Florida Marlins All-Time Roster as We Wind Down to the End of an Era
The Florida Marlins' 19th season is almost over and with it the end of the team known as the "Florida Marlins" who play at the ever-changing name stadium now called "Sun Life Stadium" with the signature teal colors and empty seats.
In 2012, the Marlins will be a rebooted franchise with new uniforms, logo and a new ballpark which will certainly put the current placement of the franchise in another alignment.
That said, let's put together the all-time Marlins squad from their inception in 1993 to the present-day 2011.
Personally, I haven't yet done an all-time Marlins squad and the Florida Marlins themselves will be having a special ceremony on Closing Day (Sept. 28) to wave goodbye appropriately to Sun Life Stadium along with announcing the all-team Marlins team via online ballot.
The all-time Marlins team I've put together will have a few stipulations which include for both the starting pitchers and position players that have multiple seasons with the ballclub or they don't qualify (sorry Pudge and Carlos Delgado).
We will have honorable mentions and they aren't disappointments, probably good enough to make a second-tier Marlins team.
Without further ado let's see the all-time Florida Marlins squad.
Manager: Jack McKeon
Marlins Win-Loss Record: 276-247; .528 winning percentage
Jack McKeon took a team that fired its previous manager, Jeff Torborg, to the World Series, which in it of itself is very impressive. To add to that, he beat the New York Yankees, the team with the big bucks, in six games.
At the time of winning the World Series in 2003, McKeon was the oldest MLB manager to do so at 72. McKeon is also the only manager to have parts of three seasons of .500 or better baseball in Marlins history.
McKeon returned in 2011 (taking over for Edwin Rodriguez) and baring a losing streak that lasts the remainder of the season, he is the Marlins winningest manager, an honor that truly garners him the name of best Marlins manager.
Honorable Mention: Jim Leyland (he won the Marlins first World Series title in 1997 and changed the direction of the franchise in the process).
Catcher: Charles Johnson
Marlins Stats (7 years): 587 games, .241 batting average/.342 on base percentage/.418 slugging percentage, 75 home runs, and 277 RBIs
Not many people would know this, but Charles Johnson was one of the better defensive catchers of the mid-90s in the National League with four Gold Gloves from 1995-98, even though the last one came as he played for the Dodgers after being traded midseason.
A homegrown boy from the University of Miami and originally drafted by the Marlins in 1992, Johnson was homegrown talent that gives him a bonus to making this list.
Johnson was instrumental part of the 1997 World Series, hitting .357 with a home run in Game 1 to set the tone for the Marlins in a series that went back and forth after each game.
Honorable Mention: Ivan Rodriguez: Pudge gets this distinction because he was only here for one season. I could easily say Mike Piazza was best Marlin catcher but he only played five games.
First Baseman: Jeff Conine
Marlins Stats (8 years): 1,014 games, .290 batting average/.358 on-base percentage/.455 slugging percentage, 120 home runs, and 553 RBIs
Jeff Conine is Mr. Marlin and he is an automatic selection for this squad, no surprise here.
Conine was apart of the franchise's two World Series teams (1997 and 2003) and was on the inaugural team in 1993. He won the franchise's only All-Star game MVP in 1995.
While Conine was a left fielder as well, he is was better molded for first base because of his lack of speed and he wouldn't be a left fielder on the all-time team, would have been third behind the honorable mention.
Honorable Mention: Derrick Lee: Lee was very close on being in this spot, but Conine had a better batting average, just as many home runs (129 for Lee) and more RBIs (417 for Lee) and maybe had Lee had the years he had with the Cubs he might have be the this spot.
Second Baseman: Luis Castillo
Marlins Stats (10 years): 1,128 games, .293 batting average/.370 on-base percentage/.356 slugging percentage, 20 home runs, 271 RBIs, and 281 stolen bases
Before there was Emilio Bonifacio or Omar Infante, there was Luis Castillo, who is a combined package of the aforementioned players. Castillo had a trio of Gold Gloves in his tenure with the Marlins and had a franchise high 35 game hitting streak in 2002.
Honorable Mention: Dan Uggla: Aside from Castillo having the World Series ring, Uggla's glove was the main loser in this race, while his power bat was undeniable, he wasn't a pure enough hitter for me to put him in with a .263 batting average and a .349 on base percentage, that is 21 points lower the Castillo's .370 as a Marlin.
Third Baseman: Mike Lowell
Marlins Stats (7 years): 981 games, .272 batting average/.339 on-base percentage/.462 slugging percentage, 143 home runs, and 578 RBIs.
Lowell was the all-around infielder for the Marlins, having won the Gold Glove, making multiple All-Star games (2002-04) and he had the power bat.
While 2005 was a forgettable year and perhaps one that cost the team a chance at making the postseason, he was a figure of the 2003 squad and has been the only one to keep the job as long he did, from 1999-2005, a total of seven seasons.
The Marlins have struggled to keep one player at the hot corner for at least three seasons since he departure.
Honorable Mention: Miguel Cabrera: when he played at the hot corner from 2006-2007.
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez
Marlins Stats (6 years): 852 games, .306 batting average/.380 on-base percentage/.508 slugging percentage, 134 home runs, 434 RBIs, and 216 stolen bases
Love him or hate him, he is one best players in the game when he is on his game.
It's been a down year for Hanley Ramirez but that hasn't taken him off of the list. Out of all players on this list, Ramirez might arguably be the best pure hitter in Marlins history but another former slugger is ahead of him in that regard.
Nevertheless, Ramirez might not quite have the defense that Alex Gonzalez has or the clutch ability of Edgar Renteria but he has been the best at the position year in and year out.
Honorable Mention: Alex Gonzalez: A-Gon is here by default, bat-wise he doesn't nearly compare to Ramirez but his defense is what gives him this distinction. Gonzalez had a .245/.291/.391 clip as a Marlin but his walk-off home run in the World Series pays dividends.
Left Field: Miguel Cabrera
Marlins Stats (5 years): 720 games, .313/.388/.542, 138 home runs, 523 RBIs
Cabrera burst into the scene in 2003 with a walk-off home run against the Tampa Bay Rays. From there his sweet bat guided the Marlins towards a World Series title.
He is undeniably the best pure hitter the Marlins have had in their history, others come really close but Cabrera stood out because he did what he did consistently year in and year out.
It's a shame that he was traded for scrap parts because his bat would have made a huge difference on the team today along with up and coming stars of the Marlins lineup.
Honorable Mention: Cliff Floyd: Floyd's numbers .294/.374/.523, 110 home runs, 409 RBIs, 90 stolen bases are pretty good to land on this list as a starter, but Cabrera, a future Hall of Famer, gets the edge.
Center Field: Juan Pierre
Marlins Stats (3 years): 486 games, .313/.354/.378, 6 home runs, 137 RBIs, and 167 stolen bases
Juan Pierre is a fan-favorite and was the Marlins' primary spark plug during his tenure with the franchise.
His speed was a game-changer and his steals set franchise records and he and Luis Castillo have arguably been the best 1-2 punch in the history of the team.
Pierre placed 10th in MVP voting in 2003 and 16th in MVP voting in 2004. He might have not been that explosive, but he was clearly the best center fielder the franchise has had.
Honorable Mention: Preston Wilson: Wilson arguably had the better bat and just as much speed as Pierre. He had a 30-30 season, the franchise's first in 2000 (31 HRs and 36 SBs) and played four solid seasons with the team. But when calculating WAR, Pierre averaged 1.4 to Wilson's 1.35 per season in their tenure's with the team and Pierre has the ring.
Right Field: Gary Sheffield
Marlins Stats (6 years): 558 games, .288/.426/.543, 122 home runs, 380 RBIs
Sheffield had a prolific swing and was the franchise's first established power hitter and to this day, is the only Marlin to ever eclipse the 40-HR plateau, having 42 in 1996.
Sheffield won the World Series in 1997 and he has vowed to go into Cooperstown in a Marlins cap.
He may have been linked to PEDs, but his numbers show no crooked numbers and his body never changed dramatically, his on-base percentage is what will eventually get in him but it may be on his final ballots.
Honorable Mention: Mike Stanton: Stanton has only played a season and a half but his bat in a short period of time has elevated him to the honorable mention category, I can't think of any other player that can be mentioned in this spot. Stanton is a superstar in the making and no other former Marlin right fielder has come close.
Top of the Order
1. Juan Pierre: His speed is lethal and he was one of the better steal artists for the Marlins.
2. Luis Castillo: Perfect guy to move JP over or just get on base and even steal.
3. Gary Sheffield: This is his spot because of his on-base ability, if he can get on you have to put him at the top.
Heart of the Order
4. Hanley Ramirez: He excelled in this spot during his limited time this year and with the bats behind him, this is his spot considering his speed.
5. Miguel Cabrera: Miggy belongs no further than this, he should have excellent opportunities to drive in runs with those ahead of him.
6. Mike Lowell: Gets the edge over Mr. Marlin because he has more pop and ability to drive those idle base runners. He had lead the ballclub in franchise home runs before Dan Uggla passed him last season.
Bottom of the Order
7. Jeff Conine: Mr. Marlin gets the lucky number 7 but there is no way he is any higher ahead of aforementioned names but nevertheless a nice solid bat to have in the bottom of the lineup.
8. Charles Johnson: Wasn't known for his average and as such Johnson gets left the hand he is dealt as the last man (besides the pitcher) in the order.
9. (Pitchers Spot)
1. Kevin Brown: Even though he only pitched a pair of seasons with the Marlins, he was by far the best during his tenure with the franchise. He hurled a no-hitter, won a World Series, was a two-time all-star, and he left the Marlins posting 33 wins, 11 complete games (five shutouts), and a magnificent 2.30 ERA.
2. Josh Johnson: Injuries have kept JJ from being atop of the rotation but nevertheless pull him ahead of Beckett because he has been highly effective. Johnson has posted a 2.98 ERA with 48 wins in parts of seven seasons with the franchise.
3. Josh Beckett: Blisters slowed down what could have been a top of the rotation guy often and early but it took the postseason for him to shine and masterfully. Beckett, of course, won the World Series MVP in 2003 and his performances prior to that guided the team towards the elusive ring.
4. Dontrelle Willis: Now if we're going by what the players did during their tenure with the Marlins, then Willis gets on it because he was a gamer. The "D-Train" posted a then franchise record 68 career victories to go along with a rookie of the year garnered during the magical run of 2003 and his two trips to the MLB All-Star game. Aside from all that, you'd think this rotation would need a lefty and a nice ninth bat in the lineup (hit .234, eight home runs, and 35 RBIs in 351 Marlin at-bats).
5. Anibal Sanchez: Sanchez made his debut in style by pitching at the old Yankee Stadium and shutting out the Bronx Bombers. Since then Sanchez hurled a no-hitter as a rookie and despite going throw through shoulder issues, Sanchez has been more consistent than his teammate Ricky Nolasco who was left off the list. Sanchez also owns 3 of the franchise's eight one-hitters.
Honorable Mention: Carl Pavano (was real close into getting on list but tenure matters), Ricky Nolasco (has been fairly inconsistent and has proven it this season), AJ Burnett (lost more games than he won as a Marlin, his flamethrowing status puts him in the conversation), Livan Hernandez (got to give honorable mention status to a former World Series MVP but he was inconsistent in the regular season).
Because the Marlins haven't has an array of middle relievers and even great closers for a span of time, the rules for the bullpen are this. The pitcher has to have played at least one full season with the Marlins, no in season trade (sorry Urbina) makes the pitcher qualified to be on the list and the pitchers' best season with the Marlins will be acknowledged aside their name.
RHP - Kiko Calero, 2009: 1.95 ERA and .180 opponents batting average in 60 innings.
RHP - Todd Jones, 2005: 2.10 ERA (as a closer) and a 1.03 WHIP in 68 games pitched.
LHP - Randy Choate, 2011: 1.82 ERA (in a injured shortened season) 31 Ks in 24 2/3 innings as specialist.
LHP - Joe Nelson, 2008: 2.00 ERA and 60 Ks in 54 innings pitched.
The Late Inning Duo
Setup - Rob Nen, 1996: 1.95 ERA (as a closer), 1.06 WHIP and had 92 Ks in 83 innings of work. Holds Marlins record for games finished with 66 from that same season.
Closer - Armando Benitez, 2004: Franchise holder with his 47 saves during that season and had a outstanding 1.29 ERA and eye popping 0.82 WHIP.