The Florida Marlins are now the Miami Marlins, in case you have not heard yet. That is just one of their many changes to the 2012 season. The Marlins have also moved to a brand new, state of the art, ballpark in downtown Miami adding color and vivacity to their new look team.
The first thing the Marlins did was to snap a new manager. They picked up one of the most perfect piecese they could have ever picked up in Ozzie Guillen.
Guillen came over from the Chicago White Sox and left them with a 678-617 record and one World Series championship. Guillen is a perfect fit for the Latin population in Miami.
The next big upgrade was the Marlins bullpen. The team strengthened it by adding Heath Bell bringing along with him a 2011 season where he recorded 43 saves and a 2.22 ERA. Bell joins a bullpen that already includes Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez) who saved 36 games for Miami last season.
Then, the big addition came and with controversy.
The Marlins signed shortstop Jose Reyes to bolster their lineup and to give another high-profile player on the team. With the Reyes signing, that meant Hanley Ramirez would have to move to third base.
At first, Ramirez was not too pleased with the move but all in all, he did it for the team and will play third base this season.
There was one more thing the Marlins did this busy off season and that was to bring Mark Buehrle over to Miami. Buehrle will be the No. 2 starter for Miami this season and will be benefited by Guillen’s presence on the team. Buehrle was 13-9 with 3.59 ERA in 2011.
The Marlins also acquired Carlos Zambrano from the Chicago Cubs in a huge offseason trade. The Cubs received RHP Chris Volstad in return.
Overall, the Marlins had a very productive offseason even though they missed out on Albert Pujols and Yoenis Cespedes. They will just have to hope to stay healthy in order for them to win.
Another positive note to the season is the return of Josh Johnson from shoulder inflammation that kept him out a majority of the year. He is poised to have a healthy season and felt no discomfort in pre-Spring Training workouts.
On a side note, two Marlins officially changed their names this season. As we learned last year Leo Nunez will now be known by his real name, Juan Carlos Oviedo and outfield slugger Mike Stanton will like to be referred to as Giancarlo Stanton.
Even with all this, I still think the Marlins come up short in the NL East and will finish second this year.
Prediction: Second NL East
Breakout Player: Giancarlo Stanton, OF
Key Addition: Ozzie Guillen, Manager
CA: John Buck
1B: Gaby Sanchez
2B: Omar Infante
3B: Hanley Ramirez
SS: Jose Reyes
OF: Logan Morrison
OF: Emilio Bonifacio
OF: Giancarlo Stanton
SP: Josh Johnson
SP: Mark Buehrle
SP: Ricky Nolasco
SP: Anibal Sanchez
SP: Carlos Zambrano
RP: Ed Mujica
RP: Steven Cishek
RP: Randy Choate
RP: Ryan Webb
RP: Juan Carlos Oviedo
RP: Mike Dunn
CP: Heath Bell
1. Christian Yelich, OF
2. Marcell Ozuna, OF
3. Jose Fernandez, RHP
4. Jacob Realmuto, CA
5. Matt Dominguez, 3B