Ehsan, our fearless leader (and source of all wisdom here at the Maniac) and I got into a brief text-message skirmish yesterday over the fate of Steve Cishek. His argument is that while the buzz on him is high, the front office should trade him to a contending team that is in desperate need of a solid closer. In return, the Marlins could pick up a couple of high-level infield prospects that have the potential to shore up weaknesses at first and third. My counter-argument was that we need the services of the deceptive submariner to backstop any leads we eke out until guys like Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez are ready to move up, and that we need guys like Juan Pierre in the clubhouse once they do come up.
The discussion served to illuminate two schools of thought on this year’s Marlins club. The first is that of our Editor: execute a complete roster teardown, Houston style, and develop our high-speed farm system to take the NL East by storm in 2016. In the other dugout, my thinking is that there is some baseball sense in the trade. While guys like Placido olanco, Juan Pierre, Chone Figgins and Kevin Kouzmanoff are placeholders, they are guys with years of big-league experience and plenty to teach the young roster of future all-stars. Those of us who have been following this spring closely have seen the early effects of veteran influence; Rob Brantly’s defensive skills are improving rapidly under the tutelage of the new skipper.
Retreading Juan Pierre was probably the best off-season move by the club. His work ethic and stability will do wonders for the clubhouse morale. Hiring Mike Redmond will remain an unknown until the results start coming in, but the initial indications are positive. Furthermore, in a short period of time, Brantly, Cishek, and a few others have earned the respect of the fans, and have given the fans some hope for this year. It may not be enough to put butts in seats at Marlins Park, but it will be enough to keep the cable bills paid and the newsstands in operation while the front office tries to salvage one of the worst PR disasters since the memorable ad campaign run by the White Star Line in 1912.
Most sources are in agreement that 2013 will be another bottom-of-the-heap season for the Marlins. I concur, given the makeup of the NL East. Hopefully, however, we’ll be able to bring up our young guys quickly and give the Mets something to fret about at night. For sure, I see the season ending with a better win-loss record than the smackdown that was the 2012 season. I also think it’s critical to have a veteran core in the clubhouse to help bring our talented young players up to the major league level in a sane, productive way.