The Florida Marlins have loaded up this winter as they prepare to start playing in their shiny new stadium in 2012. It all started with the signing of Jose Reyes, but they have added a lot more than just him. Most of the focus has been on tightening up the pitching staff both in the rotation and the bullpen, which they have done very successfully so far this winter. Here is a look at the new guys the Marlins have brought in so far this winter:
In the field: The Marlins hit a homer right off the bat when the signed shortstop Jose Reyes. He will really improve the defense at shortstop where Hanley Ramirez toted an iron glove. Ramirez isn’t happy about it, but he is starting to warm up about playing the hot corner. The Marlins have also added Aaron Rowand to compete for a backup job in 2012 and he is a Ozzie Guillen favorite from their days together in Chicago. Nick Green was also signed to compete for a backup infield job this spring.
On the mound: The Marlins really helped the starting rotation by signing lefty Mark Buehrle (another Guillen favorite) and trading for righty Carlos Zambrano. The Marlins now have one of the best starting rotations 1-5 in the major leagues. The Marlins also have signed closer Heath Bell to make late leads stand up and he’s really good at his job. Lefty starter/reliever Wade LeBlanc came over in a deal with the Padres and he will likely get a shot to be the Marlins’ long man in the pen in 2012. LeBlanc will have to beat out righty Chad Gaudin for the role of the long man in the pen this spring.
Overall: I think the Marlins have done an outstanding job of improving the team over the winter and they might not be done quite yet.