With Spring Training in full motion and Opening Day around the corner we here at the SportsBros.com take a deeper look into what to watch for with the 2016 Miami Marlins.
1. Jeffrey Loria
Yes everyone’s lovable owner is always at the top of our watch lists, but for dubious reasons, naturally. How long before he starts barking orders at Don Mattingly or challenge Barry Bonds to a fight? It’s great that he told Mike Hill and David Samson that Don Mattingly will be the last manager they get the chance to hire except we all know they don’t make the decisions. The pumpkin shaped head owner with the Napoleon complex is the grand architect, the masturbater, I mean master schemer of this whole team is the one calling the shots. Interestingly enough doesn’t Jeffrey Loria remind you of a villain from the TV show Scooby Doo? I can already hear him say after he gets captured, “I would have run this baseball team into the ground if it wasn’t for those pesky kids.” Ruh-roh Shaggy….
2. Giancarlo Stanton
In his Major League career he has yet to play 150 games in a season. Why you ask? Injuries. Giancarlo just can’t stay healthy and being a $300 million dollar man, he needs to live up to that. Granted when he plays he is monster at the plate with natural power that even the biggest steroid users wish they had. He should be the face of baseball, but too often we see his face on the DL report. If he can stay healthy he has a legitimate shot at the homerun and RBI titles.
3. Barry Bonds
Speaking of steroids. I kid, I kid. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but I’ll save that argument for another blog post. I honestly thought that the hiring of Barry Bonds as the hitting coach was just a PR ploy by Loria to gather attention, albeit not the type of the attention the team needs, for the Marlins right after announcing the Don Mattingly hiring. Think what you will of the man, but he has a plethora of baseball knowledge that I would love to see him impart on some of the younger players on this team. Listening to him in interviews, which is amazing since he hated the media as a player, he really is taking his job seriously and I’ll be honest, I’m shocked. I really thought this was just a PR move, but it seems to be legit and I’m actually looking forward to see him and what he does with these hitters on the Marlins, especially Giancarlo. I think Bonds can really make an impact on that young man’s career.
4. Jose Fernandez
The Marlins ace will have a lot of eyes on him this season and most of those eyes will belong to the scouts from every other team in Major League Baseball. With his agent, Scott Boras, and the Marlins’ brass already at odds over pitch counts, it won’t be long before we say Adios to Jose. The Marlins and Jeffrey Loria are notorious penny pinching cheapskates and with Jose’s agent targeting $30 million a year for his pitching services, Jose has essentially pitched himself out of Miami. The Marlins will never pay that even though they have him locked up for a couple more years. It will be interesting to see if the Marlins move him at the deadline and acquire a ton of talent in return. Who am I kidding it’s the Marlins. They will trade him for a bag of peanuts, 4 Garbage Pail cards and Thundercats t-shirt. It’s a shame that Marlin fans, all 40 left of you, won’t be able to watch him pitch for the next decade because the only real time Loria opens his wallet is to put money in from the other Major League teams.
Ichiro sits a mere 65 hits away from the fabled 3,000 hits club. An amazing feat for any player, but it’s not every day a Marlins player has the opportunity to reach such a milestone. The question is will he get it as his playing time will be severely limited due to the youth ahead of him on the depth chart. Last year he played significantly more due to the Giancarlo injury, but with a relatively healthy Giancarlo, knock on wood, Ichiro may not see the field as much. Being 42 doesn’t play in his favor anyways and it does appear that perhaps his reason for playing past 40 was to chase 3,000 hits and who can blame him. I hope he gets it and I hope he can retire with 3,000 hits and just wait for his name to be called to Canton where he rightfully belongs.