Call me crazy, but its tough not to like what the Miami Marlins have done since they signed former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to the same post just a few short months ago. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria must have won a lottery that no one else was playing and, in result, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make the Marlins a contender in 2012.
With the acquisition of Carlos Zambrano, it gives Miami the perfect bunch of misfits to mix with others who simply lead my example through their play on the field and their demeanor in the clubhouse. Sox hero Mark Buehrle seems to be the oddball of a cast of characters led by Ozzie and Big Z. But dont forget about Aaron Rowand, who signed a minor league deal with the Marlins just days after Buehrle, his 2005 World Series champion teammate, left Chicago for the first time in his career. Rowand, should he make the team, could be another in the Buehrle-mold that offsets the fireworks of Ozzie and Zambrano.
Big Z had to leave the Northside. He did more damage to that clubhouse than the physical damage he had done to teammates and Gatorade coolers. However, Miami is the perfect landing spot. Quite honestly, it might have been the ONLY landing spot for the troubled pitcher.
Ozzie Guillen seemingly is an ideal manager to handle Big Z. Im not guaranteeing that there wont be another eruption from Mt. Zambrano, but you can guarantee the theatre that Ozzie provides in handling it makes the Marlins a must watch in 2012.
Buehrle versus Zambrano used to be THE ticket to get in Chicago when they went head to head in the Crosstown Classic. Now, in an ironic twist of fate, they team up for what is sure to be one of baseballs most curious and bizarre headlines of the upcoming season. Keep your eyes on South Beach, starting in April when the Cubs head to Florida to face Chicagos third team.
27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.
The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.
In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.
Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.
Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.
But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.
While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:
4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen