It’s late July, 2011 and the Florida Marlins wear their black & teal jersies playing in a football stadium and they are pushing to stay out of last place. No fans are attending, the players are frustrated and the front office knows that they have to do something drastic to bring pub and money to their bank account.

    It’s late March, 2012 and the Marlins organization does a complete renovation: changing their name to the Miami Marlins, change their uniforms to a black & orange uni with teal outlining, introduce their new stadium built for baseball only with a monstracity of a fish that looks like Moby Dick’s cousin on an OF murial and their new team with superstar shortstop Jose Reyes (moving franchise player Hanley Ramirez to 3B), star closer Heath Bell, star lefty Mark Buerhle and former-star righty Carlos Zambrano coming to play with this exciting, young team.  Most everybody thought they would make an enormous splash and be one of the best teams in the NL.  They made an enormous splash…
    It’s now late July 2012 and the Miami Marlins find themselves 5 games under .500 and 12.5 games back of first place.  After making a trade for Carlos Lee, hoping that would jump start their offense, get more fans in the seats and more tallymarks in the W column, they have still made an enormous splash in baseball…a big belly flop.  Instead of jump-starting the team and pushing them up the division rankings, they lose their star RF Giancarlo Stanton, the fans don’t respond to the trade (or The Franchise TV show) and neither does the offense.  So to clear some salary cap room, the Marlins unload Hanley Ramirez, their franchise player, and now possibly their star stud righty Josh Johnson.  What?
    Explain to me how you trade away Josh Beckett, one of the best SPs in a 3-5 period and one of the better pitchers in the last 5-7 years, who guided you to your second WS ring (and has another ring with the Red Sox) ultimately for Hanley Ramirez and now you look to trade away the best pitcher that you’ve had since Beckett when you brought in two guys that are 33 & 31 that you won’t trade away.  I don’t understand it.  I’m shocked by the Hanley trade, but can understand it, but now you’re talking about trading Josh Johnson, who two seasons ago was a Cy Young contender.  Unless you believe he won’t get back to that level, then I don’t understand how you get rid of him.
    The Marlins may have got in too much hot water financially to figure a way around it.  I got a feeling that Johnson and Hanley won’t be the only ones to go, probably Bell.  We’ll see…
 
    Now, we’re on to the team that last year was the favorite to win the WS and that’s 14 back of first in the NL East & 10 games below .500…the Fightin’ Phils.  It’s hard to say that I don’t understand why the Phils spent that much money to keep Cole Hamels in PA.  He’s 28, has helped guide you to a WS ring, is one of the most underrated SPs in MLB and is as consistent as they come.  Is he worth the money that they spent, yes and no.  If you don’t spend that money to keep him, you lose him to a big contender who has him til he’s 35+ and you miss out on 15-20 wins a year.  The problem is that you spent that much money on him and now you have to get rid of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee.  I can already see who the odd man out is…Cliffy.  He brings a ton of value in a trade, you can load up with some top prospects and is valuable because he is a giant killer in the playoffs.  Ok, but you need pitching in the playoffs.
    I say you trade Utley, put Polanco at 2B and trade for Chase Headley and you’re set for the next couple of years.  Headley has been productive in SD, which is a miracle in itself, he’s young, he can man the hot corner for the next 5-7 years and you clear salary cap space by trading an oft-injured 2B so that you can afford to keep Hunter Pence.  It’s a win-win.  If you do that, you get younger, have more money to spend, have the great pitching and if you make a huge comeback to make it to the playoffs, then you’ve rejuvenated the Franchise and you’re a freaking genius.  If you do it and you don’t make a huge comeback to get to the playoffs, then no one expected you to and you’re still good.  That’s what I’d do, but that’s just me.
    The Dempster Legacy…ok, so he’s not Jason Bourne or Aaron Cross, but he is about as highly sought after as those two guys.  Atlanta had been the leader coming into the week, but now those talks have fallen off.  I’m guessing it’s because Chicago wanted Randall Delgado AND Mike Minor and ATL didn’t want to do that. If they can’t come to an agreement, I’m sure LA has what Chicago wants and will gladly give it to them.  They just picked up Hanley and will try to pick up one of the biggest names on the block.  In the end, I think LA gets Dempster and Atlanta gets Garza for the deal that they were willing to send to ATL for Dempster.  Keep watching the ticker to see how it all plays out.