It's been three weeks now since the Fan and his lovely wife returned from the annual trip to Florida. The Marlins were still stuck as a .500 club, but good feelings abounded with the hiring of Edwin Rodriguez. And the team has gone 19-16 under Rodriguez. But things have gotten weird down there. The vibe is weird. Or maybe the Fan just doesn't get what Rodriguez is doing. Here are some of those things the Fan is talking about.
First, why did they put Hanley Ramirez back in the lead off spot? What do the Marlins think he is, Soriano or something? Ramirez has slugged over .540 for the past three years. He is off of that pace this year in what has been a down year for him so far, but he is still fourth on the team in slugging, second in OPS+ and has a track record far and away better than anyone else on his team. So why regress him back to first in the order? He has now played in eight games from the lead off spot and he is 4 for 37. Can we all agree that this wasn't a good idea?
Why is Emilio Bonifacio back? Egads! It was thought that we had been rid of Bonifacio when he was nowhere to be seen in the beginning of the season. Whew! We didn't have the least successful major leaguer of them all to kick around anymore. We couldn't shake our heads and wonder how a guy with a 61 OPS+ could get over 500 plate appearances and play terribly in the field to boot (literally). Fredi Martinez got fired, Rodriguez got hired and what's one of the first moves the Marlins make? Emile Freakin' Bonifacio. He's gotten 43 plate appearances and his OPS+ has improved all the way to 71, but it's early yet. At least he is playing the outfield where he's serviceable. Some things just defy explanation. We should just call them the Nick Punto awards.
You would think that if a team trades away a guy like Jorge Cantu, some plan would be in place for how to replace him. Not with the Marlins. The plan went something like this:
1. See if Wes Helms wants the job.
2. Say Number 1 in public and then start Hector Luna there. Hector Luna? THAT Hector Luna? Apparently.
3. Say Donnie Murphy will get some starts there, but he doesn't.
4. If all else fails, that's where Bonifacio played last year. ARRRGGHH!!
Ronny Paulino is good, but he never, ever gets a day off. He caught 25 times in June. He came darn close to that in July but the All Star break saved him. Granted, John Baker isn't very good, but Paulino is going to fall apart at this pace.