Marlins beat reporter Joe Frisaro hosted a live web chat with fans on Monday. Among the topics he covered were Hanley Ramirez's adjustment to third base, manager Ozzie Guillen's arrival in South Beach and the expectations surrounding the revamped club.
Frisaro: Good morning, everyone. Welcome and thanks for joining. Ask your questions, and I'll do my best to answer.
alobregon: Any news about the naming rights for the stadium?
Frisaro: Nothing new on that front. For the foreseeable future, the building will be called Marlins Park. When the team made its many offseason moves, more companies expressed interest, so the team is weighing all options.
BaseballisBack: I'll ask the obvious -- how do things seem to be working out with Ramirez and Jose Reyes on the left side of the infield?
Frisaro: So far, so good. Hanley has probably been the best feel-good story in camp. Reyes is a big reason. Hanley is working hard at third, seems happy. He's hitting, which is big in keeping him happy. Reyes has been great for Hanley, keeping him smiling every day.
DoTheFish: Any good Ozzie stories yet?
Frisaro: Where to start on Ozzie stories. The guy is so lively, colorful. He interacts with everyone -- fans, players, the people who sing the national anthem. He is so brutally honest. I did like how he set the tempo at the first team meeting. He told the players that when they played their scrimmages at Marlins Park versus the University of Miami and Florida International University, that it would be a busy few days. They'd do it, no complaints, and do it with a smile. And they did.
ThememanXX: Joe, I'll be traveling to South Florida this week and will attend a Spring Training game. ... Which would be better, Thursday against the Cardinals or Saturday against the Mets? Do you have a line on probable pitchers to help me make my decision? Thanks!
Frisaro: Thursday probably, because they will be hustling to leave town on Saturday. Also, regulars don't go much in that last game. I don't have Thursday's starting pitcher yet, though.
alobregon: I know Guillen says that he isn't considering the past, but it seems like there is some favoritism towards Aaron Rowand. Is this the case?
Frisaro: I think they want to see more from Rowand. Despite his poor numbers, I haven't ruled it out that he makes the club, but Rowand has to pick it up. Ozzie and the staff are looking at more than just the numbers. They are looking to see if Rowand's bat speed is still there. He has a few days to pick it up, but as of today, Austin Kearns appears to be the option. But that could change.
Marlins954: Who do you think will be dropped from the 40-man roster if Donovan Solano makes the team?
Frisaro: Really tough question to answer right now. Not just Solano, but if Kearns, Rowand or Chad Gaudin make the team. They may have to make corresponding 40-man room.
10miami: If Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton aren't ready for Opening Day, who makes the team and who starts in the corner outfield spots?
Frisaro: First, I think Stanton for sure will be ready. LoMo is trying hard to get there. Still not 100 percent sure he will be. I think Chris Coghlan would play left field if LoMo is out. If Stanton can't go, Bryan Petersen may be the guy.
BaseballisBack: I know a lot depends on how well Hanley adapts, but aside from the new guys fitting in, what's the biggest question mark for the Marlins going into the season?
Frisaro: Everyone talks about Hanley being healthy and happy, and Josh Johnson staying healthy. Those are obvious. I think the key to the season is Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez. Those two have to step up and reach the next level to give this rotation a chance to go head-to-head with the Phillies, Braves and the rest of the National League East.
10miami: Early predictions: What Fish do you see at the All-Star Game?
Frisaro: Hanley is the most talented player on the team. So far, he looks like the batting champ Hanley from 2009. If he picks it up, Hanley could be back in the All-Star Game. I think Reyes also will have an All-Star first half. The player the Marlins fans and MLB would like to see is Stanton get off to a fast start. Giancarlo needs to be in the Home Run Derby. That would be a TV ratings boost.
BigFish: Is this team the favorite to win the division in your eyes? Phillies seem to really be aging and unhealthy and I don't think the Nationals are ready to make that jump quite yet.
Frisaro: The Phillies have won five straight. Until the champ is knocked off, they are the pick. The Marlins do have a lot of talent and a lot going for them because the Phillies are vulnerable. Key, as I noted earlier, is the rotation, specifically Nolasco and Sanchez, stepping up. If JJ is healthy, there's no reason the team won't stay close. But they need more than JJ.
BaseballisBack: Any weak spots or areas that need some improvement in order for this team to make a title run?
Frisaro: I'm not sure the bullpen is a strength or a weak spot. The club is high on the 'pen. Heath Bell will be fine closing. The setup roles have some good arms, but not the track record. Randy Choate has been hurt all camp, and he is just now pitching. He should be fine in his lefty role. Look for a big year from Steve Cishek. Overall, I'm still looking for the 'pen to show they are playoff caliber.
LoMoMo: How do the players seem to be reacting to the new manager? Jack McKeon to Ozzie seems like quite a drastic change on paper, personality-wise.
Frisaro: Players are responding to Ozzie. You can't help but respond to Ozzie. Actually, Ozzie and Jack have a lot of similarities, with their passion and not being afraid to speak up. Jack, remember, is 81. Ozzie is very aware of the team and the mood of the players, he interacts with them and believes in being open and having communication. Both will ride their players. That hasn't changed.
alobregon: How about a prediction? Do you see the Marlins targeting any specific players for depth before the Trade Deadline?
Frisaro: Prediction: The Marlins can win the division, or at least make the playoffs. I think they may find themselves having to make a big trade by the Deadline in July. If so, Christian Yelich, their top prospect, may be put in play. Now, don't get me wrong, they aren't shopping Yelich -- they think he will be great. Unlike the past, they are looking to win right now and they will do what it takes.
sailor3: Is Anibal feeling better or will he be out for a couple of starts at the beginning of the season?
Frisaro: Anibal is fine, physically. He had that setback early in camp with the soreness behind his right shoulder. He likely is the fifth starter. He will keep building up arm strength and command, but because of the slow start in spring, I expect Anibal to get sharper as the year progresses. I'm not so sure what we'll see early.
cava2002: Do you think that the Marlins should sign Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez to manage the pitching staff? Pudge is a natural-born leader and should only help the Marlins in this new era of the team.
Frisaro: Pudge doesn't seem to be a fit. John Buck is the everyday guy and he will handle the staff. I get the feeling that there is real concern that Pudge doesn't have anything left. Brett Hayes is fine as the backup. If that wasn't the case, perhaps Pudge would be considered, but I'm not sure the team feels he can help, other than by his reputation.
mattyw27: It seems like Coghlan is starting to come back to form. What do you think his chances are of making the team and when will final cuts be made?
Frisaro: I think Coghlan has a really good chance to make the club. The knee is healthy, the arm seems fine. The question is, "Can he play center field or right field in case he is needed there?" Petersen and Rowand can play all three positions better. Offensively, Coghlan may be the best of the group.
happyyoungster: What's up with Coghlan? I didn't put a jinx on him or anything ...
Frisaro: I don't think Coghlan was jinxed, and he doesn't either. He suffered a fluke injury in 2010, and he is battling back. He is regaining his old form. It just took a little while.
MarlinsChampsIn2012: I feel like the starting lineup looks great on paper, but is there more depth to this team that I don't see? I'm worried about what happens if one or two guys go down with injuries.
Frisaro: The lineup, if healthy, may be the best in the NL East. As you know, Stanton and LoMo haven't been on the field much. LoMo worries me more. If Stanton is hitting cleanup, that's a pretty impressive top four. Omar Infante may find himself hitting fifth, sixth or seventh. I don't think he is a No. 8 hitter.
alobregon: Do you think that Emilio Bonifacio will be solid in center?
Frisaro: Defensively, he will be fine. The speed and athleticism are there, so I have no worries in the field. Will he match what he did at the plate last year? He is in the enviable spot to hit between Reyes and Ramirez, but if he doesn't pick it up at the plate, then maybe Infante slides there. Overall, Boni should be fine.
MarlinsChampsIn2012: Do you think that Miguel Cabrera taking that grounder to the face in his transition to third had any effect mentally on Ramirez? I'm sure he'll say it doesn't, but it's hard not to at least think about.
Frisaro: Players don't think that way. Hanley knows he has to be on his toes every pitch. Before Cabrera was hit, remember, Matt Dominguez took a ball off the side of his face on a bad hop early in camp. It's just like getting hit by a pitch, guys shake it off. Obviously, there is no sleeping at the wheel at third base.
Frisaro: We're going to wrap things up here soon. Any remaining questions?
FloMoMarlins: Over or under 90 wins for this club?
Frisaro: Let's say over. I sense a magical season in the new ballpark. Will that be enough to reach the playoffs? The NL East may have an 88- to 90-win division champ this year.
MarlinsChampsIn2012: Is this year's club the best team you've covered so far?
Frisaro: The 2003 team will always be special because I saw all they went through, and how great a story and team they were. They won it all. Until I cover another team like that, the '03 squad will always be the most special team I've covered. This team is clearly entertaining and high profile, and has a chance to do something special. The fun is seeing the journey.
Marlins954: What are you excited most about this team?
Frisaro: The energy. The passion. Seeing Reyes and Ramirez and how that plays out. Seeing if Stanton hits 40, 50 or more homers. JJ's comeback. Mark Buehrle's professionalism. Bell's craziness and greatness. If Carlos Zambrano will turn it around or melt down. Name it. There is lots to be excited about.
sailor3: How does the new ballpark play out? More expansive than San Diego?
Frisaro: I think in the new park, hitters better pull the ball, unless you're named Giancarlo. I think with the roof open, the ball will fly out. But it will be closed almost 90 percent of the time.
alobregon: Do you think that any drama will be fabricated for the benefit of "The Franchise"?
Frisaro: Television is television, so maybe to a degree. But there is enough personality that Showtime shouldn't have to reach too far. Should be interesting if the Marlins can be must-see TV on Showtime.
Frisaro: I want to thank everyone for their questions and interest. Hope I shed some light on your questions. Take care, everyone.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.