Power rankings: No. 9 Marlins

•A division lacking a big-spending, perennial power.

Of most importance, when Guillen took over the White Sox, he didn't face immediate expectations. This is a whole different gig entirely.

Then again, Guillen is a different guy too. He has shown himself to be one of the game's best managers (witness the White Sox's plus-19 Pythagorean standings figure in his eight years). He and the Marlins could be the perfect storm. It should be fascinating to watch them try to take down the Phillies and the Braves.

And furthermore

•The Marlins' payroll was $57.7 million at the start of 2011 and will soar beyond $100 million. It would be bigger except for owner Jeffrey Loria's voodoo economics. The contracts for Reyes, Buehrle and Bell were heavily back-loaded. They will make a combined $24 million in 2012 and $52 million at the peak of their contracts.

•Zambrano, oddly, will be the Marlins' highest-paid player this season. The Cubs will pay $16.45 million of his $19-million contract, however.

•Bill James projects Stanton will hit 39 home runs and have a .933 OPS this season, the sixth best in the majors.

•Guillen believes Ramirez will be fine playing third but it's still possible he could be traded if spring training reveals opposition to the Reyes-generated move. Matt Dominguez, a whiz in the field, will be an option at third if his bat comes around.

•Loria is looking for a big splash selling season tickets and almost certainly will reduce the payroll in future seasons if the team isn't a big winner.

progers@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribRogers
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