The Marlins have a new name, a new stadium, a new manager, and a new star, but will any of it translate into victories in 2012?
Stare too long at the Marlins’ fruit-stripped gum logo and you might start to buy into the hype. After all, the addition of Jose Reyes should make guys like Emilio Bonifacio, Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez better and it’s hard not to see the potential in this lineup. Plus, I love the addition of Heath Bell to the bullpen and Mark Buehrle should infuse some veteran leadership into a starting rotation that has often been led by youth.
But do the Marlins not scream “combustible situation?” First and foremost, Ozzie Guillen is their manager. The man has a World Series ring and a knack of taking the pressure of his club by drawing attention to himself, but is he the right man to deal with the egos of Reyes, Ramirez and the always volatile Carlos Zambrano?
Hey, maybe he is. Maybe Guillen is exactly the kind of skipper that his club needs and guys like Bell and Buehrle will keep the order in the clubhouse when Guillen is busy providing writing material for the media.
But the Marlins remind me a lot of the Dave Matthews Band: There’s just too much going on for my liking. You throw that many elements into one mixing bowl and things are bound to get a little messy.
How long before Ramirez becomes a problem because he doesn’t want to play third base? How long before Zambrano flips his lid and attacks an umpire? How long before the organization tries to rein in Morrison again?
Just like “Dave,” this thing could turn out to be something special. (I’m not a fan of his music but his millions of followers won’t hesitate to tell me how successful his band has been over the last couple of decades.) The Marlins have more than enough talent to outlast the Phillies and Braves in the division and be a surprise pennant contender come October. Again, let me point out that Guillen has a World Series ring and he may have already gained the respect of Reyes, Ramirez and Zambrano.
That said, I’m betting that the Marlins implode before they reach the finish line. As I suggested earlier, there are just too many combustible elements for this thing to end well for the Fish. I just can’t picture Reyes, Ramirez, Guillen and Zambrano passing around the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the season while talking about what a united team they were throughout the year.
Either way, somebody pass the popcorn because things are about to get real interesting in South Beach. It just has to.