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17 posts from November 2012

November 14, 2012

Loria on trade: "We finished in last place. Figure it out."

Owner Jeffrey Loria, in Chicago for the baseball owners meetings, spoke with CBSSports.com baseball writer Jon Heyman Wednesday about the 12-team trade the Marlins made with the Blue Jays Tuesday night.

"We finished in last place. Figure it out,'' a defiant Loria told Heyman.

Loria also emphatically said he isn't selling the team.

"Absolutely not,'' Loria told Heyman. "That's more stupidity."

Loria, who turns 72 next Tuesday, took issue with the media coverage of the trade and suggested selling the team's veteran stars was the right course of action.

"We have to get better," Loria told Heyman. "We can't finish in last place. We finished in last place. That's unacceptable. We have to take a new course."

Loria had only positive words for Jose Reyes, who along with Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle are part of the 12-player trade that will save the Marlins $166 million once finalized.

"Wonderful guy. I love Jose Reyes," Loria told Heyman. 'What's not to love?"

November 13, 2012

So who are these guys the Marlins got back in the fire sale?

Spent a few minutes doing some research on the seven players the Marlins will get back in this trade with the Blue Jays. Here it is.

SS Yunel Escobar (6-2, 210)
- Only established big league, everyday starter of the bunch. Escobar turned 30 on Nov. 2 and hit .253 with nine homers, 51 RBI and just five stolen bases in 145 games for the Blue Jays last season. He's a career .282 hitter. He made 12 errors last season and is a career .976 fielder. Signed through 2013, he's due to make $5 million next season.

Henderson AlvarezRHP Henderson Alvarez (6-1, 210)
- Venezuelan born right-hander, who turns 23 on April 19th, has been in the Blue Jays system since he was 17. He went 9-14 with a 4.85 ERA in 31 starts in 2012 with Tornoto in his first full big league season. He had 79 strikeouts and 54 walks in 187 1/3 innings in 2012. He went 1-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 10 starts in the big leagues in 2011. He figures to join Ricky Nolasco, Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Turner in the Marlins starting rotation -- assuming all those guys are still around come March.

INF Adeiny Hechavarria (5-11, 180)
- Known for his speed and glove, the Cuban born shortstop turns 24 on April 15. Ranked the seventh-best prospect by MLB.com in the Blue Jays farm system, Hechavarria spent almost all of 2012 with Triple A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League and hit .312 with 6 HRs, 63 RBI and eight stolen bases in 102 games. He has played 332 games in the Blue Jays minor league system. He played 41 games in a brief August call-up with Toronto inand hit .254 with two homers and 15 RBI.

LHP Justin Nicolino (6-3, 160)
- Considered the fifth-best prospect in the Blue Jays farm system, Nicolino turns 21 on Nov. 22. The former 2nd round pick out of Orlando University High went 10-4 with a 2.46 ERA, 119 Ks, 21 BBs in 28 games, 28 starts in 2012 with Single A Lansing (Mich.) of the Midwest League. He's 16-6 with a 2.09 ERA in two minor league seasons. He can run his fastball up into the low 90s and complements it with a breaking ball and a changeup.

OF Jake Marisnick (6-4, 200)
- He turns 22 on March 30. The former third round pick from Riverside Poly High in Calif. was considered the second-best prospect in the Blue Jays organization by MLB.com this past season. He played for Mike Redmond at Single A Dunedin for half of 2012 the season where he hit .263 with 6 HRs, 35 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 65 games. He hit .233 with 2 HRs, 15 RBI in 55 games with Double A New Hampshire of the Eastern League in remaining 55 games of 2012. A center fielder most of his career, Marisnick will probably end up moving to left field since the Marlins already have Christian Yelich in center.

RHP Anthony DeSclafani (6-2, 195)
- The former Florida Gators standout nicknamed 'Disco' turns 23 on April 18. He went 11-3 with a 3.37 ERA, 92 Ks, 25 BBs at Single A Lansing of the Midwest League in 2012.

C Jeff Mathis (6-0, 200)
- Veteran big league catcher who hits from the right side turns 30 on March 31st, but has spent most of his career as a backup. A former first round pick from Marianna, Fla., he's a career .198 hitter with 34 HRs, 166 RBI in 497 career games, most with the Angels. He spent 2012 with Toronto and hit .218 with eight homers and 27 RBI in 71 games. Assuming the Marlins don't dump him, he'll serve as the backup to Rob Brantly.

Source: Marlins dumping top names, salary in major trade with Toronto

      That didn't take long. Only 11 months after going "all in" by signing a handful of high-priced free agents, the Marlins are dumping payroll in a multi-player trade with Toronto. A source confirmed that Josh JohnsonMark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio are headed to the Blue Jays.

       The source said that, in return, the Marlins would receive a package of players that includes shortstop Yunel Escobar and infielder Adeiny Hechavarria. Foxsports and ESPN.com reported that the Marlins would also receive right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino and outfielder Jake Marisnick. Foxsports' Jon Morosi reported that the Marlins would also receive one of three catchers -- J.P. Arencibia, Bobby Wilson or Jeff Mathis -- in the trade. Arencibia is a former first-round pick out of Miami's Westminster Christian.

       The reported deal was quickly given a thumbs down by Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.

       "Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & simple,"  Stanton tweeted.

       The trade would shed a great deal of salary from the Marlins' payroll for next season and beyond. Johnson stands to receive $13.75 million in 2013, his final season before free agency. Reyes has five years and $96 million remaining on the 6-year deal he signed with the Marlins last year. Buehrle has three years and $52 million remaining on his contract. The deals for Reyes and Buehrle were both backloaded and will increase dramatically. Reyes will go from making $10 million next season to $22 million in each of the four remaining years on his contract. Buehrle is scheduled to make $11 million in 2013, $18 million in 2014 and $19 million in 2015.

       The Marlins made three major free agent signings last offseason in acquiring Reyes, Buehrle and Heath Bell. Bell was traded last month to Arizona.

       Little will remain of the Marlins' Opening Night roster and coaching staff that christened new Marlins Park in April. That starting infield will now be completely gone. Four-fifths of the starting rotation? Gone. The starting catcher? Gone. Since the end of the season, the Marlins have also fired Ozzie Guillen, replacing him with Mike Redmond.

       The trade is awaiting approval by Major League Baseball before it can be made official and announced.

November 08, 2012

Marlins name former Yankees slugger Tino Martinez new hitting coach

The Marlins have hired four-time World Series champion and former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez to be their new hitting coach.

Though he has no professional coaching experience, Martinez, 44, has stayed involved in baseball since retiring after the 2005 season. He has served as a Yankees spring instructor and special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman, and has also been an analyst for YES Network broadcasts.

The Red Sox were also reportedly interested in Martinez as their hitting coach before the Marlins snatched him up Thursday.

The Tampa native finished his career as a .271 career hitter with 339 home runs and 1,271 RBI in 16 major league seasons. A former first round pick of the Mariners, Martinez finished second in the MVP voting in 1997 when he it .296 with 44 homers and 141 RBI.

The Marlins finished next-to-last in the National League in scoring last season with 609 runs. They hit .244 (13th out of 16 NL teams) as a team and hit 137 home runs (13th).

November 02, 2012

AUDIO: Mike Redmond introduced as Marlins new manager

Here is the sound from this afternoon's press conference introducing Redmond.

AUDIO: Marlins introduce Mike Redmond as their new manager

Opening statement from Larry Beinfest, President of Baseball Operations...

"We had an interesting, productive interview process, several viable candidates who could be sitting here today as manager of the Marlins. But it was our first interviewee who was Mike Redmond that stands out for a variety of reasons.

"A lot of you know him as a player, as Red, as the Red Zone when he used to flair balls into right field off left handed pitching and help the Marlins teams of the 90s and 2000s win a bunch of ball games. A lot of those traits of Red the player are not only his big assets, but I think are going to shine through as a manager and that was very attractive to us was we moved through the interview process.

"I'll just hit on a couple of them. I think what really stands out is that he's genuine. Mike Redmond is Mike Redmond. He's always been Mike Redmond. He's Mike Redmond the backup catcher. He's Mike Redmond the father. There's nothing fake about Mike Redmond. He's a genuine person, genuine professional and I think it shines through every moment that you spend with him.

"Going back to his days as a player. He had confidence. Quiet confidence. Humorous confidence. Inward confidence. We asked him a question in the interview, one of the basic questions: 'Are you ready to do this?'. He said 'I was ready last year.' Confidently. That's what you want to hear. I'm ready to take over. I'm ready to lead. And I'm ready to win.

"He's a winner, he's just straight winner, been on championship ballclubs, played in the major leagues for 13 years, knows how to win, what it takes to win. There's no doubt in our mind he will impart those winning ways on our players.

"Red always found a way to get things done. I think that's an important attribute. Runners in scoring position, tough pitcher, hit the ball the other way. He'd sit on the bench for six days and maybe was a little rusty, never complained. When he got an opportunity to play again he found a way to get it done. He will find a way to get it done here -- in his own way, in his own genuine way and it's something that's very attractive to us.

"Lastly, this man is universally respected throughout baseball. Whether its the Marlins that know him here in the front office or players and and coaches to alumni of the Marlins who played with him to the Minnesota Twins who played with him to the Toronto Blue Jays that have worked with him or played under him as a manager and a coach. I think to a person it would be hard to find anyone who doesn't like Mike Redmond, doesn't respect Mike Redmond, doesn't root for Mike Redmond and who isn't going to support Mike Redmond.

"I think this is a major win for us in a lot of ways in that Mike is going to have so much support from a variety of people he's touched in the game including this front office. It's going to be tough for him not to succeed. And we believe for all the right reasons and the person who he is that he will succeed in what he does.

"So Red, it's great to have you back. We have some significant challenges ahead, but I can't think of a better person to tackles those challenges with."

Mike Redmond's opening statement...

"First of all I want you guys to know I had a little media training this morning and I want you to know they advised me to keep my clothes on for this press conference.

"First of all, it's hard for me to express in words how happy, how excited I am to come to the organization where I was able to start my career as a player, signing in 1992, coming in as a player, 21-years old. To come full circle now and be able to lead this team is pretty amazing. To come back to the Marlins family, I'm super excited about that and can't wait to get started.

"I definitely would like to thank my rock, my wife Michelle, my kids Ryan and Mook. Without their unwavering support and love throughout baseball I wouldn't be here today. I'll tell you when I retired as a player it didn't take too long before I took a manager's job. My wife as we say in the game -- she's a gamer. She gets it. Thanks honey.

"Finally, to the fans, things are going to get better. I can't wait to get started. Anyone that knows me, especially the guys in this room you understand my passion, you understand my loyalty. I will give every ounce of effort out on that field. Like Larry said, I'm going to get it done.

"I made some phone calls to the players. They're excited and I think that's what it's all about. We need to put the focus on the players playing baseball, coming to the park every day ready to compete, ready to win. I'm going to create a great environment for these guys so when they get to the park they can wait to go out there and compete. I feel like the fans are going to feel every bit of that."

November 01, 2012

Catcher John Buck said new manager Mike Redmond is well respected in Marlins clubhouse

Part of the reason Mike Redmond was hired to be the Marlins next manager was because of how well owner Jeffrey Loria, President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest and the rest of the Marlins front office know him from his playing days. 

But the 41-year old former Marlins catcher doesn't have quite the same familiarity with the players he'll now be managing. Although Redmond played through the 2010 season, he left the Marlins after the 2004 season. Josh Johnson, the longest tenured pitcher on the Marlins staff, didn't get big league call up until 2005.

Catcher John Buck never played with Redmond, but they crossed paths plenty in the American League Central when Buck was with the Royals and Redmond was with the Twins from 2005 to 2009. And although Buck still had yet to speak with Redmond as of Thursday afternoon, Buck said he was happy to hear Redmond had been hired as the Marlins new manager.

"I'm definitely excited about it," said Buck, who said he missed his new manager's phone call earlier Thursday morning because he was in the gym. "I spoke with Joe Mauer when we were at the All-Star Game [in 2010] and I remember asking him specifically about Redmond because he was in our division and he came across as one of those intelligent guys who stayed in the game because he was really smart and not because he was athletically gifted.

"Joe had nothing but praise for Mike and went on and on about how much he had learned from him. Selfishly I'm pretty excited to work with him."

Buck said he's heard from other players around the league that when Redmond "is on the field he's all business." But Buck said he's also heard stories about how Redmond likes to have fun and keep things light.

In 2003, when the team was struggling and then manager Jeff Torborg was fired, Redmond had a unique way of breaking the Marlins' losing streak -- he took batting practice in the cage wearing nothing but spikes and batting gloves.

"Catchers take fastball off our private parts for a living. We're not all there sometimes," Buck said laughing. "I know he likes to have fun, but he's also one of those last dying breeds of the old school world -- that rough nose guy who likes to get dirty and grind things out. Right away there are a lot of guys on our team who I know have respect for him."

As for the Marlins former manager Ozzie Guillen, Buck said he still hasn't spoken to him because Guillen was in Europe recently. But Buck said he still intends to call and talk to Guillen.

Buck said there was definitely a sense of surprise in the Marlins clubhouse when Guillen was fired last week "because he had three years left on his contract."

"I think a lot of us didn't want him to go for the simple fact we felt we were the ones who underachieved," Buck said. "In our clubhouse we have the type of guys who aren't going to deflect the blame on the manager. That's what makes a lot of guys on our team special. We basically failed last year and we know it. We need to get better.

"Unfortunately, Ozzie was the recipient of all of that. It kind of fell on his shoulders and I think that's where a lot of guys hated to see him go."

Buck said many Marlins are happy infield coach Perry Hill is being brought back. Buck said he hasn't heard who the Marlins will hire as the hitting coach, pitching coach and bench coach, but suspects Redmond was "probably calling about that."

"He eats, sleeps and drinks baseball and then dreams about how he can make his guys better," Buck said of Hill. "It's like having a dad on the team. Players on every team love him. He legitimately cares to make you better."

Marlins hire Mike Redmond to be their next manager; Ozzie Guillen wishes him luck

The Marlins have hired Mike Redmond to be their next manager.

Redmond, who was the first candidate to interview, replaces Ozzie Guillen, who was fired after a 69-93 season and a last-place finish in the National League East. Redmond, who signed a three-year deal, becomes the club's 13th manager all-time and the sixth in the last four seasons. He's also the first former Marlins player to get the job.

Redmond, 41, spent 12 years with the Marlins including seven at the big league leavel primarily as the team's backup catcher from 1998 to 2004. He retired after the 2010 season as a career .287 hitter with 13 home runs and 243 RBI in 764 games. He's spent the past two years managing in the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league system.

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, former big league manager Larry Bowa and Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon also interviewed.

The Marlins will have a press conference Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Marlins Park to introduce Redmond.

Guillen, who is still owed $7.5 million over the next three years by the Marlins, was one of the first people to take to Twitter and congratulate Redmond on his new gig.

"Congrats Mike Redmond for [your] new job," Guillen tweeted. "Good luck buddy. [You] have great guys going to play for you."

The Marlins thought of making Mike Redmond a minor league coach when his playing career was sputtering in the late 1990s.

Redmond, a member of the Marlins' 2003 World Series team, managed Single A Dunedin to a 78-55 record and first place finish in the North Division of the Florida State League in 2012. His overall managerial record in the Blue Jays farm system was 155-115.

He was named the Midwest League's Manager of the year in 2011 after leading Single Lansing Lugnuts to a 77-60 record and an appearance in the league finals. 

Last week, three former Marlins managers all gave Redmond ringing endorsements in interviews with The Miami Herald.

Jack McKeon said he “just loves” Redmond.

John Boles called Redmond a “perfect fit.”

And Fredi Gonzalez said Redmond “knows the game inside and out.”

“He was into the game all the time and is very knowledgeable,” said McKeon, who managed Redmond in 2003 and ’04. “I thought someday he might be a good manager.”

When Redmond became a free agent in 2005, the Minnesota Twins called McKeon for a referral.

“I praised the hell out of him, and they signed him,” McKeon said. “The next year they told me thanks a lot, and what a great asset he was.”


Boles said Redmond “has the right disposition” for the job.

“He’s smart and hard-working,” said Boles, who managed the Marlins from 1999-2001 when Redmond was with the team and is now a senior advisor for the Kansas City Royals. “I always thought he’d become a manager or general manager, one of the two.”

Gonzalez was managing in the Marlins’ minor-league system when Redmond was struggling to reach the majors. Gonzalez recalled a staff meeting toward the end of spring training in 1998 when it was decided that Redmond was going nowhere as a player and would be better off coaching.

“He was an hour or two away from starting his coaching career,” recalled Gonzalez, who now manages the Atlanta Braves. “We were real close to giving him a stopwatch, a pencil and a pad.”

But, somehow, Redmond hung on as a player, and when the Marlins continued their dismantling of the 1997 World Series team by trading Charles Johnson in May, 1998, and, one week later, Mike Piazza, the Marlins were in need of a back-up catcher for Gregg Zaun. Redmond was promoted, went 3 for 3 in his first big-league game, and spent the next 13 seasons in the majors as a solid back-up.

“He’s a guy who got every bit out of his talent,” Gonzalez said.

In addition to Redmond, the Marlins have also brought back longtime infield coach Perry Hill, who will also coach first base. Hill returned to the Marlins in 2011, but left the team in 2012 because of chronic problems with his left knee. The rest of the staff figures to be announced Friday.

The Marlins lost 90 games and finished last in the NL East in 2011, but posted a .985 fielding percentage under Hill, tied with four other teams for the best mark in the National League. The Marlins’ 93 errors were the sixth-fewest among NL teams.

In 2010, when Hill wasn't around, the Marlins made 123 errors and posted a .979 fielding percentage. The Marlins committed 103 errors and posted a .983 fielding percentage in 2012.

Under Hill’s guidance in 2009, the Pirates led all major league teams in fielding percentage (.988) and made the fewest errors (73) among all teams, setting club records for most errorless games played in one season (101) and also with their fielding percentage.

Hill guided the Marlins to a franchise-best .987 fielding percentage in 2003, ranking third in the Majors.