Monday, November 8, 2010
Our end-of-year awards are long overdue, as filling out our BBA ballots took a lot more time than expected. But enough with the excuses, on with the awards...
Dontrelle Willis Out of Nowhere Award, given to the player who was completely off the radar in Spring Training that made a big impact on the team: This is a tough call, since the Marlins' trio of impact rookies (Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, and Logan Morrison) were all closely watched in Spring Training. I will give the nod to Sanchez, since we all assumed he was merely keeping the first base spot warm for Morrison when he won the job out of Spring Training. But to his credit, he posted a respectable .273/.341/.448 slash line with 19 home runs and 2.4 WAR over the year, and convinced the team to convert Morrison into a corner outfielder.
Jorge Julio Award, given to the new addition to team who completely flopped: Nate Robertson. The Marlins acquired Robertson from the Tigers at the end of Spring Training, hoping the lefty could be a reliable back of rotation starter for 2010. It didn't work out, as Robertson posted a 3.59 BB/9 and 5.47 ERA over 100 innings, and the Marlins released him in late July. He wasn't terrible, but since he was one of a scant few offseason acquisitons, he was bad enough to join Emilio Bonifacio in the Jorge Julio club. On the plus side, Detroit paid most of his salary.
Darren Daulton Deadline Dandy, given to the best midseason acquisition: Nobody. Sure, the Marlins received Evan Reed and Omar Poveda in the Jorge Cantu trade, but both stayed in the minors after the trade, and the Marlins were clearly sellers in 2010. As such, the DDDD will be vacant this year. We'll give an honorable mention to Giants playoff hero Cody Ross, but giving him the award outright would only add insult to injury to some jilted Marlins fans, and I don't want to ruffle any feathers.
Next Member of the Marlins Diaspora, self explanatory: Dan Uggla. Sure we gave him this award last year. Why should that stop us from doing it again? We all love Uggla, but the dude is on the wrong side of age 30, and signing him to a long-term deal could leave the Marlins with an albatross of a contract in 2012 and beyond. I know the team is currently in contract discussions with Uggla, but as with last winter's Josh Johnson sweepstakes, I'll believe a long-term Uggla deal when I see it.
Bret Barberie Bizarre Boo-Boo: given to the player with the weirdest injury of the season, named after the time former Marlin Bret Barberie missed a game due to a case of habanero juice in the eye: Chris Coghlan, who tore the meniscus in his left knee while giving Uncle Wes Helms a shaving cream pie after a walkoff hit. This injury will live on in infamy.
On with some other, more generic awards...
MVP: Uggla. With 5.1 WAR this year, Uggla clearly outperformed everyone on the team this year. He also became the first second basemen to slug 30 home runs in four consecutive years and 25 home runs in five straight years. The man earned his $7.8 million salary and then some in 2010.
Best Pitcher: Josh Johnson. Speaking of earning his pay this year, Johnson again put up stellar numbers for the Fish (6.3 WAR, 2.30 ERA, 9.1 K/9 in 28 starts and 180+ innings). His 11-6 record would have been even better had the bullpen not blown so many saves in his starts this year, and he had some Cy Young consideration until he was shut down in September due to nagging back and shoulder issues.
Biggest Surprise: Alex Sanabia. The 22-year-old got called up in June to bolster the struggling rotation, and performed admirably in his 12 starts and 3 relief appearances, throwing 72.1 innings and posting a FIP of 3.65 and ERA of 3.73. His 1.99 BB/9 rate is a little troubling, but he appears to be a strong candidate for the rotation in 2011.
Biggest Disappointment: The bullpen. Certainly our expectations for this collection of journeymen and iffy prospects were not that high, but when the bullpen blows 25 saves (most in the NL, second only to Baltimore overall), I can't help but be disappointed. As Michael Jong at Marlin Maniac pointed out early this year, the Marlins have long utilized a bullpen strategy of assembling a collection of high-risk high-reward free agents and prospects and hoping for the best. This year it didn't work, but that probably will not lead to a change in strategy (only a higher payroll could change things). Marlins fans have to hope the bullpen regresses back towards the mean in 2011, or things could get ugly.