As if things couldn't get busier for the always active Florida Marlins, February is going to have the biggest effect on the future of the Marlins as a sports franchise and as a part of the City of Miami. First on Deck is a February 13th date with City of Miami and Miami Dade County Commissioners to vote on the remaining documents needed to break ground on the $515 Million baseball-only ballpark in the Little Havana area of Miami for the Marlins. After countless years of fighting for a stadium, this is the closest the team has gotten to a deal. The vote is coming a year late after Luxury Auto Dealer, Norman Braman, filed a suit to stop Miami's so-called "global agreement" in its tracks, contending it was illegally hatched in secret and improperly used money intended to cure urban blight and help poor people. For approval, the stadium project needs 9 of 13 county commissioners and 4 out of 5 city commissioners to vote yes. If the vote goes in the Marlins favor, construction on a 37,000-seat, 6,000-space parking garage, and retractable-roof Marlins stadium will begin, and be scheduled to open for the 2012 season. This will be the last attempt to keep the Marlins in Florida. I believe a sale and move of the team will shortly follow if a NO verdict is handed down.
On the day following the Vote, the Marlins officially begin Spring Training even though they have had 25 pitchers in their Training Complex working on stretching, throwing and conditioning for a week now.
Next on the Marlins agenda, is an arbitration hearing for Second Baseman Dan Uggla. "Danny Boy" is asking for $5.35 million a year while the Marlins are offering $4.4 million. Dan is the only Marlin going into to arbitration. Last week the Marlins came to terms with arbitration eligible Pitcher Ricky Nolasco ($2.4 million), Right Fielder Cody Ross ($2.2 million), Center Fielder Alfredo Amezaga ($1.3 million), Third Basemen Jorge Cantu ($3.5 million) and Left Fielder Jeremy Hermida ($2.25 Million). All players received a one year deal. It is very unlikely that Uggla will be traded if he wins his arbitration case, but you never know. I think all the Marlins owners would have sold their mothers if the price was right and it lowered the team’s salary.