Marlins vs. Rays — ESPN Would Rather be in Tampa?

ESPN SPORTSNATIONESPN’s SPORTSNATION is starting a Marlins vs. “don’t call me Devil” Rays debate. Who is better off? Sean McAdam picks the Rays:

Track record should mean something here. The Marlins have won championships twice and rebuilt both times. Their front office — Larry Beinfest, Mike Hill, Dan Jennings — has proven an ability to recognize and develop young talent and has been locked up for the long term, ensuring stability.

But there’s no denying that the Rays’ talent pool is greater. Their outfield is already more accomplished and assuming Longoria and Brignac are as good as advertised, the infield stands to be better, too.

The real advantage, however, comes in the pitching department. A projected rotation of Kazmir, Shields, Garza and Price — augmented by others — is clearly superior to what the Marlins have in stock.

Finally, there’s no guarantee — given Florida’s self-imposed payroll limitations and penchant for dealing off young stars — that Ramirez will be in a Marlins uniform in 2010.

My choice is the Rays; let the debate begin!

Jump in to the discussion and tell him he’s wrong

Link:  ESPN’s SPORTSNATION Chat – Marlins vs. Rays

Luis Gonzalez is Heading Our Way

Luis Gonzalez signs with the Florida Marlins

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Marlins have lured Luis Gonzalez with a one-year $2 million deal (including an additional $1 million in incentives).

Gonzalez, 40, is expected to fill a combination of roles, including left field and first base, and serve as a mentor for the Marlins’ younger players.

Interesting that he is saying left field, meaning the Marlins are serious about giving Maybin the starting CF job.

Gonzo has slowed down significantly over the last couple of years but the team is hoping he provides depth and most importantly veteran leadership.

Ballpark Agreement Nearly Complete; Marlins Looking at Designs

The fine reporters at Miami Today lead off with a major updated on the ballpark project.

It looks like the Marlins are so confident that they deal will get done that they have retained HOK Sports and are already reviewing 3 different ballpark designs. The new $389.4 million ballpark will include a retractable roof, 37,000 seats, and 60 club suites. These details come from a preliminary agreement between Miami-Dade, Miami, and the Marlins.

Under the agreement, the Marlins would keep proceeds from the naming rights to the new ballpark, and construction materials used to build the stadium — totaling $525 million — would not be subject to sales taxes, pending state approval.

Continue reading “Ballpark Agreement Nearly Complete; Marlins Looking at Designs”

Latest Date for Ballpark Vote: February 5th

Looks like February 5th will the day when Miami-Dade County will vote on the ballpark proposal. That means the sides haven’t finalized the definitive agreement.

The bottom line is very encouraging:

“From what I’ve been told, we are so close it’s incredible; it’s very minor differences,” [Commission Chairman Bruno ] Barreiro said Thursday. “Our attorneys have said we’ve never been closer.”

Hanley Lovin’ From Jason Stark

ESPN’s Jason Stark writes about which young shortstop he’d build his team around:

Ramirez is off to one of the great starts to a career by any shortstop who ever lived. How’s that for a pithy description of the case? He’s two seasons into his career, and he has topped 45 steals and 45 doubles in each of them. So how many players have ever done that? How about none? At any position. In any two seasons of their career. But that’s not all. Ramirez also is coming off a 200-hit, 20-homer, 50-steal, 100-run season, and only two other players in history have ever had a year like that: Lou Brock (1967) and Craig Biggio. Those 212 hits last year would be the most ever by a National League shortstop — if Jimmy Rollins hadn’t also gotten 212. And it’s that power-speed-high-average combo that really makes Ramirez unique. He was the only player in the league to finish in the top five in hits, runs, average, doubles and stolen bases. This guy is a special, special offensive talent. Too bad the only people who seem to have noticed are those 2,000 folks who stampede up (or down) the Florida Pike to see the Marlins every night.

Not bad.

Baseball Reality Bites: Broward County Edition

Remember how those clowns in Broward County decided to throw money at the Baltimore Orioles for their stupid spring training site instead of investing those resources in a Marlins ballpark? Well, the Orioles are about to flip Broward off on their way up to Vero Beach.

Two Fort Lauderdale city commissioners suspect the Baltimore Orioles may abandon plans to overhaul Fort Lauderdale Stadium in favor of moving to Dodgertown in Vero Beach.

A source told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Thursday the team has an option agreement with Indian River County to move to Dodgertown, once the Los Angeles Dodgers move to Arizona, expected in 2009 or 2010.

Now, I know $40 Million is not the same as $400 Million, but Broward’s weird decision to spend so much on 30 days of spring training made no sense when you consider that a 30-year 81-day partner was looking for a deal.

Fish Add a Tall Pitcher

Now that we know that Anibal Sanchez will not be ready for Spring Training, the Marlins signed 6-9 left-handed pitcher Mark Hendrickson to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. He is a mediocre 43-59 in 179 career games with a 5.01 ERA. But, he’s started more than 30 games three times in his career, so he may be a good innings eater.

Update: Hendrickson used to play in the NBA.

Photo by Flickr user russ257

Where Are They Now: Mantei and Kotsay Find New Homes

Dave Dombrowski continues his quest to build the Detroit Marlins by adding the iceman Matt Mantei to the Tigers. Mantei was a fan favorite but in reality was highly overrated and injury prone. Thankfully, the Diamondbacks didn’t realize that and gave us Brad Penny for him back in 1999.

Not joining the Tigers is Mark Kotsay who may be on the verge of leaving Oakland for Atlanta. The media keeps laughing at the Fish for trading everyone away, but doesn’t seem to care when Oakland does the same (Billy Beane is a genius! Yeah right).

P.S. — If you have a better name to describe the Marlin-ized Detroit Tigers, please email us.

Who’s Coming to Spring Training?

Spring Training is just around the corner and the Marlins have released the names of the new (and old) faces who will join the club for its annual spring rituals.

We have already heard about Jose Castillo and Jorge Cantu but now we learn that 13 minor league free agents received invites to the big league camp and they are: pitchers Doug Waechter, Bobby Keppel and Tim Corcoran; catcher Paul Hoover; infielders Tagg Bozied and Jason Wood; and outfielders John Gall, Alexis Gomez and Jorge Piedra.

Other non-40-man-roster invitees include pitchers Burke Badenhop, Dallas Trahern, Gaby Hernandez, Brett Sinkbeil, Aaron Thompson, Ryan Tucker and Chris Volstad; catchers John Baker, Brett Hayes and Brad Davis; and infielders Chris Coghlan and Lee Mitchell.

Marlins Stockpiling Infielders

We’re back after a nice holiday break and we lead off with the news that the Marlins are not done adding players.

With Jose Castillo on board, the Fish are close to adding Jorge Cantu to the mix. Cantu has had some good and some bad in his brief MLB career:

Cantu broke in with Tampa Bay in 2004, and his best season was ’05, when he batted .286 with 28 home runs and 117 RBIs.

It’s not clear whether the Marlins will continue to pursue free agent Dallas McPherson. Some have speculated that Jose Castillo still needs some more experience in the minors but on the other hand, McPherson may not want to compete for a job when he has a chance to start somewhere else.

Update: Cantu is signed. 1-year deal worth $500,000.