C - Charles JohnsonWow, they certainly managed to get some guys at their peaks. Particularly Kevin Brown whose suddenly developed Scoliosis once he got out of Florida. Plus, Alex Fernandez won 17 games in 1997! Who, you ask? Well, Trout might remember because apparently he won 18 games for the southsiders in 1993. Anyway, he never came close to those numbers again and was soon sipping margaritas in Retirementville. Shit, they even had Nenn closing things out. And lest I not take advantage of mentioning the six-fingered wonder Antonio Alfonseca. Apparently, according to his Wikipedia page (the ultimate source on everything), his nickname back in the Dominican Republic is "El Pulpo" (the Octopus). So, yeah. This was a really solid team (obviously) of some up-and-comers and some players just hitting their peak.
1B - Jeff Conine
2B - Luis Castillo
SS - Edgar Renteria
3B - Bobby Bonilla
LF - Gary Sheffield
RF - Moises Alou
CF - Cliff Floyd/Devon White
Rotation: Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, Alex Fernandez
Closer: Robb Nen
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it seems like the Marlins have decided to use the basic rules of economics to succeed on a budget. Basically, "buy low, sell high" is all you need to know. They buy appreciating assets at then move them when the market is ripe. Contrast that with the Yankees who have gotten burned with the likes of Carl Pavano and the aforementioned Kevin Brown, guys whose stock can only go down.
Of course, the 2007 incarnation of the Marlins is no different. They have two established veterans, Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera (a legitimate superstar) and a bunch of young bucks. By the way, before I move on, did you know that Cabrera is only 23? Well, at least he claims to be only 23. The rest of the guys all have a full year under their belts and should be choping at the bit to get this one under way. Plus, I really can't help but love Hanley Ramirez' headshot. He just seems like he's thinking "Nobody will know, but I'm not wearing any pants right now." Past Willis they have this Sanchez kid who threw the no-hitter last year. Yeah, I think this will be a fun team to watch. Maybe even more fun because they appear to have nobody to close out games. Zoinks!
Now, the Marlins will be fun to watch, but where will they finish? Honestly, I think their one huge mistake was getting rid of Joe Girardi. He really pulled the team together and the young guys respected him. Will Fredi Gonzalez get the same out of the players? Who knows. Prediction: the Marlins won't win this division, but I think they'll be in the race for the Wild Card until the very end.