Could Giancarlo Stanton be a big star in the years to come? If he stays healthy, could he win the Triple Crown?
-- Eduardo D., Miami
At 22, Stanton already is one of the rising stars in the game. The slugger is becoming the face of the franchise, and he is still learning the game. But the Triple Crown? The last player to do that was Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and it's obviously a tall task to lead the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs.
Former Marlin Miguel Cabrera is in striking distance of pulling it off this year. Stanton very well could be a home run champion someday, and he's capable of driving in 120-plus runs a season. To me, the batting title would be the most difficult, simply because Stanton isn't a pure hitter for average. Perhaps he could become a regular .290- to .300-caliber hitter. But I don't know if he will fall into the .320 category.
Marlins president David Samson has indicated the entire team will be evaluated in the offseason. I would like to know if this includes everyone connected with the club: the manager, coaches or just the players.
-- Melinda, Fleming Island, Fla.
Clearly, team owner Jeffrey Loria isn't happy with what has transpired. As has been widely reported, the entire organization is under review. Basically, manager Ozzie Guillen and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest both face uncertainty. There are no guarantees that either will be back.
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Guillen has accepted his share of the blame, and he understands the business of the game. If the club feels it needs to move in another direction at manager, Guillen said that's the owner's call.
The same holds true for the front office. Beinfest also has said publicly that everyone has to "wear this one." He understands that his status is also up in the air.
On Wednesday, Beinfest appeared on the "Hochman & Zaslow Show" on 790 The Ticket.
"The whole organization is under review, and the whole organization is responsible for what has happened," Beinfest said.
Shortly after the season, tough decisions will be made. I do expect changes. The question that remains is: how widespread will they be? But everyone from the front office to the dugout is under the microscope right now. That includes coaches and players.
"Ultimately, it's up to Jeffrey to decide if he wants to make changes," Beinfest said during the radio show.
Is Jose Reyes happy with the Marlins losing? And will the team go after Michael Bourn next year?
-- Tristen A., Bradenton, Fla.
Obviously, no one is happy about losing. But if you are asking if Reyes is happy to be with the Marlins, the answer is yes. You have to give the four-time All-Star shortstop a lot of credit for the way he has handled a tough season. Reyes is eager to play every day, and he is upbeat all the time.
Reyes has handled everything very professionally. Remember, he signed a six-year, $106 million contract last December. And Reyes doesn't have a no-trade clause, so he is with the team for five more years. He also is a major piece the Marlins are building around.
At some point, I think Reyes would like to know the direction the team is headed. I expect the club to make some player moves to get back to competing for a playoff spot as soon as possible.
As for Bourn, the Braves' center fielder will be highly coveted on the free-agent market. I don't really see the Marlins spending that kind of money -- more than $100 million -- on Bourn.
Miami could just keep Emilio Bonifacio in center field and look for third- and second-base options.
With the Marlins now going with an inexperienced catcher, why didn't the team try to sign Ivan Rodriguez last offseason?
-- Edgar L., Florida
Before the Marlins headed to Spring Training, the front office weighed all its catching options. But at the time, the organization clearly was committed to going with John Buck, who is signed through 2013. The way Brett Hayes performed in a backup role in '11 made him a solid choice to be the backup.
The Marlins tossed around the idea of signing Pudge, but the general feeling was the former All-Star was at the end of the line. The fact that no other teams went after Pudge showed Miami wasn't the only club that felt that way.
Rodriguez, now retired, was honored by the team in July at Marlins Park.
As for Miami's current catching situation, Rob Brantly is getting a good look. The 23-year-old came over from Detroit in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade. While he is growing into the job and experiencing some growing pains, Brantly is also showing signs that he can develop into a solid front-line catcher. It's hard to question going with a catcher like Brantly, who has upside.
With the money the Marlins saved in the Hanley Ramirez trade, are they going to sign impact hitters?
-- Moises H., Brooklyn, N.Y.
With some of the moves the Marlins made this season, they were able to trim payroll. Not only the remainder of Ramirez's contract, but they also parted with Infante's $4 million for next year.
Attendance figures were not what the team had hoped, and that was largely based on performance. The club was banking on averaging about 33,000 per game. But when the Marlins fell out of the race and the trades were made in July, the crowds started to dwindle.
I don't expect the payroll to be close to $100 million next year. I think the $80-million range is more realistic. The club will reinvest in the roster, but it has to be careful to pinpoint the right players.
More than signing high-priced free agents, look for veterans who don't come at a great cost. Someone like Kevin Youkilis could make sense. Finding a third baseman is among the highest priorities, and Youkilis could be a fit.