This would have been posted a whole lot earlier in the day, except (long story short): A log truck crashed on I-95 south in Virginia, and it took me nearly 3 hours to get home from school (normally a 40 minute trip). I really wish I could have posted these thoughts earlier, before the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, but I need to get this out.
First and foremost, I am very proud of the Marlins for shelling out the money to bring buzz to Miami in a great hispanic baseball player-Jose Reyes. Note: I believe the entire Marlins infield is now fluent in Spanish. This signing has begun the solidification of the Marlins 2012 starting lineup, and things are starting to clear up.
Catcher: John Buck, a 2010 All-Star, had a solid 2011 campaign and is the clear starting catcher and maybe 6th, 7th, or 8th hitter. Brett Hayes has had a few solid seasons as the backup, and barring injuries to both these guys, Miami has no need to shop for catchers.
First Baseman: Gaby Sanchez, for now, is the starting first baseman. The rookie was an All-Star in 2010, and has shown ability to be a .300 hitter. But the Marlins have, of course, shown interest in Albert Pujols. Originally, it was thought that the Marlins would only sign one expensive position player (Reyes or Pujols) , and one expensive pitcher (Wilson or Buehrle). But even after the signing of Reyes, speculation continues to grow that the Marlins are seriously pursuing Pujols. If the 3-time MVP is signed by Miami, Gaby Sanchez would be a valuable trade piece. Bottom line: Make the decision quick to sign Pujols or not so that Sanchez’s trade value will be maximized.
Second Baseman: Omar Infante: a 2010 All-Star, speedster, gold-glove-talented defender, and contact hitter. There’s no question who the Marlins 2012 second baseman will be.
Shortstop: Jose Reyes, I’m proud to announce finally that the Marlins have signed their biggest contract ever, 6 years $106 million, to free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes. With the signing, the Marlins might just have the speediest lineup in the league. Reyes can hit anywhere in the top of the lineup. He won the NL batting title last season, and will certainly bring excitement to mid-summer Miami baseball.
Third Baseman: Hanley Ramirez?!?! The signing of Reyes arguably gives the Marlins the two most talented shortstops in all of baseball. Hanley will be required to move to third base, as it appears at least, and the Marlins ‘ perennial 3-time All-Star, Home Run Derby contestant, and MVP candidate will be part of the best Dominican-Duo in baseball. However, Matt Dominguez is highly-touted third base prospect in the Marlins organization, and might be a decent trade piece himself.
Left Field: Logan Morrison: The lovable, obstreperous tweetaholic will most likely man left field for the Marlins when they open their new stadium in 2012. The left-handed hitter should bat somewhere in the middle of the order, and will play solid defense in left field.
Center Field: Emilio Bonifacio: At least for now, one of the fastest players in baseball will join Reyes, Ramirez, and Infante in the speed roles of the lineup. All four of those guys are capable of 20+ steals in any given year. But the Marlins have a former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan ready to play big-league centerfield. Either Bonifacio will be a full-time utility player, or Coghlan will make the roster as a fourth outfielder. The Fish may still wish to trade for a veteran center fielder, with Gaby Sanchez perhaps.
Right Field: Mike Stanton. Power hitter, solid outfielder, self-explanitory necessity to this team.
I’ll post on the pitching staff in the near future, but Heath Bell will be the closer, and Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez are locks right now to be in the rotation.
This week the Marlins made bold moves in the signing of Jose Reyes and Heath Bell, but they better act quick if they want to sign other free-agents, such as Albert Pujols, in order to give them the most amount of time to evaluate trade options.