MIAMI -- Since 2002, I’ve had the privilege of being the Marlins reporter for MLB.com. This amazing opportunity allowed me to be in the trenches for all things Marlins the past 19 seasons, and I enjoyed the everyday grind.
But now, my tenure is coming to an end. I am retiring, with my final day being Monday.
Before signing off my computer for the last time with this company, I’m writing one last Inbox to answer questions from you, my loyal readers. I appreciate all of you, and I will try to cram in as many responses as possible, so some may be shorter than normal.
Thanks to all. Happy holidays!
Three-part question: 1) What is the thing you will miss most not covering the Marlins? 2) What is the thing you will not miss at all? 3) If you could pick three Marlins players who are key to continued success, who would you select?
-- @drguava on Twitter
What I’ll miss most are the relationships you develop being around the team, truly getting to know all the players, coaches and staff -- everyone who grinds it out every day. What I'll miss the least: Zoom calls. Don’t get me wrong, I love the technology and understand its necessity during these times, but to truly get to know the club, you need that in-person interaction. Three key Marlins? Sixto Sanchez, Jazz Chisholm and keep an eye on JJ Bleday making a huge leap.
Who were your favorite Marlins to cover over the years?
-- @BigBennyFL on Twitter
Hard to answer, because I’ll leave so many out. Here’s a few that I really enjoyed their professionalism and how they treated me, in no particular order: Juan Pierre, Dontrelle Willis, Mike Lowell, Derrek Lee, Josh Beckett, Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Wes Helms, Omar Infante, Miguel Rojas, Christian Yelich, José Fernández, Dee Strange-Gordon, J.T. Realmuto, Giancarlo Stanton, Martin Prado, Dan Uggla ... the list can go on and on.
What was your favorite moment covering the Marlins all these years?
-- @Wilson_Anth0ny on Twitter
Hard to pinpoint one, but the 2003 playoffs is clearly No. 1. Second, I’ve covered five no-hitters, including Roy Halladay’s perfect game. The others: Anibal Sánchez, Henderson Alvarez, Edinson Vólquez and Jordan Zimmermann.
Free agents who might wear a Marlins jersey next season?
-- @AndyPer46860049 on Twitter
Keep an eye on utility specialist Phil Gosselin, and right-hander Brandon Kintzler is a candidate to return to the bullpen, even though Miami declined his $4 million club option a few months ago.
• Marlins' offseason needs and moves
Two-part question: 1) Who was your favorite Marlins prospect ever? 2) Who’s a prospect that you were higher on than others that panned out?
-- @braedont19 on Twitter
Favorite prospect is tough because there are so many, but the three most anticipated prospects in my tenure, I believe, are: Miguel Cabrera (2003), Giancarlo Stanton (2010) and José Fernández (2013). One who I had an eye on before others: Pablo López (2018) comes to mind. I feel I was on his bandwagon before many.
• Marlins' Top 30 Prospects list
Favorite ballpark to visit? Best spots while visiting cities for away games?
-- @thememanxx on Twitter
In terms of convenience to cover games, San Diego and San Francisco are way up there. History? Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium are nostalgic. A must on a road trip for me, while in New York, is Virgil’s Barbeque in Times Square. I know, I know: NYC for barbecue? Trust me, it’s very good. Foley’s was unmatched when visiting New York, and we're all going to miss it now that it's gone.
Who should be the catcher and second baseman?
-- @MarianoEspino3 on Twitter
Pressure is on Isan Díaz to pick it up at second, and Jorge Alfaro behind the plate. If not, Chisholm may be at second and Chad Wallach may catch.
If you could have vetoed one trade, which one would it have been? And if you could have put your name to one trade, what would it have been?
-- @Lee379Lee on Twitter
The obvious would be to undo the Cabrera trade, because of how things played out. All I kept hearing about Cabrera from the time he was a prospect was he was a once-in-a-generation talent, so you try to do all you can to keep him. That said, there were many factors that led to that deal. Also, at the time, many believed the prospect return the Marlins received made it a fair trade. Trading Derrek Lee for Hee-Seop Choi also set the franchise back.
A trade I’d put my name on: Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals for Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano. Gallen netted Chisolm, and all are big leaguers.
Best moments in the press box?
-- @carlosguillen13 on Twitter
Brad Penny, after being traded to the Dodgers, was at Dodger Stadium facing the Marlins a few weeks later. Before the first pitch, from the mound, he literally tipped his cap to former Miami Herald reporter Clark Spencer in the press box. That was classic. Another was former Marlins catcher John Buck glancing up to the press box at me after being stung by a foul tip. Before the game, I talked to him about foul tips and how fortunate he had been until that point.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.