Posted on: December 5, 2011 1:57 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 2:19 am
DALLAS -- Heath Bell opened some eyes. Jose Reyes opened some jaws.
But even with that, Miami isn't done in what is shaping up as the Winter of the Marlin.
Albert Pujols? Are they serious?
Indications late Sunday evening were yes, they're dead serious about pursuing Pujols even with Reyes bagged at six years and $106 million and Bell signed for three years and $27 million with a vesting option for a fourth year at another $9 million.
Question is, is adding Pujols a good idea? Or, at this point, is it simply the Marlins being silly?
Answer: Unless there's enough money to sign Mark Buerhle or C.J. Wilson after Bell, Reyes and Pujols -- and in a sentence I never, ever expected to type, even the Marlins must have a limit -- the noveau riche Fish are just being silly.
Adding Reyes to a dynamic lineup that includes Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton and All-Star first baseman Gaby Sanchez makes the Marlins an instant contender ... if they can pitch.
Adding Bell as their first legitimate closer in years solidifies their contending status ... if they have enough starting pitching to get the ball to him for 40 or 50 saves in 2012.
With Josh Johnson having crossed the 200 innings threshold only once in seven big-league seasons, and with Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad underperforming in 2012, what the Marlins need most is to back a much-improved lineup with pitching.
With the Reyes agreement, sources here Sunday night said the club absolutely has enough money to sign Bell, Reyes and a free agent starter such as Buehrle or Wilson. That is absolutely the way they should go.
Sure, Pujols, 31, is sexy and the Marlins right now are looking to throw their weight around. But now is the time to use brains, not testosterone.
No matter how the contracts are structured, if they commit in the neighborhood of $275 million or more to just two players -- Reyes and Pujols -- that is insane. Especially when their pitching would remain questionable.
Look for the Marlins to investigate the trade market this week because, assuming Reyes is not their last free-agent haul, they're going to have excess somewhere. They bag Pujols, Sanchez will be available. They add a starter, Nolasco could find himself on the trade block.
It's going to be a wild week here with the Marlins, perhaps a week unlike any other in their history. But what they don't need is to leave Dallas with a lasting hangover.
Tempting as Pujols is, pitching is where they should focus.
Posted on: February 28, 2011 5:40 pm
JUPITER, Fla. -- You can always count on the Marlins to be breaking in a hot, young prospect, and this year is no different. On the other side of Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, over there at third base, a slick-fielding kid named Matt Dominguez is on the launching pad.
He's just 21, but he's been primed for this moment for years. In high school in Los Angeles, he played in a title game in Dodger Stadium ... as a freshman (he was a high school teammate, by the way, of Kansas City phenom Mike Moustakas).
"His defense is there," manager Edwin Rodriguez says. "We know what he can do defensively.
"We want good at-bats. We want quality at-bats. We're not looking at stats or numbers. We're looking for him to have the ability to keep the same concentration level regardless of who's pitching."
Florida's first-round pick -- 12th overall -- in 2007, Dominguez has never played above the Double-A level. And his bat remains a question -- thus, Rodriguez's looking for maturity at the plate, and not numbers. In 111 games at Double-A Jacksonville last summer, Dominguez batted .244 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs. He compiled a .324 on-base percentage.
With the glove, Dominguez reminds many of Mike Lowell with his soft, quick hands.
If Dominguez proves that he is not ready this spring, Infante could flip over to third with Emilio Bonifacio, Ruben Gotay, Donnie Murphy or Joe Thurston playing second. The latter three are here as non-roster invitees. Gotta have insurance.
If none of that works out, then Infante could stay at second and veteran Wes Helms could play third.
"We're going to be very patient with Matty," Rodriguez says.
"I hope he does win the job," Morrison says. "He's a great kid. He's got the mentality. Now he has to show his stuff."
Sunblock Day? The run of 80-something degrees continues. Hoo-ha!
Likes: Big congratulations to pal Don Middlebrook, tropical rock troubadour in Michigan, for being named a top 10 finalist in Fox Sports Detroit's "April in the D" music video contest (the celebrity panel was led by none other than Kid Rock). But now you've gotta join me in voting for him -- early and often -- by the March 6 deadline. You can vote right here, and you can watch Middlebrook's original song and video here. This isn't Middlebrook's first at-bat in the baseball song department, by the way. He wrote a classic a few years back about the Ted Williams head in the cooler fiasco called Frozen in Arizona. Among his memorable non-baseball tunes: I Stole Jimmy Buffett's TV Guide.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
-- Jimmy Buffett, Growing Older But Not Up