Go ahead wake up South Florida, because you are really not dreaming. Yes it is true
that your Miami Marlins spent over 200 million dollars this past off season to make your favorite ballclub legitamite playoff contenders in the National League. Spring training is underway in Jupiter and if you look around you will see some pretty high priced new faces like new manager Ozzie Guillen, and prized free agent acquisitions Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Burhle. This year’s squad is already being touted as potential challengers to the mighty Phillies in the NL East and why not? Starting pitching is a key as with most clubs, the health of ace Josh Johnson is paramount to a successful season. Newcomer Burhle is a workhorse who has gone 11 straight seasons with over 200 innings of work and double digit wins. Factor in Carlos Zambrano, Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco and collectively you have a nice group. It will also be interesting to see how this team responds to Guillens in-your-face- tell it like it is style, one thing is certain it will not be boring. Another potentially big issue is how superstar Hanley Ramirez responds to being moved to third base. Ramirez could have ended all speculation by saying though he prefers to remain at short, the Marlins are better with Jose Reyes. He did not say that. The Marlins spent most of the offseason telling Hanley “Hey it’s your team” Yet he is the one moving, it is after all for the good of the team and that is what a leader does. If Ramirez does not pout and plays to his potential you are looking at a very dangerous team and a high powered offense. Expect a big season from slugger Mike Stanton as well, he should flourish this season with all of these big bats in this lineup. The Marlins overall appear to be a solid club, moving into their new stadium who can blame the fans for dreaming and thinking big. This team is on the verge, the starting lineup is set. The rotation is good. Once a weakness the bullpen could be a source of strength depending on whether Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez) is still here. There are some minor things to sort out, what kind of contributions can we expect from guys like Chris Coghlan, Scott Cousins, Donnie “bleepin” Murphy. That’s what the grapefruit league is for, for now though, Marlins fans can enjoy the ride with this team. Dreams it appears, do come true.