Yes, it is time once again for another edition of Joe Frisaro’s MLB.com inbox, as answered by yours truly, with my snark included. What do we have in store for this week in questions? Let’s dig right in.
I was watching the MLB Network and the broadcasters were discussing what might happen if Albert Pujols doesn’t sign a contract extension with the Cardinals. They mentioned possible clubs if he didn’t return to St. Louis, and one of the teams was the Marlins. With Florida about to move into a new ballpark, is it possible that the organization would be looking to pick up a marquee player like Pujols as a welcoming gift for their fans?
— Benjamin F., Hollywood, Fla.
Hah, no. Consider that, after 2015, the Marlins will probably want to extend Hanley Ramirez. Then consider that the Marlins probably would not extend the payroll past $70-80M even with the new stadium. With Ramirez taking up a lot of the future payroll and Albert Pujols expected to sign for the remainder of his career at almost $30M, there is almost no way the Fish could afford that kind of commitment. By the way, the Marlins have a few marquee players who are already greeting the fans when the team moves to a new stadium; what will be important is picking up the supporting pieces.
The Marlins have a track record of promoting talented young players. Does the organization have one of the better Minor League systems in the game?
— Leo V., San Bruno, Calif.
It depends on what you mean by “Minor League system.” If you mean the overall player developmental system, it can be argued that the Fish have one of the best systems in the league. But if you are talking about the specific set of minor leaguers in the system right now and their major league potential, you are looking at one of the weakest organizations in baseball right now. Basbeall America recently ranked the organization as the second worst in the game at 29th. It isn’t entirely the team’s fault, as it has graduated Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, the two players who were buoying the system’s rankings in recent years. With only Matt Dominguez and the pitchers remaining, the team has very few potential contributors left in the organization. It’s a weak system as of right now.
What are the plans for young arms like Jose Ceda, Jhan Marinez and Daniel Jennings now that the team has acquired bullpen help? They all seem to have good stuff, and they are young.
— Alex F., Cape Coral, Fla.
They’re going to the minors ultimately for various reasons. With the exception of Jose Ceda, none of them are major league ready just yet, and the Marlins bullpen is suddenly very loaded.
If Dewayne Wise has an impressive Spring Training, is it possible that he could play center field and then Chris Coghlan could move back to left? Logan Morrison could move back to first or he could also add depth to the bench and fill the lefty pinch-hit role.
— Steve M., Fredericksburg, Va.
Did you just suggest that a good Spring Training from a minor league signing could push Morrison, one of the Marlins’ three best bats, or even Gaby Sanchez to the bench? Do you want this team to lose games? Dewayne Wise is an awful major leaguer, a career replacement-level player who plays just enough good defense to make up for the fact that he cannot hit major league pitching. Suggesting that he could move into the starting lineup in favor of Morrison is bordering on treason.
The Marlins signed Josh Kroeger to a Minor League contract, and he has been pretty effective playing for Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League. He has speed, power and a good knowledge of the strike zone from the left side. Can he be a good candidate for the lefty bat off the bench? Will Scott Cousins or Bryan Petersen get a stronger look over Kroeger?
— Carlos B., Weston, Fla.
Josh Kroeger is a career .276/.333/.440 hitter in the minors and a .269/.319/.435 hitter in almost 3000 PA at the Triple-A level. Hitting a bit better in the Venezuelan league will not convince me that he is much of a player. Then again, neither is Dewayne Wise. Scott Cousins and Bryan Petersen should get looks to get a bench role/backup outfielder spot now that the Marlins have firmly decided that they do not want to make any good additional signings. For my money, putting Cousins in center field and Coghlan at third base might be even better than having Dominguez start this season.