12 teams that can win the 2012 World Series: the Miami Marlins

By Jackson Alexander

Also see: Other entries from “12 teams that can win the 2012 World Series.”

For a few weeks I’ll be counting down 12 teams I think are capable of making a run to the World Series this season. We’ll start with number 12 and the Miami Marlins.

Courtesy of NewsTimes.com

12.) Miami Marlins

2010 record: 72-90 (5th in NL East)
Run differential: -77

Key additions: Ozzie Guillen, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano
Key losses: None

Predicting a team to go from one of the worst teams in baseball to a World Series contender is a bold proposition. Their potential, however, is undeniable.

The Marlins are revamped. They have a new name, changed from Florida Marlins, with a new ballpark, a new coach and new players. The Marlins finally moved out of the cesspool that was Sun Life Stadium.The Marlins will enjoy their new home, and they should draw well, unless of course, they scare their fans away with their new uniforms. These are digressions from the main point that the Marlins made other moves this offseason to position themselves as contenders.

They signed former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes to a massive 6-year, $102 million deal. He earned that contract after the 2011 season, in which he won the batting title, smacked 16 triples, and collected nearly 200 hits in 537 at bats. There is arguments over the acquisition. On one hand, Reyes is 28 and just had his best season as a pro. On the other, he’s struggled with injuries, and the .337/.384/.494 line he posted in 2011 is unsustainable. I think the Marlins did the right thing by acquiring a dynamic player like Reyes, and attracting fans in the process.

Miami also signed pitchers Buehrle, Bell and Zambrano. Buehrle was a solid acquisition, but he’s way past his prime, and is an innings eater. Bell was acquired as a way to solidify a shaky bullpen. The former Padre closer spent the past three years baffling NL West hitters, and collected 132 saves in the process. They slightly overpaid to get him, but the Marlins now have someone to rely on late in games.

The final change was the hiring of controversial manager Ozzie Guillen. Never shy to speak his mind, Guillen asked for his release from Chicago last season. It should be interesting to see how Guillen fits in.

The acquisition of Reyes means that former Miami shortstop, Ramirez, will switch to third base. Ramirez filled out over the years, lost some of his range and became a liability at shortstop. He struggled in 2011, but he’s great when healthy and motivated.

The breakout candidate on this team is Mike Stanton, who is now Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton may be the most intimidating and powerful player in baseball. He won’t hit for a .300 average, but after clubbing 34 home runs in his first full season, 40-50 homers in 2012 is not impossible.

Calling this team a World Series contender is wishful thinking, but they are a team that should benefit from the expanded playoff format, and they can compete for a playoff spot in the National League.

Jackson Alexander can be reached for comment at [email protected]