Miami Marlins- New logo, new stadium, new names. After a monster offseason, the Marlins and their new skipper Ozzie Guillen are ready to strike in the NL East. After signing dynamic shortstop Jose Reyes, solid closer Heath Bell, and a durable starter in Mark Buehrle, the Marlins have all the signs of a division winning club. They have all the momentum of a revamped club, with some of the most exciting names and colorful personalities in the game.
Unfortunately though, that's not enough. Not this year anyway.
The Marlins still have a very young, very wild spirited group of guys. Hanley Ramirez is known for being lazy throughout his career, though he has the potential to be the best shortstop in the National League. Ramirez made it no secret that he had no intentions or desire of moving to third base after the club signed Jose Reyes to a six year $106 million dollar deal. Six years. Ramirez is under contract with the club until 2015. So if his attitude does not improve, he will be playing at the hot corner against his will for at least three seasons. Ramirez eventually will get over his ego and play third base, he has to. But you can expect to see his energy and passion for the game at that position come and go with the Marlins success.
And then there's Ozzie. Miami is a perfect fit for this skipper, the community is as diverse as his erratic behavior. In short he'll have to let his players know real fast that he means business, and that he is not there to be their friend. He will have to stay off of the MLB radar for his weirdness and allow his managing ability to bring the spotlight to him. He wants to win championships, there is no question about that. But relaying that to his players without losing their respect at the same time will be difficult. Especially with attitudes such as Ramirez's and Morrison's.
The Miami Marlins are one of the most promising up and coming clubs in the major league, but for 2012, there are just too many question marks. Ramirez needs to get over the attitude and play third base. The game is much better served when Hanley is hitting and stealing like we all know he can. "LoMo" is gonna have to focus on baseball. He can have a great season, if he will let all the rest of Miami fade out of view. Josh Johnson, the ace of the club, will be monitored way to close for comfort this year, as he missed most of the 2011 season plagued by injuries. Mark Buehrle needs to reestablish himself as a 15 win guy, though now in the NL.
Yes, things in Miami have the potential to be great. But it'll be after these young guys, in a new stadium, with a new manager, get settled in through a full 162 game season. April and May will be hot for these guys, but once that little taste of failure hits, you may see the Marlins of old take over.
Oh and Ozzie, try not to do anything TOO stupid.
*Projected NL East Finish: 3rd Place