Thursday, December 06, 2012

All-Time Teams #15: Miami Marlins

This is part of an ongoing series where I'm naming an all-time team for each of the current 30 MLB franchises, and using this as a vehicle to discuss their greatest eligible player who is not in the Hall of Fame.

I apologize for the two-month hiatus between entries in this series, know, life happens. Plus, I've had a few other things to write about in my occasional free moments in the meantime.

But, I'm pleased to finally get around to completing the most-anticipated of the all-time teams. That is, the most successful franchise in baseball history other than the terms of frequency of World Series victories.

That's right, the Marlins' two World Series in 20 years (10%) is second to the Bombers' 27 in 112 seasons (24.1%), with the Cardinals ranking third (11-of-131, 8.4%).

Franchise History
Miami Marlins (2012-)
Florida Marlins (1993-2011)

C - Charles Johnson (1994-1998, 2001-2002)
1B - Jeff Conine (1993-1997, 2003-2005)
2B - Luis Castillo (1996-2005)
SS - Hanley Ramirez (2006-2012)
3B - Miguel Cabrera (2003-2007)
LF - Cliff Floyd (1997-2002)
CF - Juan Pierre (2003-2005)
RF - Gary Sheffield (1993-1998)

Choosing Pierre over Cody Ross was a tougher decision than you'd think. Ross rates higher in terms of WAR and WAA (Wins Above Average), but a lot of that value comes from better defense (a lot of it in just one year), which I'm not certain might be over-rated. Besides, for a team that's won two World Series in 20 years, being a key member of one of those championships has to enter into it. 

The only other difficult decision was Sheffield or Giancarlo Stanton in right field. Check back in a year and Stanton will probably get promoted to starter, assuming he's still wearing a Marlins uniform at that point.

Josh Johnson (2005-2012)
Kevin Brown (1996-1997)
Dontrelle Willis (2003-2007)
Anibal Sanchez (2006-2012)
Josh Beckett (2001-2005)

Brown had two pretty phenomenal years in south Florida, but Johnson's years of service earn him the nod as staff ace. Otherwise, the choice between Beckett and A.J. Burnett for the final rotation spot was pretty easy once the 2003 World Series was factored in.

Robb Nen (1993-1997)

C - Mike Redmond (1998-2004)
1B - Derrek Lee (1998-2003)
2B - Dan Uggla (2006-2010)
SS - Edgar Renteria (1996-1998)
3B - Mike Lowell (1999-2005)
OF - Giancarlo Stanton (2010- )
OF - Cody Ross (2006-2010)

I could have gone with Ivan Rodriguez over Redmond on the basis of his one very good season in Florida, but Redmond is second to Johnson in games caught and accumulated more value than Rodriguez. Besides, I have tough time considering a guy who played only one year for the Marlins—even a team with as short a history as this—as an all-time team member.

Lee versus Kevin Millar was pretty close in terms of overall value, but Lee shows up in the franchise's top ten in so many counting stats (Runs, Hits, Total Bases, HR, RBI), giving him the edge. Of course, that's because he played longer with the Marlins and basically means he was less good over a longer period, but so be it.

Alex Gonzalez gets left off in favor of Renteria, and not just because of the most important hit in team history. Gonzalez's eight years in Florida land him in the top ten in a few important categories (dWAR, Runs, Hits, Total Bases, RBI), but WAR flat out despises him, mainly because it doesn't rate him as well on defense as his reputation.

A.J. Burnett (1999-2005)
Carl Pavano (2002-2004)
Brad Penny (2000-2004)
Ricky Nolasco (2006- )

Nolasco and his 93 ERA+ squeaks into the final pitching slot only because he's the team's all-time wins leader.

Jack McKeon (2003-2005, 2011)

Of course I had to choose one of the two managers who guided the Marlins to World Series victories. McKeon gets the nod over Jim Leyland because he took over a 16-22 team and directed a pretty impressive turnaround that ended with Beckett shutting down the Yankees in the season's finale. He also guided the team to two more decent seasons following their post-Series overhaul, so he gets a few bonus points for that.

Greatest Eligible non-Hall of Famer

Based on playing just two seasons for the Marlins, Charles Johnson doesn't qualify for this honor. Obviously, it's pretty slim pickings otherwise, as Johnson and Conine—newly eligible this year, but sure to drop off the ballot after one round of voting—are the only options.

Although I'm sure Conine is considered a more important player to the team's history, Charles Johnson is the easy choice here. While far from worthy of serious Hall of Fame consideration, Johnson was one of the best players in the game at his position for a few years, winning four legitimate Gold Gloves and adding decent—sometimes above average—offense.

Next Up: Milwaukee Brewers


  1. Really liked this one. Brought back a hazy (very hazy) memory of Beau with a young Charles Johnson on his rotisserie team. Also a hazy (also very hazy) memory of the infamous 2007 Predictions Pool party, during which we posed a trivia question about career Marlin win leaders.

    1. Those are some great memories, Lee. So, career Marlin wins leaders as of 2007: Dontrelle Willis, AJ Burnett, Brad Penny, Ryan Dempster, Josh Beckett, I suppose.