You are right that Bell may indeed have a bounceback season in 2013. To the Marlins, however, it wasn't worth waiting and seeing. Obviously, there were issues with Bell that stemmed beyond just pitching. Over the course of the season, he made comments that rubbed many in the organization the wrong way.
Now, Steve Cishek goes into Spring Training as the frontrunner to close. From a baseball perspective, the team avoids a situation where Cishek and Bell are competing for the spot.
And with the money saved, the Marlins could redirect it to other areas of need.
What's with the rumors of Alex Rodriguez coming to the Marlins? Are they legit?
-- Richard S., Miami, Fla.
There seems to be more confusion than clarity around this whole story. Because Rodriguez is from Miami, and team owner Jeffrey Loria is a personal fan of his, makes it a natural story for speculation. And in the past, Loria did joke with Yankees president Randy Levine about the Marlins acquiring Rodriguez.
At least one report said that exchange took place in April.
The timeline I heard was different. Loria indeed jokingly talked with Levine about A-Rod in the past, but from what I've gathered, it was at an MLB owners meeting about two years ago.
The only way the Marlins would do such a deal is if the Yankees picked up pretty much all of the remaining $114 million remaining on the contract, which extends another five years. Remember, A-Rod has a full no-trade clause that he would have to waive.
If this trade has any chance of being pulled off, the math would have to add up for Miami. Not sure that will happen, especially since other teams likely would get involved if the Yankees open serious trade talks.
Would the Marlins bring Adam Greenberg in as a non-roster invitee?
-- Matthew W., St. Peters, Mo.
On Oct. 2, the Marlins granted Greenberg his "One at-bat" wish, when they signed the 31-year-old to a one-day contract.
It was an emotional and touching experience, as seven years after being struck on the back of the head by the only pitch in the big leagues he ever saw, Greenberg again was in a big league uniform. The result in the batters' box was a three-pitch strikeout against R.A. Dickey of the Mets.
The impact of the moment was far more reaching, as Greenberg exited to a standing ovation and hugs from his teammates. His story is inspirational.
While the Marlins answered the campaign to give Greenberg "one at-bat," you are asking if the left-handed hitting outfielder is deserving of a full opportunity to make the big league roster.
The timing was right to fulfill Greenberg's dream on Oct. 2, because rosters expanded after Sept. 1, and the game didn't impact the standings in any way.
The Marlins clearly have many areas to address in the offseason as they try to bounce back into contention. The Marlins already have a number of left-handed hitting outfielders they've been grooming in their Minor Leagues who will be in big league camp in Spring Training. As of now, I don't see a fit for the club to sign Greenberg, even as a non-roster invitee.
In spite of the negatives in 2012, there have been some real positive signs for next year, such as Donovan Solano, Jose Reyes and Carlos Lee making solid contributions, as well as the catcher position improving. I am truly looking forward to a new season!
-- Melinda R., Fleming Island, Fla.
Absolutely, there were some bright spots in an otherwise disheartening first year at Marlins Park. As you noted, Solano did a terrific job, capitalizing on his opportunity after he opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans.
Reyes overcame a slow first couple of months, and showed tremendous professionalism by playing hard in a season filled with adversity. I'm not sure Lee will return. He is a free agent, and the team may simply move Logan Morrison to first base.
So much went wrong on so many fronts in 2012 that the Marlins also are ready to turn the page. Regardless of who is managing, the organization has to determine what direction it is headed. Will it look to mix in some veterans and try to seriously complete in 2013? Or does it show more patience, and try to bring in new parts in hopes of building for the future.
At least the team got some answers this year. Solano and rookie catcher Rob Brantly showed they can perform at the big league level.