While Joe Nelson has said he hasn't closed the door on the Marlins and would welcome a return, even after being non-tendered, the level of outside interest in the right-hander is so great that it appears highly likey he'll land elsewhere. Even Nelson, who is now a free agent, said he is surprised by the sudden frenzy.
Nelson, who was non-tendered at midnight Friday, figured teams would start calling Monday when front offices re-opened and club executives returned to work. But more than a dozen teams had already contacted his agent by Sunday night.
"I was shocked that, by noon Saturday, 10 teams had called," Nelson said. "My agent is fielding e-mails, text messages and phone calls. We've heard from at least 12 to 14 teams. It tells me the interest level is extremely high. My agent called the first day a 'home run.'"
What it all means is that Nelson will likely end up receiving a far more lucrative contract -- perhaps even a multi-year deal -- than the estimated $700,000 to $800,000 the Marlins were willing to spend on him
Since the end of the season, the clubhouse has lost a significant amount of veteran leadership (Luis Gonzalez, Paul Lo Duca, Matt Treanor, Mark Hendrickson, Arthur Rhodes, Kevin Gregg, Doug Waechter, Josh Willingham), with the bullpen taking the biggest experience hit. Assuming Nelson doesn't return, Matt Lindstrom, who is 28, has just two years major league experience under his belt, and is expected to close next season, is now the oldest pitcher -- starter or reliever -- on the 40-man roster. For that matter, Wes Helms (32) and Alfredo Amezaga (30) are the only players on the 40-man who are 30 or older.