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34 posts from February 2013

February 09, 2013

Mike Redmond: Giancarlo Stanton likely to hit 3rd

     Now that he's had some time to think about his lineup, manager Mike Redmond said Saturday he's leaning toward having Giancarlo Stanton hit in the third spot rather than the clean-up position.

     Redmond's reasoning:

     "I'd like to see him come up in the first inning," Redmond said. "You think about other power hitters. Mark McGwire, he hit third."

     Redmond cautioned that there's "nothing etched in stone" and he still might position Stanton in the fourth spot.

     "Initially we were thinking the four hole, and it could still end up being the four hole," Redmond said. "But I'm leaning toward third at this point."

      Stanton was used a bit in the 3 spot in 2011 (.279 with 9 home runs in 86 at bats) and by former manager Ozzie Guillen last year (.263 with 5 homers in 57 at bats), so it wouldn't exactly be a foreign experience to the Marlins' slugger.

      Redmond is more certain about the top half of the lineup than he is the lower part of the order. He's penciling in Juan Pierre in the leadoff spot and projects Placido Polanco to bat second. But he is unsure about who to hit behind Stanton. Part of the decision hinges on whether first baseman Logan Morrison is ready to go when the season starts.

      "Somebody's going to have an opportunity to hit behind him, so we've got to find somebody," he said.

February 08, 2013

Chone Figgins hops aboard the crowded Marlins train

       You can now add Chone Figgins to the bulging Marlins' roster list for spring training. Figgins, 35, signed a minor league deal with the proverbial invite to spring training. It's been a few years since Figgins was a contributor, so we'll see where this ends up.

        Figgins had his best years with the Angels. But things haven't gone so well the past couple of seasons in Seattle, where he is regarded as one of the biggest busts in Mariners history. Figgins hit .188 for them in 2011 and .181 last season before the Mariners said enough is enough and gave him the ol' heave-ho despite being on the hook to him for $8 million in 2013.

        Meanwhile, the Marlins have outrighted outfielder Bryan Petersen to Triple A New Orleans and given him an invitation to ST. That puts the number of players expected in camp at the whopping total of 74, a franchise record.

February 05, 2013

Scott Boras: Valverde report did not originate with him; Marlins sign Jon Rauch

     Received a phone call this morning from Scott Boras, who was not at all pleased with me over yesterday's blog item in which multiple sources a) denied that the Marlins were closing in on a deal with reliever Jose Valverde -- as had been reported elsewhere -- and b) said the Marlins suspected the uber-agent of planting the rumor as a tactic to generate interest in his client.

      Boras objected vehemently to the second part, saying there was absolutely no truth to it.

      "We did not originate that story," Boras said.

      Boras said that the rumor originated with a ESPN reporter, who tweeted out the information before contacting the agent's offices seeking confirmation. Boras said the reporter was informed that "nothing was imminent" with Valverde and the Marlins.

      Boras said there would be "no motive" for him to plant such a report, one in which a specific team is identified, since it could be easily refuted.

      "What benefit would it be for me and my client to do that?" Boras said.


      Speaking of relievers....

      Not only did the Marlins add depth to their bullpen on Tuesday. They also added height, signing 6-foot-11-inch reliever Jon Rauch to a one-year contract for $1 million. To make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Bryan Petersen was designated for assignment.

       The 34-year-old right-hander is a veteran of 10 major league seasons with six different teams.

       Rauch spent last season with the Mets, going 3-7 with four saves and a 3.59 ERA in 73 appearances. Despite his towering presence, Rauch is not a big whiff guy. He struck out 42 (against 12 walks) in 57 2/3 innings.

        Rauch owns a career mark of 42-38 with a 3.80 ERA in more than 500 appearances.

        In addition to his $1 million base fig, Rauch will receive bonus increments of $250,000 for 90, 120 and 150 days while on the active roster.

February 04, 2013

Source: Marlins suspect Scott Boras up to old tricks with Jose Valverde rumor

        Sources I spoke with shot down a rumor that spread quickly Monday indicating that the Marlins were close to signing veteran closer Jose Valverde to a 1-year deal, with one terming it "utterly false." Valverde is represented by agent Scott Boras, who rarely does business with the Marlins.

        "Not true," said one source who has spoken to the Marlins' front office. "This is a typical ploy by Scott Boras to attempt to create a market that doesn't exist for his players, trying to drum up attention when no market exists."

        While there has been contact between the Marlins and Boras about Valverde, one source I spoke with said there have been "no discussions" internally about the 34-year-old reliever and there is "nothing close to imminent."

        The Marlins are already within $2 million of their projected $40 million payroll cap that's been budgeted for next season, and Boras is thought to be demanding anywhere from $4 million to $7 million for the pitcher. So if the price drops significantly, absolutely, the Marlins would listen. But, for now, that isn't anywhere close to happening and the consensus belief within the organization is that Boras is putting out word that the Marlins are in on Valverde to drive up interest elsewhere in his client.