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Marlin's Addition by Subtraction


Eddie Altamonte
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http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/baseball/story/707045.html

 

Posted on Tue, Sep. 30, 2008

Florida Marlins hope addition by subtraction improves team

By GREG COTE

The Marlins are about to do something smart even if it might not seem like it: Take a bright young team -- one that didn't miss the playoffs by much -- and shake it up.

For a sweet change, this won't be the kind of shake-up that has twice before followed Marlins success -- a fire sale to drastically cut player payroll. That is the one benefit of being last in the majors in payroll: Tough to drastically cut what barely exists.

 

No, this time the shake-up will be to transform the Marlins from a power-hitting team whose home runs could not disguise its flaws into one better rooted in pitching, speed and defense.

 

The transformation might also serve to help limit the payroll increase, much to the delight of the club's cheap ownership, because several players set for big raises in arbitration won't be back. But this time the changes will improve the team.

 

The biggest surprise in the Marlins finishing 84-77 (a 13-win improvement) is they did it having batters who struck out 171, 138, 122, 119, 116 and 111 times. A seventh hitter -- that's most of the lineup -- also was on pace to top 100 if not injured.

 

Category 2 hurricanes create less wind than the Marlins did fanning in 2008. Add clunky defense, little speed and an erratic bullpen and 84 wins seems a Biblical miracle.

 

The record alone, third best in the club's 16 years, might have justified a stand-pat approach. The Marlins, though, unlike the Dolphins, are not retooling from desperation.

 

The Dolphins began their reconstruction from a cracked foundation of weakness, detonating a 1-15 team bereft of talent. The Marlins are reconfiguring from a position of strength, augmenting what's good, reducing what's bad.

 

DOUBLE DOWN?

 

An embarrassing player payroll that hovered just above $20 million this year needs urgent remedy, of course, no matter how the team evolves.

 

The long-awaited and finally approved new ballpark came with an assurance from owner Jeffrey Loria of greatly increased spending. We look forward to Loria keeping his word, and trust he won't dare wait until 2011, when the new park opens.

 

It is estimated, with 16 Marlins set for arbitration, that it would take a doubled payroll to keep this '08 team intact. The thing is, that wouldn't be smart.

 

I don't mean the doubled payroll. That would be.

 

I mean spending it to keep together the same free-swinging squad that at times played like a Sunday men's softball team, a parade of giant uppercuts aimed at fences.

 

The Marlins need to swap some power for more of a contact-hitting club that has the speed to manufacture runs when needed.

 

Second baseman Dan Uggla could be traded in the makeover (call it likely), because he has value, and because the Marlins can do without his 171 strikeouts.

 

For Uggla they might get in return a solid starting corner outfielder with speed, because chances are slim both Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida will return.

 

Mike Jacobs also is headed for the exit, personifying the type of team Florida wants to stop being: Power, but low average, mega-strikeouts, no speed, bad defense.

 

To quote Barack Obama and John McCain in a Marlins context: We need change. And change is coming.

 

Fleet Cameron Maybin seems ready to take over in center, based on his hitting as a late season call-up and the fact he covers almost as much ground as the green grass.

 

Gaby Sanchez also is ready to burst free of his minor-league shackles and take over for Jacobs at first.

 

Fast-rising minor-league star Chris Coghlan looks almost ready to take over for Uggla at second if needed. If he requires a bit more seasoning, well, Jorge Cantu played second in Tampa Bay and could play there until Coghlan was ready.

 

Cantu, playing mostly third base this year, probably should have beaten habit-selection Hanley Ramirez as team MVP. Cantu should return if only in an infield utility role, with minor-league slugger Dallas McPherson promoted to take over at third. (McPherson, a homers/strikeouts guy, is counter to the planned makeover, but his bat would help compensate for the departure of Jacobs, Hermida, perhaps Willingham and maybe even Uggla.

 

Once Coghlan is ready at second, there would be the option of moving Cantu back to third and trading McPherson.

 

Change also is coming behind the plate, where John Baker has proved himself ready to be the Marlins' best offensive catcher since Pudge Rodriguez.

 

DEEP ROTATION

 

Pitching? Closer Kevin Gregg won't return, and the sound you hear is much of South Florida chorusing a ''Hallelujah!'' Matt Lindstrom, of the 100 mph fastball but with better control than Gregg, is poised to take over.

 

Scott Olsen might not be back in the starting rotation because he could be too pricey. There would be no greater commitment to increased spending than if Loria approved re-signing Olsen. But, if not, he has enough trade value to bring a needed piece in return, such as a quality corner outfielder with speed and a strong glove.

 

Even without Olsen, the Marlins would be solid with a returning rotation led by Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad -- all 25 or younger.

 

When the makeover is done, the Marlins will have managed to do what seems impossible: Lose power, but somehow get stronger.

 

 

Uggla LIKELY to be traded...Gregg is gone. All in all nothing earth shattering

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He nailed it on the head.

 

The big news: South Florida finally trusts Beinfest!! A local writer supporting and rationalizing a cost-slashing effort!! In Admin and Mike We Trust!!

 

 

Sidebar: I just am not ready to give up on Hammer, who before this year, has always been such a patient and solid hitter. He must have been playing hurt. Not ready to give up on Hermida yet either at just 24 years old, and I think they both should be re-signed, but with competition at their positions to push them / take over if they continue to play poorly.

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Third firesale here we come!!!.Unfortunetly the 2009-2010 offseason may be just as ugly, when the players we keep start making second year arbitration.

I wholeheartedly believe the Marlins will be upgrading their positions at CF, 1B and 2B with these moves, to go with very good production at SS, C and even 3B. The rotation will be very strong- Gammons and Stark have already mentioned the Fish as potential favorites in the NL East.

 

This will probably be the the team on the field in 2011 for the stadium. "Matching payroll to revenue" ought to be greater in 2011, assuming greater revenues.

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Third firesale here we come!!!.Unfortunetly the 2009-2010 offseason may be just as ugly, when the players we keep start making second year arbitration.

I wholeheartedly believe the Marlins will be upgrading their positions at CF, 1B and 2B with these moves, to go with very good production at SS, C and even 3B. The rotation will be very strong- Gammons and Stark have already mentioned the Fish as potential favorites in the NL East.

 

I would agree based on our staff, IF all things stayed the same. Atlanta being pathetic, the mets with their questionable staff and horrid bullpen. But, clearly, once the other teams start going after free agents this prediction of Gammons and Stark would change. Big names being mentioned by the Mets and Braves as they will continue to raise their payrolls.

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Third firesale here we come!!!.Unfortunetly the 2009-2010 offseason may be just as ugly, when the players we keep start making second year arbitration.

I wholeheartedly believe the Marlins will be upgrading their positions at CF, 1B and 2B with these moves, to go with very good production at SS, C and even 3B. The rotation will be very strong- Gammons and Stark have already mentioned the Fish as potential favorites in the NL East.

 

This will probably be the the team on the field in 2011 for the stadium. "Matching payroll to revenue" ought to be greater in 2011, assuming greater revenues.

There is 0 way to upgrade 2B in our position.

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Third firesale here we come!!!.Unfortunetly the 2009-2010 offseason may be just as ugly, when the players we keep start making second year arbitration.

I wholeheartedly believe the Marlins will be upgrading their positions at CF, 1B and 2B with these moves, to go with very good production at SS, C and even 3B. The rotation will be very strong- Gammons and Stark have already mentioned the Fish as potential favorites in the NL East.

 

This will probably be the the team on the field in 2011 for the stadium. "Matching payroll to revenue" ought to be greater in 2011, assuming greater revenues.

There is 0 way to upgrade 2B in our position.

I'll take the 1/1 BB/K ratio over the 171 strikeouts.

 

Granted he carried this team in May, but the consistency is really frustrating and the swing and misses and baserunning and other general stupid mistakes are aggravating.

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Third firesale here we come!!!.Unfortunetly the 2009-2010 offseason may be just as ugly, when the players we keep start making second year arbitration.

I wholeheartedly believe the Marlins will be upgrading their positions at CF, 1B and 2B with these moves, to go with very good production at SS, C and even 3B. The rotation will be very strong- Gammons and Stark have already mentioned the Fish as potential favorites in the NL East.

 

This will probably be the the team on the field in 2011 for the stadium. "Matching payroll to revenue" ought to be greater in 2011, assuming greater revenues.

There is 0 way to upgrade 2B in our position.

I'll take the 1/1 BB/K ratio over the 171 strikeouts.

 

Granted he carried this team in May, but the consistency is really frustrating and the swing and misses and baserunning and other general stupid mistakes are aggravating.

No second baseman had a 1 BB/K ratio. None. Also, as long as you get on base, Ks are ridiculously unimportant. Uggla was third in on-base percentage amongst 2B.

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Third firesale here we come!!!.Unfortunetly the 2009-2010 offseason may be just as ugly, when the players we keep start making second year arbitration.

I wholeheartedly believe the Marlins will be upgrading their positions at CF, 1B and 2B with these moves, to go with very good production at SS, C and even 3B. The rotation will be very strong- Gammons and Stark have already mentioned the Fish as potential favorites in the NL East.

 

This will probably be the the team on the field in 2011 for the stadium. "Matching payroll to revenue" ought to be greater in 2011, assuming greater revenues.

There is 0 way to upgrade 2B in our position.

I'll take the 1/1 BB/K ratio over the 171 strikeouts.

 

Granted he carried this team in May, but the consistency is really frustrating and the swing and misses and baserunning and other general stupid mistakes are aggravating.

No second baseman had a 1 BB/K ratio. None. Also, as long as you get on base, Ks are ridiculously unimportant. Uggla was third in on-base percentage amongst 2B.

Coghlan does.

 

I do agree with that conceptually. Sometimes contact is important to move runners up, sac fly them in, etc. That's an unseen variable in the statistics. What makes Dan Uggla's numbers pretty is, in certain cases, not what helps the Florida Marlins win games. I understand for the most part, a great OBP and SLG% will lead to the most runs scored on the whole, but on the micro level, it's about winning individual games, and he doesn't contribute towards that end by swinging for the upper deck with a runner on second.

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No second baseman had a 1 BB/K ratio. None. Also, as long as you get on base, Ks are ridiculously unimportant. Uggla was third in on-base percentage amongst 2B.

Coghlan does.

 

I do agree with that conceptually. Sometimes contact is important to move runners up, sac fly them in, etc. That's an unseen variable in the statistics. What makes Dan Uggla's numbers pretty is, in certain cases, not what helps the Florida Marlins win games. I understand for the most part, a great OBP and SLG% will lead to the most runs scored on the whole, but on the micro level, it's about winning individual games, and he doesn't contribute towards that end by swinging for the upper deck with a runner on second.

Coghlan is in the minors. Hardly count. When not even Chase Utley has a 1 BB/K, that tells you something.

 

And as far as Dan Uggla not "helping us win games", he was 2nd in WPA amongst 2nd baseman (behind Pedrioa) and 2nd on the team (behind Hanley Ramirez).

 

Next.

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Third firesale here we come!!!.Unfortunetly the 2009-2010 offseason may be just as ugly, when the players we keep start making second year arbitration.

I'm just going to amuse you to hopefully end this once and for all. This is way in advance, assuming we get rid of 4-5 guys this season, probably Gregg, Olsen, Jacobs, Hammer, and maybe one of Uggla/Cantu/Hermida/Cody, the players after 2009 eligible for arbitration are:

 

3rd Year

Amezaga

Cantu

 

2nd year

Nolasco

Johnson

Ross

Hermida

Uggla

Anibal

Kensing

Waecther

Nelson

 

1st year

Lindstrom

Pinto

Tank

 

Now who is REALLY important on that list. Nolasco, Johnson, and Anibal are easily the most. Hermida COULD be if he decides to hit again. And then, uh. Some of the 1st year RP? The rest are completely expendable.

 

We'd be looking at 2010, going in with this:

 

C - Baker

1B - G. Sanchez/L. Morrison

2B - Coghlan

SS - Hanley

3B - McPherson

LF -

CF - Maybin

RF - Hermida

B - Raynor

SP - Johnson, Nolasco, Anibal, Volstad, Miller

RP - Lindstrom, Pinto, Tucker, Cruz, Vanden Hurk

 

So we need one more young OF, another catcher, a young 3B, two middle infielders, and two more RP. The only players not club controlled and will be making some money are Hanley, Johnson, Nolasco, Anibal, Miller, and Hermida, and you will have low expenditures with McPherson and the RP.

 

Internally, we would have Cousins, Petersen, and Carroll to perphaps fill an OF slot, nothing at C or 3B, maybe Andino to take over Amezaga's role, and as for RP, you'd hope someone in the Owens, J. Delgado, Mobley, Wood, Doolittle, etc, family of RP works out. (and it's not like finding back end of the pen guys is hard anyways). We have some guys that could plug in here.

 

Externally, we will have traded all of the following players at this point, and I will not speculate as to what we get back, but I'm guessing this will bring back a lot of talent all over the MLB and farm system - Gregg, Olsen, Jacobs, Willingham, Uggla, Ross, Cantu, Amezaga, and a few RP. We're looking at 10-12 B level or higher prospects from that bunch. That's ENORMOUS and will fill ALL remaining holes, and could even do things like push McPherson, Hermida, or others off the team where payroll would be cheaper, and we'd have even more younger guys in trade. THIS IS NOT A FIRE SALE. We have a quality core of MLB hitters already above, and this would be added to our core with players who compliment them on both production and PAYROLL issues. We want the team to peak at the same time, and that isn't going to happen with our current position players, compared to the really important guys - Hanley, Maybin, Morrison, perhaps Hermida, Coghlan, G. Sanchez, etc.

 

And for S's and giggles, the Marlins will have three of the better position prospects in baseball in A+/AA by 2010 - Stanton, Dominguez, Skipworth, and we'll have a plethora of SP prospects around with West, Thompson, Sinkbiel, Correa, and Hand. Again, this is ignoring trading off all of the players above where we might have even better prospects around than these fantastic 8 I just listed. We are LOADED. L O A D E D.

 

Your comments are completely uninformed to where we are as an organization. There is no firesale coming. This is just restructuring of the depth chart. And we're only going to keep getting better because of it.

 

Then, let's look even further. After 2010. STADIUM. And hopefully you'll go to the games.

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No second baseman had a 1 BB/K ratio. None. Also, as long as you get on base, Ks are ridiculously unimportant. Uggla was third in on-base percentage amongst 2B.

Coghlan does.

 

I do agree with that conceptually. Sometimes contact is important to move runners up, sac fly them in, etc. That's an unseen variable in the statistics. What makes Dan Uggla's numbers pretty is, in certain cases, not what helps the Florida Marlins win games. I understand for the most part, a great OBP and SLG% will lead to the most runs scored on the whole, but on the micro level, it's about winning individual games, and he doesn't contribute towards that end by swinging for the upper deck with a runner on second.

Coghlan is in the minors. Hardly count. When not even Chase Utley has a 1 BB/K, that tells you something.

 

And as far as Dan Uggla not "helping us win games", he was 2nd in WPA amongst 2nd baseman (behind Pedrioa) and 2nd on the team (behind Hanley Ramirez).

 

Next.

I understand it probably won't carry over at 1/1, but it's far closer than 2.2/1 K/BB.

 

I'm not familiar with that statistic. Like I said, he carried them in May, won a lot of games on his own. A ridiculous 1.25 OPS and .425 OBP in May inflates the stats a little bit. Hey, they all count though. There were plenty of non-May situations where a sac fly or ground ball or blooper the other way could have made a difference and won some non-May games, and he was swinging out of his shoes. Very frustrating, show a lack of general baseball "IQ," if you will. Is there a stat for that?

 

Perhaps it was having him and Jacobs back to back a lot of the time that wore on me. More of a balance between the free swingers and the contact guys would be a nice change. Coghlan would bring a different style of play, and one I think would be positive. With that said, I wouldn't be upset if Uggla stayed either, but given the likely reality, I think the team may have a respectable replacement in Coghlan, and trading Uggla into a different young player that can help the team in a different way would be greater for the whole.

 

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No second baseman had a 1 BB/K ratio. None. Also, as long as you get on base, Ks are ridiculously unimportant. Uggla was third in on-base percentage amongst 2B.

Coghlan does.

 

I do agree with that conceptually. Sometimes contact is important to move runners up, sac fly them in, etc. That's an unseen variable in the statistics. What makes Dan Uggla's numbers pretty is, in certain cases, not what helps the Florida Marlins win games. I understand for the most part, a great OBP and SLG% will lead to the most runs scored on the whole, but on the micro level, it's about winning individual games, and he doesn't contribute towards that end by swinging for the upper deck with a runner on second.

Coghlan is in the minors. Hardly count. When not even Chase Utley has a 1 BB/K, that tells you something.

 

And as far as Dan Uggla not "helping us win games", he was 2nd in WPA amongst 2nd baseman (behind Pedrioa) and 2nd on the team (behind Hanley Ramirez).

 

Next.

I understand it probably won't carry over at 1/1, but it's far closer than 2.2/1 K/BB.

 

I'm not familiar with that statistic. Like I said, he carried them in May, won a lot of games on his own. A ridiculous 1.25 OPS and .425 OBP in May inflates the stats a little bit. Hey, they all count though. There were plenty of non-May situations where a sac fly or ground ball or blooper the other way could have made a difference and won some non-May games, and he was swinging out of his shoes. Very frustrating, show a lack of general baseball "IQ," if you will. Is there a stat for that?

 

Perhaps it was having him and Jacobs back to back a lot of the time that wore on me. More of a balance between the free swingers and the contact guys would be a nice change. Coghlan would bring a different style of play, and one I think would be positive. With that said, I wouldn't be upset if Uggla stayed either, but given the likely reality, I think the team may have a respectable replacement in Coghlan, and trading Uggla into a different young player that can help the team in a different way would be greater for the whole.

 

 

(p.s. - Why does a civil intelligent discussion require the sarcastic, snippy, arrogant "Next" comment? Gosh.)

You're right, the "next" was a little much. Bad mood. I apologize.

 

And yes, May had a lot to do with it. But he was also good in April, June, and September. He didn't qualify in July thanks to his injury (which is what I attribute his slump to), and he was very bad in August.

 

People like to think that Uggla was only good for one month, when he was good for 4 of the 6 months. I think that the "1st half" being nearly 2/3rd of the season is was throws people off on that one.

 

 

And yes, I understand that we need some players who are not power/slugger guys but why do that by ridding ourselves of the best one we have?

 

Also, I understand that trading Uggla can help us in other positions where help is needed. I'm against trading him for that, but I understand it. But, in my opinion, there is no way that Coghlan can replace Uggla. Can he stop it from being a hole? Yes. But he won't replace his production. I know everyone loves Luis Castillo, but Dan Uggla is the best 2nd baseman in the short history of the franchise.

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No second baseman had a 1 BB/K ratio. None. Also, as long as you get on base, Ks are ridiculously unimportant. Uggla was third in on-base percentage amongst 2B.

Coghlan does.

 

I do agree with that conceptually. Sometimes contact is important to move runners up, sac fly them in, etc. That's an unseen variable in the statistics. What makes Dan Uggla's numbers pretty is, in certain cases, not what helps the Florida Marlins win games. I understand for the most part, a great OBP and SLG% will lead to the most runs scored on the whole, but on the micro level, it's about winning individual games, and he doesn't contribute towards that end by swinging for the upper deck with a runner on second.

Coghlan is in the minors. Hardly count. When not even Chase Utley has a 1 BB/K, that tells you something.

 

And as far as Dan Uggla not "helping us win games", he was 2nd in WPA amongst 2nd baseman (behind Pedrioa) and 2nd on the team (behind Hanley Ramirez).

 

Next.

I understand it probably won't carry over at 1/1, but it's far closer than 2.2/1 K/BB.

 

I'm not familiar with that statistic. Like I said, he carried them in May, won a lot of games on his own. A ridiculous 1.25 OPS and .425 OBP in May inflates the stats a little bit. Hey, they all count though. There were plenty of non-May situations where a sac fly or ground ball or blooper the other way could have made a difference and won some non-May games, and he was swinging out of his shoes. Very frustrating, show a lack of general baseball "IQ," if you will. Is there a stat for that?

 

Perhaps it was having him and Jacobs back to back a lot of the time that wore on me. More of a balance between the free swingers and the contact guys would be a nice change. Coghlan would bring a different style of play, and one I think would be positive. With that said, I wouldn't be upset if Uggla stayed either, but given the likely reality, I think the team may have a respectable replacement in Coghlan, and trading Uggla into a different young player that can help the team in a different way would be greater for the whole.

 

 

(p.s. - Why does a civil intelligent discussion require the sarcastic, snippy, arrogant "Next" comment? Gosh.)

You're right, the "next" was a little much. Bad mood. I apologize.

 

And yes, May had a lot to do with it. But he was also good in April, June, and September. He didn't qualify in July thanks to his injury (which is what I attribute his slump to), and he was very bad in August.

 

People like to think that Uggla was only good for one month, when he was good for 4 of the 6 months. I think that the "1st half" being nearly 2/3rd of the season is was throws people off on that one.

 

 

And yes, I understand that we need some players who are not power/slugger guys but why do that by ridding ourselves of the best one we have?

 

Also, I understand that trading Uggla can help us in other positions where help is needed. I'm against trading him for that, but I understand it. But, in my opinion, there is no way that Coghlan can replace Uggla. Can he stop it from being a hole? Yes. But he won't replace his production. I know everyone loves Luis Castillo, but Dan Uggla is the best 2nd baseman in the short history of the franchise.

I agree with all that actually. After the season, I expected to see Jacobs-like numbers for Uggla and it wasn't the case. I think behind Hanley and, though smaller sample, Baker, he has the next best numbers on the team.

 

I won't be upset to see him back, but won't be devastated if, and probably when, he is traded for the guy making $400k. His high K/high power bat will prob be replaced with McPherson and his under $1milli contract.

 

If they can balance out the lineup a little bit with some contact hitters, a.k.a Gaby, they'd be in better shape.

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Cantu, playing mostly third base this year, probably should have beaten habit-selection Hanley Ramirez as team MVP. Cantu should return if only in an infield utility role, with minor-league slugger Dallas McPherson promoted to take over at third.

 

So this guy wants Cantu to return and sit on the bench??? Does he not realize that was our second best hitter this year?

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Cantu, playing mostly third base this year, probably should have beaten habit-selection Hanley Ramirez as team MVP. Cantu should return if only in an infield utility role, with minor-league slugger Dallas McPherson promoted to take over at third.

 

So this guy wants Cantu to return and sit on the bench??? Does he not realize that was our second best hitter this year?

 

 

He did not say he wants Cantu to sit. But that the Marlins should bring him back even if it is only in a Utility role. I would venture to guess that ANYONE would be glad to have Cantu's production on their team and unless he slumps should be a starter on this team next year regardless of McPherson.

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Move Cantu to second, McPherson to third, trade Uggla and Jacobs for a corner outfielder (preferably left field) and some bullpen help, put Hammer at first, move Cody to left field, put Maybin in as the starting CF.

 

C - Baker

1B - Hammer/Sanchez

2B - Cantu

SS - Hanley

3B - McPherson

LF - Cody

CF - Maybin

RF - Hermida

 

McPherson will make up for the power we will be missing from Uggla and Jacobs, we'll have slightly better speed, and a higher OBP.

 

I think that's a pretty balanced lineup. In terms of power, these are the numbers I see from these guys (if healthy, of course):

 

Next season This season Net

Baker - 15-20 v. 10 5-10

Hammer/Sanchez - 15-20 v. 33 -(13-18)

Cantu - 25-30 v. 32 -(5)

Hanley - 30-35 v. same (0)

McPherson - 30-35 v. 28 7

Cody - 25-30 v. 18 7

Maybin - 10-15 v. 20 -(5-10)

Hermida - 15-20 v. same

 

In total, we'll lose about 10-15 homeruns, which is not a big deal if we increase our OBP, reduce our strike out rate, and hit for a higher average. On balance, we're a better offensive team.

 

Couple that with our starters, and we'll be good to go.

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Cantu, playing mostly third base this year, probably should have beaten habit-selection Hanley Ramirez as team MVP. Cantu should return if only in an infield utility role, with minor-league slugger Dallas McPherson promoted to take over at third.

 

So this guy wants Cantu to return and sit on the bench??? Does he not realize that was our second best hitter this year?

 

 

He did not say he wants Cantu to sit. But that the Marlins should bring him back even if it is only in a Utility role. I would venture to guess that ANYONE would be glad to have Cantu's production on their team and unless he slumps should be a starter on this team next year regardless of McPherson.

That's just dumb though. Hey, since Hanley was so good, why not keep him on the bench and start Andino?

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