MISH BITS FROM FANFEST
1. The Marlins packed them in yesterday. As I reported Saturday Night 17,000 + attended Marlins Park for the festivities. This is a jump in about 5,000 fans from 2019. At 3 PM I wasn’t certain this would be the case but by 5 PM you simply had to wait on line to participate in some of of the activities. This is obviously a good problem for the Marlins to have, considering the amount of interest there is in the team. If this is the trend, however, they’ll need to have this go back to a two-day event OR find ways to make some of the events more exclusive for Marlins members, or perhaps small charity donations to gain early or exclusive access. This is obviously nit picking, but 20,000 fans for an event like this is a BIG number so I’d guess some light adjustments would have to be anticipated for 2021. I’d guess field access will be available in 2021 so that is a potential bonus to keep things flowing smoothly. Overall, the day was a big success for the organization.
2. I wasn’t able to attend the media sessions in the morning, but I didn’t need to. As I have reported for months the Marlins never intended to use Jose Ureña anywhere else except for the starting rotation. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever that the team publicly stated he would have to earn a spot in the bullpen. How is that good for his trade value ? People I spoke with in the organization privately made that perfectly clear to me back in November, so I’m glad that was publicly sorted out on Sunday. I’ve been told the team does not feel this is a Dan Straily situation, which I’m glad to hear. Straily was DFA’d on the eve of the baseball season, which I think was a poor way to handle a player. I understand that they needed the depth in the Spring, but there should have been more clarity on Dan and the rotation at least a week prior.If you recall, this was when they were trying to sort out the health of Caleb Smith, but I think we all knew he would be ready quickly. I’m told Ureña has more value than Straily did a year ago, and it should not come to that. Regardless how you feel about Ureña, no player should be in DFA limbo on the eve of the baseball season. I’m hopeful they can find a home for Jose in early to mid March. The only way I see him throwing a pitch for the club in 2020 would be out of necessity due to unforeseen circumstances.
3. There seems to be some confusion on offseason acquisition Jonathan Villar. There shouldn’t be. Villar is arguably the best all around player on the Marlins 40 man roster. Miami claimed Villar from Baltimore, and will pay him more than any other active player (Chen is being paid to not play) when they take the field on opening day. On Friday, Villar expressed some doubt on whether or not he could play Center Field while making a community appearance at Lenora B Smith Elementary school. I was told privately that was Villar gave good answers to those questions. Villar will almost certainly have to be integrated into the club’s outfield plans if they plan to use him there this upcoming spring. First Base Coach Billy Hatcher is also a fine Outfield instructor so that could potentially work into the plans. The one thing that is certain is that Villar is not sitting out games. I’m told he will play every day, and once Spring Training games begin, we should get a much better idea as to how they will use this dynamic player. One potential solution, albeit the one the organization has not suggested, is that should Isan Díaz scuffle in March, the club could start him off at Wichita and hand over the Second Base job to Villar. The club is very high on Díaz, but his -0.7 WAR in a 49 game sample perhaps indicates there is more work to be done before he is considered a full time player.