Today the Tigers released Gary Sheffield due to the fact that they would like more versatility out of the DH spot. Sheffield didn’t see it coming, and according Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, Sheffield can still hit but he just wasn’t the right fit for Detroit this coming season. So where is the right fit for Gary?
The Current Option
As soon as Sheffield was let go by the Tigers, Geoff Jenkins was cut by the Phils and GM Ruben Amaro reached out to Sheff because the Phils have been looking for a righthanded bat off the bench all offseason. Whether Sheffield is willing to come off the bench is the question. Personally, I don’t want him. He was one of my favorite players while with the Marlins but I just don’t want him on the Phils. They have a good clubhouse chemistry right now and Sheffield has been known to cause a stir in a clubhouse here and there. Considering the fact he wouldn’t be starting, he would probably be cause a problem. I don’t like or want him on the Phillies.
Ray of Sunshine Option
Tampa Bay Rays
Gabe Gross doesn’t exactly turn heads but they did bring in Matt Joyce this offseason as well. I don’t think Sheffield goes here either but there is potential. Tampa Bay seems to be an “end of the career” stop for many future Hall of Famers.
The Unrealistic Option
How cool would it be to see him back in teal to hit his 500th homerun. He hit 122 homeruns while with the Marlins from 1993 to 1998. He just doesn’t really fit there either. The corner outfield spots seem to belong to Cody Ross and Jeremy Hermida. I just think it would be cool to go off as a Marlin, and maybe go into the Hall of Fame a Marlin (he did win a World Series there).
Basically, I don’t see him fitting in anywhere. I’d like to see him in Florida, but we all know that’s not going to happen. He’ll find a team if he doesn’t demand at bats and is willing to come off the bench but whether he faces that fact and finds a team before the season starts is beyond me.
THANKS GEOFF JENKINS
As I mentioned earlier, Jenkins was released by the Phillies today. They owed him 8 million dollars on his contract. As much of a let down he was in Philly (.246 average / 9 homeruns / 29 RBIs), I would still like to thank him for the good attitude he held throughout the season while not starting and for his game five heroics in the World Series.
Jenkins was always on the fence of the dugout cheering on his teammates and was always congratulating guys coming into the dugout. Whenever you look at a picture of the Phillies winning a series in the playoffs, he was on the field celebrating with the regulars before everyone else on the bench (heck I even think he beat Rollins to the mound for the celebration once).
Also, he got the first at-bat in part two of game five in the World Series and crashed a double off the wall to get things going. It was one of the best moments of the playoffs for me because he had struggled all season and lost his platoon job when Werth became the everyday starter. Then he got up to the plate and took full advantage of the situation (I thought it was gone initially).
So honestly Jenkins, Thanks and I wish you luck elsewhere.
CHAN HO EARNS FIFTH STARTER SPOT
Chan Ho Park remains the last one standing. He beat out Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick, and lastly JA Happ to the fifth spot in the rotation to start the season. Their spring totals:
Park: 2-0 — 2.53 ERA — 25 SO — 2 BB — 21.1 INN
Happ: 0-0 — 3.15 ERA — 14 SO — 6 BB — 20 INN
It was awful close and personally, I wanted Happ to be our fifth starter because he is the future and he showed flashes of reliability last season in eight games. But it’s also hard to argue with 25 strikeouts in about 21 innings and only two walks. Keep up the good work Chan Ho, because in this town, there’s a short leash.
Team Preview: Florida Marlins
Projected MLB Rank: 14th (t) — NL Rank: 9th (t) — NL East Rank: 3rd (t) — Record: (82-80)
The Florida Marlins may have silently become one of the biggest threats in the National League. The team’s built of young stars with a lethal combo of electric arms and powerful bats. I would not be suprised at all if they ended up playing playoff baseball–if they could stay healthy.
It starts with their studded young rotation. Ricky Nolasco solidified himself last year as the ace at the end of the season, when they have two other starters that could snag that title in the future as well. Nolasco got even better as the season progressed and finished off his 2008 with a 3.52 ERA, a 15-8 record, and 186 strikeouts next to 42 walks (12 in the second half). I would consider him to be my wild card to win the Cy Young award.
Josh Johnson might be considered the ace if he was healthy last season. In 14 starts he posted seven wins and only one loss. The 25 year old also held a 3.61 ERA and struck out 77 batters. The rotation continues with who I think could be the future ace of this staff, 22 year old Chris Volstad. Volstad came up midway through last season and in 14 starts and a relief appearance he compiled a 2.88 ERA while going 6-4. He rolls groundball outs like it’s his job and should improve his strikeout/walk ratio in 2009. Anibal Sanchez certainly has big punch potential but had a rough ten starts last season. The rotation finishes off with southpaw Andrew Miller, who came over in the Cabrera/Willis trade. He should continue to develop and one day will reach his potential.
The addition of Leo Nunez will help this bullpen. Nunez posted a 2.98 ERA in 45 games last season with the Royals. He even has the potential to move into the closer role if Matt Lindstrom can’t get the job done. Lindstrom saved 5 games last season when Kevin Gregg went down at the end of the season. In 66 total games last season he had a 3.14 ERA and is currently considered Florida’s closer. The rest of the bullpen is average. Logan Kensing and Renyel Pinto both had ERA’s over 4.00 and the addition of Scott Proctor who posted a ERA over 6.00 last year isn’t exactly an improvement.
The lineup is a serious threat. Hanley Ramirez was basically a star in this league before he even played a game in the majors. Don’t be suprised if he surpasses his 33 homeruns and 67 RBIs last season now that it looks like he will be batting in the three spot. Jorge Cantu was a nice suprise last season when he hit 29 homeruns and drove in 95 runs, and he’s only 27. Expect Dan Uggla to continue this season after he hit 32 homers with 92 RBIs and a .514 slugging percentage.
Leftfielder Cody Ross is a serious homerun threat and shouldn’t have to platoon this season as he did last year. Look out for him to top his 22 homeruns and 73 RBIs. Jeremy Hermida needs to step up his game if he wants to stick around Miami, or atleast start. He is supposed to be a power and speed threat but looked nothing like that last season with 17 homeruns and six steals.
This will be the first full season for John Baker, Cameron Maybin, and Gaby Sanchez. In 61 games last season, Baker hit .299 with five homers and 32 RBIs and will probably be the Marlins starting catcher come April. Maybin probably won’t hit at the rate he did last season for the eight major league games he played (16 for 32) but he’s said to be a future all star and he’s got speed. Sanchez would be a nice option to open up the season at first base but if he isn’t ready, the Marlins shouldn’t rush him. Cantu could simply start the season at first and the Marlins deep bench could fill the hole at third with Dallas McPherson, Wes Helms, or Emilio Bonifacio.
As I mentioned earlier, I would not be suprised at all to see this team winning the Wild Card. They key is for them to stay healthy and not to strikeout as much. Fredi Gonzalez has done a nice job thus far as the Marlins manager and the league should watch out this year for this team.
Oh yea, They will be staying in Miami now too.