Tommy Hutton Q&A: NL East should come down to Marlins, Nats
There are 18 days until Miami Marlins pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Florida, for the start of spring training.
With the signing of future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki this past week, the Marlins added another cog to a roster they hope reaches the postseason in 2015.
FOX Sports Florida's Christina De Nicola spoke with Marlins analyst Tom Hutton, whom you can follow on Twitter (@THUT14), about Miami's offseason. She'll catch up with Hutton and other members of the broadcast team throughout the 2015 season for insight on the club.
In Part 1 of the interview, Hutton analyzed the Marlins' moves. In the second segment, which can be found below, he takes a look at the National League East, last October's playoffs and a possible Marlins lineup ...
FSF: As of today, January 22, how do you see the NL East shaking up?
TOMMY HUTTON: Without a doubt I think it's going to be Washington and the Marlins. You do the whole thing on paper -- but you still have to go out and play -- and I truly feel the Marlins have a better group than what the Braves and the Phillies and the Mets are going to send out. I really do think it's going to be the Marlins and the Nationals. The Nationals -- everybody's giving them the pennant already. I think it was (Marlins radio broadcaster Glenn Geffner) who had a great blog or something about how the Marlins will benefit because of the subtractions in the National League East. All of a sudden the Nationals aren't going to have Tyler Clippard, who was incredible against the Marlins. (Jason) Heyward's gone from the Braves. Gattis -- he killed the Marlins. And (Jimmy) Rollins is gone from the Phillies. They benefited by subtraction. I hope (Steve) Cishek continues on. He's solid, he's quietly put together a couple of good years.
FSF: What did you learn from the MLB postseason?
HUTTON: Baseball likes to copy when something goes right, and when you have teams like the Giants and Royals -- only San Diego had fewer home runs than the Giants, and the Royals had the fewest in the American League. When you have that, all of a sudden in the World Series there are wild-card teams, it gives you encouragement but it also shows you what can be done with maybe not the best team. I guarantee San Francisco and Kansas City probably weren't the best teams if you break it down, but they put it together. I'm a firm believer that with the stronger drug testing going on that we're kind of reverting back to the way the game was played 20-30 years ago. You've got to do the little things, and the Marlins have the perfect ballpark to do it. When you've got Dee Gordon, (Christian) Yelich at the top of the lineup with speed, you can do some things.
FSF: I had asked Mike Hill leading up to the GM meetings what he took away from the postseason, and it was the same thing I thought. The teams that get hot at the right time...
HUTTON: That happens, too. I always answer this question when it's getting close to postseason. People always say, 'Would you want to be the team that has a 10-game lead and you can get your players rest?' No! I want to be the team that has to win the wild card and be on a roll and start playing good. That's the way guys play: All year, every day. And all of a sudden come postseason you have two days off here. It's hard to get it together.
FSF: What are you looking forward to during spring training from the Marlins?
HUTTON: A little bit of seeing how the rotation shakes up. I always like to see how that shapes up. I want to see how (Giancarlo) Stanton steps in and hits. There are options with the lineup, but it'll be curious to see how (Mike) Redmond puts that together. The obvious is Dee Gordon, Yelich, Stanton, (Michael) Morse.
FSF: But then you even have (Martin) Prado who offers flexibility.
HUTTON: Prado's been a very good No. 2 hitter in his career. You always have that option. We didn't even talk about -- I've got to believe (Jarrod Saltalamacchia) will be better than he was last year. And once again (Adeiny) Hechavarria quietly goes unnoticed and talked about here. He had a solid year last year, and I think he continues to get better and better. Those two at the bottom could be important.