Tag Archives: john baker

Miami Marlins Pick Up Lefty Wade LeBlanc From San Diego Padres For Catcher John Baker

Miami Marlins Pick Up Lefty Wade LeBlanc From San Diego Padres For Catcher John Baker

By Joe Frisaro, MLB.com

MIAMI — Adding starting pitching depth is high on the Marlins’ offseason shopping list.

On Tuesday afternoon, the team took a step in addressing that area by acquiring left-hander Wade LeBlanc from the Padres for catcher John Baker.

By parting with Baker, the Marlins are set to go with Brett Hayes as their backup catcher to John Buck.

“It was an opportunity to add some pitching depth that we talked about,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “He’s a left-handed pitcher with a great changeup. He has big league experience, which is important.

“We’re very happy with Buck and Hayes. It’s a good opportunity for John and a good opportunity for us to add pitching depth.”

LeBlanc, 27, comes off a 5-6 season with a 4.63 ERA in 14 starts. He will compete for a back-of-the-rotation spot, knowing he has no guarantees. And if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, the lefty has an option year left, so he can be sent to the Minor Leagues without the Marlins risking losing his services.

“There’s a couple of spots they’re looking to fill, and basically I’m in the mix for back-end jobs,” LeBlanc said. “I’ll go into Spring Training and try to do my thing and get ready for the season. If everything shakes out that way, I’ll head to Miami at the end. If not, I’ll continue to work and try to improve and make my way there at some point during the season.”

The left-hander also made 17 starts at Triple-A Tucson, where he was 9-1 with a 4.30 ERA, logging 106 2/3 innings.

LeBlanc faced the Marlins in 2011, collecting a win in San Diego while giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings. On Sept. 23, the lefty struck out 10 in seven innings while giving up two runs in a loss to the Dodgers.

“In the middle of the season, I made a couple of tweaks mechanically, to try to get a little better rhythm and a little more movement going towards the plate,” he said of his success down the stretch.

The Marlins and Padres began talking about the LeBlanc-for-Baker deal last week at the General Managers Meetings in Milwaukee. Beinfest noted that the team is continuing to seek additional starting pitching.

Miami already is courting free-agent lefties Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson, who is expected to visit South Florida after Thanksgiving.

Baker, 30, missed most of last year as he recovered from Tommy John surgery to his right elbow. The left-handed-hitting catcher was called up in September, and he had 13 at-bats with two hits in 16 games.

He did appear in 15 Minor League games, batting .243 in 37 at-bats.

Baker, who broke in with the Marlins in 2008, is headed to his first year of arbitration.

A native of Alameda, Calif., Baker batted .299 with a .392 on-base percentage as a rookie in 2008. In 2009, he appeared in 112 games, hitting .271 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs.

In 2010, he was hindered by injuries, appearing in 23 games. He had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow later in the year and had some setbacks along the way this past year.

LeBlanc was a second-round pick of the Padres out of the University of Alabama in 2006. The left-hander has a 17-22 record with a 4.54 career ERA in 54 games (52 starts).

The Marlins started off 2011 with no left-handers in their rotation. Obtaining LeBlanc is the first of many offseason moves the Marlins are expected to make.

For LeBlanc, he will adjust to pitching professionally for a team other than the Padres.

“It’s a bit bittersweet,” he said. “San Diego is the only organization that I’ve ever known. But it’s business. It’s part of baseball. It’s a fresh start. Hopefully, I can go to Jupiter and open some eyes and make the trip to Miami at the end of Spring Training.”

Florida Marlins 2010 Opening Night!!!

Florida Marlins 2010 Opening Night!!!

Yes, I was there!!!  This marks the first time in ’30-YOC’ history that I have attended an ‘Opening’ event for major league baseball.  My buddy scored 4 tickets Thursday night, and I jumped when one of them was offered my way.

And while I was very eager to see the 2010 Marlins, I was more excited to see the pre-game festivities as the team had some fun stuff planned.

For the most part, my pictures turned out horribly.  For this post, I will use images I found on Yahoo Sports.  I will download and crop the shots I took and will share them with you in a few days.

Leading off the night was Creed lead singer Scott Stapp.  He wrote and recorded the team’s new theme song.  But for this game, he sang ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.

Then I saw Chris Coghlan get his Rookie of the Year plaque.

From there, Hanley Ramirez picked up his Silver Slugger award…..

… and some major bling commemorating his .342 batting average from 2009.  They gave out 5,000 replicas of these in a BINGO game.  I was not one of the fans to win…

Lastly, my primary reason for wanting to be there – Hall of Famer, Mr. Andre Dawson, was throwing out the ceremonial first pitch!!!

And even though the team was defeated by the Dodgers, I had a great time at the game.  In a stadium packed with more than 35,000 fans, I got quite a bit of attention wearing my Cubs’ replica Dawson shirt.  Any other game, and I would have worn Teal & Black like everyone else.  But for me, this night was about ‘The Hawk’!!!

I’ll do my best to get more pictures loaded up.  I know they’re pretty bad, but I’ll post them anyway.

Oh, and wait until you see what I bought at the Marlins’ Charity Fundraisers booth… stay tuned.

Assessing The 2010 Florida Marlins

Assessing The 2010 Florida Marlins

As we sit here, less than 72 hours away from Opening Day, a familiar feeling rushes through me.  The feeling of nervous anxiousness about the 2010 baseball season is overwhelming.  You see, right now each team is tied at the top spot.  With no losses, we are all undefeated.

And I cannot stop thinking about what the Florida Marlins are capable of.

Playing in a league that now has Roy Halladay, Jason Bay, and some of the highest regarded young talent in the sport will not be easy for the Marlins.  For the main roster, the Marlins stood pat with the team that kept them in playoff contention for the better part of 150 games last year.

Offensively the team will be dynamic.  Scoring in bunches will secure wins for the club and we(all of the Marlins’ fans – all 6 of us) are eager to see how Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez follow-up their incredible campaigns from 2009.  And with a new first baseman, in Gaby Sanchez, the team will have a different first baseman on Opening Day for the 4th year in a row.  We know that Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, and Jorge Cantu will provide power at the plate and drive in runs as needed.  And then there is my buddy Cameron Maybin.  Coming off of shoulder surgery during the off-season, Maybin has not looked great this Spring, but he has not been terrible either.  It’s still a mystery as to where he will bat in the line-up, but 2010 is going to be his chance to prove he deserves to play every day.

The Marlins’ pitching staff remained relatively in tact – with no key additions or subtractions.  Josh Johnson is the team’s ace, while Ricky Nolasco looks to put a strangle-hold on the second spot in the rotation.  Of the remaining starters, all have shown signs of solid pitching while also showing that they need to improve too.  No matter how they rank, Chris Volstad, Anibal Sanchez, Nate Robertson, and Andrew Miller all need work.  As for the bullpen, it is full of talented guys, but nobody has a clear-cut role.  Leo Nunez will start the season as the closer, but he allows too many hits to remain in that spot all year-long.  The Marlins need a closer that comes in and puts teams away – not one that allows base runners.  Can one of the guys in the pen fill that spot?  We shall see…

The 2010 season promises to be exciting for the team.  Overall, I predict that they will hover around the .500 line for the better part of the season.  Ultimately, I see them winning 75-80 games and unfortunately missing the playoffs again.  Last year they finished in 2nd place in the division, but I think that the Braves have the talent to overtake them if they can stay healthy.  And nobody in the NL East is going to catch the stacked Philadelphia Phillies!!!

2010 promises to be a season of come from behind wins and blown saves.  Hopefully there are more of the first one…  I cannot wait!!!

GO FISH!!!!

2009 Marlins Review – Can’t Wait To See What 2010 Has In Store…

I’m always looking forward to the future.  And the 2010 baseball season is no different.

It will be a pivotal year for the Marlins as they need to strengthen their fan base and sell season tickets for the new stadium that will open in 2012. 

The offense is solid.  The defense is serviceable.  And the team’s pitching needs a ton of help…

And with a roster full of fun and talented guys, it’s a certainty that the team will not look identical to the one that was on the field in 2009.  Some guys will leave.  Some guys will be dealt.  And new faces will join us.

No matter what happens, I cannot wait!!! 

GO FISH!!!!

marlins

2009 Marlins Review – We’ll Get ‘Em Next Year Cameron…

 Ah, ‘The Maybin-Meter’.  Those were great days!!!

Cameron Maybin was going to be ‘my guy’.  I have never been a prospector, and I know very little about team’s farm systems.  But there is something about this kid and his baseball skills that I find enjoyable to watch.  He has quite a bit of raw talent, and needs some more formal instruction, but he has the ability to become one of the more well-rounded center fielders in the sport.

Maybin debuted with the team in September of 2008 and took the team and league by storm for a few weeks.  After winning a starting job with the big league club he started 2009 on a bad note, striking out often and playing poor defense, and eventually was sent to the minors to work on his game.  Well, the time he put in did it’s job and Maybin again came back to the big league club in September of 2009.

After being called up, he appeared in 27 games.  And in those contests, he hit .302 while going 26-for-86.  He also scored 18 runs, hit 3 round-trippers, and most impressively cut down on his strikeouts. 

Congratulations on a great finish to the 2009 season Cameron!!!  The starting job in 2010 is yours to lose – Go Get ‘Em!!!!

Marlins Phillies Baseball

2009 Marlins Review – Cody Ross Is My Hero!!!

If you’re a consistent reader of this blog, you know that Cody Ross is one of my favorite Marlins.

The main reason for this is that you can see the joy in Ross and his personality each and every time he steps onto the field.  I find this to be rare in today’s game and very refreshing.  I have never heard a negative word uttered about him and after meeting him a few months ago at a local appearance, I too have only positive things to say.

But it’s more than that that makes him a favorite.  Cody Ross has a knack for delivering the knock-out blow.  His ability to crush game-winning home runs, make run-saving catches, and break up no-hitters is what has done it for me.

Thank you for an unforgettable year Cody!!  I’m ready to watch you play in 2010!!! 

cody ross

2009 Marlins Review – Dan Uggla Loves The Long Ball

Dan Uggla continued to blast his way into the record books during the 2009 baseball season.

And while 2009 was not his most well-rounded offensive season, Uggla continued to deliver the long ball at a record pace!!

Uggla set two records during the 2009 season:

  1. Dan Uggla is the first slugger for the Florida Marlins to belt 30 or more home runs in three straight seasons.  His 31, 32, ans 31 home run seasons are a team record.
  2. Dan Uggla is the first second baseman in MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY to hit 25 or more runs in the first four years of his career. 

When you think about the great power hitter that the Marlins have had on their team and then of all of the amazingly talented second basemen to ever play the game, Dan Uggla is right there!!!

And it’s been amazing to watch!!!  Congratulations Dan!!!

Marlins Phillies Baseball

2009 Marlins Review – Chris Coghlan’s Sensational Debut!!

When I think about Chris Coghlan and what he has done since his call up from the minor leagues this year, I am even more impressed with the end result.

Coghlan finished the year with a .322 batting average and collected 162 hits.  And he missed the first month of the year…  WoW!!!!

There are two things that stand out most for me when I look back at his incredible debut season – his defense and ability to get multiple hits in a game.

Starting with his defense, it should be noted that Coghlan is an infielder, specifically a second baseman.  He has yet to see any action at second base so far in the majors.  He was the team’s left fielder and it looks like it will remain that way.  But what is most interesting is that Coghlan only played 1 game in the outfield as a minor league player – and that game was the one he played right before being called up to the majors!!!  That goes to show you ho naturally talented he is and how skilled of a player he is too.

Offensively, Chris Coghlan is not your ideal lead-off hitter.  He is not the team’s fastest player, and he will not steal bases for you at a torrid pace.  What he is though, is an incredible contact hitter.  A guy that uses all areas of the field, Coghlan consistently puts the ball in play, and he does it throughout the game.  In the 128 contests he participated in, he collected multiple hits in 50 games and had 3 or more hits 15 times.

Coghlan set all kinds of rookie offensive records for hits during the second half of the season, and I think he is the league’s best candidate for the Rookie of the Year award!!! 

coghlan

2009 Marlins Review – Josh Johnson, ‘Ace’

During the summer of 2008, Josh Johnson stole the title of ‘Ace’ from the Florida Marlins and he has not looked back since.

In 2008 he finished the season with a 7-1 record and he continued his winning ways in 2009 as he went 15-5.  His 75% winning percentage is the team’s highest winning percentage for a pitcher that has reached a decision in 10 or more games.

For the year, Johnson had a 3.08 ERA and finished with a career high 191 strikeouts.

Johnson made his first All-star game appearance this year and should get some votes in the Cy Young race too.

Congratulations Josh – hopefully this season was just the start of what’s to come!!!! 

Phillies Marlins Baseball

2009 Marlins Review – Hanley Ramirez: Batting Champion!!

One of the game’s great/young talents, Hanley Ramirez took huge steps this year as he is on his way to being one of the sport’s most complete weapons.

Ramirez won the National League batting title with a .342 average.  And while I have always considered him to be a very good hitter, this season put him into the ‘elite’ group.  To me, it is even more remarkable than some of the other recent batting titles because Ramirez batted in a different spot in the line-up this year versus previous seasons.  Going from the lead-off spot to third is a tough transition.  And to do it so well and with very few issues shows you how enormously talented Hanley is.

For the year, Hanley collected 197 hits.  And while his power numbers and stolen bases were lower than they had been in previous years, he did eclipse the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his short career.

Congratulations Hanley!!!  The first batting champion in Florida Marlins’ history!!!

hanley