Marlins camp report: Likes, dislikes
As club president Larry Beinfest said, 'there are likes.' It's just that many of them, after the emerging superstar Giancarlo Stanton, are future likes.
JUPITER, Fla. -- What I like, and dislike, about the Miami Marlins :
Things I like
• Giancarlo Stanton is one of the best sluggers in the game, an imposing force at only 23. The Marlins could get several great young talents back if they decided to extend their fire sale to include their most marketable man. So far they haven't shown any interest in doing that.
• The Marlins have some very powerful young arms, starting with former No. 1 pick Jose Fernandez, who has impressed for far in the minors. Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez are also extremely hard throwers.
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• Justin Ruggiano and Donovan Solano became nice surprise stories last year. (Of course, they will need many more surprise stories this year to avoid an extremely high loss total.) The two players they got for Anibal Sanchez could be decent candidates to deliver. Young catcher Rob Brantly can hit, and Jacob Turner should be a viable big-league starter.
• Manager Mike Redmond, a young guy with a lot of drive and patience, just might turn out to be the perfect pick for a team that's going to lose a lot of games.
• Juan Pierre is exactly the perfect veteran to come in and set an example for such a young team.
Things I don't like
• Their rotation, after the veteran Ricky Nolasco , is completely unproven.
• While Logan Morrison is a nice complimentary player when healthy, there is no one in sight who could offer Stanton any real protection in the lineup.
• They are counting on aging veteran Placido Polanco , who has had back injuries two straight years, to fill their perennial trouble spot at third base. Polanco is a terrific player -- in 2008.
• Steve Cishek is an unknown weapon at the back end of a bullpen who's going to need an excellent anchor, and while their 'pen may be OK ( Mike Dunn is back, Jon Rauch was signed and they have some very good young arms), it is going to need to be all-time great considering there aren't going to be enough innings in the rotation, populated as it is by unproven pitchers.
• The scene at their incredible new park could drag and border on depressing if fans stay away as expected. The anger is palpable in South Florida, so it's hard to imagine much positive energy from the faithful (who are losing faith).