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18 posts from January 2012

January 30, 2012

Marlins/UM sold out

   That didn't take long.

   Just received word that the Marlins have sold out their exhibition game against the University of Miami on March 6. It will be the first game played by the Marlins in their new ballpark.

    The Marlins limited capacity to the UM game to 10,000.

    Tickets still remain for the Marlins' game against Florida International on March 7. Capacity for that game is 15,000.

     Tickets for the two games went on sale Friday and can be purchased at www.marlins.com/college

January 27, 2012

LoMo on Cespedes: "It's a big risk for the Marlins"

     Logan Morrison weighed in on the Marlins' pursuit of Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes when he appeared as a guest on SiriusXM radio's "First Pitch" on Thursday, calling it a "big risk" for the team based on the many uncertainties about the player.

     "It's hard for me to judge a player just by watching him on YouTube, so I don't really know what he can or can't do," Morrison said. "I've heard of the crazy power he has and what he looks like in all his stuff. But I've heard of guys that had crazy power and looked awesome in a uniform and don't do crap on the field when the game starts.

     "So I think that's a big question mark, and it's a big risk for the Marlins," Morrison continued. "...you don't need to catch balls behind your back in games, and you don't need to jump 100 feet in the air and leg press 20,000 pounds, or whatever the heck he's doing. It's all about playing the game the right way and applying your skills to the game. And if he can do that, then he'll be very, very dangerous."

      On the other hand, Morrison said it's not his money, so "let's do it."

      You can listen to the full conversation with Morrison here.

      At least one potential suitor could be backing out of the Cespedes sweepstakes. By signing Prince Fielder earlier in the week, the Tigers may be bowing out, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com, who quoted GM Dave Dombrowski as saying: "Most likely, but you can never tell."

January 25, 2012

Marlins sign OF Austin Kearns to minor league deal

        The Marlins plan on giving another veteran outfielder a comeback shot. The team on Wednesday signed Austin Kearns to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

     Kearns    Kearns, a 10-year major league veteran, enjoyed his best seasons with the Cincinnati Reds from 2002-06 but has struggled the past few seasons with Cleveland and the Yankees. It looked early on that Kearns would live up to expectations that came with being the seventh overall pick in the 1998 amateur draft when he finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2002.

         But it hasn't turned out that way. Kearns has played more than 120 games just twice, most recently with the Nationals in 2007.

         Kearns won't be the only veteran outfielder looking to reclaim his stature with the Marlins during spring training. The team has also signed Aaron Rowand to a minor-league deal.


   And, according to Baseball America, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been granted free agency by Major League Baseball. The league informed teams today that they could begin negotiating with Cespedes, who recently gained residency status in the Dominican Republic.

   All of which means, of course, that the Marlins are probably already on the phone with Cespedes' agent trying to work a deal. The Marlins are hungry for Cespedes.

J.J. throws off mound

    Just finished a brief text exchange with Josh Johnson, who ramped up his offseason program on Tuesday by throwing off a mound for the first time since the end of last season. Johnson said he threw 27 to 29 pitches -- all of them fastballs.

    "Went really well," Johnson said of his session, which took place in Las Vegas, where he spends the offseason.

    Perhaps no player on the Marlins is more crucial to the team's success next season. Not Hanley Ramirez. Not Jose Reyes. Not Heath Bell or Mark Buerhle or Yoenis Cespedes (if they land him). Not any of those players.

    Remove Johnson from the rotation and it loses its luster, rendering it average at best. Just look at what happened last season when Johnson spent the final 4 1/2 months on the disabled list with shoulder issues.


    Single-game tickets to Marlins exhibition games at Marlins Park against Florida International and the University of Miami will go on sale on Friday at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online at marlins.com/college.

    Tickets for both games are $10 each.

    The Marlins will face UM on March 6 and FIU on March 7. Game time for both games is 7:10 p.m.

January 24, 2012

Marlins' World Series "enders" -- Counsell and Posada -- retire a week apart

        Kind of an interesting coincidence. One week after Craig Counsell hung up his spikes, Jorge Posada did the same. Both will be remembered by Marlins fans for their parts in the ending moments of the team's two World Series championships.

        Counsell, arms upraised, scored the winning run for the Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 Series on Edgar Renteria's single up the middle off Cleveland's Charles Nagy. Six years later, Posada was tagged out by Josh Beckett to end the '03 Series for the victorious Marlins.

        Counsell (41) and Posada (40) each made his major league debut as a September call-up in 1995.


        A new ballpark doesn't guarantee instant success in the won-loss column.

        Of the 21 non-expansion teams that have moved into new ballparks since 1989, 10 improved their record from the previous season, 10 regressed, and one stayed the same.

        What do you think they'll do? Guess their final record.


        Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been granted residency in the Dominican Republic, according to MLB.com. Now it's up to MLB to grant free agent status to Cespedes so that teams can begin making offers.

         The Marlins are expected to be aggressive bidders.

January 20, 2012

Marlins: Aaron Rowand heads list of 22 spring invites

     Veteran outfielder Aaron Rowand is the biggest name on the list of 22 non-roster players the Marlins have invited to spring training. Rowand's resume includes 11 seasons in the majors, a .273 career average, and a Gold Glove award. Whether or not Rowand lands an Opening Day roster spot with the Marlins, he'll still be hauling in $12 million next season, courtesy of the Giants. If Rowand sticks with the club, though, he'll be the fourth-highest paid player on the team, behind only Carlos Zambrano ($18 million), Hanley Ramirez ($15 million) and Josh Johnson ($13.75 million).

      That's right. Rowand would make more than any of the big three free agents -- Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell -- signed by the Marlins this winter.

      The following 11 players are signed to minor-league deals with ST invites: Rowand, infeilders Nick Green, Donovan Solano, Terry Tiffee and Gil Velasquez, right-handed pitchers Rob Delany, Chad Gaudin, Gary Glover, J.D. Martin and Robert Ray, and left-handed pitcher Beau Jones.

      These 11 members of the organization have also been extended ST invitations: outfielder Kyle Jensen, catchers Jacob Jefferies, Luke Montz, Clint Sammons and Kyle Skipworth, right-handed pitchers Corey Madden, Alejandro Ramos and Elih Villaneuva, and left-handed pitchers Jose Alvarez, Chad James and Robert Rasmussen.

LeBron James crashes into Jeffrey Loria (w/video)

     Guess what Jeffrey Loria's courtside seats at last night's Heat game got him? How about a big piece of LeBron James.

     During the Heat-Lakers game at American Airlines Arena, James plowed into Loria while chasing after a loose ball. Adding insult to injury was James telling TNT's Chris Sager afterward that he wasn't aware that the person he collided with was the owner of the Miami Marlins. James did say, however, that he wanted one of the new Marlins caps.

     Loria, the good sport, was smiling after being knocked over backwards by James. In the video, you can see he is seated with wife, Julie, and team president David Samson.


January 19, 2012

Cespedes hits first HR (w/video)

    Yoenis Cespedes hit his first home run in the Dominican winter league, and as you can see from the video, he's one who likes to admire his work. Cespedes continues to seek residency in the Dominican and the green light from MLB to become a free agent.

     The Marlins will be one of his strongest suitors, along with a handful of other clubs. Cespedes said the other day that the Cubs have shown the most interest in him so far, but Marlins president David Samson said the team plans to be aggressive in its pursuit of the Cuban outfielder.

     Cespedes' home run has been about his only high point so far in winter ball. He's gone 3 for 23 with six strikeouts. The homer represents his only RBI, run scored and extra-base hit. He has not walked.

January 17, 2012

Marlins, Oviedo agree for $6 million

   If and when Juan Carlos Oviedo returns to the majors next season, he'll be paid handsomely for his pitching services. But it's a big "if" and an even bigger "when" for the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, who is continuing to work out his legal issues in the Dominican Republic and remains on the Marlins' restricted list.

   But.....once Oviedo is cleared to return to the U.S. and works his way back onto the team's active list, he'll earn $6 million. That's the figure that he and the Marlins settled on before today's deadline for arbitration players. Oviedo is in his third and final year of arbitration. The team also avoided arbitration with Edward Mujica by agreeing to a contract with the reliever. But negotiations with their other two arbitration-eligible players -- Anibal Sanchez and Emilio Bonifacio -- did not result in an agreement before Tuesday's noon deadline. As a result, hearings will be held in February and an independent arbitor will determine each player's salary for next season.

   The $6 million that Oviedo stands to receive will become Monopoly money if he doesn't make it back. He won't make a dime until he is activated, and the total amount will be pro-rated based on the actual time he spends on the big-league roster. But his agent told me that that is an "unlikely" scenario and they are "hopeful" Oviedo is cleared in time for Opening Day.

   Oviedo pitched under an assumed name -- Nunez -- for years before his true identity was discovered last season.

   His salary is very close to the $5.8 million figure that he was projected to receive by Major League Baseball Trade Rumors.

January 14, 2012

Marlins are being considered for Showtime's "The Franchise"

     Not surprisingly, given all the fanfare surrounding them, the Marlins are being considered as the featured team for Showtime's "The Franchise," the popular baseball docuseries." The pay-per-view channel confirmed earlier in the week that it has ordered a second season of the series, which last season examined the behind-the-scenes workings of the San Francisco Giants after they won the World Series.

     With a new ballpark on the horizon, new uniforms, a vociferous manager (Ozzie Guillen) and a new cast of stars, the Marlins are a natural fit for the Showtime series, which last season averaged more than 650,000 viewers per episode.

      Showtime is granted exclusive access in order to present a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the sport.

      To get an idea, take a look at the first episode from last season here.