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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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.


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


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

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 8:34 am

Yoenis Cespedes strikes back with new video

Yoenis Cespedes
By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Marlins, Red Sox, Phillies, Tigers and Cubs have all seen Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes work out -- and how do we know? Cespedes' agent has released another video on YouTube, featuring Cespedes' workouts and pictures of the 26-year-old with the likes of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager Ozzie Guillen, Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan, the Phillies' Pat Gillick and the Tigers' Willie Horton. There's also video of what the caption tells us is a private workout for the Cubs.

While the new video isn't as entertaining or outlandish as the one that introduced us to Cespedes last month, but it does show a lot more of why teams are interested in him -- as Cespedes not only shows off his impressive workout skills, but also baseball skills in nearly 10 minutes of batting practice footage, in addition to sprints and outfield drills.

Sadly, there are no cooking segments this time, even though the Star Wars-style intro remains, but there is a bonus scene after the credits, so make sure you stick around.

H/T: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:16 pm

Marlins' Ramirez still mum about move to third

Hanley Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It sounds like the Marlins are doing everything they can to help Hanley Ramirez adjust to the thought of playing third base -- or trying to drive up the price for him by making it appear they aren't looking to trade the disgruntled former shortstop who has been pushed aside for free-agent signee Jose Reyes.

"It may take a little time for him to get comfortable" with the idea of moving, Marlins president Larry Beinfest told the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson.

Beinfest said he wouldn't divulge specifics about his discussions with Ramirez, but did note that he's talked to Ramirez quite a bit. He notes Ramirez is excited to play for new manager Ozzie Guillen, who may just have to convince him to man up and accept the move. Beinfest said it much nicer, noting Ramirez's "pride."

"Even though we communicated with him and let him know what our intentions were in terms of Jose, he was the shortstop for six years, a very good one," Beinfest said. "We've asked him to move to third. Sometimes it takes a little time for things to sink in. I think he realizes we're a better team with Jose."

It's pretty hard not to come to that conclusion. Ramirez has looked more and more like a third baseman, physically, in recent years and the 28-year-old Reyes is easily superior to Ramirez defensively -- and even if the two were equal, Ramirez is more suited to third than Reyes.

An official told Jackson that the team isn't pressuring Ramirez, but would like him to publicly announce he was willing to move, but it's still two months before pitchers and catchers report, so there's no real hurry to do so -- or hurt his feelings by pressing the situation. The team can let Guillen talk to him and slowly sell him on the idea.

One person who hasn't talked to Ramirez is Reyes.

"I think he wants to be here," Reyes told Jackson. "He wants to win. I want to win, too. Hanley is one of the best players in the game. We are very good friends. I'm going to tell him I'm very excited to play with him. I think we can be one of the best left sides of the infields in history."

The Yankees had the same problem -- if you call two superstars on one team a "problem" -- when Alex Rodriguez joined the team and deferred to the incumbent, Derek Jeter at short. That worked out, in part because one player put his ego aside (if even temporarily) to make the move. If Ramirez won't do that, the Marlins could be stuck with another pouting star and appear desperate to deal him. If they keep his pouting under wraps and remain steadfast in their public stance that he'll be fine, they get a semblance of leverage in a trade. Otherwise, he's a player without a position and an attitude problem -- both things that hurt his trade value.

In the end, it looks like this will all work out, but there's two months until anyone's actually in uniform, so this is what we have to talk about.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 6:55 pm

Eye on Photos: Marlins new ballpark

By Matt Snyder

The Marlins new ballpark is set to open in 2012 -- which is why they were trying to spend money like madmen at the Winter Meetings -- and it's now more than 90 percent complete, according to team officials. Tuesday, members of the local media were treated to a tour of the entire facility.

Joe Capozzi (Twitter handle: joecapMARLINS) of the Palm Beach Post's Fish Tank blog was kind enough to let us post the following pictures that he took on the tour. Check out the pictures below. Click on any individual picture for a full size (630x500 px).

This will be the spacious Marlins' clubhouse. The steps leading up to the center-field seating area. 
A nice view from center field, overlooking the entire playing surface, facing home plate. 
The view of home plate from the left field foul pole, almost literally. 
Nice view of the playing surface from the press box, which would be a similar view to nearly any seat in the area.  An announcer scouts out his new view ... 
This is an indoor batting cage, that will have a viewing area, so fans can watch players take batting practice. A view of right field from seats on the third base side of the stadium. 

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:05 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 7:24 pm

Burke Badenhop traded to Rays

By Matt Snyder

The two teams from Florida have completed a trade, sending right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop from Miami to Tampa Bay, the Rays announced on Twitter. The Marlins get minor-league catcher Jake Jefferies in return.

Hot Stove Season
The move feels vintage Andrew Friedman, the Rays' executive who seems to have a knack for grabbing relievers on the cheap and having them come through with a good season. Kyle Farnsworth last season is a great example, just as Joaquin Benoit (2010) and several others have been in the past four years.

Badenhop, 28, had a 4.10 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 63 2/3 innings last season for the Marlins. Sabermetric stats showed he pitched much better than those numbers and suffered from bad fortune. His FIP was 2.95 and BABIP allowed was a high .327. So if things regress to the norm, Badenhop's numbers will come down.

Also, he is very cheap. He'll likely make between $1 million and $2 million bucks through arbitration each of the next two seasons before hitting free agency.

Jefferies, 24, hit just .238/.282/.327 with two home runs in 242 plate appearances between High-A and Double-A. He was a third round pick in the 2008 draft.

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 3:34 pm

Hero of the day: Marlins catcher John Buck

By Matt Snyder

We have to write about players for bad reasons -- suspensions for failing drug tests, arrests, etc. -- so it's fun when there is a reason to write something glowing about a player's off-field activity. And we have a great nugget on this Monday afternoon. Marlins catcher John Buck helped rescue two elderly women from an overturned vehicle late last week.

Buck reportedly arrived at the site of a car accident one minute after it happened near the Sawgrass Mall in Sunrise, Florida. He ran to the overturned car to help two others pull the two women from the car. From palmbeachpost.com:
“It wasn’t that serious,’’ he said. “But the car upside down and the way it landed, the two older ladies were pretty lucky.’’

Buck didn’t stick around too long – he was on his way to pick up his son from school.

“I pulled them out, then the police came, I gave my report and was like, ‘Guess my job’s over.’ So I took off.’’
Whether Buck thought it was serious or not is irrelevant. He rushed over to help a pair of elderly ladies who had just been in a car accident. Kudos to him for being a Good Samaritan and then staying humble about it afterward.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:41 pm

Best free agents left after winter meetings

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings are over and some of the biggest names on the free-agent market are off the table, but that doesn't mean the hot stove has died out. So, the day after Albert Pujols and the Angels shocked the baseball world, here's a look at the top five position players and pitchers left on the market:

Postition players

Prince Fielder1. Prince Fielder -- The 27-year-old Fielder is the biggest fish left on the market, averaging more than 38 home runs in his six full seasons in the big leagues and posting a .929 career OPS. Whoever lands Fielder will get a shot to the lineup. The knock is Fielder's weight and the length of a contract.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins

Carlos Beltran2. Carlos Beltran -- Beltran's been a bit of a forgotten name in all the winter meetings talk. Beltran will be 35 in April and just finished a seven-year deal with the Mets. After being limited by injuries in his last two seasons, Beltran had a bounce-back year, hitting .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers and 84 RBI and doing that in two home ballparks not known to be friendly to hitters, Citi Field and AT&T Park. He can still play center field, but is probably better suited on a corner.

Possible landing spots: Cardinals, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mariners, Cubs

Aramis Ramirez3. Aramis Ramirez -- Even though he has 14 years in the big leagues under his belt, Ramirez is just 33 and coming off a .306/.361/.510 season with 26 homers and 93 RBI. A two-time All-Star, he's by far the best third baseman on the market -- and it's not even close.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Phillies, Marlins

Michael Cuddyer4. Michael Cuddyer -- Cuddyer will be 33 in March and can play both the corner outfield and infield spots, offering teams a versatile player. He hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers last season and hit 32 homers in 2009 before the Twins moved to spacious Target Field. The Twins have reportedly already offered him a three-year deal, as have the Rockies.

Possible landing spots: Rockies, Twins, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox

Jimmy Rollins5. Jimmy Rollins -- It seems odd to consider the 2007 MVP in anything but a Phillies uniform, but Pujols is now in California, so anything's possible. Rollins' offensive numbers have dropped off since his MVP season, but he still plays a premium position -- and one a couple of teams need to fill. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Rollins turned 33 last month. If he re-signs with the Phillies, it could be his last contract. Rollins is reportedly searching for a five-year contract, a tactic that may scare away every team other than the Phillies.

Possible landing spots: Phillies, Cardinals


Yu Darvish1. Yu Darvish -- The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander will reportedly be posted and has been seen as perhaps the best starter available. There's no shortage of teams that could be interested in Darvish, but the history of recent big-ticket Japanese pitchers could scare off some suitors and keep the posting fee lower than expected. Once his team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighers, accept the posting, the winning team still has to negotiate with Darvish. The posting system, though, gives a chance for a surprise team to emerge the winner.

Possible landing spots: Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals

Hiroki Kuroda2. Hiroki Kuroda -- There's no question of how Kuroda will perform in the big leagues -- he's gone 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers. Kuroda had a 13-16 record in 2011, despite putting up just a 3.07 ERA. He told the team he wouldn't give up his no-trade protection at the trade deadline, but the Dodgers have already found replacements for him in the rotation. He has one offer on the table already from the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but would make more money in the U.S.

Possible landing spots: Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, Carp

Edwin Jackson3. Edwin Jackson -- The fact that Jackson has already played for six different teams and he's just 28 may raise some flags, but he's also had six teams want him at some point and for good reason. Although Jackson has battled inconsistency, he's still had results at times. He was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the Cardinals and White Sox last season. He's not a No. 1, but he's younger than some of the other second-tier starters on the market, increasing his value.

Possible landing spots: Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Orioles

Ryan Madson4. Ryan Madson -- Even though there were reports the right-hander had agreed to return to the Phillies earlier this offseason, the team turned to Jonathan Papelbon instead. The Red Sox, who along with the Reds, are still searching for a closer could end up signing Madson and seem the best fit. In his firs tseason as the Phillies' closer, Madson recorded 32 saves, going 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Phillies

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero -- Like Madson, Cordero seems to be on the outside of the closer game of musical chairs. The Red Sox and Reds are the only team left looking for a closer. The Reds were interested in bringing back Cordero with a discount after declining their $12 million option on the 36-year-old right-hander. Cordero converted 37 saves last season and 150 in four years in Cincinnati.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Twins

Follow all the free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker 

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 3:46 pm

Marlins giving mixed signals on Fielder

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Despite statements that made it sound otherwise, the Marlins may not necessarily be out of the running for Prince Fielder.

While team president David Samson said the team never "pinpointed" Fielder, owner Jeffrey Loria didn't rule him out when asked by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

"I don't know about that," Loria told Capozzi. "I don't know. We'll see."

Earlier during the press conference to introduce Mark Buehrle, Samson was asked if the team turned its attention to Fielder after losing out to Albert Pujols.

"We withdrew (the Pujols) offer once we signed Buehrle," Samson said (via Capozzi). "We never had pinpointed Fielder by any stretch at all. It was always Albert from the beginning as someone we were gonna look at. The number one priority was Jose (Reyes) on the position side and Mark on the pitching side.

"Albert Pujols was an interesting fit if it worked at our parameters and it didn't. We moved on. We never viewed Prince the way we viewed Albert, either on or off the field. Albert Pujols is the best hitter of our generation, your generation and my son's generation. There's Albert and then there's everyone else when it comes to that type of franchise-changing contract."

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