For all the ups and downs of the 2008 season, the Florida Marlins posted a record of 84-77, the third best record in franchise history. The team posted incredible offensive numbers lead by the historic home run power from all four of the starting infielders. As we start looking forward to a busy off-season and hopefully a successful 2009, here are some thoughts, observations, and links:
- The Marlins shut down Shea Stadium for good by taking 2 of 3 from the Mets and once again eliminating them from the the playoffs. Dan Uggla said it best:
“They’re a bunch of great guys and they play the game the right way,” said Uggla, whose team had lost nine of 15 games against the Mets entering the series. “We’re not going to the playoffs and they kind of helped out with that throughout the whole year. To knock them out is pretty sweet for us.”
- Memorize this: Speed and Defense. That’s all you’ll be hearing from the Marlins front office over the next few months. Every trade, salary dump, waiver, or promotion will be tied to those two word. With a pitching staff anchored by Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad (followed by the not so shabby Anibal Sanchez and Andrew Miller), the Marlins know that giving those guys the best support will do the trick. We just showed how a high-powered offense is not enough to win. And, as Larry Beinfest said:
“[Y]ou’d like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back.”
- The Marlins are interested in bringing back at least two veterans: Wes Helms and Arthur Rhodes
- Looks like Cameron Maybin may have earned himself a job on the Major League roster with an impressive performance. Since being called up, he went 16 for 32 (.500) with an on-base percentage of 1.106. He also showed great speed and defense.
- Sunday was probably the last time some Marlins will wear black and teal. Dan Uggla, Mike Jacobs, Scott Olsen and Jeremy Hermida will all get huge pay raises and will not fit into the new speed and defense mantra. Of these four, Olsen could be a hot trade commodity which can bring in the kind of players needed to replace Uggla and Jacobs.
- No Marlin had 100 RBI but three guys had 90+.
- For a platooning outfielder, Cody Ross put up incredible numbers hitting 22 home runs and driving in 73 runs. At one point he hit 9 home runs in 11 at bats.
- Josh Johnson finished the season an outstanding 7-1 in 14 starts with a 3.61 ERA — all this less than a year removed from major surgery.
- Scott Olsen didn’t get too many breaks — he finished 8-11 — despite 22 quality starts.
- Chris Volstad finishes his rookie season with a 2.88 ERA in 14 starts and 1 relief appearance.
- Rick Nolsaco wasn’t even in the starting rotation when the season started yet managed to finish 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA and a terrific strike out to walk ratio of 186 to 42.
- Finally, and most importantly, pitchers and catchers report in less than 5 months.