July 07, 2013

Nolasco departs; Slowey to start Monday

Ricky Nolasco cleaned out his locker and said his goodbyes in the Marlins clubhouse Sunday morning.

The Marlins traded Nolasco to the Dodgers late Saturday night for minor-league pitchers Angel Sanchez, Steven Ames and Josh Wall.

“I'm going to miss these guys here more than I can say,” said Nolasco, who flew to Arizona Sunday to join the Dodgers for a key series that begins Monday against the Diamondbacks. “But they understand it is a business, and I'll see them in August. I made a lot of lifelong friends here. I'm never going to forget that.”

Although Nolasco felt bittersweet departing after eight seasons with the Marlins, he said he was excited to be able to pitch for his favorite team that he said he’d go watch in person around 15 times a year with his dad and brothers growing up.

“The phone has been non-stop,” Nolasco said. “Obviously, I've never dealt with anything like that to where the phone was just blowing up. Everybody is just excited, everybody from back home. Even people who don't have my number, on Twitter and stuff, obviously where I grew up, they're all excited to see this happen. It's just an exciting time.”

Nolasco’s teammates wished him well and were happy he ended up in a good situation with the trade.

“He’s going to the perfect spot for him,” Giancarlo Stanton said. “To be able to go to where you want without having a choice is always a little extra bonus. It won’t be a tough transition for him.”

Nolasco, who went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 18 starts for the Marlins, doesn’t know when he will make his first start for the Dodgers, but it could come during a key series with the Diamondbacks – the team they trail by 4½ games in the National League West.

 “Obviously we’ll miss Ricky and what he brought to this team, and the leadership he brought to this team, but at the same time, too, we all kind of knew this was going to happen,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “It’s good for Ricky that he’s going to go play for a good team, and a place where he wants to go. We wish him all the best.”


Nolasco’s trade meant Kevin Slowey’s return to the rotation for the time being. Slowey will start Monday in what would have been Nolasco’s spot against the Braves.

“[Redmond] talked to me about it yesterday,” Slowey said. “He knows the importance of preparation. I don’t think I’ll know until tomorrow but I’ll be as ready as I can be and the preparation will be there. It will be up to me to go and execute and do my best.”

Ames and Wall were assigned to New Orleans and Sanchez, the only starter of the group, was sent to Single-A Jupiter.

Slowey will likely remain the fifth starter in the rotation until at least the All-Star break. Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said Saturday the team will use the second half to evaluate several potential starters including Tom Koehler (1-5, 4.70 ERA in 69 innings – 10 starts this season), who was recently sent to Triple-A to clear room for Henderson Alvarez, and prospects right-handers Anthony DeSclafani, Sam Dyson and lefties Adam Conley and Brian Flynn.

The Marlins also recalled pitcher Chris Hatcher from Triple-A New Orleans and transferred infielder Chris Valaika to the 60-day disabled list.

Starting lineups

Marlins (32-54): Pierre lf, Lucas 3b, Stanton rf, Morrison 1b, Ozuna cf, Dietrich 2b, Hechavarria ss, Mathis c, Fernandez p

Cardinals (52-34): Caprenter 2b, Beltran rf, Holliday lf, Craig 1b, Freese 3b, Jay cf, Cruz c, Kozma ss, Lynn p

August 22, 2012

Loria says his expectations for 2013 are high in final episode of The Franchise

Showtime aired its final episode of The Franchise Wednesday night and wrapped up a season of disappointment for the Marlins by giving us the voices of the players still around as well as a frustrated front office, which promised that there's not only enough talent still around to win next year, but expectations for 2013 should be high.

Owner Jeffrey Loria, filmed inside an empty Marlins Park after the team wrapped up their most recent home series against the Phillies by being shutout in three straight games and setting a new franchise-low with 30 consecutive scoreless innings, said he "realized early on it was broke and it had to be fixed."

"It's not happening this year, but we have an enormously successful core of young players, a new young catcher in [Rob] Brantly. I have very high hopes."

General manager Mike Hill said much of what we already knew -- that the Marlins simply didn't get enough out of Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison and Hanley Ramirez and that pitchers felt "like they had to be perfect."

Players echoed those sentiments.

"Almost everybody underachieved to some degree," catcher John Buck said. "We just didn't do what we were capable of doing and that's kind of all we had to do, which is what sort of made it so deflating."

Said pitcher Carlos Zambrano: "You can have the best coaching staff and the best players, but if we don't play good nothing will help us. It's our fault."

President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest weighed in with: "We put expectations on ourselves we thought were realistic and unfortunately they weren't realistic because we didn't even come close." 

But Beinfest then said: "There's a lot of good pieces, a lot things to build around. There's still a lot of talent here."

Of course, Beinfest and Hill may not be here next year to see that "talent."

> The biggest question on Marlins fans' minds -- if the team will spend money this off-season to upgrade -- remained unanswered.

The closest we got was this from president David Samson: "We need to let our fans know we care about winning as much as they do and we're going to keep trying as hard as they would want us to try."

And this line from Loria: "We are always striving to be winners."

> The rest of the episode centered on the arrival of Brantly, the role of pinch hitter Greg Dobbs (who ended the team's 30 inning scoreless streak), and new closer Steve Cishek, who went around people asking if they had ever heard of Steve Cishek.

At one point, Samson tells Brantly inside the Marlins clubhouse cafeteria: "We were talking about this trade and the owner is on the phone and you should just know -- it's no pressure -- he said 'We will not make this trade unless we get this kid Brantly.'... So you were wanted. That's a positive."

Brantly's response: "I'm honored."

> Manager Ozzie Guillen tells Showtime the toughest part of the season for him wasn't the June swoon or the dismantling of his team at the trade deadline. Nope, it was the embarrassment he suffered from his Fidel Castro comments.

"It was something I was accused and people were pointing at my face like I was a criminal when deep in my heart I know exactly what I say, when I say it and how I say it. Some people [took] advantage," Guillen said. "That's what hurt more than anything."

Guillen closes out the episode by saying the Marlins "have to make Miami a baseball town."

"It's going to be a lot of work," Guillen said. "But if they think they worked last year. I think this year is going to be harder."

> Heath Bell actually has one of the last lines in the episode and it's one that ought to get you fired up if you can forget what kind of season he had after signing a 3-year, $27 million deal.

"There's a lot of talent here. These young guys want to play and they want to win," Bell said. "Once we gel and come together we're going to be a force to be reckoned with."

August 12, 2012

Marlins to call up C Rob Brantly; Hayes optioned to NOLA

           The Marlins optioned catcher Brett Hayes to Triple-A New Orleans following Sunday’s game and will bring up recently-acquired catcher Rob Brantly.

            Brantly, a 23-year old left-handed hitting catcher, was part of the trade July 23 that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. Brantly hit .365 with two home runs, four doubles and 11 RBI in 14 games for New Orleans.

            “When we traded for him, we knew he had pretty good offensive upside,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “It’s a small sample size, but he’s hit the ball very well. The pitchers down there love him. He’s still working on some defensive stuff, but we feel like he can work on them up here and take a look at him.”

            Beinfest said although John Buck remains the starting catcher, the team will find ways to get Brantly a good amount of playing time to get him Major League experience and begin to evaluate him at that level.

            “When you give up the kind of guys we did to get him, it’s because we felt he can be an every day catcher in this league,” Beinfest said. “I don’t think you want to bring him up and have him sit. You want to look for some advantageous situations for him, but he needs to play.”

            Guillen said: “We’re going to try to figure out playing time and how many games a week because he’s being brought up to play.”


July 31, 2012

Beinfest discusses latest round of Marlins trades

ATLANTA -- Here is what President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest had to say after Tuesday's trades: 

Larry BeinfestOpening comments... “Again, our disappointment with the team continues. As part of the restructuring that began last week in earnest with the Detroit and Los Angeles trade, we’ve been on the phone exploring a number of different things that really brought us right to the deadline.

“We were able to get two separate deals done today that we’ve been working on for the better part of a week once we exited it out of the two deals last week.

“First deal was Edward Mujica to the Cardinals for Zack Cox, highly touted third baseman was a draft pick in 2010, accomplished player at the University of Arkansas. We really like the bat. We’re going to send him to Jacksonville. He’s moved through the Cardinals’ system very quickly. Third base is an area of need for us. We thought it lined up. We love the bat, a left-handed hitting third baseman. A guy we know well obviously spring training with the Cardinals. We’ve seen him in spring training and our scouting people knew him very well out of the draft and thought very highly of him.”

"In terms of moving Edward, he’s done a good job for us. It’s an area of some depth now with Big Z in the bullpen and prospects like Even Reed and A.J. Ramos and Hatcher ready to go. It was an area we felt like we had some depth to make the move.

"The second deal with Gaby, Gaby did a great job here. What’s going on the past year with him offensively is something that’s been baffling to him and baffling to us. He struggled. Having to send him to the minor leagues this year was difficult on two separate occasions. This may be a good opportunity for him to get a fresh start.

"We’re going to get Gorkys Hernandez, a fleet-footed outfielder, can play center field. We’re going to take a look at him out in center field. Defensively we have him well above average. This is a guy again that has upside, does not have a lot of experience in the major leagues. We’re looking to provide that opportunity for him to show us what he can do. Ruggiano will move to a corner and hopefully we’ll get Giancarlo back as early as next week and move on.

"A big part of this is the competitive balance pick. It is the second pick following the first round. We’ve been involved now in a couple of these things. These are very valuable assets. To have access to the 33rd pick in the country is a very big deal.

"Gorkys is a young player we’re going to take a look at and we’ve liked for quite some time all the way back to his days with the Tigers and the Braves.

"That’s how we finished things up. Now we’ll go through the post-waiver deadline and hopefully start to improve on the field and win some games, and take a look at some of the assets we’ve accumulated in the last 10 days."

On how close the Marlins came to making other trades... “You never really know until they’re done. There are so many moving parts and so many teams are talking to multiple teams. I don’t know that you know exactly where you stands. I think trades in general build momentum and you get a good feel if you’re close, but it’s hard to identify. I know you’re looking for something big that may or may not have been close. We had some things percolating. It didn’t happen. Again, I’m not sure the momentum was there any way for things to come to fruition.

“These two deals, we had a pretty good feeling when we got to the office this morning there was a chance these two things could happen.”

On if Logan Morrison's future is at first base... “His future is hopefully back on a baseball field. Obviously the DL is not the goal. We’ve always known LoMo can play first. He’s very good at first. That’s where he came up. We had Gaby and subsequently Carlos Lee over at first base. Let’s get LoMo healthy. I think first base is a reasonable outlook for 2013, but we’ll see. Things can change, etc. The priority is to get the knee healthy, get him back on the field, have him not be a .230 hitter because he’s not a .230 hitter and go from there. It’s reasonable to speculate he could at first base.”

On how quickly Cox could become a factor at third base for the Marlins... “He’s kind of rocketed through the St. Louis system and I guess that’s a good thing. He’s had two injuries of late. One was he got hit in the head by a pitch and had a concussion in late May. Recently he had a mild hamstring strain which landed him on the minor league DL and caused him to miss some time. I don’t think we have a good answer for that. This guy is an offensive performer. Having not seen him a lot of late because of the injuries, I can’t really speak to how close he is, but this guy is in our view and this trade was made with the thought he could be our third baseman in the near future. We just need to get him on the field and we’ll have a better idea of the time table."

July 22, 2012

Stanton progressing; Ramirez still out

The Marlins are trying to avoid falling to seven games under .500 for the first time this season.

With the team in dire need of any offensive spark, it got some good news regarding injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton. An update Marlins executive vice president Larry Beinfest got from the team’s training staff said that Stanton is progressing as he continues to work his way back from knee surgery.

Stanton has been hitting balls off the tee and doing some light throwing for three days, and may be ready to take some batting practice at some point during the upcoming homestand.

            Stanton, who had arthroscopic surgery July 9 to remove two loose cartilage fragments from his knee, is expected to miss at least another 2-4 weeks.

As expected, Hanley Ramirez did not start for the third consecutive game. Ramirez, whose hand was almost fully wrapped Sunday, is recovering from an infection on the cut above the knuckles on his right hand that he suffered July 8 in St. Louis when he punched a cooling fan.


Marlins (44-50): Reyes ss, Bonifacio cf; Lee 1b; Morrison lf; Ruggiano rf; Dobbs 3b; Infante 2b; Hayes c; Sanchez p.

Pirates (53-40): Presley lf; Walker 2b; McCutchen cf; Jones rf; McGehee 1b; Alvarez 3b; McKenry c; Mercer ss; Karstens p.

June 19, 2011

AUDIO: Beinfest, Marlins players react to Edwin Rodriguez's resignation as manager

ST. PETERSBURG -- Here's what Larry Beinfest and several players had to say after learning of Edwin Rodriguez's resignation around 11:15 this morning.

Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest breaks the news 

Veteran Wes Helms talks about Edwin Rodriguez's resignation

Catcher Brett Hayes on Edwin Rodriguez's resignation

First baseman Gaby Sanchez talks about Edwin Rodriguez's resignation

June 22, 2010

Beinfest says starting pitching provides "a lot of hope"

BALTIMORE -- Larry Beinfest has kept himself busy trying to solve the Marlins bullpen woes for the past month. Before Tuesday's night game against the Orioles, the team's President of Baseball Operations was in the clubhouse introducing himself to his two newest relievers and getting them to sign contracts. 

Larry Beinfest While Beinfest admits he never would have imagined the Marlins needing to call on 17 different relievers before the end of June, he isn't ready to give up on the team by any stretch. After all, the Marlins were 33-36 after 69 games last year, too. And, he believes the starting pitching could ultimately be good enough to carry the team through. 

"A year ago we were trying to get the starting pitching organized at this point," Beinfest said Tuesday. "The previous month of May a year ago was really challenging because we were trying to find people to start and give us five innings. Now, the bullpen has taken a step backwards. We just need to keep going and I think it will be OK. I think the starting pitching gives us a lot of hope. It will take pressure off the bullpen and it has."

Still, with the July 31st trading deadline a little more than five weeks away, he said its time for the team to turn the corner.

"The clock is ticking toward the 31st and that's when teams talks business and make decisions," Beinfest said. "As they say, it's not early anymore. It's important for this team. I think we've gone through a real tough stretch, a lot of tough road opponents, tough interleague opponents. I think we need to start playing good baseball, and try winning a little more consistently.

"We just haven't found that area where we can just perform, win series, win a couple in a row. We don't seem to be streaky at all. Streaky teams can be worrisome.

"I know there's a lot of attention on the bullpen, but there's other parts that have struggled. Runners in scoring position, whatever. But that happens over 162 games. Hopefully, we'll get hot and start knocking some people in, have a few blowouts. It's been a challenging stretch, but no challenging than any other season."

"I still think there's a lot of confidence that if the starting pitching continues the way it has, we have a good shot to win games."

Beinfest shed some light on a few other topics...

> Although the Marlins released Hunter Jones on Tuesday to make room on their 40-man roster for Alex Sanabia, Beinfest said the left-handed reliever is still in their plans for the future. Beinfest said Jones, who suffered an elbow injury pitching for Triple A New Orleans on June 5th, was in Alabama Tuesday meeting with Dr. James Andrews to see if he'll need to have Tommy John surgery. 

"We've already made an offer to resign him. We just haven't heard back," Beinfest said. "It looks like he's hurt, let's kick him to the curb. It's not that. It's just the way it is sometimes. We needed the spot. He'll probably be out for a year. Nothing against the kid at all. We like him. He just got hurt."

> Beinfest said left-hander Sean West, who went 8-6 with a 4.79 ERA last season for the Marlins in 20 starts, has done really well in his four starts for Triple A New Orleans since coming back from injury. "He's throwing strikes," Beinfest said of West, who is 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA, 22 Ks and 6 walks in 22 1/3 innings.

Still, manager Fredi Gonzalez said West likely needs more time before being recalled. "Yesterday was only on his fourth start in Triple A," Gonzalez said. "Right now, he's not ready."

Of the previous relievers to lose their jobs in the Marlins 'pen and get sent down, Beinfest said right-hander Burke Badenhop (0-1, 3.27 ERA in 11 IP for Triple A New Orleans) is likely the closest to making it back. "Badenhop is getting better," Beinfest said. "[Rick Vanden Hurk] is throwing OK. So, we'll see. We'll give those guys time to get it back, get confident and reevaluate them before bringing them back."

June 15, 2010

Beinfest says Maybin still "big time" part of future

Cameron Maybin became the odd man out when the Marlins called up top prospect Mike Stanton last week. And while his immediate future remains uncertain, Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said Tuesday Maybin was still a "big time" part of the team's future moving forward.

Larry Beinfest - Courtesy of Palm Beach Post "He's a talented kid," Beinfest said (CLICK ON THE LINK FOR THE COMPLETE AUDIO INTERVIEW). "I think he did a good job fighting through some stuff this year. He was fighting for awhile and then he had that run where he started to come back and show what he could do. I think we need to get Cameron playing and playing everyday. I'm not sure that's going to happen right now. But definitely in the future."

Maybin, acquired along with pitcher Andrew Miller in the Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis trade with the Tigers before the 2008 season, hasn't played since Stanton was called up. He went 1 for 3 with a double in his last game June 6th against the Mets to raise his season batting average to .225. Beinfest said the Marlins didn't feel a demotion to Triple A was "warranted." 

"We're just going to take it day-by-day and series by series and figure out what's best for the team and what's best for him," Beinfest said. "I'm not sure I have a good answer. But again, we didn't want to send him down... we want to be as fair to him as we can and do what's right for the team on the other hand. But he's handled it well. I commend him for that."

> ON THE RACE: With the Marlins (31-32) 5 1/2 games back of Atlanta in the division, Beinfest said he saw glimpses of the team breaking out more offensively last weekend in Tampa, a sign he thinks will lead to a turnaround in the standings. 

"I think the spark really when you look at it is what Chris Coghlan has been doing in the leadoff spot," Beinfest said of Coghlan, who is hitting .425 since May 25th. "Maybe that's something we didn't have the first two months. Hanley [Ramirez] is going to knock in a bunch of runs and we're going to score a bunch of runs. I think we're relatively confident we're going to get going and really score some runs."

As for the bullpen, which ranks 21st in baseball with a 4.48 ERA, Beinfest he believes its only a matter of time before things "settle down." "As long as the starting pitching continues to perform, it will take some pressure off the bullpen," Beinfest said. "We understand some of the challenges in the bullpen. But those guys can hopefully fit into roles and things will settle down. When you talk about the puzzle and playing winning baseball a lot has to fit together. I'm not sure we've totally fit together so far. I know its cliche and B.S. But that's the best I can come up with so far."

Beinfest mentioned several minor league players as potential bullpen call-ups later on this season. The first name out of his mouth -- 21-year old hard-throwing right-hander Jhan Marinez, who was recently promoted to Double A Jacksonville after posting a 1.48 ERA in 24.1 IP for Single A Jupiter. "97-99 mph, all power, big arm, very big arm," Beinfest said of Marinez. "He's a young guy and wetill need to polish him up a little bit. But his slider has come a long way, which he'll need up here. But he's got big-time power stuff."

Other pitchers Beinfest mentioned: "Jose Ceda has been on rehab in Greensboro and threw today. He was 95 [miles per hour]. I think we'll see him back up in Double A soon. Sean West is pitching and pitching well in Triple A. [Dan] Jennings (3-1, 2.16 ERA in Double A) has really settled down. Steven Cisheck (1-1, 8.31 ERA in Double A) threw the ball well. I saw [Tom] Koehler [7-1, 3.34 ERA] pitch and Andrew Miller pitch. Andrew still has some issues, which he's working on. But again, the stuff is there. It's always been there. He just needs to throw strikes. So, we're hopeful the light will come back on and it will click."

> IMPRESSED BY STANTON: As for Stanton, Beinfest said he's been impressed by the 20-year olds first five games in the big leagues. "You want him to relax. You want him to kind of get it going and I think he's done a nice job of that," Beinfest said. "He's an intense player by nature. I think there are expectations for him to hit home runs. He hasn't done that yet. But the two base hits up the middle [Sunday], that shows a lot of maturity. He got those RBI on Sunday in Tampa and those are the positive things we're looking for, for him to settle in and I think he's done a nice job so far with that. So, all in all, we're pleased with what we've seen and how he's handled himself, which can be just as important as the performance."

> NO TRADES FOR CATCHING: With John Baker out until mid-August, Beinfest said the Marlins plan to rely on Ronny Paulino and Brett Hayes to handle the catching and won't be looking to acquire anyone. "Ronny has played everyday before," Beinfest said. "I think Brett could do a good job. He's shown he can handle the pitchers up here fine. He does a nice job defensively."