Yesterday on MLBTradeRumors, author Tim Dierkes posted his top 50-free agents and predicted where they would end up. So far this off-season, the Marlins have been linked to each of the top four free agents, Dierkes does not have any of them going to the Marlins though. Here is a look at where he has the top three free agents going:
"1. Albert Pujols – Cardinals.2. Prince Fielder – Mariners.3. Jose Reyes – Brewers.4. C.J. Wilson – Nationals."
The Marlins team would have an instant upgrade by adding any one of these players. Many people are still doubting however if the Marlins are actually legitimate when it comes to spending top dollar on the top free agents. For many fans, if the Marlins strike out on these top four players, they will see the Marlins front office as failures, going into a new stadium without adding top talent. I do not see Fielder going to the Mariners, but that is just my opinion.
Dierkes does have three top-50 free agent players signing with the Marlins. Here’s a look at each player he has taking his talents to South Beach:
"6. Edwin Jackson – Marlins. Jackson, a Scott Boras client, could also make sense for the Nationals and several other teams looking for a 200-inning starter with upside. Since Jackson is only 28, Boras could seek a four-year deal.17. Francisco Rodriguez – Marlins. K-Rod, a Scott Boras client, would like to return to the closing role on a three-year deal. The Marlins would have the opening and the money, if they non-tender Juan Carlos Oviedo.26. Grady Sizemore – Marlins. Sizemore is a classic risk/reward case, and the Marlins don’t seem interested in playing it safe this winter."
Are these moves enough to make the Marlins a contender heading into their new ballpark?
This is a major question Marlins fans will ask over and over again all off-season. First off, the Marlins need to be wise with their money. Just because they finally have some cash to throw around, does not mean that they throw it all away. The team needs to be aggressive spending the money, but at the same time, they have to make solid investments. Let’s take a look at each player individually and see if they are a wise investment for the Marlins.
The Marlins biggest need this off-season is clearly a top-tier starting pitcher that will eat up innings. Is Jackson the guy for this? Well, he has posted 200+ innings in his career twice and actually just needed to record one more out this season to achieve that again. Let’s take a look at his 2011 and career numbers.
The question I have is, is Jackson really much better then Ricky Nolasco or Anibal Sanchez? Jackson is a Scott Boras client, which means he will try to squeeze every year and every penny out of a very tight budgeted team. I see Jackson signing for 4-years $40 million, which is on par to a contract extension Anibal Sanchez is likely to see.
Overall, I say the Marlins would be adding a solid pitcher if they got Jackson. Not a bad move, they could do much worse. This would help strengthen the rotation.
I will start out by saying this on Rodriguez, outside of 2009, Rodriguez’s numbers suggest that he has been a dominant, shut down closer. The Marlins are obviously lacking in that area, regardless if the pitcher formally known as Leo Nunez is a Marlin next season or not. Here is a look at Rodriguez’s career numbers and why he would be a fine addition to the Marlins pen.
Going into the 2012 season, Rodriguez will be at the ripe age of 30-years old and would be an excellent addition to the back of the Marlins pen. With Rodriguez added to the Marlins pen, a strong bunch last season would be that much more improved in 2012. As Dierkes pointed out in his prediction, Rodriguez will be seeking a 3-year deal. For Rodriguez, I am not sure what his market value in terms of money will be and I do not feel comfortable guessing it.
Rodriguez would be another fine add to the Marlins and would help strengthen the 2011 bullpen, which did a decent job.
From 2005 to 2008 you would be hard-pressed to find a better center fielder then Sizemore. Sizemore was an elite fielder, base runner, and hitter for the Cleveland Indians. Between those four seasons, Sizemore posted a 27.4 wins above replacement. However, in 2009, Sizemore was struck by the injury bug and his performance has tailed off since. Sizemore has played in just 210 major league games since the beginning of the 2010 season, including just 71 games last season. Earlier this week, the Indians cut ties with Sizemore. Expect Sizemore to be heavily sought after. If the Marlins can land him, he would be exactly the high-risk/high-reward player the Marlins may need going forward. If Sizemore can bounce back to his previous form, the Marlins would win on a huge gamble. If he does not, I expect him to be cheap enough for the Marlins to be able to cut ties with him as well.
Overall, I am not sure that these moves would be enough to put the Marlins over the top of the Braves or the Phillies to make a deep playoff run. I am in the camp that the Marlins will likely need more then just one star player to be a legitimate contender, but if the Marlins do go out and sign Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, there is no way in hell that I would be complaining.
Now as for Tim Dierke’s predictions, I give him tons of props for being able to do that. It is way too much for me to think about and try to figure out what he each team does. Whether he is accurate or not is a different story, but good job on the predictions.