One of the most active teams so far this off season has been the Miami Marlins. In anticipation of bringing in more fans to games, the Marlins have been aggressively pursuing some of the game’s top free agents. They have had talks with agents for King Albert, CJ Wilson, Mark Buehrle, and that bum Jose Reyes. The Marlins’ closer of much of the 2011 season, Leo Nun- WAIT! THIS JUST IN! The reliever formerly known as Leo Nunez, now by his “real” name, Juan Carlos Oviedo, will not be coming back to Miami for the 2012 season as the Marlins and Padres All-Star closer Heath Bell have reportedly reached a three year $27,000,000 agreement. This move, provided it goes through, will put the Miami Marlins in a position to contend for a playoff spot. In order for them to be a winning, competitive ballclub, they would still need to make one more signing.
Personally, I believe that the Marlins should more agressively pursue a position player. The almost perfect fit for Miami would be to sign Jose Reyes. As much as it pains me to say it, Jose is a good athelete and has potential to put this Marlins team over the hump. The only issue that could arise from a signing of this variety is what to do with not one, but two All-Star shortstops on your team. Miami would have Jose and Hanley together. The question is what to do with them. Earlier reports from mlb.com indicate that the Marlins would try to move Hanley over to third base to make way for Reyes. We all know about Hanley and how he, like Reyes, is a good athelete but not a good ballplayer. Can the Marlins function witha bonehead and a bum on the left side of their infield?
There have been quite a few changes of clubs’ managers so far this offseason. The teams I’m talking about are the Boston Redsox (Bobby Valentine), the Miami Marlins (Ozzie Guillen), the Chicago Cubs (Dale Sveum), the Chicago White Sox (Robin Ventura), and the regining WS champs, the St. Louis Cardinals (Mike Matheny). MLB.com’s columnist Alden Gonzalez believes that Bobby V will have the highest mountain to climb in Boston out of those five. His rankings from toughest job to easiest job are Valentine in Boston, Matheny with the Cards, Sveum on the North side, Guillen in Miami, and rounding it out with Ventura on the South side. You can read the full article at http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111201&content_id=26070932&vkey=perspectives&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb.
I disagree with his rankings and see fit to give you my rankings:
1. The new Manager with the toughest job will be Matheny in St. Louis. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak chose a rookie manager who will need to do a lot of learning on the job. When you look at the Cardinals roster, you see experienced guys like Holliday, Berkman, Carpenter, and the returning Wainwright. That is of course, assuming that King Albert does not reurn, but if he does, you obviously throw him into the mix of experienced winners.
You can view Matheny’s job in a similar way to how you may view the job of whatever poor guy gets stuck playing shortstop for the Yankees once Jeter retires. The shoes Matheny needs to fill are ones that Shaq would have a hard time filling. Tony La Russa’s managerial career in St. Louis spanned sixteen years and owns a total 1408-1182 record in those years, giving him a winning percentage of .544. La Russa is the longest tenured manager in Cardinals history and his retirement ultimately ended an era of greatness in St. Louis.
2. Ozzie Guillen will have a tough time in Florida. We may not get a feel for his sturggles through all of his Ozzie-isms but this job provides to be a difficult one. The Florida Marlins have moved into a brand new stadium and changed their name to the Miami Marlins. The front office is adverstising this club as a new, improved versioned of Marlins baseball.
The Marlins are aggressively pursuing top free agents and putting up big dollars for them in anticipation of the increased revenue that comes along with a new stadium. In 2009, when the Yankees and Mets moved to their respective new ballparks. The Yankees went on to win the World series that year against the Philadelphia Phillies. Meanwhile in Flushing, the New York Mets finished 70-92 and fourth in their division above only the lowly Nationals. The Miami Marlins have potential to have a season like the ’09 Yankees, yes, but if they finish in the bottom of the division, like the Mets did, the new stadium schtick will get old fast.
3. The Chicago Cubs are a storied franchise with many great years and many great players. The atmosphere of Cubs baseball has been the same for decades, a fun day at the ballpark to watch America’s game. The great home of the Cubbies, Wrigley Field, the Friendly Confines, is one of the temples of the game. Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, and Ryne Sandberg among other players have passed through the field. It seems the only thing missing from this American treasure is a World Series title. Truth is though, they have had two. The Chicago Cubs won consecutive WS in 1907 and 1908. each one over 100 years ago.
Dale Sveum will just be the next in line to try and put the Cubs back on top, but with a roster like the Cubs have now, I don’t see it happenning in 2012 or even 2013. The Only hope for this ballclub is not in their manager, but their brand new General Manager, Theo Epstein. The problem is that the media sees a team doing poorly and they blame it on the skipper. Sveum will be under a lot of fire if the Cubs don’t excel quickly, and I don’t see that happenning.
4. Unlike the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Redsox have experienced a lot of success recently. After Theo Epstein took over, the Redsox won two WS championships in 2004 and 2007 and made the playoffs six times in ten years. The firing of Terry Francona at the end of last year was and still is a mystery to me. It was not at all his fault for his players lack of ability to perform at the beginning and at the end of last year. Bbobby Valentine was finally selected and given his rightful place as a manger in the MLB once again.
Out of all five of these Manangers, Bobby V has the most experience out of all of them. He and Ozzie Guillen are my two favorite because they promise to provide entertainment. Valentine has previously managed the Rangers and the Mets. He, like many of baseball’s other colorful managers will be under scrutiny at least in this, his first year with a new team. Unless Boston starts a multi-year slide much like the Mets, Valentine should be fine as manager.
5. The manager with easiest job out of the above four is Robin Ventura of the White Sox. This is the only spot I agree with from Gonzalez’s rankings. Although my version of the reason is much simpler than others. The White Sox are a god awful team. They have no chance to succeed in the AL Central, and before they can get a guy to lead their players, they need players. Simple as that. They just don’t have players.
The New York Mets….
What kind of article would this be if I didnt write about my favorite team? The issue with the Mets is pitching. The New York Mets’ official website has made it very clear that GM Sandy Alderson wants to resign Reyes. The fact that that is one of our team’s headlines alone is pathetic. The fact that Alderson wants Reyes back is less pathetic, but still pretty low. Here’s the order I see these things in:
5th place finish with a GOOD team > Sandy Alderson> Jose Reyes > Omar Minaya > Carlos Beltran…
The New York mets are probably going to waste 20 million dollars trying to get Jose Reyes back in Flushing. Jose Reyes doesn’t belong in Flushing. He wants to play in Florida with Hanley Ramirez, so why don’t we let him go? Many fans would love for him to stay and I respect that they do, but I personally can’t see it happenning. The Mets need to address a sloppy rotation and a poor back end of the bullpen. To make it simple, the last time the Mets had a good starting five and closer was in 2007. Here’s the comparison:
- Ace: Tom Glavine
Ace: Johan Santana
- #2: John Maine
#2: Mike Pelfrey
- #3: Oliver Perez
#3: R.A. Dickey
- #4: Orlando Hernandez
#4: Jon Niese
- #5: Mike Pelfrey
#5: Dillon Gee
- Closer: Billy Wagner
My point being that Mets need to sign former Phillies’ closer Ryan Madson.