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Tag:Josh Johnson
Posted on: March 1, 2012 10:33 pm
 

Spring primer: Miami Marlins



By Matt Snyder


All of a sudden, in just one offseason, the Miami Marlins have undergone a complete makeover. They have a new name, logo and stadium. New, more colorful uniforms are part of the deal as well. Still, that's all window-dressing if the on-field product resembles the 72-90 one from 2011. And it doesn't. Not only did the Marlins bring in three highly-coveted and high-priced free agents, but they traded for fiery Carlos Zambrano and brought in one of the most outspoken -- and, at times, effective -- managers in baseball. How Ozzie Guillen's new-look troops fare in the 2012 season remains to be seen, but two things are certain: More people will be in attendance to find out and it's not going to be boring.

Major additions: SS Jose Reyes, LHP Mark Buehrle, RHP Carlos Zambrano, RHP Heath Bell, LHP Wade LeBlanc
Major departures: RHP Javier Vazquez, C John Baker, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Chris Volstad

Probable lineup
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
3. Hanley Ramirez, 3B
4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF (a.k.a. Mike Stanton)
5. Logan Morrison, LF
6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
7. John Buck, C
8. Omar Infante, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Josh Johnson
2. Mark Buehrle
3. Anibal Sanchez
4. Ricky Nolasco
5. Carlos Zambrano

Wade LeBlanc is the injury replacement.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Heath Bell
Set-up: Edward Mujica, Mike Dunn

Important bench players

C Brett Hayes, IF Greg Dobbs, OF Scott Cousins, OF Bryan Petersen

Prospect to watch
For this year, there really aren't many guys on the radar ready to jump in and immediately help. Third base prospect Matt Dominguez is in Triple-A, but he's now blocked by one of the team leaders in Hanley Ramirez. All the other highly-ranked Marlins prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors. So we'll go with Dominguez here for this reason: Should he have a big first three months in Triple-A while the Marlins are in the thick of the pennant race, he makes for good trade bait at the deadline. Maybe they could use him to upgrade the bridge to Heath Bell or even as part of a package to landing a really good center fielder.

Fantasy breakout: Logan Morrison
"Morrison's track record suggests both his walk rate and BABIP should rebound, and in fact, his .268 BABIP from a year ago looks like the result of some horrendously bad luck. He is a strong bet to improve on his OBP and, at worst, maintain the home run power he displayed in 2011. Add in some improvement and subtract out his minor league demotion and DL time from last season, and Morrison suddenly profiles as a No. 3 mixed league OF." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bounce-back: Hanley Ramirez
"Ramirez had a miserable first half last season, and just when he started to get untracked, he suffered a shoulder injury that led to season-ending surgery. As the season progressed, Ramirez adjusted and started hitting more line drives and flyballs, and his batting average and power numbers rose accordingly. Even though his overall stats were pale compared to his norms, a good sign for Ramirez was that his home run per flyball rate was not much lower than usual." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Everyone behaves, Ramirez and Johnson stay healthy and have big seasons while the youngsters (Stanton, Morrison) develop into stars. Especially now that there are two wild cards, the Marlins have a great shot at the playoffs with this group. And once you get there, anything can happen, so I'd say an optimistic outlook has them winning the third World Series in franchise history. If you look at the upside in the offense and rotation in particular, it's hard to argue against a best-case scenario being a championship. Then again ...

Pessimistic outlook
Utter disaster. The club doesn't respond to Guillen, Johnson injures his arm again, Zambrano melts down, Morrison quibbles with management over Twitter, Ramirez starts slow and demands a trade due to wanting to play shortstop again ... you get it. I can't think of another club with such high-peak and low-valley potential entering the 2012 season. This group of personalities could be the new Bronx Zoo champion or a catastrophic mix on the field that finishes last. Almost literally, anything could happen. As I said in the intro, it certainly won't be boring. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: March 1, 2012 9:30 pm
 

Injury roundup: Johan, Longoria and more



By Matt Snyder


Johan Santana's progress in spring training is going to continue to be a huge storyline because he was once the best pitcher in baseball and if he's able to return to form, the Mets will enter the season with a huge boost in psyche. Thursday, he took another big step forward. The left-handed ace faced hitters for the first time since September.

“I felt pretty good,” Santana said (Associated Press). “I was able to throw for the first time having hitters standing up at the plate and swinging the bat. It was pretty good.

“I was told I was going to be challenged from those guys and I had to step up and do my thing. I was able to come in and throw my fastballs inside and see how they react and to be able to throw my changeup. Overall, it was good.” (AP)

Santana will next start against the Cardinals in a split-squad game Tuesday. He's scheduled to throw either two innings or 40 pitches, whatever he hits first.

Other minor injury news and updates -- major news like back surgery would be covered in its own post -- from Thursday in spring training:

• Star Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was hit in the hand with a pitch during an intrasquad game. That's scary, because hand bones are routinely broken when hitters are struck with a pitched ball in baseball. Longoria and the Rays dodged a bullet, though, as X-rays were negative and it's merely a bruise. Longoria is listed as day-to-day. (TampaBay.com)

Marlins ace Josh Johnson missed the majority of last season with shoulder issues. He threw 37 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday and reports that he feels "good" and is "tired of the screen in front of" him. He'll get his chance to throw without the L-screen Monday, when he starts Miami's spring opener against the Cardinals. (Fish Tank blog)

Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum has some "tenderness" in his right (throwing) shoulder and will back off his throwing program a bit. Worry not, though, the Brewers say because Marcum was already going to dial it back this spring after having such a big workload last season -- only two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

"We don't need throw 20 innings in Spring Training," Marcum said (MLB.com). "That's pointless. Spring Training is so long for everybody, by the end of it you're wasting pitches and wasting time."

Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was kept out of workouts Thursday with a mild left ankle sprain, but it sounds like a precautionary measure.

"I don't want to flare it up any more than it is," said LaRoche (MASNSports.com). "There's no point right now risking dragging this thing out for another week if we can knock it out in a couple days. I would rather get some throwing in, get some swings and just try to stay off of it as far as running."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:38 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 12:48 pm
 

Showtime series to feature Guillen's Marlins

Ozzie Guillen

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Let the Ozzie show begin.

The Miami Marlins will be featured in this season of Showtime's The Franchise, MLB and the network announced on Monday. Last year the Giants were featured in the six-episode show that followed the Giants from spring training through the season.

The Marlins  are the perfect choice for the series, with not only new manager Ozzie Guillen, but also a new ballpark, new uniforms and new stars in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Throw the ever-volatile Carlos Zambrano into the mix and you may have some television magic.

The 2012 version of the series has already started filming. The Miami Herald reported last week that a camera crew from Major League Baseball filmed the team's meeting with free-agent Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes last week in Miami, while Monday's release from MLB and Showtime noted the production has already begun.

The Marlins seem ideal for the task, just looking at the players on the team, and their new manager.

While Guillen will get plenty of face time to be sure, there's also several other entertaining players on the team. Outfielder Logan Morrison has made more of a name for himself with his antics on Twitter than his play on the field, while Bell is one of the game's great characters.

Then there's real-life baseball reasons to follow -- how will Hanley Ramirez take to moving to third base? How about Josh Johnson's return from shoulder inflammation that cost him the majority of 2011. And then there's just the sheer baseball thrill of watching Mike Stanton, one of the best young players in the game. Add a new park, new expectations and the fact that the pay-cable channel won't bleep Guillen and the Marlins were easily the best choice for Showtime -- and the viewers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: December 18, 2011 2:24 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Miami Marlins

Miguel Cabrera

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The new-look Miami Marlins went out and spent some cash on big free agents this offseason, but had that cash been around (or, you know, owner Jeffrey Loria willing to spend it before getting his new ballpark), the team could have kept some of the notable talent in South Florida. While the Marlins sent Josh Beckett and Miguel Cabrera out after winning a World Series, it's intriguing to think of what could have been had the Marlins stayed homegrown.

Lineup

1. Logan Morrison, CF
2. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Mike Stanton, RF
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Alex Gonzalez, SS
7. Brett Hayes, C
8. Robert Andino, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Josh Johnson
2. Josh Beckett
3. Chris Volstad
4. Jason Vargas
5. Livan Hernandez

Bullpen

Closer - Steve Cishek
Set up - Chris Resop, Chris Leroux, Sandy Rosario, Alex Sanabia, Rick VandenHurk
Long - Brad Hand

Notable Bench Players

The bench is deep and versatile, including young and old alike, infielders and outfielders. Some of those guys include Gaby Sanchez, Edgar Renteria, Ross Gload, Matt Dominguez, Mark Kotsay, Chris Coghlan and Jeremy Hermida. Of those, Sanchez and Dominguez are good, young players that are just blocked by superstars, while the rest are clearly bench players.

What's Good?

Gonzalez, Cabrera, Stanton? Does any pitcher want to face that heart of the order? That's two MVP-worthy players plus the best young power hitter in the game. The bottom of the lineup offers a respite, but it's not like it's a wasteland. The top of the rotation can stand in just about any postseason series, throwing Johnson and Beckett back-to-back.

What's Not?

Of course, once you get past the two Joshes, things get a little easier. And once you get past them to the bullpen, the road gets a little easier, as well. Cishek may one day be a closer, and had three saves last year, but there's a reason the team went out and signed Heath Bell. Morrison probably isn't the first choice to play center field, but he's athletic enough to do it, and having Stanton in right helps out, as well. Cabrera hasn't played third base since 2008, but it was a way to fudge the lineup a bit. 

Comparison to real 2011

The Marlins were 72-90 in 2011, the same as their Pythagorean record. Of course, they didn't have Johnson for most of the season, so it's hard to really predict where he'd be with this squad. This team is probably better than the 2011 team, scoring more runs, but also struggling in the rotation, just as the regular Marlins did. Better than the 2011 team, this team is not as good as the 2012 team is shaping up to be.

Next: San Francisco Giants

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 3:06 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 10:28 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Florida Marlins

MarlinsBy Evan Brunell

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Florida Marlins
Record: 72-89, 29 games back in NL East
Manager: Jack McKeon (replaced Edwin Rodriguez, who resigned on June 19)
Best hitter: Mike Stanton -- .263/.357/.540, 34 HR, 87 RBI, 4.5 WAR
Best pitcher: Anibal Sanchez -- 8-9, 3.67 ERA ,3.35 xFIP, 196 1/3 IP, 64 BB, 202 K

The Marlins haven't been heard from much on the field since 2003, when they took down the Yankees to win their second World Series. Since then, the club has been in the news for their miserly spending, firing two well-regarded managers in Joe Girardi and Fredi Gonzalez and their owner's irrationality. The last few seasons, owner Jeffrey Loria has believed this team can contend, but anyone who actually looks at the club thinks otherwise. However, entering 2011, there was some hope for contention, but it all unraveled.

2011 SEASON RECAP

There's no doubting that the Marlins had a season to forget. The team's prized offseason acquisition that was supposed to give the club a formidable rotation, Javier Vazquez, stumbled to a 5.23 ERA in the first half. Meanwhile, team ace Josh Johnson continued his injury woes by only making nine starts.

And yet, the team got off to a strong start, posting a 16-9 record in April. They kept it up in May with a 15-13 record, and it looked like the Marlins might finally be players for the first time since 2009 (and before that, 2003 when they won the World Series). But Johnson's injury and Vazquez's ineffectiveness caught up with the team along with Hanley Ramirez's bizarre slow start to the year, causing the Fish to collapse in June and cost manager Edwin Rodriguez his job. Rodriguez resigned in the midst of an 11-game losing streak, which Jack McKeon snapped the second game after taking over. The team rebounded in July with a 17-10 mark, but collapsed yet again in August with a 7-20 mark once Hanley Ramirez hit the shelf for the remainder of the year, and it was over. At that point, the Marlins became known more for off-the-field headlines than on, demoting top prospect Logan Morrison to the minors in a thinly-veiled attempt to curtail Morrison's tweeting (@LoMoMarlins) and other off-the-field issues.

2012 AUDIT

The Marlins head into the offseason with heavy expectations on hand and a bit of a front-office restructuring, with Loria and team president David Samson taking on more of a role in baseball operations since the Marlins' moves the last few seasons haven't quite panned out under president Larry Beinfest and GM Michael Hill. Even if Beinfest leaves after being marginalized, it will be business as usual in Florida as the team is going through a facelift, finally abandoning the horrid Sun Life Stadium in favor of their own baseball-only park. In addition, the team is undergoing a name change to the Miami Marlins and has a new (not well-received) logo to boot. The Fish are taking this chance seriously to win over new fans and start a new beginning, hoping that baseball will finally start being viable in the Sunshine State. They're even willing to approach $100 million in payroll, reports say, which is a stark divergence from their penny-pinching ways.

On Wednesday, the last day of the 2011 regular season, the Marlins began their offseason by hiring Ozzie Guillen to manage and handing him a lucrative $10-million deal to manage Miami over the next four seasons. This hiring adds credibility to the team, both for being able to get a well-respected manager with a World Series ring (2005) and showing that the team will open their checks. However, they still have a difficult avenue ahead of them, with the powerhouse Phillies, elite Braves and emerging Nationals. If MIami has any hope of competing, they need to be serious about acquiring assets in the offseason to build out the rotation and add more bats to a team seriously deficient in offense.

FREE AGENTS

Jose Lopez, 2B
Javier Vazquez, SP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The Marlins, ever since they showed just how serious they were in being players on the free-agent market, have been linked to the three top targets -- Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson. However, Pujols and Fielder both play first base and the club already has Gaby Sanchez at that position. While Sanchez is far from quality enough to block Pujols and Fielder, Logan Morrison is also a first baseman masquerading as a left fielder, so it's hard to envision the Marlins grabbing a first-baseman. Not to mention, even with the Marlins reportedly serious about laying out as much as $60 million in free agency, it's still a tremendous risk for the Marlins to get locked in a long-term contract.

For Miami to take the next step, and yet keep their team viable for long-term success, they should look to do the following...
  • Sign Aramis Ramirez to play third base. The Marlins really need to boost their offense, and Ramirez is a logical fit, even before Ozzie Guillen headed to Florida. Ramirez said the Marlins were an attractive team with Guillen, but warm weather and proximity to Ramirez's home of the Dominican Republic is also important. The Marlins are willing to throw money around, but Ramirez would be a better fit than Pujols or Fielder, filling a position of need while coming at a short-term cost, at least compared to Fielder and Pujols. In addition, Ramirez wouldn't break the bank, allowing the Marlins to...
  • Sign Hisashi Iwakuma. The Japanese pitcher was posted last season, but couldn't come to an agreement with the Athletics. Now a free agent, Iwakuma is free to sign with any baseball team. It's difficult to envision the Marlins signing C.J. Wilson, but Iwakuma makes much more sense. At a lower cost, the Marlins can get a viable starting pitcher to plug into the rotation. The failure of Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a lot of teams skittish on Iwakuma, opening the door for the Marlins to sign the lefty. The club also needs to convince Javier Vazquez to come back for another year, giving the club a rotation of Johnson, Sanchez, Vazquez and Iwakuma to start.
  • Additionally, the club could use a closer. Even if Leo Nunez -- er, Juan Carlos Oviedo -- comes back, the team could use an upgrade. There's a ton of closers hitting the free-agent market, and Huston Street will be available from Colorado. Given the team will already have made two commitments in Ramirez and Iwakuma, the better move would be to go after Street, with just $7 million left on his deal running through 2012. But Street isn't a sexy name, and the Marlins will want to make headlines. Ramirez and Iwakuma aren't splashes, but signing Francisco Rodriguez? That's a splash, but it might cost the Marlins a first round pick. Brad Lidge and Jonathan Broxton wouldn't require first-rounders, but are risks. Jonathan Papelbon would be a better target than Rodriguez, unless Milwaukee declines arbitration on K-Rod, which is entirely possible.
  • The Marlins need to show patience with their internal candidates. Logan Morrison hasn't been a force right away as some hoped, but the talent is there for him to break out. Similarly, Chris Coghlan had a lost season to ineffectiveness and injury, but is won the Rookie of the Year award in 2009 for a reason.
These moves all minimize Miami losing draft picks, don't lock the team into any long-term commitments they may become unable to sustain, address clear deficiencies on their team and would put them in position to contend.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 11:56 am
 

Posture to blame for Josh Johnson's injuries?

JohnsonBy Evan Brunell

Josh Johnson's shoulder injuries are nothing new. He was sidelined in May with what was thought to be a tame case of shoulder inflammation that has instead knocked him out for the year. It's the latest setback in a career of setbacks, instead of being a career of dominance.

Over the last three years, Johnson has made 70 starts with a 2.64 ERA, checking in at 1.64 over nine starts this year. But over the same time period, J.J. has had four problems with his shoulder or forearm, plus nine total across a career that started in 2006.

Now, though, Johnson may have made a breakthrough after a physical therapist suggested his shoulder injury this year was the cause of slouching as a result of "tall man's syndrome."

The right-hander certainly qualifies, checking in at a towering 6-foot-7. Now, Johnson is keeping an eye on his posture and wearing a shirt that is customized to keep his shoulders back, relieving pressure on his scapula, or simply the shoulder bone that connects the collarbone with the upper arm. Teammates have noticed the change, saying he stands taller.

“It’s a matter of posture and a bunch of stuff that just kind of led up to it,” Johnson told the Miami Herald. “Years and years of being tall, you’re always slouching down. ... Your shoulder’s not in a good place. You start leaning over when you’re throwing. It snowballs.”

Johnson reported he was able to get extension on his pitches Monday in his first bullpen session since June, throwing 21 fastballs. He wasn't able to get extension in June, so this was a significant step forward.

“Felt strong,” Johnson said. “Totally different [from June]. I wish I could go out there now and pitch.”

Pitching coach Randy St. Claire concurred, saying, “I think he could step on a mound and get guys out [Tuesday].”

The 27-year-old will throw again on Wednesday, but is definitely not returning to the big-league team this season. He does harbor hope of throwing in a game somewhere in October, just so he can go into the offseason with confidence.

The Marlins are gearing up for a major push this offseason, spiking payroll as high as possibly $80 million -- this after checking in under $60 million for 2011 -- as the team moves into a new stadium. It's going to be an important year for the Marlins, who are hoping the combination of a new stadium and competitive team will kickstart the fading market in Florida and make baseball viable.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:31 pm
 

Johnson won't start again in 2011, Hanley update

By Matt Snyder

Marlins ace pitcher Josh Johnson won't start again the rest of the season, though he's going to throw from the mound at least a few times the rest of the way, even if it's only simulated action.

“He is just getting on the mound now, and he has 27 days to get all the way ramped up," Marlins president Larry Beinfest said (Fish Tank blog). "We just want to get him on the mound, even if it’s simulated in Jupiter and just have him feel good and tell us that he feels good ... "

“You rewind this whole thing we thought it was gonna be a two-week thing and that was four months ago.”

Yes, we're coming up on four months. Johnson last pitched on May 16. All you ever heard about a timetable when relating to Johnson's inflamed right shoulder was that there was no timetable -- but they'd know more in a few weeks. And things just kept lingering and lingering. Now, it appears he'll end the season with a 3-1 record and 1.64 ERA. It's too bad, as he looked to be in prime form to contend for a Cy Young award. Instead, he's a 27-year-old veteran who has only made 30 or more starts in a season one time. He's had Tommy John surgery and this now this inflammation issue.

The other man who was expected to be a face of the franchise as the Marlins finally moved into a baseball-only facility in 2012 is Hanley Ramirez, and his season is also in jeopardy.

The update for Thursday is that no structural damage was found in Ramirez's MRI, but it's unstable as it's fallen out of socket recently. Surgery is still a possibility and the recovery time from such a procedure would be anywhere from four to eight months.

“He’s not going to be activated Friday and we need to get it taken care of. Again, we will have more clarity this weekend exactly what that means," Beinfest said (Fish Tank blog).

Considering the Marlins are going nowhere in 2011, it seems like Ramirez should just get the surgery done as soon as possible.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 7, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Marlins' Buck a NuttyBuddy believer

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You've seen the video… and if you haven't, well, you must:

The NuttyBuddy may be able to take a direct shot from a pitching machine, but Marlins catcher John Buck says he's broken two this year alone. That said, a broken piece of plastic is better than a broken... well, a ball to the... OK, you know... 

Saturday night, Chris Carpenter fouled off a bunt attempt in the sixth inning of the Cardinals' 2-1 victory that bounced off the ground and straight up into Buck's… NuttyBuddy.

 

"I felt like I was gonna throw up," Buck told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "That hurt really bad."

Yeah. I bet.

Buck didn't realize the cup cracked until he was talking to reporters before Sunday's game and noticed a crack.

"Broken cup number two," he said.

He also broke a cup in May in Cincinnati when he was hit by a Josh Johnson fastball -- Johnson signed the cup and Buck put it in his trophy room.

Buck stayed in the game Saturday, but is getting a regularly scheduled day off Sunday.

After May's incident, Buck was still a fan of the NuttyBuddy -- "I think it saved me [in May]," Buck told Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post days after the first incident. He said after he got his cup broken last year when a member of the Blue Jays, their clubhouse guy said Rod Barajas used the NuttyBuddy and suggested Buck try it.

Now Buck's a believer. And a survivor.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com