Throughout January and February, we're reviewing offseason MLB transactions that have fantasy implications, and we're going team-by-team. This isn't quite like Hot Stove Daily. The focus here is limited. We're only looking at ownable fantasy players who've found new employers.
There are plenty of fantasy-friendly storylines when it comes to the Marlins - Hanley Ramirez might be the most dynamic roto commodity in the game, the pitching staff is loaded with potential aces, Cameron Maybin is a toolsy star-in-the-making. But when it comes to big names moving in the offseason, the Marlins are all about exporting talent, not importing it. With all due respect to the Emilio Bonifacios and Leo Nunezes of the world, Florida didn't acquire any players important enough to fit the scope of this series.
With that established, I'll bend the Helper rules a little bit (Andy's shaking his head as I type this) and discuss how some of Florida's winter moves affect the players and roles left behind.
Lindstrom's strikeout numbers are a little light when you consider his mid-90s heater and biting slider, but there's little doubt in my mind he can take this opportunity and run with it. The Marlins auditioned him in the ninth inning last September and he passed the test with flying colors (5-for-5 on save chances, 1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP); getting three outs with a lead of 1-3 runs isn't all that difficult; and there's no obvious stud contender behind him poised to steal the throne. It's always a good idea to fill the saves category as cheaply as possible, and with that in mind Lindstrom looks appealing to the frugal shopper. He's the No. 25 relief pitcher on the initial batch of 2009 Yahoo! Expert ranks, and his ADP sits relatively buried at 175.9.
Traded 1B Mike Jacobs to Kansas City; replacement TBA
Jorge Cantu resurrected his career in South Florida last year and will man one of the corner spots but the other starter is to be determined. The Marlins will give 25-year-old 1B Gaby Sanchez every chance to stick (he's at the age where the team needs to find out what it has), but if he has a washout camp the Fish might slide Cantu over to first and look at their other third base options. One of the more intriguing third sackers on the roster is Quad-A superstar/Post Hype sleeper Dallas McPherson; despite his 42 homers in the minors last year, the Marlins didn't bother looking at him until September (for all of 11 at-bats).
It's quite possible the Marlins got rid of Olsen just in time; I watched him trying to get by last year on a flat slider and a mid-80s fastball and I wasn't impressed. His strikeout rate collapsed to just 5.0 per nine innings, that's soft-tosser territory. With Olsen gone Chris Volstad opens the year as the No. 3 starter, and he'll be followed by Anibal Sanchez and Andrew Miller if they can stay healthy.
Willingham's departure slides Jeremy Hermida to left field, with tantalizing sleeper Maybin in center and Cody Ross in right. On a better team Ross would probably be a fourth outfielder - he got exposed against right-handed pitching last year - but when you're on a Marlins budget, you do what you can. Some will put Hermida on the post-hype sleeper list, while others have vowed never to get sucked in again. We can bat this around in the comments.
Filet-O-Fish: Ramirez is expected to bat third this year, and he's reportedly added 20-25 pounds of bulk in the offseason. I'd be careful not to expect 50 steals; Fredi Gonzalez wants him running less anyway, and the new slot might limit Ramirez to 30-35 bags . . . Maybin could get a shot batting leadoff, assuming the Ramirez change sticks . . . Ricky Nolasco's explosive breakout has justifiably pushed his price tag forward (ADP 125.3), but there's a little more value to be had for running mate Josh Johnson (152.4). A lot of fantasy players remain in prove-it mode with Johnson, but his 14 starts after Tommy John surgery spoke volumes to me . . . Dan Uggla collapsed in the second half last year (.226 average, .396 slugging), perhaps a tie-in to his strange fielding woes in the All-Star Game. I'm willing to take the average hit and accept the 100-30-90 line that comes with an Uggla purchase . . . Florida was mentioned as a possible Ivan Rodriguez landing spot, like just about every team this winter (the California Bears and Yomiuri Giants are putting together an offer as we speak). The Marlins denied Pudge interest a month or so ago, but they might change that tune if Rodriguez is willing to come in on a bargain-basement contract. Otherwise, look for underrated John Baker and unrated Mike Rabelo to split the catching chores.