So with the Braves coming to Little Havana this Monday to inaugurate the new season, let's take a look at the Marlins' projected lineup for Opening Day.
1. Dee Gordon
It makes sense that the offspring of a man named "Flash" would wind up being a kleptomaniacal Major League lead-off man. Gordon comes to the Marlins via a trade with the Dodgers, along with
2. Christian Yelich
The Marlins liked so much of what they saw in Christian Yelich's first 800 at-bats that they signed him until the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It's no coincidence that Yelich was born the same year Naughty by Nature released "O.P.P" and is also known for his amazing O.B.P. percentage — the evidence that the two are linked is simply far too compelling to ignore. Think of Christian Yelich as the Robin to Giancarlo Stanton's Batman.
Pontus was the Greek god of the sea and the father-like leader of all fish, but if he played for the Marlins, they would have already traded his ass to the Tampa Bay Rays, because the Greek god Giancarlo is the obvious leader of these fish. Stanton enters 2015 as the unquestioned boss of the Marlins family and the face of your inferior DNA. America really got to know Stanton this offseason. He's been shirtless so many times in the national media over the past few months that even dudes at Ultra are like, "Bro, c'mon already!"
Morse grew up in Davie as a Marlins fan, and now they pay him $8 million a year — talk about the ultimate revenge for the 1998 fire sale. He's like the little girl in the movie Colombiana who trained her entire life to avenge the murder of her parents. Morse is the Marlins' annual attempt at finding a first-baseman whose career is more at the Billy Madison point in Adam Sandler's life than the Jack and Jill portion. After sitting through the Gaby Sanchez/Logan Morrison/Garrett Jones years, Marlins fans would be happy with Mr. Deeds.
Marcell Ozuna? More like Marcell Bazooka. Ozuna cut down ten base-runners last season. Ten men met their maker at the hands of Bazooka Ozuna. Ozuna has such a strong arm that the American Sniper director has decided to release a sequel titled Dominican Sniper that's just 97 minutes of Marcell throwing guys out at third base. Ozuna is the least-known member of what guys like ESPN's Buster Olney call the best outfield in baseball. But that's about to change.
6. Martin Prado
The Marlins flipped what they got for Hanley Ramirez to the Yankees for Martin Prado, so don't expect A&E to be filming Flip This Marlin anytime soon. Still, Prado is a clear upgrade over Casey McGehee, which is a lot like saying a used washing machine bought off Craigslist is an upgrade over taking a shower with your clothes on. Prado used to kill the Marlins when he was with the Braves, so having him on our side feels like when the Dolphins signed Thurman Thomas. Let's hope this goes better than that did.
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
When the Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia away from the Red Sox last year, they didn't envision his batting average hovering around Jared from Subway's current weight; that's not what the team paid him $21 million to do. However, Subway Jared did make himself a multimillionaire off of two good Subway years, so the Marlins probably should have seen this coming. Saltalamacchia has a great head of curly "lettuce," and Subway uses shredded curly lettuce. Saltalamacchia's average hovered around .200 in 2014; Subway introduced a $2.00 Sub of the Month in 2014. I rest my case. I feel like we should be more aware of the Saltalamacchia Subway curse this season, because it's all starting to add up.
8. Adeiny Hechavarria
Hechavarria is the sort of shortstop who could snag the rocks you're skipping on a lake. Sadly, he's also the kind of shortstop who would have trouble swatting a fly stuck in his car. It's ironic Hechavarria is a fabulous fielder, because his name sounds like something you don't want to catch. Adeiny is a vital part of the Marlins' plans this season, because if he were to get his act together at the plate, the Marlins could be a ridiculously great offensive team.
Pitching staff: The bad news is that Jose Fernandez, the best part of the Marlins' starting rotation — and maybe the best young pitcher in baseball — is still months away from returning from his Tommy John surgery. The worse news is that the guy pictured above — presumed bottom-of-the-rotation starter Jarred Cosart — is embroiled in a bizarre Twitter-fueled gambling investigation before the season has even started.
Despite all of that, the Fish should have an OK starting rotation, led by Henderson Alvarez and Florida native Mat Latos, another off-season addition, fleshed out with young talent Tom Koehler and veteran Dan Haren — and finished up with the talented but boneheaded Cosart, assuming he isn't headed to Pete Rose re-education camp.
So there you have it. That's the lineup with which the Miami Marlins will open the 2015 season. If they can finish with the same one, this team should be playing in October.