The Marlins have been a popular team so far this offseason, targeting high-end free agents like Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Ryan Madson, and Mark Buehrle. While they’re busy trying to lure free agents to their new ballpark in Miami, they also have decisions to make about some players they currently employ. Juan Carlos Oviedo‘s situation is rather unique, but 25-year-old righty Chris Volstad is a more traditional non-tender candidate.
Now four-plus years into his big league career, Volstad has made at least 29 starts for the Fish in each of the last three seasons. During that time he’s pitched to a 4.88 ERA in 499 2/3 innings (88 starts), relying on ground balls (49.9%) rather than strikeouts (5.87 K/9). Volstad does a decent job of limiting walks (3.03 BB/9), but he’s struggled against left-handed batters (.278/.342/.465 against) and tends to be pretty homer prone (1.24 HR/9) despite the ground ball tendencies.
The Marlins may have telegraphed their intentions for Volstad when they declined to invite him to their new uniform unveiling earlier this month. Our projects peg the right-hander for a $2.6MM salary next season, his first time through the arbitration process. Volstad figures to be affordable enough that the Marlins might not have to non-tender him before the December 12th deadline, they could probably find a trade partner. Baseball America ranked him as Florida’s top prospect as recently as 2008, and he’d remain under team control through the 2014 season.
At the moment, the Marlins’ rotation figures to include Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, andAnibal Sanchez. They’re making a play for Buehrle and have kicked the tires on C.J. Wilson, and there’s a non-zero chance that Javier Vazquez will return. Brad Hand and the recently acquired Wade LeBlanc are in the mix as well. If they deem Volstad expendable, he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a new team for next season. It’s just a question of whether he gets to choose his next club, or if the Marlins will choose it for him.
Marlins Ballpark will replace the legacy of the memorable Orange Bowl in Little Havana, adjacent to downtown Miami. Situated on the same footprint, the ballpark is intended to be the anchor for infill and redevelopment on the site. This new 37,000-seat MLB facility will include a retractable roof to shield spectators from the sun and rain, inherently changing the perception of summertime baseball in Florida for generations to come. The bold vision of the County of Miami-Dade, the City of Miami and the Marlins is portrayed through the architecture as a modern, kinetic sculpture of faceted metal and glass.
Creating an Urban Center
The urban plan proposes a fundamental change in the character of the old Orange Bowl precinct, recreating the neighborhood street network and reconnecting Little Havana to Northwest 7th Street and Northwest 17th Avenue. Within this framework of public streets, the ballpark, future development and parking garages are presented as urban buildings on city blocks, creating an urban center.
This plan proposes a civic setting for a civic building. Conceived as an urban gallery, the ballpark is located between major public plazas on the east and west boundaries of the site. Parking structures form the other two walls of the gallery, moderating the scale between the ballpark and adjoining neighborhoods. The western plaza is unlike any other place in Miami, changing as the roof is rolled over the park below. The ballpark will provide retail at its base to integrate with the proposed, adjacent retail development, intentionally creating a street edge that connects to the surrounding neighborhood.
The Ballpark as Sculpture
The building is conceived as an abstraction of water merging with land, symbolic of Miami’s coastal landscape. The base of the ballpark will create a backdrop for urban life with arcades and colorful mosaics reflecting the diverse culture of Miami. The arcades are capped by large sweeping balconies, allowing a continual pedestrian/spectator experience to the street life surrounding the ballpark. The east and west facades provide transparency to action both inside and outside of the ballpark, visually connecting and reducing the mass. The roof will become the kinetic element of the sculpture, moving as three separate panels to provide shade and weather protection for all spectators. The roof movements will be reflected in the use of color as a dynamic addition to the architecture. The seating bowl is comprised of three decks with fewer than 10,000 seats in the upper deck, resulting in one of the most intimate experiences in all of baseball. Interior features will include atrium spaces filled with color and art, a half-acre operable window to downtown Miami and beautiful colors bathing the concourses.
This ballpark will be a civic sculpture with a strong connection to one place, one neighborhood, one city and one state.
The Marlins don’t get the benefit of the doubt much when it comes to financial matters. It wasn’t surprising the knee-jerk reaction by some was to skewer the club after this week’s Miami Herald article saying the City of Miami is looking at a huge property tax bill for the parking garages around the new ballpark.
Marlins President David Samson addressed the issue Wednesday on his weekly segment with Dan LeBatard and Stugotz on 790 The Ticket. The team had no hand in City taxpayers getting leveled with an unforeseen expense.
“We don’t own the garages,” Samson said. “We bought spots. It’s the same thing as you buying a parking spot in the building where you live and being asked to pay a percentage of property tax. Not that anyone has asked us because it wouldn’t make sense to have a private company pay property taxes of a publicly-owned building.
“That really has nothing to do with the team. It’s really between the city and the county. It’s a city-owned garage. I don’t know if the city pays property taxes on all its other garages or not. These are the same. It’s being run by the Miami Parking Authority. The only thing we are is tenants who are agreeing to buy a lot of spots. It’s like when you pull into a garage in any downtown office building and buy a spot for a day. You don’t pay property tax.”
The Marlins are buying all 5,700 spaces for the 81 home games at $10 each. The City of Miami annually will receive $4,617,000 from the Marlins for those spots, whether they are sold or not. What the Marlins in turn charge fans for those spots is up to them. Samson said he anticipates most if not all of the spaces will be earmarked for season ticket holders.
“The fact is, property tax never even came up in any discussion when it came to the garages,” Samson said. “They were building garages as part of the deal. They asked us to buy the spots and we negotiated what it would cost to buy the spots and that was that. It was a very heavily negotiated part of the deal. It’s not that it was a point of contention that there’s going to be property tax, who’s going to pay it, who’s not going to pay it? That never came up.”
Samson added he had not spoken with anyone in the city or county about it…
**Doesn’t sound like the Marlins will be announcing the ballpark name any time soon. Here’s what Samson had to say about the naming rights deal:
“It will be a name in good taste and a name that will not change over time. It will be a constant name for our entire 50- or 60-year stay there…It’s a very tough negotiating deal and we’re sort of waiting right now to see what happens with the team on the field, so there’s nothing imminent.”…
** Asked about when free agents might start signing, Samson said players generally like to know where they’re headed before Christmas, and it’s typical to see some action plus or minus a week of the Winter Meetings (Dec. 5-8).
C.J. Wilson is making the rounds, and one of his East Coast stops will include a post-Thanksgiving visit to South Florida to meet with the Marlins, who seem to be throwing out the welcome mat for every available free agent. The Marlins met with Wilson’s agent at the G.M. meetings last week in Milwaukee. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 13 teams are interested in the free agent left-hander
The Marlins have pursued trades and free agents aggressively so far this offseason. Most recently, Gio Gonzalez has emerged as a possible trade target for the team. Here are the details on the Marlins’ offseason, via Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
The Miami Marlins today announced their 2012 Spring Training schedule, which includes 14 home contests at Roger Dean Stadium, 17 games overall at the complex, and two exhibition games vs. the New York Yankees at the New Marlins Ballpark, April 1-2.
Marlins pitchers and catchers will have physicals on Feb. 22 and will hold their first on-field workout that afternoon. Position players have physicals Feb. 26, with the first full-squad workout taking place that afternoon.
The Marlins play 29 exhibition games, the first coming as the road team March 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. The Marlins first home contest will be Tuesday, March 6 vs. the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 p.m.
The Marlins’ full 2012 spring training schedule can be found at the end of this blog entry.
Overall the Marlins will play a total of 29 Grapefruit League games, with home games in Jupiter against the Cardinals (three times), Mets (three times), Nationals (two times), Tigers (March 6), Braves (March 13), Twins (March 17), Astros (March 19), Rays (March 20) and Red Sox (March 24).
The Marlins spring schedule will conclude with two games at the new ballpark in Miami against the New York Yankees, April 1 (1:10 p.m.) and April 2 (7:10 p.m.).
Season-ticket packages for games in Jupiter are available by calling (561) 799-1345.
Mini plans of 6+ games will go on sale on Monday, Nov. 28.
Individual tickets for games in Jupiter will go on sale at the Roger Dean Stadium Box Office and local Ticketmaster locations Jan. 21, 2012.
For more ticket information, contact Roger Dean Stadium at (561) 775-1818 or check the stadium’s website, http://www.rogerdeanstadium.com. Additional ticket information can also be found at the Marlins official website, http://www.marlins.com
MARLINS 2012 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE
DAY DAY OPPONENT LOCATION GAME TIME
Monday March 5 St. Louis Jupiter 1:05p.m.
Tuesday March 6 DETROIT JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday March 7 NEW YORK METS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Thursday March 8 New York Mets at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
Friday March 9 WASHINGTON# JUPITER 7:05 p.m.
Saturday March 10 ST. LOUIS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Sunday March 11 New York Mets at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
Monday March 12 Boston at Ft. Myers 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday March 13 ATLANTA JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday March 14 Tampa Bay at Port Charlotte 1:05 p.m.
Thursday March 15 NEW YORK METS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Friday March 16 St. Louis Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
Saturday March 17 MINNESOTA (ss) JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Saturday March 17 Washington (ss) at Viera 1:05 p.m.
Sunday March 18 St. Louis Jupiter 1:05p.m.
Monday March 19 HOUSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday March 20 TAMPA BAY JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday March 21 OFF DAY
Thursday March 22 Atlanta at Orlando 1:05 p.m.
Friday March 23 ST. LOUIS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Saturday March 24 BOSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Sunday March 25 Tampa Bay at Port Charlotte 1:05 p.m.
Monday March 26 Detroit at Lakeland 1:05p.m.
Tuesday March 27 WASHINGTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday March 28 Houston at Kissimmee 1:05 p.m.
Thursday March 29 ST. LOUIS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Friday March 30 Washington# at Viera 6:05 p.m.
Saturday March 31 NEW YORK METS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Sunday April 1 NEW YORK YANKEES* MIAMI 1:10 p.m.
Monday April 2 NEW YORK YANKEES*# MIAMI 7:10 p.m.
*Games will be played at the New Marlins Ballpark.
#Games will be played as night games.
Team will visit Japan, Guam, Hawaii during 12-day tour
Miami, FL – The Marlins organization is set to visit U.S. troops stationed in Japan, Guam and Hawaii from December 1 – 15, 2011. The tour, organized by Armed Forces Entertainment, will mark the Marlins’ fourth visit to U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. In 2010, the Marlins became the first Major League Baseball team to take active players to visit U.S. troops. At that time, the group visited military bases in Iraq and Kuwait. Earlier this year, players and front office staff traveled to Bahrain, Germany and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.