Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 Florida Marlins:
Okay — well itâ€™s not that bad, but with Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis gone to Detroit (a salary dump, in essence, that saved the team $18 million), whatever the Marlins have left will probably cost them a decent season. And just to make it clear, hereâ€™s what they have left.
The Marlins project Ramirez at shortstop and the newly acquired Dallas McPherson at third (maybe), with Mike Jacobs at first and Dan Uggla at second. I hate Jacobs — heâ€™s just the kind of grating â€œpepperpotâ€ player that I canâ€™t stand. The newly acquired Cameron Maybin is the great hope in center (he has to be at least a year away — at least), with Josh Willingham (who I think is actually one heck of a player), in left and Jeremy Hermida in right (Hermida is also a year away, come to think of it, though heâ€™s been in the majors now for three seasons). At catcher, the Marlins have inserted a former Tiger, Mike Rabelo, who has played in 52 major league games. To help the kids, the front office has brought in Luis Gonzalez — who is 40.
Everyone raves about Ramirez, of course, and dubs him the next superstar, a future hall of famer. Maybe, but he reminds me of George Bell — which is, come to think of it, saying a lot. Bell was a hell of a hitter back in the ’80s for Toronto (he once hit 47 home runs), but he tailed off quickly and could never keep his wind. He was relentlessly booed by the Blue Jays fans (they’re Canadians) and he responded by telling the press: â€œThey can kiss my purple butt.â€ Watching him run the bases that last season for the White Sox wore me out (he was traded there by the Cubs, for Sammy Sosa). Bell and Ramirez are built almost exactly alike and have a similar swing, something I noticed about Ramirez last year, when I had to suffer through three, count em, three Marlinsâ€™ games at RFK. (I got three this year too — after going into my draft with only one goal: no Marlins games.)
But the Marlins less-than-mediocre team will surely be offset by a stellar pitching staff of Mark Hendrickson, Sergio Mitre (Sergio Meat Tray), Scott Olsen and Andrew Miller.
The good news is the Marlins will soon have a new stadium, which will cost them all of $480 million — tops. Here’s what it looks like:
I told my friend Tom: â€œIt must be made out of wood.â€ Nope: itâ€™s made out of concrete, and glass, and â€œstucco.â€ No kidding. It looks like itâ€™s made out of bubble gum. Thereâ€™s this description: â€œThe stadium breaks the trend started by Camden Yards of the â€˜old timeâ€™ or retro look. It features a sleek 21st century design meant to capture the architecture in South Florida.â€ We have no idea what that means. It might mean this:
In truth, itâ€™s about mid-range in cost for a stadium of that size and it will keep the Marlins in Florida, where they will soon be known as the Miami Marlins. About time. There is this: in all of the years that the Marlins have been playing this game, they have only been good twice — and both years theyâ€™ve won the World Series. But not this year. Compared to them, the Nats look like the â€™27 Yankees.
Projected Finish: Dead Last.