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Scouts, ex-GMs analyze Marlins; Fins book draft visits; Heat decision; Canes chatter

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

With everybody expecting this to a long and losing season for the Marlins, who open Monday in Washington, we solicited personnel evaluations from three former general managers (John Hart, Steve Phillips, Jim Bowden) and three veteran scouts. Some feedback:

### The rotation of Ricky Nolasco, Nate Eovaldi, Wade LeBlanc, Henderson Alvarez and Kevin Slowey “is going to kill their bullpen because they will have a lot of five-inning starts,” said one AL scout who watched the Marlins a lot this spring. “It might get ugly quickly. Your No. 1 starter [Nolasco] would be in the back of a rotation of a championship team.”

Other views from the three scouts, who asked that their names not be used because of club policy: “It’s a bad sign when Wade LeBlanc is your No. 3 starter. Heck, I would pass on him as a No. 5 starter.”… “Nolasco has gone backward. The only consistent pitch he has left is his curveball.”…. “Alvarez is a better pitcher than he showed in Toronto. The key for him is getting good sink on his fastball.”… “Liked how Eovaldi looked this spring. He’s going to be a solid major league starter.”

Sirius Radio’s Phillips: “It’s a pretty thin rotation. Slowey doesn’t have the stuff to get away with a mistake.” But Hart said the good news is “Eovaldi and Henderson have good stuff. The development of a third pitch is key for Eovaldi.”

(Sunday update: Eovaldi and Alvarez will start the season on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation; Alex Sanabia and elite prospect Jose Fernandez were promoted to take their rotation spots.)

### One scout said signing 37-year-old third baseman Placido Polanco, who missed time with back problems in 2012, was “stupid. You’re not going anywhere, and he’s going to end up on the disabled list.” Hart said “I wouldn’t want to play him everyday” because of injuries.

But Phillips said Polanco “is one of the smartest players and best situational hitters around. You’re not going to get power or speed, so he needs to hit over .300 to be a functional asset.”

### The evaluators believe Juan Pierre will be productive, at 35. “He’s a nice place card until Christian Yelich is ready,” ESPN’s Bowden said.

Phillips said: “He’s got something left, but he doesn’t have a great on-base percentage [.346 career] because he’s not the most patient guy. He’s not a prototypical leadoff hitter.”

### Bowden predicts Adeiny Hechavarria “will become an above average shortstop and a No. 2 hitter eventually. I really like his range.”… Phillips: “I don’t expect him to hit much.”… Hart: “I love guy defensively. He’s a special defender.”

### The evaluators bemoaned the lack of protection around Giancarlo Stanton. “He’s going to be in a lot of 3-1 counts and needs to be patient,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but he’s up for it.”

### Some were skeptical whether Justin Ruggiano could duplicate last season’s breakout. “Chris Coghlan has had a great spring, and he needs regular at-bats to be productive,” one scout said. “Give him 250 at-bats, and if he doesn’t hit, then you know [2009] was a fluke. When he’s driving the ball the other way, he’s a pretty good player.”

### On catcher Rob Brantly: “I don’t think [.290 in 100 Marlins at-bats last year] was a fluke,” Hart said. “I’m not saying he’s Buster Posey, but he has a chance for a nice future.”… But a scout who watched him this spring said: “He’s got a ways to go defensively. And he needs to work on his game-calling.”

### A scout said second baseman Donovan Solano “would be more of a utility player on a good team. I’m not sold on him as a starter, but he’s a better player than I gave him credit for.”

### The evaluators are hopeful Logan Morrison will get back on track once he returns from knee issues. “I think he can hit .300 with 15 homers and 80 RBI,” Bowden said. But “is that production good enough at first base?” Despite the 23 homers in 2011, “he’s not going to be a big power bat long term,” Phillips said.

### One scout said Casey Kotchman, who is filling in at first for Morrison, “looks much better than he did last year. Defensively, one of better first basemen in baseball.”

### A scout, on the bullpen beyond closer Steve Cishek: “Really like A.J. Ramos’ arm. To me, Ryan Webb should be better; he has regressed. Mike Dunn overthrows and can’t command consistently.” But “Jon Rauch was a good signing,” Hart said.

### Bottom line? “It going to be a tough year,” Phillips said. “With a lineup without a lot of power, they’re going to have to win a lot of low-scoring games.” But one scout said: “If you factor in the minor league systems, I’d rather be the Marlins than the Mets.”…

And another said: “Mike Redmond will create a more professional clubhouse than Ozzie Guillen did.” Hart: “Redmond is an overachiever. Are they going to make a [playoff] run? No. But I don’t see this as a hopeless case.”

CHATTER

### With the Heat’s recent slow starts (at least until Friday's strong open in New Orleans), Erik Spoelstra’s biggest remaining decision is whether to stick with Udonis Haslem as a starter in postseason or go back to Shane Battier and the starting lineup in last year’s Finals. Consider: The Heat outscores teams by 11 per 48 minutes with Haslem, Mario Chalmers and the Big Three, compared with 18 per 48 with Battier, Chalmers and the Big Three.

Though Haslem is ninth among power forwards in rebounds per 48 minutes, the Battier/Chalmers/Big Three lineup surprisingly rebounds better as a group.

Players guarded by Haslem are shooting 44.6 percent, compared with 37.5 for Battier. Haslem is shooting 51.7 percent, but just 37 percent beyond two feet, whereas Battier is shooting a career-high 42.8 percent on threes.

### The Dolphins says they might bring in competition for kicker Dan Carpenter, and they’re showing interest in Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis, who hit 23 of 27 field goals in 2012, including 8 for 9 from 40 yards or more.

###Among familiar names the Dolphins asked to attend their local workout day on Wednesday: UM’s Brandon McGee, Mike James, Ramon Buchanan and Vaughn Telemaque; UF’s Jon Bostic, and former Krop and Ohio State standouts Etienne Sabino and Travis Howard.

### The Dolphins are among the teams holding a private meeting with speedy, explosive West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin. He would be a bold choice at 12, considering receiver is not a need, and Miami might be able to get a right tackle or pass rusher at that spot, or possibly a corner, though none might be the ideal fit at 12.

### Please see our last post for some tidbits on new Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes.

### There have been encouraging signs this spring from UM offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, who said “I’ve matured a lot. In the past, I made a couple decisions that might have caused me to be in the doghouse from [Al] Golden. Now, I’ve been top of everything, watching film more, doing everything right academically. I’ve been better on the field and off.”

Henderson said the NFL Draft advisory board told him he would not have been picked in the first three rounds if he turned pro this year. Making himself a first-rounder “drives me a lot.”

### Anthony Chickillo, who needs to exceed last year's four sacks, said bluntly: "I missed around five sacks last year, and that's unacceptable. A lot of people last year expected me to be to a finished product, but I was only a sophomore and there's no doubt I had more [blocking] attention than my freshman year." Chickillo has had a good spring, including batting away and intercepting a Stephen Morris pass in last week's scrimmage.

### Next season’s power rotation is a big concern for UM basketball, which loses five key seniors, but if Shane Larkin doesn’t turn pro (and that's very iffy), Miami should be strong on the perimeter with Larkin, Rion Brown and Garrius Adams and newcomers DeAndre Burnett and Davon Reed.

“I go against Garrius in practice, and the guy is a beast, a terrific player, and nobody knows it,” Larkin said. “Coaches say Reed can be extremely good defensively. And DeAndre might be the best scorer in Dade since Guillermo Diaz.” Burnett spent the past year in prep school after starring at Carol City.

   

Comments

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Jorge Garcia

Barry... save the space. We do NOT care about the Marlins. If you think you have to cover this team to be a credible news entity, you're wrong. This city will gladly give you a pass. With the Marlins, LESS will be more and NOTHING would be everything. I'm sure the advertisers would rather be seen on a story about the Heat.

I urge anyone who agrees with me to post the same message on each and every Marlin article, each and every time it is posted. Simply copy this message on a place of easy access on your computer, and paste!

DeployedDiehardCane

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
THIS. I strongly agree with that last post.

Benz

Agree with Jorge!

MLB should run this low-life Loria out of baseball and get an owner who can afford a team.

Dolphins, Heat, Canes, Panthers. No room for that baseball team while Loria is the owner.

Bob Mixson

That baseball stadium could have been a new stadium for the Canes

Seth

I still think the Marlins have been making the right moves to be in the World Series this year. I see the season play out like this for the Miami Marlins: 95 wins, a Wild Card spot, then lose in World Series to the LA Angels. Great insight, Barry.

omaximus

Agreed with above as long as Loria owns the Marlins there is only minor league baseball in south Florida and they should be given minor league coverage. They are an irrelevant non-entity and there is too much going on with the Canes, Heat and Dolphins to waste any time on the Marlins. Please save your excellent reporting for teams that matter.

Jmike

This is such a bush league town. Even in 2004 and 2005, after they won the World Series, and they actually increased payroll from the the WS payroll, no one came. Why should they increase payroll if it doesn't translate to an increase in attendance. If a team is at the bottom of the league in attendance, then payroll should match. If you owned a business that's what you would do, match payables with revenue. You may not like what I just wrote, but try to think about it for a second.

omaximus

That baseball stadium could have been a new stadium for the Canes

Posted by: Bob Mixson | 03/31/2013 at 07:31 AM

Too bad Donna Shalala didn't make any effort to get the city to renovate the OB, OR to get a local stadium built near the school. She failed UM when she ceded the OB sight to the Marlins without a fight.

Now we see the results of her foolish idea as we play as second class citizens in a stadium that will never be ours, with zero atmosphere, far away from the campus and from our most loyal fans.

Corleone

Who cares about the Marlins!!! Couldn't give a crap about anything they do or say. When Loria's gone then we'll care.
Side with Jorge....

eddie

glad to see seantrel growing up. the guy should be bryant mckinnie if he ever reached his potential

Ronnie

Dolphins have always been predictable when it comes to the draft or their offense for that matter but if they are bold enough to draft tavon Austin at 12. All that would change...do yourself a favor Ireland and make the pick of Austin and you won't be sorry. Moving up to pick a tackle would be safe but picking Austin would make a splash.

rboud

I'm not sure Larkin will go higher in the draft if he waits another year. He's not going to get any taller, which is the only reason the NBA has any doubt about him. I hope he stays, but he's probably gone unless the NBA convinces him that another year may enable him to be a first rounder.

Omaximus

JMike do you always believe what con men tell you? Because that its all Loria is, a small time Bernie Maddof operating in the baseball industry instead of Wall Street. Deadspin showed beyond any doubt that he lied consistently about the Marlins operating profits while he was pleading poverty and begging for a new stadium. Rather than losing $ as he claimed Deadspin proved he was pocketing over $30 million in profits per year.

Do some research all this info is available online. No way the Marlins lost money lost $ last year. Perhaps Loria didn't pocket the $30 million in revenue sharing that he prefers to? But the value of the franchise with the new stadium jumped to about $300 million more than he paid for the team, so it wouldn't have been any great sacrifice for the org to break even for a few years while they rebuild the fanbase and prove they care about winning. Loria was too greedy and arrogant to even make that minimal good-faith gesture. Do you work for this con man our you are just easily duped?

TK SWAN!!

I AGREE RONNIE SELECTING AUSTIN NOT ONLY WILL BE BOLD BUT IT WILL MAKE THIS TEAM EVEN MORE EXPLOSIVE AND FAST. AUSTIN WOULD BE A MATCHUP PROBLEM FOR TEAMS IN THE AFC AND NFL. I KNOW WE NEED OTHER POSITIONS FILLED BUT THE MORE WEAPONS THE MORE POINTS SCORED THE BETTER THE CHANCES OF WINNING 3-5 MORE VICTORIES THIS YEAR. I AGREE MAKE THE CHOICE IF HE IS AVAILABLE AT#12. WE WOULD STILL HAVE 10 OTHER PICKS TO GET OTHER NEEDS.

jo jo

Could care less about the Marlins this year.They will become more than scared after they see their attendance numbers after a couple weeks.Heat were awesome last night without the Big 2 and Chalmers.Serves Popovich well for his stupidity resting his players last November.At least Spoels used injury as a legitimate excuse for not playing his stars...and thus avoiding an NBA fine.It s appropo...that s all.Guess SA found out that 2 can play the same (head) game.Too funny.Is Morris out yet as Miami s baseball Coach?????He should be if he s not.

Former Season Tckt Holder

I care about the Marlins AND Baseball, But Jeffery Loria should burn in hell, Until he sells, The Marlins image and popularity will never change. LORIA MUST SELL!!!

Los

Barry... save the space. We do NOT care about the Marlins. If you think you have to cover this team to be a credible news entity, you're wrong. This city will gladly give you a pass. With the Marlins, LESS will be more and NOTHING would be everything. I'm sure the advertisers would rather be seen on a story about the Heat.
I urge anyone who agrees with me to post the same message on each and every Marlin article, each and every time it is posted. Simply copy this message on a place of easy access on your computer, and paste!

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/sports-buzz/2013/03/scouts-ex-gms-analyze-marlins-fins-book-draft-visits-heat-decision-canes-chatter.html#storylink=cpy

dave

Barry please make this the last Marlins article of the year.

AnonymousCane

Barry...I did not know Miami had a professional baseball team and after two starts I'm convinced they don't.

Ken  G

The Marlins don't deserve our support!
The canes must get a new baseball coach. Jim Morris rode on the Wizzards coat tail the first few years and hasn't done anything since. He is a bad recruiter, poor communicator, and awful at player development. How this guy still makes 1 mil per yr. I don't get!!
I would love to see the improvements at dolphin stadium, mainly to get seats closer to the field to make it better for Canes Fans. More like our beloved OB! However since the facts came out that the NFL was going to ante up 150 mil, then that gives Ross almost a freebie! So I am against public funding.its owned by Ross, he gets the benefits of equity and increased franchise value, so let him fund it! Also, Browerd gets benefits from superbowls so why should Miami- dade foot the bill.

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