... as they always seem to be. Still, the Fish haven't been to the postseason since 2003, their most recent world championship season. GM
The Marlins offense was good last year but can reach a new level with a breakout year from their dynamic 22-year-old center fielder. The big hurdle for Maybin is cutting down his strikeouts -- he won the starting job in center field coming out of spring training last year but after just 26 games (during which he struck out 31 times in 95 plate appearances) was demoted to New Orleans. Maybin has looked good this spring, and entering the season he has the job again and is slotted second in the order behind Rookie of the Year
They signed their best pitcher, Johnson, to a four-year, $39 million contract in January. Their best offensive player, Ramirez, is locked up until 2014. With a new ballpark on the away in 2012, the days of the Marlins building winners only to tear them down is over. This is a team that is positioning itself well in the NL East, with a lot of young talent at its core. "They always do well, but on a shoestring budget," says an NL GM. "It's a little scary to think about what they can do with a little money in their pockets."
The battle at first base will go down to the wire, with the Marlins choosing between Sanchez and Morrison, 20th on
The right-hander dropped 30 pounds this offseason (former NBA star