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The pendulum swings
Back and forth for Marlins fans:
Titles, then fire sales

With no construction in sight for a new ballpark, Larry Beinfest nevertheless put on his hard hat -- to apply the wrecking ball, yet again. It's time to preview the club that perhaps most needs to be previewed in all of baseball -- the Florida Marlins, who jettisoned seven of their eight position players, two starting pitchers and virtually their entire bullpen. So who are these guys?

As always, additional senryus from Box readers are most welcome in the "Comments" field. A "senryu" is, of course, short poems in haiku meter that do not refer to nature. And there ain't much natural about how this ballclub came about.

2005: Oh, Those Guys? Um...They Don't Live Here No More.

Ordinarily, when I write a season preview, I dedicate several paragraphs to the previous year in order to frame my forecast for the coming campaign. Had the Marlins undergone a more conventional offseason, I'd talk about how the Fish loaded up for 2005 but couldn't do any better than an 83-79 record, which matched their '04 mark exactly. Fueled by a good batting average, the Marlins got on base effectively but hit for way less power than projected, as Lowell, Lo Duca and Gonzalez all saw their slugging percentages plummet. The Marlins got good seasons out of their top three starters and closer Todd Jones, but the rest of the bullpen was disappointing and the rest of the rotation proved to be a patchwork.

But honestly, what's the point of saying anything more? The '06 Marlins will have nothing in common with version 2005 other than Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis and their laundry. Let's look at the stunning offseason in which Florida opted for long-term gain for the price of what will surely be severe short-term pain.

The Offseason: So Long, Everybody

Denied a cushy new ballpark on the citizens' dime, Florida held a fire sale the way only the Marlins can, ditching virtually everyone with a seven-figure salary and accumulating whatever prospects it could. By its own terms, Beinfest conducted the fire sale well -- perhaps even brilliantly. But it was an "everything must go" fire sale, and everything went. Let's go around the diamond.

Catcher? Paul Lo Duca to the Mets, for Gaby Hernandez and Dante Brinkley. First? Carlos Delgado also to the Mets, for Yusmeiro Petit and Mike Jacobs. Second? Also gone, Luis Castillo to the Twins for Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler. Short? See ya, "The Other" Alex Gonzalez, and enjoy life as a Red Sox free agent. Third? Mike Lowell to the Red Sox, along with Josh Beckett and Guillermo Mota for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia and Jesus Delgado.

You want more? Yeah, I got more. Juan Pierre to the Cubs for Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco and Renyel Pinto. Ron Villone to the Yankees for Ben Julianel. A.J. Burnett, Todd Jones and Juan Encarnacion to greener pastures as free agents. And even Jack McKeon, who would only be more of an anachronism on a team consisting solely of young players, has been replaced by Joe Girardi. Let's hope Girardi's takeaway from being around the well-oiled Yankee machine was more than simply "facial hair bad."

So how does everybody's favourite owner, Jeffrey Loria, feel about this, you may ask? Ostensibly, he feels "very surprised" that taxpayers in the various tony counties of South Florida haven't lined up to fork over the cash for a new, publicly-financed retractable roof stadium. Unwilling to spend or sell the team, Loria's holding out for a governmental body to build him his Xanadu, and he's paid visits to such cosmopolitan abodes as Portland, Norfolk and Oklahoma City to try to get it. The most serious suitor appears to be San Antonio, which tabled an official offer on Wednesday night to bring the Marlins to Texas. It's got a chance of happening, too.

So when the dust settles, what's left for 2006?

A Brief Note On Font

Every year, each big league club invites a mix of players of varying degrees of ability and experience to camp. Everybody's got young kids whose development will likely be best served in AA or AAA ball, and every team offers at least some aging veterans a quixotic tryout to see if they have anything to offer. What's unique about the Marlins this season is that with the exception of their two stars, every player on the team is either likely not ready for prime time, or likely no longer ready for prime time. To assist you, Gentle Reader, with distinguishing between the two, the peach fuzz crowd will be bolded, while the has-beens will be italicized in the text of the preview. For instance, using an example from the Blue Jays,

Ricky Romero James Baldwin

We cool? Cool. Let's get to the 2006 club.

The Lineup

Ex-Mariner Jim Presley is the new hitting coach, and he's preaching situational hitting, patience and two-strike contact skills. It's an approach they'll have to employ, because bluntly speaking, the Marlins absolutely do not have the horses for a three-run-homer attack.

The starting catcher is looking like Miguel Olivo, whose once-touted offensive tools -- a catcher who can run! -- have been undermined by a horrible absence of plate discipline. Couple that with poor contact skills, and you've got yourself a lousy hitter, folks! Olivo is bummed that his need to learn the tendencies of a brand-new (and predominantly young) staff will keep at spring training and away from the WBC, since Olivo would have gotten plenty of playing time for his native Dominican Republic. The Marlins would love to get Josh Willingham's bat into the lineup as a catcher, but he's still learning the position; he has a strong throwing arm and improving prowess as a receiver, but his footwork and blocking skills need more work. Anyway, more on him later. Matt Treanor is a Ken Huckaby type that could stick as the backup. Old friend Tom Wilson is a longshot to make even this club.

The middle infield will be wearing black and teal, but above all else they'll be green. Hanley Ramirez was the obvious centrepiece to the Red Sox trade from Florida's standpoint, and he's a 22-year-old with killer tools and power potential, but a spotty record of production at the minor league level. He's very erratic at times in the field, and will probably go through his share of slumps, but Girardi & Co. will let him work it out. Meanwhile, Dan Uggla gets the nod, literally by default (more on that in a moment), at second. The 26-year-old has played well this spring as a Rule 5 pickup from Arizona, although he hasn't played a game above AA ball and as such is basically an unknown quantity. What we do know is that he's only 5'10", but nevertheless managed to slug .502 for the Smokies with 21 homers and 15 stolen bases.

The Fish were counting on Pokey Reese -- yes, counting on Pokey Reese -- to man the second base position, and team brass was impressed with the leadership role Pokey was taking among the myriad youngsters in the infield this spring. Unfortunately, a personal matter led to an unexcused absence, which led to a terminated contract, and he's out of the picture now. Barring a trade, the backups at second and short will be -- brace yourself -- the venerable duo of Alfredo Amezaga and Lenny Harris. Amezaga brings a great glove and no hitting ability to speak of. At 41, Harris is what he is, and it's frightening to contemplate the infield defence if ol' Lenny sees significant P.T. up the middle. Robert Andino is an option as well up the middle, but the Marlins are committed to Ramirez and Uggla, at least for now. The Marlins would rather have Andino play every day at short in the minors than to try to convert him to fill the gaping void at second.

Big Mike Jacobs gets the nod at first, and he caused a bit of a stir in 2005 with his post-callup power hitting with the Mets. He can definitely go yard, but can he improve the holes in his swing? Jacobs will likely bat 4th or 5th, whichever spot follows Miguel Cabrera in the order. Wes Helms will help out as a righthanded bat to play first, spot-start at third, and pinch-hit. To his credit, he's shown a terrific attitude in camp, and he believes that his experience in helping to develop the likes of Fielder and Weeks in Milwaukee will be an asset on a club with so much youth. He'll be a very serviceable player this season. Fellow first baseman Jason Stokes isn't getting a lot of "top prospect" hype anymore, but he's doing his best Gabe Gross impression this spring, and he certainly could make this team. That said, he hasn't improved with either the glove or the bat enough over his minor league career to dissuade the Marlins from bringing in Jacobs in the Delgado deal.

At third base...ah, Miguel Cabrera. No bold, no italics -- he's a superstar and there's no reason he can't become an offensive force along the lines of a Manny Ramirez, assuming he isn't already one at 23. He crushes any hanging breaking stuff, which is a fairly common skill, and he can rip low strikes for power to all fields, which is an exceedingly rare skill. Defensively, he's playing his more comfortable position, and he's looked good with Team Venezuela. He definitely has the arm for third, and the Fish are hoping that the infield will inspire Cabrera to pay a little more attention to his defensive game. Regardless, rest assured that he'll be one of the best offensive players in baseball, even if (as is likely) his teammates and run environment will depress his counting stats.

The Marlins' outfield situation is...well, probably terrible, but who knows? Eric Reed is the frontrunner, and I do mean runner, to replace the popular Juan Pierre in centre. Reed, incredibly, represents no loss of speed; his blazing 3.8 time to first base bested Pierre's best of 3.9. But it's doubtful, to say the least, that Reed can match Pierre's fine on-base skills. He doesn't walk and doesn't hit with authority, and some feel he might in fact be completely overmatched by big league pitching. On the plus side, he can go get it in the outfield, and he bears more than a passing resemblance to a young Robert De Niro! Unheralded Reggie Abercrombie is another candidate to nab the job in centre, and he's had a fine spring.

The left field job may well go to Josh Willingham so he has somewhere to play, at least until the Fish are happy with his catching ability. He put up an insanely great .324/.455/.676 line in the PCL, which is admittedly a huge hitter's league.Chris Aguila -- or is it Chris Aguila -- is a 27-year-old that wants to avoid being hit with the dreaded "fourth outfielder" tag, but he's kind of an Alex Rios Lite without as much upside. Despite a fine record as a high-average gap hitter in the minors, he's struggled offensively whenever he's been called up. There's a spot for him on this roster, and Girardi likes his attitude, so he'll stick. And he may even start regularly, but only if Willingham sees significant time behind the dish.

That leaves right field, and here the Marlins are a bit more confident. Jeremy Hermida, ready or not -- and he looked ready during his callup -- will play every day. Will he be a superstar? It depends; he's unlikely to bat .330 or hit 40 home runs, although he has the frame to put on some weight. What he is likely to show, now or in the very near future, is excellent on-base skills, very good speed, 20-25 homer power and defensive ability that isn't good enough for centre, but plenty good enough for right. One perk that Hermida will enjoy this season is the protection of Cabrera, as Girardi aims to deploy Hermida directly in front of his slugger. The kid should therefore see some pitches to hit, provided anybody gets on base before him. Definitely, a Rookie of the Year candidate.

On balance, this lineup looks very sketchy. One star, some question marks, and some horrible exclamation points. They'll have games when their young talent starts to tee off on a struggling pitcher, but over 162 games, there isn't nearly enough consistent production for a strong 2006 attack. And don't even ask about depth in the event of an injury to Cabrera or Hermida. In short, it will be a stunning upset if their National League rank in runs scored is anything other than 16th.

Meet the Marlins offence:

C: #30 Miguel Olivo
.217/.246/.367, 30 R, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 8 BB, 80 K, 7-for-9 SB, 91 G with Mariners and Padres
Best season in last five ("BSLF"): 2004 with White Sox and Mariners -- .233/.286/.439, 46 R, 13 HR, 40 RBI in 96 G
Age: 28 in July
Replacing Paul Lo Duca (.283/.334/.380, 45 R, 6 HR, 57 RBI, 34 BB, 31 K, 4-for-7 SB, 132 G)

Sadly for the Fish,
Eight walks and eighty strikeouts
Is not a misprint

1B: #17 Mike Jacobs
.310/.375/.710, 19 R, 11 HR, 23 RBI, 10 BB, 22 K, 0 SB attempts, 30 G with Mets
BSLF: 2005 Age: 26 in October
Replacing Carlos Delgado(.301/.399/.582, 81 R, 33 HR, 115 RBI, 72 BB, 121 K, 0 SB attempts, 144 G)

Big, strong first baseman:
Swag from the Delgado trade.
Can he play full-time?

2B: #6 Dan Uggla
No MLB experience
Age: 26 as of March
Replacing Luis Castillo (.301/.391/.374, 72 R, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 65 BB, 32 K, 10-for-17 SB, 122 G)

Now it's official:
Fish undeniably have
An Uggla lineup

SS: #2 Hanley Ramirez
.000/.000/.000, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 SB attempts, 2 G with Red Sox
BSLF: 2005
Age: 23 in December
Replacing Alex Gonzalez (.264/.318/.368, 45 R, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 31 BB, 81 K, 5-for-8 SB, 130 G)

Scouts say he has a
Future, but this year he's a
Giant question mark

3B: #24 Miguel Cabrera
.323/.385/.561, 106 R, 33 HR, 116 RBI, 64 BB, 125 K, 1-for-1 SB, 158 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 23 in April
Replacing Mike Lowell (.236/.298/.360, 56 R, 8 HR, 58 RBI, 46 BB, 58 K, 4-for-4 SB, 150 G)

This top-five player
(In all of baseball, that is)
Has to do it all

LF: #14 Josh Willingham
.304/.407/.348, 3 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 SB attempts, 16 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 27 as of February

Catching's improving
Will be a utility guy
Until he's ready

CF: #1 Eric Reed
No MLB experience
Age: 26 in December
Replacing Juan Pierre (.276/.326/.354, 96 R, 2 HR, 47 RBI, 41 BB, 45 K, 57-for-74 SB, 162 G)

Rookie speed burner
Can field, but hitting? He'll be
Way out of his depth

RF: #27 Jeremy Hermida
.293/.383/.634, 9 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 BB, 12 K, 2-for-2 SB, 23 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 22 as of January
Replacing Juan Encarnacion (.287/.349/.447, 59 R, 16 HR, 76 RBI, 41 BB, 104 K, 6-for-11 SB, 141 G)

Wherever they'll play,
Hermida's a part of the
Next great Marlins club

1B/3B #18 Wes Helms
.298/.356/.458, 18 R, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 14 BB, 30 K, 0-for-1 SB, 95 G with Brewers
BSLF: 2003 with Brewers -- .261/.330/.450, 56 R, 23 HR, 67 RBI in 134 G
Age: 30 in May

Serviceable guy
On a team sorely lacking
Serviceable guys

OF #3 Chris Aguila
.244/.272/.282, 11 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 19 K, 0-for-1 SB, 65 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 27 as of February

UT #10 Lenny Harris
.314/.385/.414, 5 R, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 7 BB, 11 K, 0-for-1 SB, 83 G
BSLF: 2002 with Brewers -- .305/.355/.411 in 122 G
Age: 42 in October

C #6 Matt Treanor
.201/.301/.261, 10 R, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 16 BB, 28 K, 0 SB attempts, 58 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 30 as of March

Also In The Mix: OF Reggie Abercrombie, 1B Jason Stokes, SS Robert Andino

The Pitching Staff

Well, at least the Marlins still have the D-Train. In all seriousness, Florida has assembled a dizzying array of very talented and very young pitchers -- as Beinfest told the Miami Herald recently, "Look at all that pitching, baby!" Not all of them will prove to be as valuable as the departed Beckett and Burnett, but some surely might, and in the very near future. Looking solely at 2006, the Marlins have a decent rotation with plenty of upside, and a very shaky bullpen.

Dontrelle Willis -- again, no font tricks necessary -- cut down his homers allowed last season and established himself firmly as team ace and Cy Young threat. His high leg kick and deceptive upper-body action make him ultra-tough on lefties. He throws a good fastball, good change and a frisbee slider that lefties wave at. Plus, he's durable, mentally tough and active in the community. He's the perfect face of the Marlins franchise, and that fact is not contingent on the team staying in Miami. It's also not necessarily a good thing, since Florida will likely struggle so mightily this year.

The No. 2 spot in the rotation, for what it's worth, falls to ex-Cub Sergio Mitre, who memorably out-dueled Doc Halladay during an interleague matinee last season but was otherwise knocked around during his major league cup of coffee. He possesses reasonably good control but a fairly flat fastball. He does throw a sinker that can be effective, and the Marlins are cutting their grass short this season to give their youthful infield truer hops. If he can reliably induce groundballs, he might fare respectably this season.

The third starter will be none other than Brian Moehler, who will hopefully eat some innings for the club. Still bothered with lingering twinges from his Tommy John surgery, Moehler feels well enough to start throwing his changeup again this season. But will it matter? After adjusting for park, he's extremely likely to be a below-average starting pitcher no matter what he throws.

Florida's excited about Jason Vargas, a tall, stocky lefty. He's been effective, despite fairly high walk rates, at every level and he pitched very respectably as a 22-year-old rookie last year. A Long Beach State teammate of Jered Weaver, Vargas has shown great makeup and has handled himself well at every level as he's risen rapidly through the system. He's yet another talented young southpaw expected to make the big club... is Scott Olsen. Shut down last July after discovering bone spurs in his pitching elbow, Olsen's easing his way back into game action. When he was healthy, he had a lively fastball and a devastating slider, although he relied virtually exclusively on those two pitches. Florida is delighted that his velocity is back in the low 90s this spring.

Do you believe there is no such thing as a pitching prospect? Well, then, nothing to see here. If you have any doubt about that proposition, though, the Marlins are in good, and potentially insanely brilliant, shape with starting pitching prospects. Josh Johnson, a hulking righty, has a cool stat from his 2005 cup of coffee: Righthanded hitters went 0-for-19 against him in the majors, with three walks and a hit batter. He'll make the team at least as a swing man, and expect him to get some starts; he went 12-4 for AA Carolina. Anibal Sanchez, part of the prospect haul in the Beckett trade, has been worryingly battling a sore shoulder this spring, and is a Tommy John survivor. That said, he throws a 96-mph fastball with a killer changeup, and the talented (if AAA-bound) Venezuelan is still only 22. Had he been healthy this spring, he'd have been given a legitimate shot at cracking the rotation. Yusmeiro Petit adds to the embarrassment of pitching riches; he's young but polished and has shown excellent control at every level. Fellow righty Ricky Nolasco pitched superbly as a Cubs AA prospect last season, and he's looked very sharp this spring. The Marlins aren't sure if he's quite ready to make the jump. If all that wasn't enough, lanky first-rounder Chris Volstad is a dreaded high school pitcher, but he's a really smart kid who throws strikes with all his pitches and boasts an excellent sinker for his age. Unfortunately, 2003 first-rounder Jeff Allison probably can't be counted on for the Marlins' dream rotation of the future. The former matinee-idol sensation on the Massachusetts high school baseball scene has battled awful personal demons and multiple drug addictions that only surfaced when an overdose nearly killed him. Sadly, he's been suspended again for violating team rules.

For those of you scoring at home, that's nine universally recognized blue-chip starting pitching prospects, all 25 or younger, with upsides ranging from "good" to "Dontrelle." But alas, any discussion in a team preview must at least mention the bullpen. And that's a bit of a problem.

For a team that has had a consistently good back end of the bullpen, the Marlins will incredibly be trotting out their seventh closer in six years. Following in the footsteps of Alfonseca, Nunez, Looper, Urbina, Benitez and Jones will be Joe Borowski, who at the very least has been there before. After an injury- and boo-plagued tenure on the North Side of Chicago, Borowski landed with the D-Rays, where he pitched very well in a setup role at first before getting tagged down the stretch. His control can be a concern both within and outside the strike zone, and he doesn't bring the gas he used to out of the bullpen. But until the likes of Travis Bowyer are ready, he'll have to do.

The Marlins are committed to making Bowyer a closer, as they like his velocity and makeup. His breaking stuff has been very inconsistent, though, and John Sickels isn't the only one who thinks the Twins may have sold high on him. Ready or not, expect him to get plenty of high-leverage innings this season. Randy Messenger throws hard but struggles with his control, and it's probably best to keep him away from pressure situations. Chris Resop is a flamethrower who was a very good AA closer, but as a converted outfielder he lacks polish. Most organizations would let him get some more minor-league seasoning, but Florida is really short on bullpen arms unless they want to spend money, which they don't, or keep Matt Herges, which they shouldn't. Nate Bump throws a plus changeup but will be no better than average in long relief, and he may be worse than that. As a sinkerball pitcher who relies on his defence, Bump could really struggle with his new, leather-challenged mates.

Former No. 1 pick Taylor Tankersley is making the transition from starter to reliever in an effort to see if he can be serviceable as a big-league LOOGY in the short and/or medium term. To do that, he's trying to develop a slider; the slow curve he employed as a starter did not make him especially tough on lefthanded hitters. And yes, friends, that is a Kerry Ligtenberg sighting, here in South Florida. After getting mercifully cut by the Jays, poor Kerry got lit up in Arizona. If you want a steady veteran influence to help young relievers along, you might as well take a flyer on Kerry Ligtenberg, I guess. Wait, no! That's insane!

Anyway, it'll be an interesting year to watch the young Marlin starters. And I do mean watch them; their numbers are likely to be undermined by a defence that won't do them any favours and by relievers that won't be especially stingy with inherited baserunners. It's hard to predict how they'll do as a staff; probably somewhere in the lower middle of the pack in runs allowed, since this is a team that will usually pitch well enough but will suffer some Pythagorean-wrecking blowouts.

Without further ado, the pitchers:

SP #35 Dontrelle Willis
22-10, 2.63, 236.1 IP, 213 H, 11 HR, 55 BB, 170 K, LH .222, RH .247, 34 GS
BSLF: 2005
Age: 24 as of January

Exciting D-Train
Might be let down by his new,
Not-improved defence

SP #52 Sergio Mitre
2-5, 5.37, 60.1 IP, 62 H, 11 HR, 23 BB, 37 K, LH .294, RH .235, 7 GS with Cubs
BSLF: 2005
Age: 25 as of February
Replacing Josh Beckett (15-8, 3.38, 178.2 IP, 153 H, 14 HR, 58 BB, 166 K, LH .217, RH .252, 29 GS)
Hard-throwing youngster
Might not be a big K guy
His fastball's too straight

SP #36 Brian Moehler
6-12, 4.55, 158.1 IP, 198 H, 16 HR, 42 BB, 95 K, LH .320, RH .305, 25 GS
BSLF: 2005
Age: 35 in December

A Moehler sighting!
Scuffy's their number 3 guy.
Yup, Florida's bad.

SP #56 Jason Vargas
5-5, 4.03, 73.2 IP, 71 H, 4 HR, 31 BB, 59 K, LH .192, RH .269, 13 GS
BSLF: 2005
Age: 23 as of February

Burly young southpaw
New face of the rotation.
Good, biting slider.

SP #34 Scott Olsen
1-1, 3.98, 20.1 IP, 21 H, 5 HR, 10 BB, 21 K, LH .333, RH .238, 4 GS
BSLF: 2005
Age: 22 as of January
Replacing A.J. Burnett (12-12, 3.44, 209 IP, 184 H, 12 HR, 79 BB, 198 K, LH .226, RH .249, 32 GS)
Very live left arm
Very young and promising
But how's his elbow?

CL #48 Joe Borowski
1-5, 0-for-4 Sv, 4.47, 46.1 IP, 38 H, 8 HR, 12 BB, 27 K, LH .198, RH .241, 43 G with Cubs and Devil Rays
BSLF: 2003 with Cubs -- 33-for-37 Sv, 2.63, 68.1 IP, 19 BB, 66 K
Age: 35 in May
Replacing Todd Jones(1-5, 40-for-45 Sv, 2.10, 73 IP, 61 H, 2 HR, 14 BB, 62 K, LH .231, RH .229, 68 G)

Pitched well in Tampa
After losing his Cubs job.
Closer? Hey, who else?

SU #50 Travis Bowyer
0-1, 5.59, 9.2 IP, 10 H, 3 HR, 3 BB, 12 K, LH .286, RH .250, 8 G with Twins
BSLF: 2005
Age: 25 in August

Swapped for Castillo.
A much-hyped prospect for years.
Perhaps too much hype?

SP/RP #55 Josh Johnson
0-0, 3.65, 12.1 IP, 11 H, 0 HR, 10 BB, 10 K, LH .407, RH .000, 78 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 22 as of January

Another young arm
This is a good park for him;
Keeps it in the yard

RP #40 Nate Bump
0-3, 4.03, 38 IP, 43 H, 5 HR, 12 BB, 18 K, LH .265, RH .309, 31 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 30 in July

Classic "4-A" guy
Doesn't have the stuff to thrive
Against big-league bats

Other Arms
RP #23 Randy Messenger
0-0, 5.35, 37 IP, 39 H, 5 HR, 30 BB, 29 K, LH .271, RH .274, 29 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 25 in August

RP #44 Chris Resop
2-0, 8.47, 17 IP, 22 H, 1 HR, 9 BB, 15 K, LH .316, RH .333, 15 G
BSLF: 2005
Age: 24 in November

RP/SP #46 Kerry Ligtenberg
0-0, 13.97, 9.2 IP, 16 H, 4 HR, 4 BB, 5 K, LH .250, RH .429, 7 G with Diamondbacks
BSLF: 2002 with Braves -- 3-4, 2.97 in 52 G
Age: 35 in May

Also In The Mix: RP Logan Kensing, RP Matt Herges, RP Taylor Tankersley

Outlook: Maybe Tomorrow. Not Today.

Well, the expectations couldn't be any lower for 2006. Told to pare payroll to the bone, Beinfest knew how he was going to execute that order, and he stuck to the plan. He did have advantages, of course; because the talent he was shopping was generally not old or overpaid, he was able to extract premium young talent rather than the Scott Wigginses of the world.

It's hard to know what to make of this roster, which doesn't even make a pretense of playing night-in, night out competitive baseball from a "good of the game" perspective. The baseball cognoscenti (both online and in print) tend to guffaw at teams like the '04 Tigers and '06 Royals, who inject $20 million or so into the payroll to bring in veterans designed to make their on-field product less embarrassing. "What a waste," cry the critics, "the GM doesn't understand where they are in the cycle of contention. Don't sign anybody, play the kids!" But then, when a team plays the kids -- I mean, really plays the kids, like the '06 Marlins will -- suddenly Loria's a stain on the game for not fielding a passable lineup. Loria is a stain on the game, of course. But an all-cheap, all-youth team -- isn't this what all teams not realistically challenging for a World Series title theoretically are supposed to field? I'm not sure how I feel about this, to be honest. They wouldn't remotely contend, but they would be kind of an interesting team with, say, an leadoff man with on-base skills like Castillo or Pierre plus some veteran relievers.

It's impossible to know exactly what to predict, other than the Marlins' third straight absence from the postseason. I'll call a 63-99 record, fifth in the National League East, and a great draft pick in 2007.

2006 Florida Marlins Preview | 19 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Geoff - Friday, March 10 2006 @ 09:07 PM EST (#142247) #
hey look, it's Kerry Ligtenberg.

The question I wanted answered about the Marlins this year is:
Who's the oldest guy on the roster going to be?

I was hoping it would be Kerry, but then I saw Borowski beat him out of the womb by a week. (Moehler lags far behind)

But then there's the abominable Lenny Harris, the Miami native who just deserves to be a Marlin. At 42 years and counting, Lenny will go out and see if he can score 10 runs this year.

Another question I have is:
Who is the longest-serving Marlin?

For this it should be judged by the date when the player played the first game for the team in his current tenure. (not acquisition date, but maybe that's a separate honour or does Cabrera get both?) Perhaps someone knows a good reference to find the dates of Willis's and Cabrera's first games. Lenny comes close, but not nearly close enough I imagine.

Mike D - Friday, March 10 2006 @ 09:18 PM EST (#142248) #
Dontrelle Willis is the winner, Geoff, with a May 9, 2003 debut. Miguel Cabrera and Nate Bump, of all people, debuted in June, and Lenny Harris signed on in August. And those are the only players whose tenure with the club goes back even that far.
CaramonLS - Friday, March 10 2006 @ 10:07 PM EST (#142250) #

This is one ugly lineup. 63 wins? I don't know if this team has that in them. This team looks like it could give the Detroit Tigers of a few years ago a good run for their money.

Maybe 50 wins for this team.
loquax - Friday, March 10 2006 @ 10:11 PM EST (#142251) #
A great Marlin leaps
Like Icarus much too high
It burns to a crisp
mathesond - Friday, March 10 2006 @ 11:34 PM EST (#142254) #
Miguel Cabrera
far too young to feel this old
not too tired to care
(with apologies to The Lowest of the Low)

Dontrelle Willis hopes
to replicate Steve Carlton's
'72 Cy

zaptom - Friday, March 10 2006 @ 11:59 PM EST (#142255) #
Ligtenberg was once
able to pitch in the show
he is now washed up
Gerry - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 08:46 AM EST (#142262) #
I think Miguel Cabrera bears watching carefully this season. At the end of last season there were some uncomplementary stories about Cabrera, he and Jack McKeon didn't get along and there was some suggestions Cabrera didn't want to do any extra work.

This season Cabrera is a veteran on the team and the question is how will he react to a poor team and the lack of more seasoned veterans to keep him in line. If his attitude isn't right he could regress this season.
koanhead - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 11:54 AM EST (#142264) #
Lenny Harris is the
Old Man of the Marlins.
The Show is the Sea.*

Concerning pitches --
Miguel Olivo misses
Behind the plate, or at it.

Kerry Ligtenberg:
Will he be fireman of the
Year, or firestarter?

*I know it's a haiku, not a senryu, but Hemingway never did take direction well.

koanhead - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 11:59 AM EST (#142266) #
I previewed and still put a [br] in the wrong place.

Lenny Harris is
The Old Man of the Marlins.
The Show is the Sea.

koanhead - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 12:02 PM EST (#142267) #
And I can't count either.

Concerning pitches --
Miguel Olivo misses
Behind the plate too.

Mike D - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 12:06 PM EST (#142268) #
Keep the senryus coming, folks. They've been great.

Gerry, the Marlins brass is willing to give Cabrera the benefit of the doubt on his attitude. The consensus is that he's a good guy who needs to exercise better judgment in what he says; we'll see if that patience holds up over what will be a trying season.
Geoff - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 04:32 PM EST (#142309) #
Your '06 Marlins
Like new and built to disimprove
We did it again!
King Ryan - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 07:38 PM EST (#142349) #
No sense mincing words
These new Florida Marlins
Suck like a vacuum
6-4-3 - Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 08:40 PM EST (#142352) #
The Marlins have this fire sale thing down pat, so:

Phoenix from ashes
Like Orpheus from Hades
Marlins rise again

or, if you're more negative:

Pierre is a Cub
Delgado stands for the song
Loria fiddles
Hartley - Monday, March 13 2006 @ 12:26 AM EST (#142420) #
The Florida Marlins have become the new Montreal Expos. They have many similarities that it really is ironic.

1. Jeffrey Loria Marlins owner owned the Expos
2. Marlins play in a stadium not condusive for baseball
3. Unable to keep talent or attract free agents
4. Strong farm and scounting is able to keep the team afloat
5. Marlins broadcaster is Dave Van Horne same with Expos
6. Stadiums are in the middle of nowhere
7. Poor fan support
8. Governments won't help them fund stadiums.

Geoff - Monday, March 13 2006 @ 01:06 PM EST (#142442) #
4. Strong farm and scounting is able to keep the team afloat

I'm not so sure their farm and scouting could be called strong. Trading for other teams' prospects doesn't quite count.

and if only the Expos could have pulled off two World Series Championships...

Geoff - Monday, March 13 2006 @ 01:12 PM EST (#142443) #
Ok, I suppose strong scouting is necessary for finding good prospects and grabbing guys like Willis, Lowell, Burnett and Pierre through trades requires good scouting.

It's just not like drafting. And even Cabrera and Castillo were signed as free agents, not drafted. Outside of #2 overall pick Beckett, who have the Marlins drafted of good calibre?
Geoff - Monday, March 13 2006 @ 01:14 PM EST (#142444) #
To help answer this question, see here:
Mick Doherty - Monday, March 13 2006 @ 01:26 PM EST (#142445) #
The Fish drafted LaRoche twice? It must just burn them up to see him with a division rival!
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