Now that there has been some time to let the Miami Marlins’ blockbuster roster dump settle, let’s take a look at the team that the Marlins could currently be fielding without these constant roster dumps. The Marlins have had a startling amount of roster dumps for a team that has only been around since 1993 and could field a World Series roster year in and year out with players that are still in the league that could have helped them win in the last 5-7 years. Let’s see who makes the cut on this team that Marlins fans all wish they could still have.
Catcher – Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez
Best year in last 5 years – 2008 – .276 BA, .319 OBP, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 1.5 WAR
One of the better hitting catchers of all-time in the 90’s, Pudge stayed relevant long after he became a hitting for average, at best, type player because of his phenomenal defense. He was known for having one of the best throwing arms in the history of MLB. He played for the Marlins for one year, before choosing to leave surely because of the roster dump that happened post World Series. He was a key cog for the Marlins in the World Series and won the NLCS MVP. He may be retired as of the 2012 season, but he is still the best catcher for this team, now or otherwise.
First Base – Miguel Cabrera
Best year in last 5 years – 2012 – .330 BA, .397 OBP, 44 HR, 139 RBI, 6.9 WAR – Triple Crown
Now playing third base in Detroit, but a more natural first basemen at this point in his career, he is the best hitter in all of baseball. Coming off an AL MVP season where he was the first winner of the batting triple crown since 1967 with Carl Yastrzemski. Cabrera won the 2003 World Series with the Marlins in his rookie year. He was traded after the 2007 season to Detroit for peanuts.
Second Base – Dan Uggla
Best year in last5 years – 2010 – .287 BA, .369 OBP, 33 HR, 105 RBI, 4.1 WAR
A second baseman that has the power to set the ball on fire as the cover comes peeling off while flying 500 feet out of the ballpark, Uggla had his best season in the last 5 years in his last season with the Marlins. After 2010, he rejected a 4 year, $48 million contract offer from the Marlins and signed with Atlanta for 5 years, $62 million. His average has dipped, but the power is still there for Uggla and would have made a great second basemen for this team.
Third Base – Hanley Ramírez
Best year in last 5 years – 2009 – .342 BA, .410 OBP, 24 HR, 106 RBI, 27 SB, 7.1 WAR
After being moved to 3B to accommodate SS José Reyes, Hanley Ramirez had a bit of a down start to the year and clashed with coaching and management. He was subsequently traded to the L.A. Dodgers, again for peanuts. However, given a more accommodating manager and helpful locker room, Hanley could thrive at third base and continue having years like 2009. Adding speed and another game changing piece to this Marlins dream team.
Short Stop – José Reyes
Best year in last 5 years – 2011 – .337 BA, .384 OBP, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 39 SB, 4.7 WAR
A great defensive short stop that can also change the game as a lead off hitter. He has low RBI totals for obvious reasons, he is the prototypical lead off hitter for this dream Marlins team. Once he gets on base he has a great career steal percentage, 85%. After signing a huge 6 year, $106 million contract for 2012, he was the latest piece to be moved via a patented Marlins roster dump for pennies on the dollar.
Left Field – Josh Willingham
Best year in last 5 years – 2012 – .260 BA, .366 OBP, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 2.9 WAR
The first guy on this list to have his best year recently in the most recent MLB season. He is a prototypical left fielder that doesn’t field amazingly, but has a bat to crush baseballs. He has a passable average but the power to make his average acceptable. He was traded from the Marlins after a few down years for, among peanuts, Emilio Bonifacio. The trade was defensible at the time, but for this former Marlins dream team, Willingham would have been a difference maker in 2012.
Center Field – Juan Pierre
Best year in last 5 years – 2012 – .307 BA, .351 OBP, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 1.9 WAR
The most surprising name to show up on this list, Juan Pierre is a great defensive center fielder with blazing speed. he would be a great number two hitter, or a necessary number 8 hitter, after Reyes to ensure speed on the base paths as well as a high average to advance Reyes before the power hitters. Pierre has had an up and down career, but in 2012, Pierre could have helped the fish to World Series contention.
Right Field – Giancarlo Stanton
Best year in last 5 years – 2012 – .290 BA, .361 OBP, 37 HR, 86 RBI, 5.4 WAR
In only his third year in the show, Giancarlo is going to be the future of this fish team. He is the only fielder on this team that is still a member of the Marlins and will certainly be the biggest trade piece when the team decides to “restart” in about 4 years. For now though, he is a high average, high power, type of rare player that could one day have a ceiling near players like David Wright, or at his peak Miguel Cabrera. An obvious choice for this fish team.
Pitching Staff (Josh Beckett excluded because trade was actually beneficial to Marlins)
1 – Josh Johnson
Best year in last 5 years – 2010 – 2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11 W, 6 L, 186 K, 1 CG, 6.8 WAR
Josh Johnson, the man that was just the co-center piece of the most recent roster dump would still be the ace of this team as he was just a few short months ago. He has a recent injury history but had a decent resurgent year in 2012 and is good enough to lead this dream fish squad through the playoffs.
2 – A.J. Burnett
Best year in last 5 years – 2012 – 3.51 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 16 W, 10 L, 180 K, 1 CG, 1.9 WAR
One of the surprising redemption years in MLB last season, A.J. Burnett had a great year with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His WAR did not compete with his first year with the Yankees, even though all the rest of his numbers compare favorably, that is why I chose his latest year as his best. He would be a fantastic number 2 or 3 for this Marlins team.
3 – Mark Buehrle
Best year in last 5 years – 2012 – 3.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 13 W, 13 L, 125 K, 1 CG, 3.2 WAR
This is one of the hardest pitchers to attempt to choose a “best” year because he has been so consistent his entire career. Any of the last 5 really could be considered because the numbers are so similar. However, the pitcher that was included in the blockbuster recently is a perfect 2 or 3 for any major league team because he is a lefty and his uncanny consistency. You know exactly what you will get out of Buehrle every year barring injury, which he has not been a victim of often either.
4 – Ryan Dempster
Best year in last 5 years – 2008 – 2.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 17 W, 6 L, 187 K, 1 CG, 6.7 WAR
Again, a consistent veteran, this Marlins dream pitching staff is riddled with consistency which is exactly what would be needed after the lineup that the Marlins could have been fielding would be running and crushing the ball with ease. Dempster has been a work horse for the Chicago Cubs over the years after reverting back to a starter after years being the closer. He was traded for prospects, none panned out, to the Cincinnati Reds and after a disappointing year that ended with Tommy John surgery, he was released and signed by the Chicago Cubs.
5 – Jason Vargas
Best year in last 5 years – 2012 – 3.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 14 W, 11 L, 141 K, 2 CG, 2.7 WAR
A younger lefty pitcher to install as the teams number 5 pitcher, Jason Vargas was chased by many teams at the trade deadline this year. He may not be an ace, which is what you look for in 1-5 pitchers on “dream” teams, but this team is a bit more realistic because it is all players that the fish have had at one time or another. Vargas, after a disappointing 2006, was traded to the New York Mets for no name relief pitchers.
Closer – Kevin Gregg
Best year in last 5 years – 2010 – 3.51 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 37 Saves, 58 K, 2 W, 6 L, 1 WAR
Surprisngly, Kevin Gregg is probably the best pure closer that the Marlins have had in recent memory. He hasn’t been great since his one years in Toronto and I’m sure he could be replaced by someone on the scrap heap, but as far as players that have recently played well and been on the Marlins, Kevin Gregg fits the bill. Underwhelming endorsement, but Gregg is the guy.