Thursday, February 6, 2014

Miami Marlins

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez
The Miami Marlins had an atrocious 2013 season, holding the 2nd worst record in the Major  Leagues and losing 100 games, but that doesn't mean there weren't any bright spots.  Pitcher Jose Fernandez proved that he is the ace that everyone hoped he would be.  Outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna both debuted in 2013, and enjoyed some periods of success.  Other youngsters Jake Marisnick, Rob Brantly, Donovan Solano also got some playing time.  The off-season has been a relatively busy one for the fish, but they haven't exactly made any blockbuster moves.  They seem to be relying heavily on the progress of all of their young players.  

The Marlins have brought in a couple of free agents, with the biggest of the bunch being catcher Jarred Saltalamacchia.  Coming off a World Series, Salty decide to come home to Florida and he should help solidify the catching position.  First baseman Garrett Jones was also brought in and he should provide some pop from the left side and some protection for superstar outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.  The third addition to the offense was Casey McGehee, who was previously playing for Rakuten in Japan.  The Marlins also brought in veteran Rafael Furcal to play second base.  The last free agent addition for the fish has been Jeff Baker, who will platoon at first base with Jones.  The biggest trade of the off-season for Miami was sending oft-injured first baseman and social media genius Logan Morrison to the Mariners for hard throwing Carter Capps.  Capps should slide into the back end of the bullpen and if he can throw strikes, he could eventually dethrone Steve Cishek as the closer of this team.  The Marlins also swapped fourth outfielders with the Cubs, sending Justin Ruggiano to Chicago for Brian Bogusevic.  This team has quite a few question marks heading into the 2014 season, but what are the 10 biggest story lines for this team??

1. Will Giancarlo Stanton be able to put a full season together and produce the power everyone expects him to?

2. Can Yelich, Ozuna, and top prospect Jake Marisnick continue to grow as players?

3. Can Jose Fernandez repeat on his incredible 2013 season?

4. Will the rest of this young rotation (Nate Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner) live up their potential or suffer a great deal of growing pains?

5. Can Casey McGehee produce anywhere near the level that he did in Japan?

6. Will the Marlins be able to provide any sort of protection for Giancarlo Stanton?

7. Will flame thrower Henry Rodriguez throw one of his 100 mph fastballs directly into the fish tanks behind home plate?

8. Can left-handed prospects Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino push themselves a step closer to the big leagues?

9. What will Jeffrey Loria do next?

10. Is Mike Redmond the man for this job or is he just in way over his head?

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment with any additional story lines you see for the Marlins in 2014.  Also, feel free to answer any of these questions that we have posed as they are not necessarily rhetorical!

Marlins fans, I leave you with this

Giancarlo Stanton in the ESPN the Magazine Body Issue