Recently I’ve heard several “fans” proclaiming the Marlins will be contenders next year, for the mere fact that they signed free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell. While the Marlins always give the Braves fits. Making a pricy splash in the free agent market doesn’t assure them a pennant run. Several points to remember:
Reyes won the NL batting crown last year with a .337 average, but it’s the first time since his 69 game rookie year that he hit over .300. Not that a career .292 average is shabby, but his career OBP is relatively low: .384 in 2011, and a mere .341 career. Reyes doesn’t walk much…just under 7% of his plate appearances. He strikes out more…11% of the time. Health is always an issue for players with huge contracts. The last three years Reyes missed an average of over 30 games a season. His lithe frame and headfirst slides make the shortstop an injury threat every time he steps on the field.
The addition of Reyes has caused current shortstop Hanley Ramirez to grumble: someone will have to change positions. Like ARod and Cal Ripken before him, Hanley’s career may be lengthened by a move to third base. But since management went out and signed another shortstop, Ramirez is mad. Only time will tell if this wound will grow into a clubhouse cancer.
Buehrle has been a good pitcher for eleven straight years: he’s won at least ten games and pitched over 200 innings every year. His 3.59 ERA was his lowest in the last six seasons, though his 3.83 career ERA is above-average (though far from
Will the pressure of living up to these big money deals cause these three to press? Reyes seems easy-going, and Buehrle is a vet. By virtue of his job, closer
For most of the 2011 season the Braves owned on of the four best records in baseball. This with a rookie first-baseman, two slumping sophomore outfielders, three injured outfielders, and a slumping second-baseman. There’s no reason they can’t go all the way in 2012.