Miami Marlins (69-93) – Last place NL East
The Marlins entered the 2012 season with a brand new stadium, name, logo, manager, and multiple high price free agents, but none of these things could help lead the Marlins to a winning record. The Ozzie Guillen experiment was a complete catastrophe, which is not really a surprise given Guillen’s reputation. The team became a seller at the deadline and at some point traded away many key parts, including superstar Hanley Ramirez, top starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, and recently signed closer Heath Bell.
Not even a state-of-the-art stadium featuring a huge
Marlins sculpture in left-center field and an aquarium
built into the backstop could help the Marlins in 2012
(image courtesy of wikipedia.org)
Pitchers- The pitching staff was overhauled in the off-season, adding starters Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano, and closer Heath Bell. Buehrle was the only successful one of the bunch, leading the team in innings pitched and wins, while Zambrano was demoted to the bullpen and Bell lost his job to Steve Cishek. Bell was the epitome of bad, blowing 8 saves in 27 opportunities, all while keeping his ERA in the low 5’s. This was not the type of production the Marlins expected from Bell when they signed him to a 3 year, $27 million dollar deal following his All-Star 2011 season with San Diego. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks immediately following the season. The starters were mostly solid all year, led by Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, and Buehrle. Anibal Sanchez was also very good before he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in July. Youngsters Nate Eovaldi and Jacob Turner, acquired from the Dodgers and Tigers respectively, were very good after being acquired at the deadline. They both have a bright future, as Turner is only 21 and Eovaldi is just 22.
Infield- There was quite a bit of turnover in the Marlins infield in 2012. Shortstop Jose Reyes joined the team in the off-season after signing a $106 million dollar contract. He didn’t disappoint, hitting .287 and stealing 40 bases from the leadoff spot. Trades throughout the season greatly affected the rest of the Marlins infield. The team lost 3rd baseman Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers), 1st baseman Gaby Sanchez (Pirates), and 2nd baseman Omar Infante (Tigers) to trades in July and also brought in 1st baseman Carlos Lee from the Houston Astros. Greg Dobbs and Donovan Solano did a good job filling in for Ramirez and Infante. The 24 year old Solano was 2nd on the team in batting average after replacing Infante. Another piece from the Anibal Sanchez trade, catcher Rob Brantly, also ended the season strong, hitting .290 after arriving in Miami.
Outfield- Injuries were a problem in the outfield for the Marlins in 2012. Logan Morrison, Emilio Bonifacio, and Chris Coghlan all missed significant time. Missing Bonifacio at the top of the lineup was a huge blow, considering he stole 30 bases in just 64 games. The biggest surprise was replacement Justin Ruggiano, who led the team in batting average at .313 and hit 13 home runs in just under 300 at bats. The rock in this outfield is Giancarlo Stanton, who solidified himself as one of the game’s best young power hitters in 2012. Stanton hit 37 home runs, despite missing a month of the season, and he also lead the team in RBIs with 86.
Check back on Thursday for Wade Arthur’s take on the Boston Red Sox
Also, we're going to be trying out a new feature, the Twitter account of the day, featuring our pick of the player on the team we’re reviewing with the most entertaining twitter account. Today’s choice is outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison. Check him out on Twitter at @LoMoMarlins