Meet your new and improved 2014 Miami Marlins! Now with 100 percent less Logan Morrison but with the same great taste!
As Marlins fans get ready for tonight's home opener against the Rockies, they really should be used to the drill. The Ponzi scheme that was owner Jeffry Loria's 2012 spending spree will never happen again. Instead, it's back to the "Marlins way": cheap young players under the team's control until flying cars are the norm, mixed with veteran players looking to use the Marlins as their own personal baseball career rehab.
Rafael Furcal, 2B
Once upon a time, having speedy Rafael Furcal at the top of your order was a luxury, a sign you were a true contender. Not in 2014. Furcal is 36 years old, no longer a real threat on the bases, and prone to injury. Since 2006, Furcal has played in 100 or more games just twice and missed all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery. Oh, and he's switching to second base, a spot on the diamond he last played in 2004 with the Braves, for one game. This will shock you: Furcal has missed most of spring training with a hamstring injury and will start the season on the DL.
Christian Yelich, LF
2010 Marlins first-round pick Christian Yelich's time has come. Last season, Yelich saw his first MLB action and batted a respectable .288 in 240 at-bats. Yelich is projected to start the season in the most favorable spot in the batting order, the spot we call "let's pitch to this guy, because the next guy looks like Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones." One would imagine Yelich will have plenty of pitches to hit with Giancarlo Stanton batting behind him, and once he gets on base, he has proven a capable base-stealing threat, swiping a perfect ten of ten in his rookie year.
Giancarlo Stanton, RF
Monster dongs. All Giancarlo has done since entering the league is hit 117 HRs, 294 RBIs, appeared naked in ESPN the Magazine, and changed his name from "Mike." And he's just 24. The craziest thing about Stanton is you get the feeling he hasn't come close to reaching his potential, mainly due to injuries that have limited him to an average of only 435 at bats a year. Also limiting him: the fact that he has played his entire career on the Marlins.
Garrett Jones, 1B
Out is Logan Morrison; in is Garrett Jones. Don't everyone throw your orange Marlins hats in the air at once in jubilation. Jones is a 32-year-old .254 career hitter who has never cracked 86 RBIs and has average power. On the bright side, Jones does not have the world's most annoying Twitter feed.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
The best part about the Marlins' signing Saltalamacchia is the world no longer has to hear Red Sox fans yelling "SAWLTEH!" Salty comes to the Marlins after one good year with the Red Sox. Before that, he was a highly regarded prospect who bounced around from Texas to Atlanta, back to Texas, and then to Boston, where he hasn't very good outside 2012. Any of this sound familiar? The last time the Marlins paid big bucks to a catcher coming off a career year, his name was John Buck. Let's hope this signing goes a tad better than that one.
Marcell Ozuna, CF
Ozuna is sort of a wild card for the Marlins this season because no one is quite sure what he brings to the table. Ozuna started last season scorching, hitting .330 through May, but his numbers fell off a cliff until he got injured, and he finished batting .265. Ozuna is predicted to start the season with the Marlins, but like David Samson on Survivor, he could be the first guy voted off if things go downhill early.
Casey McGehee, 3B
Konnichiwa, Mr.McGehee. Welcome to the Marlins! McGehee spent last year playing for the Japanese league Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, so that's a new one. There are two kinds of people in this world who know Casey McGehee: Folks who had McGehee on their 2010 fantasy team (23 HRs, 104 RBIs), and Japanese baseball fans. That's it. The Marlins third baseman combined to hit three more home runs than you in 2013, so we have ourselves a classic "we can only go up" situation right here. McGehee continues a long-storied Marlins tradition, buying a yearly lottery ticket third baseman followed by prayer. That reminds me -- I wonder what Jorge Cantu is up to.
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
Hechavarria takes the phrase "defensive shortstop" to an entirely new craptastic level. In the field, Hechavarria is poised to make SportsCenter at any given moment, but the problem is at the plate, he isn't. Ever. Hechavarria hit .232 in 669 at-bats last season and didn't crack .200 until June. While on base, things didn't get much better -- he was caught ten of the 21 times he attempted to swipe a base. Hechavarria's glove is the reason he isn't playing for the New Orleans Zephyrs, but his bat is the reason you are reading this last.
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Jose Fernandez, opening day starting pitcher
What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, Fernandez was being shipped to the minors. Fast forward to 2014, and the reigning Rookie of the Year is a Cy Young contender. Fernandez somehow kept a 100-loss Marlins season interesting -- well, at least every fifth day. He is especially refreshing because, unlike the at-times apparently disinterested Stanton, he actually seems to enjoy being a Marlin.
The Marlins open their season tonight at Marlins Park at 7 versus the Colorado Rockies.