-- Yvonne R., New York
There was a real possibility that the two-time All-Star could have been moved, but with the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed, it seems the 28-year-old Johnson will remain a Marlin for now.
The Marlins made it clear they would listen to offers, but they held a firm line, insisting it would take multiple top prospects to secure a deal. When it didn't happen, the team didn't budge and Johnson wasn't traded.
Johnson is under contract through 2013. Most likely, if he finishes the year strong, he again will be the subject of offseason trade talks.
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The Marlins are not likely to sign to Johnson to a contract extension. Most likely if Johnson does stay in 2013 and performs at a high level, he will test the free-agent market in 2014.
Why would the Marlins risk losing Johnson in free agency? Even though he has stayed healthy this year, many in the game wonder if he will hold up in the future.
That said, Johnson is a tremendous talent, a great teammate and he is one of the faces of the franchise. Losing him would obviously be tough, not only for fans to come to grips with, but also in the clubhouse.
Hanley Ramirez was said to be the face of the franchise, yet he was traded. Why was it decided that Hanley had to go?
-- Terrence B., Miami
The organization clearly went out of its way to say the Marlins were Hanley's team. They stated that numerous times, even after they signed Jose Reyes. For the most part, Ramirez had a good attitude in Spring Training, he put in the work and gave a good effort. Manager Ozzie Guillen did all he could to make sure Reyes and Ramirez co-existed and strengthened their friendship.
But in terms of production, it wasn't there, and that might be one of the biggest reasons the team underperformed. You don't want to blame one guy, but not receiving a major contribution from such a key player really hurt the overall performance of the club. When it got to the point where the club felt Ramirez's body language was slipping, and it saw a change in attitude, the front office decided it was time to make a trade. Many in the organization believed it was time for a change, for the organization and for Hanley.
It's tough when you build around a player and then it doesn't work out, but that's where the club is right now. In time, this is expected to become Giancarlo Stanton's team. Reyes will also be one of the faces of the franchise.
When teammates are traded away, does that upset the rest of the players?
-- Bryan C., Hollywood, Fla.
Without question, some of the moves stunned the clubhouse. A few very popular players were moved. Even though the team that opened the season didn't perform up to their expectations, the players stuck together through a rough four months.
Trading Edward Mujica, for instance, was a significant move. Mujica was widely regarded as a great teammate. His personality kept things loose. Win or lose, he handled himself the same. He made people laugh, and he gave it his all every time he was on the mound.
Like Mujica, Omar Infante was a favorite in the clubhouse. Many players were upset when he was traded. Infante brought a quiet professionalism. The way he went about his business made him a leader, even if he didn't say much.
With all of the selling the Marlins have been doing (not that I disagree), but at what point do they start to look at new coaches? I am not necessarily referring to manager Ozzie Guillen. How about the pitching coach? Carlos Zambrano is not a starter? The batting coach? The Marlins can't seem to connect.
-- Susie T., Plantation, Fla.
Your frustration is shared by many. As for your comments regarding the coaches, everyone will be evaluated at the end of the season. There is plenty of blame to go around for the way this season unfolded. Ozzie, who of course has a four-year contract, has accepted his share. The front office has openly stated the model didn't work, leading to the trades in July.
I think it is easy to point fingers at coaches, but players are ultimately the ones who have to perform. When they didn't, there were dramatic moves that have reshaped the roster. All the coaches are working hard on a daily basis. Whether or not moves are will be made at the end of the season remains to be seen. Replacing coaches in the middle of the season is not always good for the morale of the team.
These final two months are very important as the organization evaluates everything from the staff and front office to the players.
So many of these late-inning losses are a microcosm of the season. What can the Marlins do about the bullpen not finishing up games?
-- Michael D., Jupiter, Fla.
The most recent example came on Saturday at Washington, when Mike Dunn dropped a routine flip at first base from Carlos Lee. It opened the door for the Nationals to score six unearned runs, all with two outs. Since the All-Star break, Guillen has said he is going with a bullpen by committee.
Steve Cishek has been getting the nod to close, and the club feels he has the makings of becoming solid in that role. In fairness to Dunn, the lefty has thrown the ball very well the past few weeks. That earned him the ball in the eighth inning on Saturday. The error gave the Nationals new life.
As Marlins fans have seen, there are growing pains in all phases of the team. Dunn and Cishek are two important pieces of the bullpen. The more experience they get in tough situations, the better it should be for the rest of their careers. What the team will look for is how these relievers bounce back from adversity.