Looks like the Marlins' tentative spring training schedule is out, though the club has yet to release anything officially. Highlights of the home schedule at Roger Dean Stadium include a visit by the Boston Red Sox on March 21 and games against World Baseball Classic teams on March 3 and 4.
The Marlins will open their Grapefruit League slate against the St. Louis Cardinals on Feb. 25. Not sure yet whether the Marlins will face the University of Miami Hurricanes in the exhibition opener, as they have been doing.
Tickets are not yet on sale.
Here's a link to the Marlins schedule on the Roger Dean Stadium site:
Votes poured in from all over the planet. Great Britain. Israel. Colombia. Nicaragua. Puerto Rico. Some tiny town in Austria. Some blip in the crystal blue sea south of Cuba. And, of course, the U.S. of A. We heard from close to 300 of you, and this is what you had to say about the Marlins' three recent trades.
For the most part, you liked them.
The Kevin Gregg deal to the Cubs for 21-year-old heavyweight, Jose Ceda, you really loved.
The deal that sent Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen to the Nationals for Emilio Bonifacio and two long-range minor-league prospects, you found slightly distasteful.
The Mike Jacobs to Kansas City transaction, somewhere inbetween.
Here's how it shook out on the polling end of our survey:
-- About 3/4ths (76.6 percent ) of you called the Gregg trade a "good" one, with slightly under 8 percent describing it as "bad." The rest went for "only time will tell."
-- Most of you also thought the Jacobs trade for reliever Leo Nunez was "good," but only barely (55.5 percent). This trade, the first made by the Marlins in their recent run of swaps, seemed to be the one that left most of you in an uncertain state. Just about a quarter of you (25.7 percent) labeled this one under "only time will tell" while the rest (18.8 percent) said it was a "bad" one.
-- The trade that brought most frowns was Willingham and Olsen to the Nats for Bonifacio and the two minor-leaguers, P.J. Dean and Jake Smolinski. Just about half casting votes (49.6 percent) categorized this trade as "bad." Many (34.1 percent) are giving it the benefit of the doubt and calling it "only time will tell." Only 16.3 percent of voters thought it was a "good" trade.
The Marlins did it again today. The lords of baseball's Hot Stove League pulled off another deal, trading Kevin Gregg to the Chicago Cubs for minor-league reliever Jose Ceda.
That's the third trade the trigger-happy Marlins have made since the end of the season, and they're probably not done yet. We'd like to have your input on each of them. Please take a couple of minutes to take this brief poll and tell us -- good, bad or only time will tell -- how you think the Marlins made out.
Remember to click on "Cast Your Vote" each time you provide a response to one of the three trade questions.
The Marlins further lightened their wallet by trading Kevin Gregg to the Chicago Cubs. But they added ballast to their roster by obtaining 275-pound minor-league reliever Jose Ceda in return.
Continuing their flurry of offseason trades, the cost-driven Marlins saved themselves more millions on Thursday by trading Gregg to the Cubs for Ceda in a swap of relievers, one a veteran who stands to make more than $4 million next season and the other a prospect who is trying to work his way up to the majors.
"Jose is a big, strong kid with a real live arm,” Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, said in a press release. “We think he can help us in the back end of our bullpen in the very near future, if not right away. We also want to thank Kevin for his two seasons with us. He did a great job for us and we wish him the best.”
Ceda, 21, was ranked by Baseball America as the fourth top prospect in the Cubs' organization in 2008. Last season, he went 2-2 with a 4.80 ERA at Single A Daytona and 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 22 relief appearances for Double A Tennessee.
The Marlins have been actively shopping Gregg, who stands to receive more than $4 million next season through salary arbitration. Matt Lindstrom is the current frontrunner to take over the closer's role next season.
Gregg, who has been the Marlins' closer the past two seasons, totaled 61 saves for the Marlins in 2007 and '08. But his nine blown saves last season was tied for most in the majors, and Gregg lost his ninth-inning role in September after missing time with patella tendinitis in his left knee.
He had surgery on the knee nearly three weeks ago and is expected to be ready for spring training.
"They went in and had to remove part of the patella tendon that was damaged during the season because I had actually torn part of it," Gregg said. "(The doctor said) it was something that had to be done and was surprised I played on it. I didn't hobble around for no reason. My knee already feels better now than it did the whole year."
Gregg was not surprised by the trade, and said he was happy to be going to the Cubs. He said he had not yet been told what his role would be with the reigning NL East champions. Gregg was the fourth arbitration-eligible player the Marlins have traded since the end of the season. First baseman Mike Jacobs was dealt to the Kansas City Royals at the end of October while outfielder Josh Willingham and pitcher Scott Olsen were packaged to the Washington Nationals earlier this week.
"I think I got the better draw on the whole thing," joked Gregg when comparing his new club to the Royals and Nationals, perennial losers.
The Cubs had reason to be interested in Gregg. He owns four saves in four career relief appearances at Wrigley Field and has six saves in eight total relief appearances against the Cubs in his career.
Ceda was considered to have one of the best arms in the Cubs organization. Scouting reports say that while his change-up needs work, he throws a hard slider and a fastball that approaches 100 miles per hour. He has averaged more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings during his three seasons in the minors.
But his size -- he is 6-4 and weighs 275 pounds -- has raised eyebrows. His minor-league teammates fined him $10 in a kangaroo court for asking a young boy at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter to buy him ice cream when Daytona played there last summer.
Ceda, from the Dominican Republic, was originally signed by the San Diego Padres but was traded in 2006 to the Cubs for Todd Walker.
NON-TRADE MARLINS NEWS: Hanley Ramirez won the Silver Slugger Award as the National League's top hitting shortstop. The awards were announced today. Ramirez becomes the fourth Marlin to win a Silver Slugger, joining Gary Sheffield (1993 and '96), Mike Lowell (2003) and Miguel Cabrera (2005 and '06).
Just performed a quick count (subject to audit) on Marlins trades within the division over the years and came up with 23 such deals, the latest being Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to Washington for Emilio Bonifacio and prospects.
Of those 22 previous deals made with division brethren, the New York Mets have been the Marlins' favorite trading partner, accounting for 10 of the transactions. Atlanta is next (five trades), followed by Philadelphia (three trades), and Montreal (three trades). Hey, that leaves one missing deal and (hint hint) team. Anyone want to take a stab on that one?
At any rate, here's my top five list of the Marlins' most significant deals within the division:
1) July 11, 2002 -- Marlins trade Cliff Floyd, Wilton Guerrero, Claudio Vargas and a player to be named (Don Levinski) to Montreal for Mike Mordecai and pitchers Carl Pavano, Graeme Lloyd and Justin Wayne. Significance: Pavano was a key piece of the pitching equation for the '03 champion Marlins while Mordecai made major contributions off the bench.
2) July 21, 1997 -- Marlins trade Billy McMillon to Philadelphia for Darren Daulton. Significance: Daulton joined the club in mid-season and played a huge part in the '97 World Series run by assuming a leadership role inside the clubhouse.
3) May 22, 1998 -- Marlins trade Mike Piazza to the Mets for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall and Geoff Goetz. Significance: This deal was Part II of a firesale trade, coming one week after the Marlins got Piazza and Todd Zeila from the Dodgers for Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich and the immortal Manuel Barrios. Significance: Four years later, Marlins dealt Wilson and Johnson to Colorado in the Juan Pierre trade that proved instrumental in the '03 championship run.
4) March 26, 1997 -- Marlins trade Joe Orsulak and Dustin Hermanson to Montreal for Cliff Floyd. Significance: Floyd ranked second on the Marlins' all-time home run list (trailing only Gary Sheffield) when he was traded away in '02. He still ranks in the Marlins' top 10 all-time in games played, career batting average, homers, extra-base hits, and RBI.
5) Nov. 20, 2006 -- Marlins trade Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick to the Mets for Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens. Significance: Mets fans were gnashing their teeth when they watched Lindstrom nail the coffin on their season in the finale and spoiled the final game played at Shea Stadium. The jury remains out on this one. But if Lindstrom develops into a dependable stopper for the Marlins, this deal might move up on the list over time.
Honorable Mention: Nov. 24, 2005 -- Marlins trade Carlos Delgado to the Mets for Mike Jacobs, Yusmeiro Petit and Grant Psomas. Yeah, yeah. This deal had star power, with Delgado heading off to the Big Apple. But what did it really net the Marlins in the long run? Leo Nunez? Jorge Julio?....Feb. 6, 1998 -- Marlins trade Al Leiter and Ralph Milliard to the Mets for A.J. Burnett, Jesus Sanchez and two players to be named later (Cesar Crespo and Brandon Villafuerte). Again, prominent names involved in the trade. And, besides throwing that nine-walk no-hitter, Burnett does rank second on the team's all-time wins list behind Dontrelle Willis. But he wasn't really a part of the team's magical '03 run and his bad attitude got him sent home (without a spanking) a week before the end of the '05 season....Nov. 29 1994 -- Marlins trade Carl Everett to the Mets for Quilvio Veras.
The Marlins formally announced the Scott Olsen/Josh Willingham trade in a press release that was issued a moment ago. No surprising details, with the Marlins receiving second baseman Emilio Bonifacio and prospects P.J. Dean and Jake Smolinksi in the deal, as widely reported.
The release contained a canned quote from Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations: "It is not easy to part with individuals who have come up in this organization and been a valuable part of the Florida Marlins. They will both be missed and we wish them nothing but the best in their careers. In return, Bonifacio is a switch hitter and above average runner and defender who is Major League ready. Smolinski and Dean have high top ends and we look forward to them joining the Marlins in the near future."
The Marlins have arranged a 2 p.m. teleconference with Beinfest and the media.
It'll be interesting to see how the Marlins sort out what is now a crowded infield. If Bonifacio is major league "ready," as Beinfest says, that means something has to give. The corner spots are already clogged with Gaby Sanchez, Wes Helms, Jorge Cantu and Dallas McPherson. The logjam in the middle of the infield has Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Alfredo Amezaga, Robert Andino and -- now -- Bonifacio. So it stands to reason more trades are forthcoming.
The Marlins have traded pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham to the Washington Nationals for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio and two minor-league prospects.
Willingham said he was informed of the trade early Monday evening by Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations.
Both Willingham and Olsen are due raises through salary arbitration.
Bonifacio, 23, was traded to the Nationals in July by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has hit .240 in 169 major league at bats. But he is considered to be an outstanding fielder and has excellent speed. He stole at least 40 bases in four consecutive seasons in the minors.
The Marlins will also obtain minor-league pitcher P.J. Dean and shortstop Jake Smolinski in the deal.
DANA POINT, Calif. -- The Marlins made a minor ripple as the general managers' meetings opened Monday, claiming left-handed pitcher Dan Meyer off waivers from the Oakland A's.
Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations for the Marlins, said Meyer would contend for a bullpen spot.
"Our reports are that we think he can pitch out of the pen," Beinfest said.
Meyer, 27, was a first-round pick for the Atlanta Braves in 2002 and was traded to Oakland in 2004 in the Tim Hudson deal.
Meyer went 0-4 with a 7.48 ERA in 11 games (four starts) last season for the A's, but went 10-5 in 20 starts at Triple A Sacramento.
"We liked him in the past when he was a prospect with the Braves," Beinfest said.
The Marlins have targeted bullpen help early in their offseason maneuverings. They traded first baseman Mike Jacobs to Kansas City last week for right-handed reliever Leo Nunez.