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.
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.
Now that the Cardinals’ miraculous comeback season has come to a close, its time to move onto the Yankees and their plan of attack in pursuit of title number 28.
I’ve got the map and I’m ready to go searching….
- Resign Brian Cashman
Brian has been instrumental to the formation of the modern day Yankees. He’s drafted stars such as Robinson Cano, Ian Kennedy, and Austin Jackson and then used his chips (Kennedy, A-Jax) to spring a deal for one of the greatest outfielders in the game, Curtis Granderson. Since being named GM in 1998, Cashman’s Yanks have won 4 World Championships and have 6 AL Pennant Titles. He spent his money, for the most part (A.J. BURNett I’m talking to you) wisely, and without him the organization wouldn’t be where it is today.
2. Sign CC Sabathia to a 5 year $130 million deal
Without CC Sabathia, the Yankees rotation this year would have been anchored by A.J. Burnett. Scary, isn’t it? That’s why it is instrumental for the Yankees to resign CC for next year and beyond. Coming off consecutive 19 win seasons the price will be steep, but being as CC is entering his age 33 season, it is imperative that the Yankees lock him up for 5 years, no more, no less, so that they aren’t straddled with a pitcher on the decline in his age 38 season.
3. Pick up Swisher’s Option
The Yankees need Swisher, and Swisher needs the Yankees. His egregious personality brightens the Yankees clubhouse and in comparison to a guy like Carlos Beltran, $10.25 million is worth spending in order to keep Swisher for another year. Also a stat line of .260 · 23 · 85 is pretty good if I may say so myself.
4. Sign Mark Buehrle to a 2 year, $21 million deal
Buehrle is exactly the type of pitcher that the Yankees desperately needed this past season; a semi-quality innings eater that can give you 180-200 innings a year with an ERA under 4. His stuff isn’t deadly, but his craftiness and precision is what defines his game. A 2 year deal ensures that there is not a lengthly commitment and the $21 million shouldn’t kill the Yankees, even if he posts a 4.25 ERA and 175 innings next year.
5. Allow Dellin Betances, A.J. Burnett and Manny Banuelos to Battle for the 5th Rotation Spot in Spring Training
The Three Big “B’s”
Allowing Burnett, Betances, and Banuelos to battle for the 5th spot in Spring Training will bring out the best in the three, and show A.J. that just because he is expensive, it doesn’t mean that he is guaranteed a rotation spot. If one of the two young guns gets the spot, he will be regulated to long relief and the other prospect will return to the AAA rotation. If A.J. wins it however, Betances and Banuelos will return to the Triple A rotation until the inevitable injury occurs or Burnett is slumping.
It’s offseason time.
Melky hit single.
Melky hit double.
Melky hit homer.
Melk-Man hit triple in bottom of ninth to complete cycle.
Melky has been so consistent and helpful to the Yankees this year. He plays spectacular defense and has so many walk-offs we should name him Captain Clutch.
Sorry Derek but we are officially dethroning you for some….
In what was supposed to be a stellar pitching matchup yesterday, both pitchers flopped. CC allowed 5 runs…
What happened Big Man? Luckily though, Mark Buehrle did even worse and he was pounded for 7 runs and 12 hits by the Yankees.
Ouch. The Yankees sure beat up on poor Buehrle. When I say poor I mean the guy with a no-no and a perfecto so I’ll say GO YANKS!!!
Today the Yanks face the Doc of baseball, Mr.Halladay himself. Hopefully we can put the type of hurting we did on Buehrle, on the Doc.
Looking at the Present
Today the Rays beat the Royals and Zack Grienke 10-4 and say-hey Willie! Aybar was working his magic today hitting 2 homers, one as a lefty and one as a righty. Kaz pitched a great game as well.
Will he be next year’s cover boy???? No…
That was amazing. Simply Spectacular. A PERFECT GAME by Mike Buehrle.
Now let’s wind back the clock a bit (thanks for providing one Mr.Buehrle). The last person to pitch a perfect game in MLB history was Camera stuffer Randy Johson back in 2004.
But Mark Buehrle is a nice guy and he totally deserved it, even though he had a perfect game against my Rays. You can see in an interview here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/players/10/04/first.person1010/
Mark totally deserves this perfect game and he has always been a quality starter who worked deep into games. The most special part of this team effort though was made by the Wise-one, DeWayne Wise.
He made an amazing catch in a high pressure situation to preserve the perfect game. Talk about coming up clutch! All people should be wise like that!
After the game, Buehrle received the highest honor of having received a congratulatory call from the President himself, Barack Obama.
So how’s that for a day Mark?