Will the new-look Marlins eventually combust this season?

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.

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Carlos Zambrano to be a Yankee?

June 09, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano  pitched for 5 innings giving up 3 runs off of 2 hits to the Milwaukee Brewers..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Chicago Cubs 4-9..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

If I’m a Yankee fan the first thing that pops into my head when I read the title of this post is: hey, at least it’s not Carl Pavano.

That said, Carlos Zambrano a Yankee? Better yet, Carlos Zambrano in New York? Yeeee.

Bill Madden of the New York Daily News expects the Yankees to target Zambrano via trade at some point this offseason. After losing out on Cliff Lee, the Bombers obviously need to do something and after his midseason meltdown last year in Chicago, Big Z did pitch well down the stretch.

He would also be reunited with former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who just joined the Yankees. But would Zambrano’s fiery temperament work in the Big Apple? And was his late-season success a sign that he’s returning to form or will his struggles from the first half rear their ugly heads again?

The Yankees have to do something because their current rotation just won’t do. They’re expecting to hear from Andy Pettitte soon about whether or not he’ll come back for one more year and if I’m Brian Cashman, I’m doing everything in my power to ensure he does.

But Carlos Zambrano? Talk about a risk/reward situation. He’s coming off a year in which his ERA (3.33) was good, but his WHIP (1.45) was bad. He also won 11 games but we’re talking about a man that was banished from the Cubs for nearly holding all of Wrigley Field hostage during a game (okay, so I may be exaggerating a little).

Him + NY probably = disaster, although at this point what are the Yankees going to do? The Red Sox have completely retooled and the one player they put all of their efforts into signing this offseason just took less money to play for the Phillies. The Cubs would probably give Zambrano away for a bottle of hand sanitizer and a new latrine for the bathrooms at Wrigley Field, so maybe the Yankees should make a move. At this point, they may not have much of a choice.

MLB News: Braves to trade for Cubs’ Derrek Lee

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Braves will finalize a deal for Cubs’ first baseman Derrek Lee sometime on Wednesday.

Apparently the only thing holding up the deal is Lee’s troubling back. He had an injection in the epidural of his lower back on Monday to help ease the discomfort created by a bulging disk and has missed the past two games.

Lee is in the final year of his contract and is still owed $3.4 million. He has struggled for much of the season while hitting just .251 with 16 dingers in Chicago. But his .939 OPS since the All-Star break is attractive to the Braves, especially with Troy Glaus struggling at the dish.

Lee (who has a no-trade clause in his contract) can reject the deal, just as he did in July when the Cubs were ready to send him to the Angels. But Atlanta has reportedly already been told that he would accept a deal, so the only issue that remains is his back.

It’s doubtful that the Cubs will get much in return for Lee at this point, but the key is that they’ll get a little financial relief heading into what will be a rebuilding year in 2011. The youth movement is already on in Chicago, who has traded Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot over the past month.

Now if only the Cubs could find someone to take Alfonso Soriano, Koskue Fukudome and Carlos Zambrano off their hands.

Zambrano to receive counseling, won’t return until after the All-Star break

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Cubs’ starter Carlos Zambrano will undergo counseling to help him control his emotional outbursts, much like the one that occurred last Friday when he went bonkers in the dugout in a game against the White Sox. He’s not expected to return to the club until sometime after the All-Star break.

Whether treatment will fix everything in the future is a question Hendry couldn’t answer Monday.

”My sense is that after a few days [since Friday], he feels quite remorseful,” Hendry said after their first talk since Friday. ”We all make mistakes. He’s probably made a few more in the last few years than we’d like.

”I think we all agree it’s time he got help and then address the apologies later. It’s not time for words a few days after the fact, but some action. Hopefully he goes and gets the help he needs and can rectify some of his actions with his teammates and move forward after the break.”

Zambrano will go to New York on Wednesday to meet with two doctors approved by all parties. They will prescribe a course of treatment.

”He certainly understands the situation, and he and his representative signed off on it,” Hendry said.

Zambrano hadn’t spoken to his teammates since the incident. Several tried unsuccessfully to contact him over the weekend.

Hopefully Big Z does get some help and the situation will get resolved. It doesn’t do him, his teammates or the Cubs organization any good if he comes back from treatment and throws another tantrum sometime down the line.

Of course, whether or not he fixes his on-field issues is another question.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano and the pursuit of happiness

Following his dugout tirade on Friday that led to a suspension, Cubs’ starter Carlos Zambrano went to dinner with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who apparently gave the pitcher some sage advice on how to handle the situation.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

”I asked what happened,” Guillen said. ”He told me exactly what happened. … He was upset with a lot of the team. That was it. I told him what to do, to wait a couple of days. He will do what I tell him to do. Face it like a man. Don’t turn [his] back on this problem. … Go out, put your face on it and move on.

”What are they going to do to him? Trade, release or suspend him? At least when you face it like a man and admit you were wrong, everyone moves on. He didn’t kill anyone. He just made one mistake. We can’t criticize the kid for that. That’s the way he is. … We’ve got to respect people’s ways, and that’s the intensity this kid brings.”

”What are they going to do to him? Trade, release or suspend him?”

Well, yeah. This isn’t the first time Zambrano has flown off the reservation and chances are, it wasn’t the last either. He could be a great person off the field, but he still has to take responsibility for his actions on it. And he doesn’t get a free pass just because he’s an intense guy.

The other problem, of course, is that he has been awful on the mound this year. Whether he has pitched every fifth day or come out of the pen, Zambrano hasn’t gotten the job done. So when you throw a situation like the other night into the mix, where he’s berating teammates and not acting professional, it compounds the situation.

It’s great that Guillen is standing up for a player (albeit, a player on an opposing team), but the Cubs had every right to take action by suspending Zambrano and whatever they do with him from here on out will likely be justified. Considering how much they’re paying him, they should be getting better on-field production or at the very least, someone that can control is temper.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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