The Marlins are showing off their new ballpark with some new players. They added SS Jose Reyes, RHP Heath Bell and LHP Mark Buehrle along with RHP Carlos Zambrano.Of course, they brought in manager Ozzie Guillen from the Chicago White Sox. Hanley Ramirez has made the transition to 3B.
Reyes (.337, 7, 44, 16 3B), of course, will lead off. Emilio Bonafacio (.296, 5, 36, 40 SB) will play CF for the Marlins this season. Ramirez (.243, 10, 45) hopes to revert back to his 2009 form (.342, 24, 106) and Giancarlo (do not call me Mike) Stanton hit .262, 34, 87 last year. Logan Morrison (.247, 23, 72), Gabby Sanchez (.266, 19, 78) and John Buck (.227, 16, 57) can all hit. Omar Infante (.276, 7, 49) plays a good defensive 2B and does a lot of the little things well. Aaron Rowand is attempting a comeback and could be in the mix for CF.
Josh Johnson remains the team's ace. He was 3-1, 1.64 in 9 starts before his season was cut short in 2011. The team looks much better with him than without him and he needs to shake his injury history. Buehrle (13-9, 3.59) comes from Chicago along with Guillen and Ricky Nolasco (10-12, 4.67), Anibal Sanchez (8-9, 3.67) and Zambrano (9-7, 4.82) round out the rotation. I have predicted Sanchez to have a big season this year before hitting the free agent market next year. Wade Le Blanc (5-6, 4.63), acquired from the Padres, is a sleeper when it comes to making the Marlins rotation.
Bell (3-4, 2.44, 43 saves) gives the Marlins a late inning option. Juan Carlos Oviedo, the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, is still restricted and is expected to join the Marlins this season. He was the former Marlins closer (1-4, 4.06, 36 saves) and will be the 8th inning reliever giving them a nice one two punch. Michael Dunn (5-6, 3.43, 72 games) and Ryan Webb (2-4, 3.20, 53) take the ball for the 7th. Watch out for Jose Ceda (0-1, 4.43, 17 games), he is expected to land a major role in the bullpen.
The Marlins got off to a great start last season and played like one of the worst teams in baseball after that. They will be better this year. Vegas has them at 82.5, and I say they will be over at 85-77, 2nd place in the NL East. I think that leaves them short of making the postseason.