What do you guys think?
In 2011, the Nationals finished in third place in the NL East with an 80-81 record, only playing in 161 games because of a game that never was made up since it had no effect on the playoffs. Over the winter, teams in the NL East have made moves to strengthen themselves, such as the Marlins completely upgrading their team with the signings of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell, and the Phillies adding Jonathan Papelbon to shore up the back end of their bullpen. However, you cannot discount the moves that the Nationals have made to keep pace with the rest of their division. Between trading for Gio Gonzalez and currently being the frontrunner for Prince Fielder, the Nationals are showing that they are not afraid of their talented rivals and that they plan to pack a punch in 2012. Coupled with the return of Stephen Strasburg and the arrivals of top prospects such as Bryce Harper and Stephen Lambardozzi, the Nationals with be fielding a strong team in 2012, and it would be wise for the other teams in the division to watch out for this team on the rise, before they sneak up and grab the NL East crown right out from under their fingers.
Right now the MLB offseason is waiting… Just waiting for that one flame, that little spark, that will cause it to light up like a Christmas Tree and start the wheeling and dealing. It’s true, there have been some minor deals like the Iannetta for Chatwood swap and the Melky for J. Sanchez trade, but right now it’s like a standoff. Who will fire the first shot?
Can’t wait until next week.
This post is a post to explain why I should be featured in a MLBlogs Jumbo Panel.
If you would like to read some other really cool baseball posts, please scroll down the page. 🙂
You could say that it all started in 2008, when my dad boldly predicted the Rays had a shot to make it to the playoffs, if not win it all. I was pretty young back then, but I knew my stuff, and I strongly disagreed with him on that point.
“The Rays?”, I had said. “Really, are we talking about the same baseball team?”
Little did I know about the remarkable journey that was about to unfold for a team that went from worst to first in one year, and from then on, I was hooked.
I started this blog in the December of 2008, a month after the World Series, and while at times my post frequency has been sporadic, I always ensure that when someone reads my articles, it is worth their while. I personally enjoy discussing about the “What if” in my posts, and outlining how I feel that organizations should be run to ensure success for their teams. Posting posts with simply polls and photos are also a habit of mine, as I feel that they are able to inform the reader with the big story behind it, without requiring the reader to endlessly search for the true message being delivered. I take true joy in letting my readers know what is happening throughout the baseball world, and really conveying the inner mechanisms of my die-hard baseball mind to them as well.
Mark, if you are reading this, thank you for your time, and please consider making my blog a Jumbo Panel as it would mean a lot to me.
By the way, did I mention I’m a Yankees and Rays fan? 🙂
With the 2012 season comes great changes for the Marlins. New ballpark, new manager, new logo, the list runs on and on. Along with these changes to the ball club, comes new responsibility for owner Jeffrey Loria and GM Michael Hill to facilitate trades and acquisitions to bolster their current roster. With that in mind, I outlined my plans for the “Miami Marlins” in regards to this offseason, which will get them to the championship that they have longed for since 2003.
To begin with, let’s start out with the Marlins current roster.
In 2011, the Marlins went 72-90 and finished dead last in the NL East. That right, dead last, meaning behind even the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals. Something has to change, and this is how to do it.
The Plan of Attack
1. Sign Jose Reyes to a 5 year (6 yr team option) $115 million deal
This deal seems like a perfect fit for the Marlins. They get a dynamic, young, speedy shortstop who enhances the Marlins offense, as well as defense, and can provide that constant “wow factor” night after night. His signing would lead to the Marlins shifting Hanley Ramirez over to third to take the spot of talented 3rd base prospect, Matt Dominiguez. However, I would rather see the Marlins shift Hanley to 2nd base, where the Marlins would have an extremely talented double-play tandem, and in turn, they would then either deal Omar Infante for bullpen relief, or keep him as a “super sub”, being as he has an ability to play multiple positions.
2. Sign Mark Buehrle to a 2 year, $21 million deal
Yes, I know, I said that Buehrle should go to the Yankees in my 2011 Yankees Offseason Outlook, but Buehrle would also make sense for the Marlins as well. He would provide that veteran presence in their young pitching staff, and fits in as a solid 3rd starter in that rotation. Also, he would give them 180+ solid innings, providing them with durability that other Marlins pitchers such as Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco lack.
3. Trade Logan Morrison and two solid Double-A prospects to the Rays for James Shields
By now, the whole baseball world pretty much knows that Logan Morrison and Owner Jeffrey Loria don’t have the best relationship, and that they have had quarrels in the past, which primarily stemmed from Morrison’s usage of his twitter account @LoMoMarlins. This trade would put an end to an unnecessary drama within the organization and would benefit both sides as well. Shields would provide the Marlins with a #2 starter of ace quality and he and Josh Johnson would create a fearsome 1-2 punch. Also, through the additions of Shields and Buehrle, the Marlins would have a rotation of Johnson, Shields, Buehrle, Nolasco, and Anibal Sanchez, which would arguably be the best in the NL East. In addition, the Rays would then send B.J. Upton to the Nationals, who are in active pursuit of a center fielder, for closer Drew Storen. This would clear up the center field spot for Desmond Jennings, allowing Morrison to play left, and would also give the Rays the long-term closer that they have been searching for since Roberto Hernandez. At this point,the Marlins could either put Omar Infante into left and move Hanley to second, or shift Matt Dominiguez to left and place Hanley at third.
With those three simple moves, the Marlins turn from a 2012 pretender into a 2012 contender, and now have a legitimate shot at winning it all for the Miami area in the years to come.
It’s time to go fishing.
I went onto MLB.com and stumbled upon the GIBBYs (Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards) which allow the fans to vote each year for the players and plays that they thought were the best at their respective categories. I ended up voting and figured I’d share those votes with you. Let’s begin, shall we?
Player of the Year- Matt Kemp
If this was the MVP, my vote would have probably changed to Ryan Braun (MIL,OF). However, I felt that Kemp was a worthy recipient of my vote, being as this award is based purely off stats and also because in 2011, Kemp recorded a 39-40 HR/steal season, one home run away from the exclusive 40-40 club.
Starting Pitcher of the Year- Justin Verlander
This one was pretty much a no brainer in my mind, as without Verlander, its very likely that the Tigers don’t even make it into the playoffs. His 24-5 record and dominant season is reminiscent to that of Pedro Martinez in 2001 and when you throw a no-hitter in there, he is untouchable.
Rookie of the Year- Craig Kimbrel
When a player has 46 saves in a season, you know he is an amazing player. But when that player is a rookie, that takes that accomplishment to a whole new level, and that is exactly what Kimbrel did last year. He set a new rookie saves record and posted an otherworldly 14.84 K/9 ratio last year.
Closer of the Year- Mariano Rivera
This one was, at the outset, a tough decision. You have a guy like Jose Valverde, who goes 49-49 in save opportunities, leads his club into the ALCS, and becomes the Tigers all-time single season saves leader, and then you have Mariano. The same Mariano who had 44 saves and a 1.91 ERA this past season. The same Mariano who recorded his 600 and record-breaking 602 saves. And the same Mariano who, at age 41, continued his dominance over MLB hitters for an astounding 14 years straight. That’s my vote for Closer of the Year.
Setup Man of the Year- Jonny Venters
Another close race, but I feel that Venters deserves my vote. Kimbrel and he were the anchors of the Braves bullpen, and without Venters’ solid season, the Braves wouldn’t have fared as well as they ended up: 1 game away from a Wild Card berth. His 35 holds were 2nd in the NL and he still has many more great years to come, as this was only his 2nd Major League season.
Defensive Player of the Year- Asdrubal Cabrera
If you have turned on Sports Center this year, even once, I can guarantee you that you’ve seen at least one of Asdrubal’s amazing plays this year. He induced 78 double plays this year and his finesse and grace when handling the ball is unmatchable.
Breakout Player of the Year- Ryan Vogelsong
This was probably the hardest pick of them all, as how do you choose between a pitcher who went from 9-10 to 21-4 (Ian Kennedy) and one that came from Japan to become a Major League All-Star? I ended up going with Vogelsong, as I felt that his contributions to the Giants this year should not be overlooked, and becoming a MLB All Star after having to readjust to a whole new life in the US from Japan is pretty phenomenal.
Comeback Player of the Year- Jacoby Ellsbury
Yes, its a Red Sox player, but Jacoby was worthy of my vote. He rebounded from a season in which he played only 18 games to post a .321-32 HR-39 steal campaign in addition to providing spectacular defense in center for the Sox, allowing no errors all year. Quite the comeback if you ask me.
Wow Factor of the Year- Robinson Cano
Robby has truly evolved into a different animal from the days in which people considered him to be lazy and to not have a passion for the game of baseball. His strong work ethic has pushed him into a force to be reckoned with on the field each night, and with his amazing glove work, hitting ability, and determination, he certainly “wows” me when he plays the game.
Manager of the Year- Joe Maddon
If this award included the postseason, I would have went with Tony La Russa for his amazing strategizing and spectacular ways of overcoming the odds against strongholds such as the Phillies, Brewers and Rangers. However, being as this award is only applicable towards the regular season, one would have to give it to Joe Maddon for sticking with his players and making the best with what he had. The Rays comeback from nine games back made history, and he totally deserves this award.
Executive of the Year- Jon Daniels
Daniels made key deals and trades to contribute to the formation of the 2011 Rangers, including signing Adrian Beltre, dealing Frank Francisco for Mike Napoli, and acquiring Mike Adams and Koji Uehara at the Trade Deadline to bolster the Texas bullpen. These moves, especially the bolstering of a weak bullpen and not dealing Michael Young, helped the Rangers get to the World Series for the second consecutive year and gave Jon Daniels my vote for Executive of the Year.
Postseason MVP- David Freese
All of the nominees for this award put together strong cases, however, how could I not have voted the NLCS and WS MVP David Freese? His game-tying two-run triple and walk-off home run against the Rangers in Game 6 were historic, and his 21 RBI’s set a new postseason record and led the Cardinals to their eleventh World Series title.
And with that, my votes are in! Did I get them all right?
We’ll just have to wait and see…