Chat with Sean McAdam

Welcome to The Show! Sean McAdam is stopping by Thursday at 2 p.m. ET as part of our ongoing Hot Stove Heaters chats! Check back each day for a new topic and a new chat! Take it away, Sean!

In the span of five years baseball went from having no major league franchises in Florida to having two. There have been times, in fact, when the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays have been so inept that the term 'major league' seemed hardly applicable.

The Marlins have been something of an all-or-nothing proposition, twice winning the World Series (1997 and 2003), but enjoying only two other winning seasons.

The Rays, meanwhile, have been the very picture of ineptitude, having never won more than 70 games in any of their 10 seasons. Just once have they finished higher than last place in the American League East.

Things have to get better for the two Florida-based teams -- don't they?

The case for the Marlins

With an impressive nucleus already in place (Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida), the Marlins also have a stockpile of talented arms (Chris Volstad, Sean West, Ryan Tucker) in their system, having concentrated almost entirely on pitching in the last five entry level drafts.

The Marlins further added to their inventory when they shipped Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers in exchange for a host of prospects, led by outfielder Cameron Maybin and left-hander Andrew Miller.

Add in the expected return to health of Anibal Sanchez and the Marlins would seem to be pointed back in the right direction.

The case for the Rays

While the Marlins can boast of strong pitching, the Rays have accumulated terrific positional talent. Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton anchor a young, athletic outfield and in time, third baseman Evan Longoria and shortstop Reid Brignac are expected to form a talented left side of the infield.

Slowly, the Rays' pitching picture is getting brighter. Scott Kazmir and James Shields head a young rotation, and Matt Garza (acquired from the Twins for Delmon Young) provides depth.

Should No. 1 pick David Price and fellow prospects Jake McGee and Wade Davis also continue to develop, the Rays would finally be as loaded on the mound as they are in the field.

The choice

Track record should mean something here. The Marlins have won championships twice and rebuilt both times. Their front office -- Larry Beinfest, Mike Hill, Dan Jennings -- has proven an ability to recognize and develop young talent and has been locked up for the long term, ensuring stability.

But there?s no denying that the Rays' talent pool is greater. Their outfield is already more accomplished and assuming Longoria and Brignac are as good as advertised, the infield stands to be better, too.

The real advantage, however, comes in the pitching department. A projected rotation of Kazmir, Shields, Garza and Price -- augmented by others -- is clearly superior to what the Marlins have in stock.

Finally, there's no guarantee -- given Florida's self-imposed payroll limitations and penchant for dealing off young stars -- that Ramirez will be in a Marlins uniform in 2010.

My choice is the Rays; let the debate begin!

Vote: Which team will be better in three years?

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