Continuing my tour around the blogs of the NL East, today we're chatting about the Florida Marlins with Craig from FishStripes.
1. Finish the following statement: The Marlins will be better than expected if...
The starting pitching staff can stay healthy. Also, the newer position players to the team, i.e. Cameron Maybin, John Baker, Gaby Sanchez, etc., need to put up at least league-average numbers at the plate.
2. And, The Marlins will be worse than expected if...
Judging by the Chone and the Pecota projections, I'm not sure the Marlins can do worse than the projected finishing last in the division. Oh sure, the team's record could finish under the projections if the starting staff is riddled with injuries, the bullpen can't get anyone out, some of the "bigger name" players forget how to hit, and if they play defense like a bunch of hacks, then I guess it is possible to finish worse than expected.
3. Who will and who should close? Matt Lindstrom? Jose Ceda?
Lindstrom, assuming he doesn't hurt himself in the WBC, will be the closer for the Marlins at the start of the season. Ceda was recently shut down due to pain in his shoulder and at this point it is not clear whether he will be on the 25-man roster when the season opens.
4. Who will and who should play first?
First base is Gaby Sanchez's position to lose going into spring training. The Marlins feel he is ready to take over the position and he will get every benefit of the doubt. If it is determined Sanchez isn't ready then Cantu will play first and a battle for third will ensue during the spring.
5. How are you feeling about the Willingham/Olsen deal these days? Marlins fans seemed really negative at the time, but I'm not so sure it was so bad for you.
"...but I'm not so sure it was so bad for you." Ah, spoken like a true Nationals fan.
I think the Willingham/Olsen deal was a horrible trade. The problem with the trade was not that the Marlins traded the two, it's that the Marlins didn't receive fair value in the trade. Being a Marlins fan, while I may not like it, I'm used to the Marlins trading players, but to get next to nothing in return -- that wasn't good.
6. Why does your team own the Nationals (besides the obvious, that we stink)?
Honestly, I don't know why that happens. Besides the Nationals, the Marlins had double-digit wins in the season series against the Phillies also. But yet, the Fish posted another in a long string of season series losses to the Braves. As Kelly Bundy said "it wobbles the mind."
7. What else should we watch for when the Marlins come to town this year?
Going into spring training the Marlins said they wanted to run more this year. In the past two years the running game consisted of Hanley Ramirez and everyone else staying parked on the base waiting for the home run. I don't know if some of the young guys with speed (like Cameron Maybin) have the experience stealing bases to make this plan a reality. But it sounds like they are going to give it a shot, at least early on.