The Marlins are gauging interest in resigning two of of their free agents -- Greg Dobbs and Javier Vazquez -- but not the third, infielder Jose Lopez. Barring an unexpected change of heart, Vazquez is almost certain to retire.
Dobbs, on the other hand, is enticing. His value would be as a lefty bat off the bench and insurance at third base, where he started 84 times last season. He also saw action at first base and the corner outfield spots. Dobbs re-established himself at the plate after two unproductive seasons, hitting .275 with 31 extra-base hits.
In the past, the Marlins would have considered Dobbs a luxury they could not afford, as they did when they allowed Ross Gload to walk following a successful 2009 season with the Marlins. Gload ended up signing a 2-year deal with the Phillies for $2.6 million. But with plans to increase payroll, the Marlins are probably more willing to keep Dobbs.
The Marlins have exclusive negotiating rights with their three free agents until 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
The Marlins are expected to announce their 2012 coaching staff for new manager Ozzie Guillen within the next couple of days, and first base/infield coach Perry Hill will not be on it. Hill spent most of the past season hobbling about on bad knees and was given time by the team to decide whether he felt he could continue in the role. But after giving it careful consideration, Hill has apparently told the club he can't go on. Pitching coach Randy St. Claire, third base coach Joe Espada, hitting coach Eduardo Perez and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius are returning. Guillen is bringing Joey Cora with him from the White Sox to be his bench coach. The Marlins will name a new first base coach to replace Hill.