Fish Bites

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I’d like to offer you today some quick Fish Bites for your consumption. Do take them kindly.

– So more than a few Marlins have been signed to arbitration deals. Cody Ross remains the only unsigned Marlin, and obviously he’ll be heading to an arbitration hearing. However, as Clark Spencer tweets here, the difference between their two figures is a staggering $250K. Considering the usual differences are in the $1M+ range, I’m guessing that this arbitration hearing will be as mild as it gets. Sure enough, it doesn’t sound like there are any hard feelings between the two parties.

– Marc Hulet of FanGraphs is doing his minor league and draft review series this offseason, and he’s finally arrived at the Marlins yesterday. Here was his review of the Marlins’ last four drafts. As you probably already know, those drafts have been, well, bad. Mostly. Outside of 2007, I think we can only really bank on getting decent performance from Chris Coghlan. Hopefully the young pitchers we drafted in 2009, particularly Chad James (ranked fourth in John Sickels’ Marlins organization rankings) pan out well for us.

– Apparently the building of the new stadium is going “green.” The site is looking to get certified as LEED Silver (LEED is a program that recognizes the eco-friendly buildings in terms of their environmental impact). This would be a cool thing to have happen.

– So here’s an article on the Marlins’ recent trouble with MLB and the MLBPA that made little sense. The author asserts that the reason why the Marlins were hand-slapped was because they’re doing a good job. Huh? Yes, they are doing a good job, as we can all mostly attest to as fans of the team. I’m just not sure how this has anything to do with the Marlins’ performance. It has everything to do with the fact that the team houses the lowest payroll in baseball regularly and makes more from central fund money and revenue sharing than it pays out to its payroll.

Here’s the big finish.

Forcing the Marlins to sign free agents does not make the Marlins better. Elite players won’t come to Florida, unless they care more about living in Miami than winning a World Series every year. In which case why would you want them? Second-tier free agents would be overpaid and block their young players. The only benefit seems to be keeping the gravy train running for MLB veterans.

The end may be correct, but isn’t the job of the Players Association to help its members? As for the rest of it, I’m not really sure what’s going on. The Marlins would not be spending such dramatically large amounts of money anyway. It would likely be enough to increase payroll from $35M annually to $50M annually, reaching levels we saw in 2003-2005. And actually, provided the free agents signed are better than the incumbents available, the Marlins would improve the team by signing. It isn’t as if the club has no holes to plug; if it did, we’d be winning the division every year. Every team has weak areas, including the Marlins.

– Now, on to some other links. Over at the other site for which I write, Beyond the Box Score (check it out!), we have up our first annual Sabermetric Awards (tentatively known as the Sabers)! Check out the voting for all of it, starting with the Best Novel Research of 2009!

– If you didn’t like my little primer on wOBA (I’m sure you liked it, I know you liked it), check out friend of the Maniac Mike Rogers’ work over at Bless You Boys.

–  You might recall I used the Fans as part of my projection for the Marlins’ season next year. Well, Tom Tango brings up an interesting bit regarding the optimism of the fans. In general, I’d say you’d expect to see the Fans be optimistic, but much of this is indeed probably related to over-projecting playing time. Also, as commenters later noted in the thread, you will likely see random seasons of breakdown from individual players that are almost impossible to predict/project (think Mike Lowell in 2005) which will bring down the true value of total WAR without being something that could be foreseen. Some work remains to be done to find out what’s the deal here.

– Let’s talk some FanSided goodies, folks. Wally Fish of Kings of Kauffman is doing a cool series called Market Fresh, where he looks at recently released/DFA’d players to see if they wouldn’t be a bad fit for the Kansas City Royals. Here’s the first one I found on Brandon Jones.

– Remember when Josh Johnson was signed to a long-term deal? Apparently the Seattle Mariners wanted to get something done with their ace as well, and they went ahead and locked up Felix Hernandez for five years yesterday. I don’t think I need to tell you that the guys at SodoMojo are excited.

– Adam Garnett of Rising Apple is as upset at the Carlos Beltran situation as everyone else in Mets nation.

– Justin Klugh of That Balls Outta Here puts up a confusing title name and a ridiculous picture of Shane Victorino. He also has some thoughts on the future of the Philadelphia Phillies’ outfield, but my eyes were drawn to the ridiculous picture. Sorry, Justin.

– Smitty over at Rum Bunter thinks the lack of performance incentives in Zack Duke’s new deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates is a bit odd.

– Dustin Staggers over at Rayhawk Review is doing a review of many of the Tampa Bay Rays’ players on the roster. I was particularly interested in the one on B.J. Upton. I think Upton should regress back up this season, but even if he doesn’t, his value with the glove in center field is enough to make him a league average player usually. I’d remind Dustin that the Bill James projections are often a bit optimistic.

– Finally, check out our new blogger for the Cleveland Indians, Ed over at Deep Left Field. His first post is pretty good too; here he makes a case for trying Andy Marte again. He cites the sample size, broken into four or so different seasons, as a reason to give the guy a shot. I agree, but the time is definitely running out. Marte isn’t a youngster anymore, and the room left for improvement has to be dwindling.

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