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Florida Marlins

Southern Central Rain (I’m Sorry)

For those sober enough to remember the aftermath of the 1997 World Championship the Florida Marlins bought from Major League Baseball, these past couple of days must seem like déjà vu. But they should only wish that this were just déjà vu.

The Florida Marlins have begun a purge similar in quantity to that of Josip Stalin during the 1930s. Already gone are Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, traded to Boston. Now the Marlins paid the Mets to take Carlos Delgado, although they got superstar rookie Mike Jacobs in return. Plus A.J. Burnett, Brian Moehler, the entire bullpen, Juan Encarnacion, Jeff Conine, and Alex Gonzalez are all on the free agent market.And by the way, the team is looking into relocating as soon as 2008.

The Florida Marlins have had no luck securing a stadium for the future through the city or the state. And while the idiots at ESPN keep believing the city will cave in, it won’t.

Joe Robbie, former owner and savior of the Miami Dolphins, dug into his own pockets and plunged his family into debt to build the stadium formerly known by his name. The city would not pay a dime and he nearly ruined his fortune to keep his Dolphins in Miami.

Why would a football town cave for a baseball team when it wouldn’t for the Dolphins?

The Marlins will be playing in Las Vegas in 2008. I am guaranteeing it. There is no more I can write on that subject because it is the bitter truth. I guaranteed it last year and I guarantee it today.

Correction, what is left of the Marlins will be playing in Las Vegas in 2008.

The payroll purges are just underway. Longtime Marlins such as Luis Castillo, the only remaining member of the 1997 team that never left, could be next. So could the struggling Juan Pierre. Those two players combine to eat up more than eight million dollars a year. Paul Lo Duca is getting old and making nearly five million a year. Is he the guy you want your youthified pitching staff throwing to? And will the team resign Brian Moehler, who will turn 34 New Years Eve?

Mike Jacobs is probably the best player they can get right now, assuming they keep him, but the Marlins will continue to cut payroll. They brought in Joe Girardi to manage the team, but what team will be left?

I started saying in October that if the Marlins won 60 games, I’d be surprised. I said that they would be the worst team in the National League and that the team would be overhauled this off-season and during the season. Contrary to popular belief, much of the 1997 Marlins, including Gary Sheffield and Liván Hernandez, started the 1998 season with the decrepit fish. But by July 31, less than a handful of players remained.

Even if the team resigns most of the decent players on the free agent market and makes no more trades, this team will be hard pressed to win 70 games next year. The left side of the infield is vacant and there are no quality prospects to fill the gaps. The outfield is very mediocre and the pitching staff has one good starter.

And that is the best-case scenario.

This team is not just going to be the worst in the National League next year: they will be the worst team in Major League Baseball. In fact, they might just become the worst Florida Marlins team ever.

In 1998, the Marlins went 54-108. However, thanks to a great manager in Jim Leyland and gutsy bullpen work, the Marlins became the first (and still only) team to lost two-thirds of its games and have a winning record in 1-run games, 31-29.

But the Marlins have no bullpen and no experienced manager this time around. Plus they are soon to have no home.

This team could lose not just 109 games next season, but 119. And maybe, just maybe, they could displace the 1962 New York Mets at the bottom of the baseball annals.

It’s unlikely, but the team could just be pathetic enough to pull it off.

Only two more years left in South Florida, only two more years playing in the Stadium Formerly Known as Joe Robbie, but just enough time to become the worst franchise in baseball.

And maybe pick up a win against Tampa.

For us Marlins’ fans, it’s the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine. I knew this was going to happen for more than a month now and I knew the team would relocate for more than a year now. It is the fish’s only viable option.

And this one time, I was right.

By bsd987

I have written for SportsColumn.com since 2004 and was named a featured writer in 2006. I have been Co-Editor of the site since January 1, 2009. I also write for BleacherReport.com where I am a founding member of the Tennis Roundtable and one of the chief contributors to both the Tennis and Horse Racing sections.

I am "Stat Boy" for Sportscolumn.com's weekly podcast, Poor Man's PTI.

I am currently a Junior at Rice University majoring in History and Medieval Studies. My senior thesis will focus on the desegregation of football in Texas and its affect of racial relations.

Please direct all inquiries to [email protected].

Thanks,
Burton DeWitt
Co-Editor of Sportscolumn.com

3 replies on “Southern Central Rain (I’m Sorry)”

Boring A lot of words and stats, yet nothing of interest said.  The team is being sold off again, that pretty much covers it.

mike Jacobs — Jacobs is the most talented, motivated ballplayer that I have seen in years. He is blessed with the most beautiful batting stroke, every ball is hit hard.He will be the talk of south florida by May of this year. Just wait till you see this guy play. You won’t believe your eyes!!!

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