Florida Marlins Preview – Phillies Nation
2010 Previews

Florida Marlins Preview

Florida Marlins: (87-75, second place in the N.L. East in 2009)

The Florida Marlins are truly an amazing team. They’ve got a cycle going: start out with a crap team, draft and scout well, make a few shrewd trades, win a World Series, sell everyone off, and repeat. So far, it’s worked about once every five to seven years.

In 2009, the Marlins won 87 games with a combined team salary of roughly $34.5 million, according to Cot’s Contracts. That means they paid about $397,000 per win. It’s about the cost of a house in the suburbs, but it’s far better than the Phillies’ ratio (93 wins, $127.9 million payroll, $1.375 million per win) or the World Champion Yankees (103 wins, $206.8 million payroll, $2.01 million per win). Now, I’m sure that while Marlins fans (if there are any) are proud that their team paid about 1/8 as much per win as the Yankees, they’d much rather overspend for a World Series title.

But there is something to be said for being able to scare the bejeezus out of the Phillies, Mets, and Braves every year with a bunch of homegrown prospects and reclamation projects. Their scouting department does an excellent job and Fredi Gonzalez, while I think he’s a self-important, tyrannical prick, is an excellent manager who now has won more games than any other manager in team history. While I don’t think anyone in his right mind would pick the Marlins to win the division outright, you’d have to be an idiot to underestimate them.

2010 Preview

We know that Hanley Ramirez is probably the best position player in the National League not named Pujols. We know that Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu will hit some and play terrible defense. Apart from that, the Marlins just have a slew of young players, enough that if Andrew Miller or Cameron Maybin doesn’t work out, they don’t really care.

Look for the Marlins to pitch very well. Josh Johnson might turn out to be the third-best starting pitcher in the division, and is an intimidating presence on the mound at a massive 6-foot-7, 250 pounds. He rode a mid-90s fastball and a hammer slider to a 3.03 FIP and 15 wins last year, good enough results that when MLB ordered the Marlins to go spend some money, they spent it locking up Johnson to a contract extension. He and Hanley Ramirez are the only Marlins signed beyond this year.

Another Marlin pitcher to watch out for is Ricky Nolasco. Think of him as a right-handed Cliff Lee–he was quite good in 2008 but went to the minors in 2009. He straightened out his mechanics and came back up to the majors with his problems fixed. In September and October, he struck out more than 11 batters every 9 innings, a staggering total for a starting pitcher. Look for Nolasco’s 2008-09-10 to be a less-dramatic version of Lee’s 2006-07-08 seasons.

Beyond Johnson and Nolasco, they have the team’s highest-paid player, Nate Robertson, acquired from the Tigers this spring. Of course, the Tigers are paying $9.6 million of his $10 million salary. Beyond him stand a collection of young pitchers, ranging from former No. 6 overall pick Miller (6-foot-7) to Chris Volstad (6-foot-8) to Anibal Sanchez, who’s only 6-foot but threw a no-hitter once. If this season goes south, look for the Marlins to loan their starting rotation to the Heat next year.

If you don’t know the Marlins by now, you will never never never know them–they’re going to be a young, exciting team that finishes a few games over .500 and scares the crap out of the Phillies in September. With the ascendancy of the Braves, the Phillies have a bigger chaser in their rearview mirror, but don’t sleep on the Fish, or your playoff hopes might sleep with them.

Prediction: 86-76



  1. Burrgundy

    April 2, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    A little news to grit your teeth about — Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com says the Braves will win the NL East. What does he know, anyway?

  2. bfo_33

    April 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Marlins are more of a spoiler than a threat. With the exception of the 2009 Yanks, poor defensive teams (the Marlins and Braves both have absolutely terrible infield defense) rarely win the division, let alone the WS.

    Sports journalism is more about creating controversy than in depth analysis. Atlanta, Fla, and even the Mets have a shot, but everything has to break right. I see nothing in the 2010 Marlins that indicates they’ll be any different than the 09 version (pesky, but not enough to win it all). Atl is relying on two over the hill infielders and a rookie to carry their offense (along with McCann and McClouth). The two best players on the Mets are starting the season on the DL, and they only have one legit starter. The Nats have the best 3rd baseman in baseball, a less athletic version of Howard at 1st, and that’s about it. The Phils went to the world series with a lesser team last year. I think I’m being pretty objective when I say it is the Phil’s division to lose. Just 3 more days.

  3. mike mike

    April 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I trully believe the braves will win the east, followed by marlins and phillies, better pitching on those teams will be the difference.

  4. Burrgundy

    April 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Better watch yourself Mike-Mike, you will be jumped on with cleats for thinking negatively by some of the fine folks at the Nation. But I understand your concern. Keep the faith. I think the Phils will pull it out.

  5. Burrgundy

    April 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Rumor has it that the Phils are considering Tim Redding, who was released by Colorado, to complement Josh Fogg, whom they added this week. These former starters could become the next Ryan Franklins — burnt out starters becomining star relievers. Ruben Jr. might have a couple cards up his sleeves.

  6. Brooks

    April 2, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Mike, bless us with your logic son – please, just look at the starters and compare positional players. What do you have? How about the infield lets see, Hanley Ramirez at SS – much better stats than Jimmy, steals more bases, hits for a higher average – Jimmy has a few GG now and is considered one of the best if not the best defensive SS in the league. Other than that, who on the IF is comparable to the Phils? Cantu has more power definitely and is adequate defensively but Poly has a lifetime BA of .303, last year Cant-do hit a career high of .289 and has a career average of .278.
    Uggla vs Utley? No contest – Who is the starting 1b for the Fishies? Does not matter.
    How about the OF? Cody Ross, Cameron Maybin & Coghlan – between Coghlan and Maybin there is a total of 214 major league starts.
    Maybin did hit for average but has not been proven so far. How would you compare that OF with Werth, Victorino & Raul?
    The catchers spot is negligible – Chooch being more experienced than Baker.
    I might, just might give a slight edge to the Fish regarding arms. Not quite convinced and the Fish do seem to cause some grief when they come to town but dude, to say the Fish will win the division? You’re outta your mind!

  7. mike mike

    April 2, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Brooks our starter cant compair with braves or marlins, and I dont know if you watch the world series last year. But our inablility to match the yankees starters lost the series. postion to postion mens nothing. good pitching beats good hitting almost all the time. and ibanez has come down to earth, without his hot start they dont win the pennant last year. Getting rid of lee will b ite them in the ass, lets watch this year and see who is right in october.

  8. Nick

    April 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    so why didnt the giants make the playoffs last year?

  9. The Second John

    April 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    To expand on Nick’s point, 3 of the top 5 teams in team ERA last year, did not make the playoffs last year. The Braves were one of the teams that finished ahead of the Phills in ERA. The last time I checked, the Phills won the NL East last year. I’m not saying pitching doesen’t win championships, all I’m saying is you need a good balance of both pitching and offense.

  10. WFC010

    April 2, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    mike mike: there were many different factors which caused us to lose the World Series, not the least of which was the lethargy that some of our guys showed in putting up runs, especially Ryan Howard.

    Hamels and Lidge respectively helped cost us 2 of the 4 games we lost, but what about the other 2 games we lost?

    Game 2 was definitely winnable and Pedro pitched well enough for us to pull off a victory, but the most our guys could muster was a pathetic 1 freaking run!

    the Game 4 loss wasn’t Blanton’s fault, since he pitched well enough for our guys to tie the game. That one was on Lidge, and that stupid 3rd base throw.

    Game 3 and Game 6 could both be blamed on the starters to some extent, but NOT Game 2 or Game 4.

    My point is, the World Series could EASILY have turned out differently if our offense showed up more.

  11. WFC010

    April 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Oh, and if Hamels was “Good Hamels” for the whole game we would have won Game 3 as well.

    He is already looking a lot better this year, and it’s worth noting that the Yankees pitching staff is hardly invincible, even CC who the Phillies always seem to do well against.

    Outside of Sabathia and an aging Andy Pettitte, the rest of their pitching staff is only about average. Assuming that Hamels go back to being the pitcher we all know we can be, the Phillies should be capable of taking down the Yankees this year, but ONLY if the offense doesn’t suck again.

  12. John

    April 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    “don’t sleep on the Fish, or your playoff hopes might sleep with them.”

    Nicely done indeed. I wouldn’t have picked the Fish in ’97? or ’03 either, I hope anyone that did put good money on it. Seems like a long shot, yeah, but baseball is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s just a matter of the right group of guys complimenting each other in the perfect ways. Isn’t that why we hear about what a great clubhouse the Phils have all the time? Think that has nothing to do with guys winning? Isn’t that why Bowa’s not our manager anymore?

  13. Ryk

    April 3, 2010 at 2:33 am

    I think the reason the Yanks were able to win the Series in 2009 was that they were able to take advantage of RISP and men on base. The Phils simply did not capitalize with men on the bags, while the Yanks did. Plain and simple.

  14. MikeB.

    April 3, 2010 at 4:53 am

    I pretty much agree with Ryk about the Phils losing the 2009 WS. The Phils had no answers for getting out Damon and Matsui, especially Pedro Martinez with Matsui and pitching while being under the weather in Game 6.

  15. Brooks

    April 3, 2010 at 7:20 am

    News flash – the #1 reason why the Phils lost to the Yankees in the 2009 WS – hitting stopped. That is how they got there, that is the chief reason for their success and that is what we all pinned our hopes on.
    mike mike – we all come here from different backgrounds but probably more than 99% of us are Phillies fans, can spell & punctuate with the big boys (which makes it easier to read for those of us out of grade school).
    Did I watch the WS? Yes mike mike, I was allowed to stay up and watch all the games.

  16. Burrgundy

    April 3, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Hey Brooks, most of us Phillies Nation fans are not so cruel and mean-spirited as you. Shame on you, fool.

  17. mike mike

    April 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Burrgundy . I Have found when people know nothing like brooks, they then attack peoples grammer. Amazing how little you know brooks to have to attack someone grammer. and to all the others, to say we didnt hit with risp, isnt that my point? good pitching stopped us.Hamels couldn’t match up with Burnett and pettile was better then our third starter. That’s why lee was so important to keep even for one year. Hamels is looking a lot better this year????, is this the same hamels who has been getting hit this spring or his brother. to answer john question. I said good pitching beats good hitting almost all the time, 2009 it didnt. last year it did.right now we can match anyone in baseball number one, but with hamel as our two and kendrick as three who would you rather have, burnett and pettite, or our two and the braves starter are way better plus they have improved there offense and bullpen. why we have nothing but question marks in our bullpen. I hope the phillies win but to me lee was a difference maker for us and we gave him away.with lee and halladay we would have much better chance.

  18. WFC010

    April 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    mike mike: Hamels has been trying out different pitches, and he’s been putting in most of the spring trying to perfect them more. Had he been using his best pitches more, I guarantee you that his spring would have looked a lot more impressive. Oh, and have you noticed that Halladay was hit pretty hard during a few games as well?


    Hamels and even Halladay were both working on improving or adding new pitches, which in theory should make them both BETTER pitchers than in previous years.

    And Cliff Lee hasn’t looked all that hot this spring either, NOW HAS HE?

    So convenient that you would forget to mention that!

    So instead of whining so much, why don’t you just SHUT UP and at least wait for when the games START TO COUNT before moaning about how our pitchers supposedly suck?

    Oh that’s right, you probably won’t be even watching… you’ll be too busy whining on blogs and message boards, and calling into WIP with whatever their party line of the day is.

  19. The Second John

    April 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Allright Mike Mike, let’s try this again. In 2008, of the top 10 teams that had the lowest ERA, only 3 of them made the playoffs. Only one of them made the World Series.

  20. Brooks

    April 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Sooner or later the children will find another sand box to play in.
    By the way mikey – I was referring to your spelling and punctuation, not just the points that the populous brings up (yes, WIP and other people who are not fans and DID NOT watch the games). Please, aren’t you just a little embarrassed?

    This is it gents – engines revved? Sneakers tied up and ready to roll into DC for the start of 2010 – “lets get it staaarrtted!” Nice way to finish off the Spring especially in front of the home crowd – I heard both games were near sell outs.

    Go Phils!

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