 

# 2B -- Josh Wilson. He is young and untested, but he still is the front-runner. Girardi could turn to Alfredo Amezaga, who is a solid defensive second baseman but isn't ready to hit at the major-league level.

 

# SS -- Hanley Ramirez. He has power and speed, a nice combination for a shortstop. He still needs to learn patience at the plate and could struggle, but the future is bright for Ramirez.

 

# 3B -- Miguel Cabrera. We all know about him. He will be the power of the lineup and will hit .300 with 30 home runs -- just pencil it in -- as long as he get pitches to hit.

 

# C -- Josh Willingham. He can hit. Everyone knows it. Girardi will have to take him under his wing and show him the ins and outs of catching, but Willingham hit .337 in Triple-A last season before getting called up, and then he was injured.

 

# CF -- Eric Reed. The Marlins are talking about getting Joey Gathright from the Devil Rays. That would be smart, because otherwise this may be Florida's weakest position. Eric Reed has made his way through the minors quite quickly, but spent about a month in Triple-A last season before getting hurt. Not sure he is ready for the big leagues. A sleeper could be Reggie Abercrombie, who also made his way through the minors quickly. He has good speed and can hit homers.

 

# LF -- Jeremy Hermida. He is one of the top prospects in the National League and has shown that potential in limited playing time. It will be interesting to see how he does in a full season.

 

# RF -- Chris Aguila. He is a free swinger, which could hurt him, but has some pop in his bat and will get a crack at playing with the Marlins this season.

 

# Rotation -- Dontrelle Willis, Jason Vargas, Sergio Mitre, Josh Johnson, Brian Moehler. Not really that bad when you think of all the Marlins lost. Willis will be the ace. Vargas pitched well last season and should be better in 2006.

 

Moehler is injury-prone, and the Marlins will need him to stay healthy and help this young rotation. Mitre showed signs of becoming really good when he was in Chicago. Not being at Wrigley will help, as he got shelled when the wind was blowing out.

 

Josh Johnson is young but pitched well in limited time last season.

 

# Bullpen -- Travis Bowyer (closer), Yusmeiro Petit, Randy Messenger, Chris Resop, Anibal Sanchez, Logan Kensing, Ron Villone. The Marlins got Bowyer from the Twins in the Luis Castillo deal and he could be special. His fastball is in the mid-to-high 90s and is working on off-speed pitches.

 

If he can't get it done, the bullpen could be in trouble as they are all young with the exception of Ron Villone, who could end up being the closer. Petit, Kensing and Messenger have plus fastballs, but not much experience.

 

http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/...346/1002/sports

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Hermida plays right, flipflop Petit and Johnson between the pen and the rotation if they both make the club, Sanchez won't be with the Major League club unless he has an absolutely stellar spring, and how can you possibly not put Olsen in the rotation if you aren't assuming a deal where he is traded to Tampa?

 

Otherwise I like the positive attitude.

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Willy did well in limited playing time last season. No reason to think he won't put up .275 18 80. Hermida could put up even better numbers. We know what we'll get with Miggy. Jacobs could put up .275 18 80 as well. Question marks at SS, 2B, LF, and CF. If half those guys can do alright (league average), this team's offense won't be bad at all.

 

The real question marks are about the pitching staff.

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Did I see Logan Kensing's name again? Was that a typographical error? Are the Marlins seriously thinking about bringing in "Mr. Batting Practice" or "Mr. Homerun Derby" back to our pitching staff? If that's the case, then we truly are doomed.

 

:thumbdown

:confused

:banghead

 

 

It's a good decision to move Kensing from the rotation to the bullpen. I'd be willing to give him a chance to see how he does. You have to cut him some slack as the team called him up before he was ready.

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How much offense could we possibly lose? We had some high priced guys, but the offense never did gel last season. I think if our offense is worse, it won't be by a wide margin at all.

 

The bullpen will be pretty much the same, maybe better. We have tons of pitching depth - I think that translates into a decent bullpen

 

Starting pitching and defense is where we're losing the most. The young guys may have good years, but they almost certainly won't be very consistent. I imagine we'll have to sit through some 10-1 games in the 3rd or 4th inning, but we'll also see some gems. If the pitching works out, we won't be terrible.

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Actually among our pitching prospects, Kensing is one the stingiest with the long ball. Nor is he the type of pitcher to give up many well hit balls. He's a groundball pitcher, but can still get batters out at the plate.

 

 

I'm aware of his potential and I wanted to see what he could do when he came up, but you have to admit. Everyone that has seen every appearance in at the MLB level has to have some doubts because of the ease at which MLB batters have teed off on him. Until I see something else, I really don't see him being a long-term MLB pitcher. Definitely not as a starter unless he has a drastic metamorphosis from what he has shown so far.

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I have to admit it concerns me that Kensing requested the move to a bullpen. That isn't something I'd expect from the young buck out of Texas whose college experience and attitude were the reasons he was chosen over the then "immature" Olsen to face the Cubs in 2003 (edit: 2004).

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I have to admit it concerns me that Kensing requested the move to a bullpen. That isn't something I'd expect from the young buck out of Texas whose college experience and attitude were the reasons he was chosen over the then "immature" Olsen to face the Cubs in 2003.

 

 

Yes. That is another thing that concerns me. No matter the case, the Marlins did make a mistake with him for brining him up at the time that they did. What may have happened is because of the extent of his MLB failures so far, he may be questioning himself and his abilities right now. That was something that I felt would happen after I saw his MLB debut. I didn't understand why they put him back in again in another start to get bombed again. He showed in that first start that he clearly wasn't ready. From the first batter on, every pitch he threw had a "moon or bust" sign on it as each one was hanging, hel floating in the middle of the plate almost every time.

 

I hope for the himself and of course all of us in Marlins land, that everything works out, but I'm very uncomfortable with him going to get another chance after what he has shown so far.

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I have to admit it concerns me that Kensing requested the move to a bullpen. That isn't something I'd expect from the young buck out of Texas whose college experience and attitude were the reasons he was chosen over the then "immature" Olsen to face the Cubs in 2003 (edit: 2004).

 

 

 

 

maybe he wants to close.

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