It's not all doom and gloom in South Florida
"Essentially we wanted to do two things this winter," says Beinfest. "We wanted to improve our defense and work on deepening our bullpen, especially after trading Gregg." Not that they wanted to necessarily move Gregg, Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs and Scott Olsen, but those are the rules of the small market with no legitimate venue, rules that can be followed without complaint because of the developmental system.Miller's upside eclipses Olsen's if his knee is right and he gets his breaking ball over. They think fireballing right-hander Matt Lindstrom takes Gregg's place, with help from Leo Nunez out of the Jacobs deal, Ceda and a couple of other young arms. Morrison, the MVP of the Florida State League and one of top performers in the Arizona Fall League, is athletic enough to move to the outfield. Second baseman/third baseman Chris Coghlan (67 BB, 65 K, .298 in Double-A) can play second or third. Speedy outfielder John Raynor had a .402 on-base percentage in Double-A, Scott Cousins hit .285 climbing from Single-A to Double-A, and the two best prospects of all -- 18-year-old monster Mike Stanton (39 HR, .611 SLG in 125 games) and third baseman Matt Dominguez, who turned 19 in August -- played in Greensboro. If Nolasco, Johnson, Vostad and Miller are all healthy this season and a couple of players from the Maybin, Morris, Sanchez and Coghlan group hit, then the Marlins will be a legitimate team for the Phillies and Mets to fear. Because they're so young and they've got these Stantons up and down the system, the Florida Marlins are going to be around for the long haul. Ownership put Beinfest and a highly-skilled organization in place, allowed them to draft freely and have put a competitive team on the field, competitive enough to have more winning seasons in the past six years than the Orioles, Pirates, Reds, Nationals, Rockies, Royals and Tigers, combined. Contrary to what may you might have read and heard, the Phillies' road to the World Series was not just the Mets, it was the talented young Marlins before they got to the talent of the Brewers, Dodgers and Rays. Come to think of it, maybe when the Marlins play the Rays in the battle for who has the best young talent in Florida or across the Southeast, they will be two of the most interesting series of the first half of 2009 season, even if they play in Yeehaw Junction, Indiantown or on the back lawn of the Orville Tribewasser House of Taxidermy.