The Marlins have to be one of the most enigmatic teams to ever be a fan of. From there hey-days with Wayne Huizenga to their current penny-pinching days, they have done an amazing job of finding talent . . . then trading it away to lower payroll. The Pirates, have a long tradition of winning, but in the past two decades have really lost their way. Both teams now though struggle to stay afloat financially, while offering little hope to their fans.
Yesterday the Marlins reached a deal with Dan Uggla, a one year deal for one of the better players on their team. The sad part is, that he is sure to be traded away this season, maybe before the season even starts. While Dan may never be a contact hitter, the Marlins desperately need behind Ramirez, he does offer power, which is something the Marlins are in dire need of. He is not going to be a 0.270/30/100 guy, but he will be a 0.250/30/100 guy which if I am a Marlins fan, I am very happy about.
Hey at least the Marlins have one of the better farm systems in baseball. They have to if they are going to continually trade away talented players year after year (as soon as they finish their arbitration years). The Pirates on the other hand have nothing in the cupboard other than Pedro Alverez, and not a whole lot in the majors with the exception of Andrew McCutchen and if you think Andrew is going to be there at the end of 2011 think again.
McCutchen is an electric player, he is capable of being an All-Star maybe even as early as this season. However, there is so little talent in the franchise that it almost seems pointless for the team to continue. It is almost as though they have already given up hope by trading some of their best players over the course of the past few seasons including Jason Bay and Nate McLouth. They quite possibly have one of the worst bullpens in baseball and their rotation is only marginally better.
In truth both teams either should move to fan bases that will rally around the team, or sell the franchise to owners willing to put a good product on the field. There are cities around the country that would rally around a franchise, New Orléans, Salt Lake City, Portland and even Norfolk, Virginia. It’s time to push out franchises that don’t want to compete or force them to move to cities that would allow them to compete with owners that are willing to try to win.
Does this mean a salary cap? Only if it forces all teams to have a competitive roster. As a Yankees fan, I can understand the need for a salary cap, but that isn’t going to help teams like the Marlins and the Pirates. Even with a salary cap, those teams are going to be the breeding grounds for up and coming talent for the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Mets and Cubs. Contraction may be the only solution.
As far as the hobby goes, some of the more popular players have come out of the Pirates and Marlins organizations. For Uggla, his autographed cards run about $5 – $10 on eBay, more if he is featured on a card with more than one player. The card of Uggla featured below sold for $10 on eBay a few days ago. He remains one of the more popular Marlins and carries a bit of a premium when it comes to his cards. For McCutchen, being one of the première young players in the game has spiked his autograph values. Depending on the release his cards can run from $20 – $100. The card featured below finished at $27 and I think it is one of his better cards.