The Miami Marlins lost nine of their first 10 games and are on pace for a historically bad year. But the Marlins have company when it comes to disappointing story lines, and that comes from the team some have dubbed ‘Marlins North.’
Must be the name.
The Toronto Blue Jays, who will be linked to the Marlins because of the 12 player trade that sent high-prices stars Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle along with Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to Toronto for a bunch of prospects, lost six if their first 10 games.
But that’s not the bad news.
On Friday, the Blue Jays suffered a crippling loss when shortstop Reyes, the lone player from the blockbuster trade giving them any production, suffered a severe ankle injury and could be out for three months.
Reyes is hitting .395 with an on-base percentage of .465. He has been the Blue Jays’ best player. The only question is whether the team’s ownership group told Reyes to buy a house in Toronto.
As for the rest of the ex-Marlins playing north of the border. … it could not have started much worse.
Johnson and Buehrle are contributing to a starting staff that has a major-league worst 7.55 ERA entering the weekend. They have been so bad that even with two starts each neither has pitched enough innings to qualify for the official stats.
If they had, Johnson’s 11.05 ERA would be next to last in the majors. Buehrle’s 10.24 ERA would be in the bottom five.
Bonifacio has been a disaster at second base with four errors in eight games and several other plays that should have been made and were not scored errors. Oh, and Boni is hitting .250 with 13 strike outs and no walks.
The best player in the trade has been the player Toronto decided not to keep and flipped to the Mets.
Catcher John Buck had league high 19 RBIs entering Saturday, which is two more than the entire Marlins team had scored. Buck was hitting .351. Buck drove in 41 runs and hit .192 for the Marlins in 2012.
While the Marlins will receive somewhat of a pass for 2013 after Jeffrey Loria decided to cut costs, jobs could be on the line if the Blue Jays do not make the playoffs.
“It’s on management more than the players,” Marlins veteran left fielder Juan Pierre said. “That expectation that you put this team together and you’re supposed to win now as opposed to being on a young team. It’s less pressure.
“But for me it’s the same. If I’m on the Marlins or Phillies or Blue Jays, nobody wants to go out there and lose. As a player, it’s the same. You lose games, it stinks.”
One more update from the offseason fire sale, reliever Heath Bell, the poster boy for all that went wrong with the 2012 Marlins, is picking up where he left off in Arizona.
Bell has allowed four runs in 3.1 innings for a 10.80 ERA. He has already allowed two home runs, including one to the Cardinals’ Pete Kozma on his first pitch of the season.
DONTRELLE A DUCK
Speaking of former Marlins. … Dontrelle Willis, one of the more popular players in Marlin’ history, has signed a contract to play with the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks. Willis, the 2003 NL rookie of the year, was in the Cubs’ major-league camp last month after signing a minor-league deal. He felt discomfort in his left shoulder after facing one batter and was released two weeks ago.
Willis, who has a career record of 72-69 with a 4.17 ERA, pitched five years with the Marlins. He retired last July but decided to attempt the comeback. Nine-time All-Star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, 38, also signed with the Ducks.
WALK THIS WAY
Giancarlo Stanton is tied for fifth in the majors with eight walks despite having fewer at-bats than all but one player in the top nine. But it wasn’t always that way.
Stanton is drawing one walk for every 4.75 plate appearances in 2013, a trend that was expected when the Marlins stripped the lineup of any protection for the power hitter. Last season he walked once in every 10.9 plate appearances.
Stanton’s minor-league career included 1,410 plate appearances and 165 walks, one for every 8.5 trips.
“Those guys are trying to get somewhere, too,” Stanton said about the minor-league pitchers he faced. “They’re not going to get somewhere being scared of the other team’s good hitter. They got to challenge him and get him out with their best stuff in order to get to the next level.”
Vs. Washington Nationals Monday-Wednesday: Washington swept Miami in the season’s opening series, outscoring the Marlins 11-1. The Marlins catch a break by missing Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
At Cincinnati Reds Thursday-next Sunday: The Marlins face the NL Central favorites for the first time this season. Miami will get its first look at Shin-Soo Choo in a Reds uniform. The Marlins are 5-15 in Cincinnati in the last six seasons.
ON THE FARM
Class AAA New Orleans: Right-hander Jacob Turner was hit in the leg by a line drive Friday and left the game after 2.1 innings with a bruise. He was pounded in his first start, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits in four innings. Turner came to camp penciled in as the No. 2 starter for the Marlins but was optioned after a rough spring.
Class AA Jacksonville: Left-hander Brian Flynn has 17 strikeouts in 11 innings and a 1.64 ERA after his first two starts for the Suns. Flynn, who turns 23 on April 19, came to the Marlins last July in the trade that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit.
Class A Jupiter: Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani had a solid Marlins debut on April 6. He allowed one hit over five innings with three strikeouts and a walk against St. Lucie. DeSclafani, who turns 23 on April 18, came to the Marlins in the 12-player trade with Toronto last November.
Class A Greensboro: Reliever Dane Stone is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his first three appearances for the Grasshoppers. Stone, 22, is a right-hander out of St. Thomas University.