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Loria says he wants to add offense; Fins injury news; Wade & Durant exchange words; Heat, Canes

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN; UPDATED BELOW WITH TONIGHT'S NOTEWORTHY WADE/DURANT SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE

Marlins special assistant Andre Dawson said owner Jeffrey Loria told him recently that he plans to acquire hitters, and Dawson said there are three priorities: third base, first base and catcher. But budget constraints again could prove limiting.

Marlins people (not Dawson) suspect the payroll will fall in the range of this season’s, which was $36 million before the Ricky Nolasco trade in July, plus $12.5 million paid to players dealt to Toronto and Arizona. But Loria hasn’t informed the staff of the 2014 payroll number and he’s prone to changing his mind.

“You are in dire need of offense, and it’s going to cost money,” Dawson said. “You have to spend to win, and you might have to overpay.… Jeffrey said on the last homestead that we have to get hitters in here and he’s going to.”

The Marlins entered Tuesday last in baseball with 503 runs (the average for National League teams is 630); last in homers at 95 (140 is the NL average) and last in batting average at .232 (.252).

The Marlins could fill one or two of those priority areas through trades. There are three problems with luring high-quality free agents, even beyond how much Loria is willing to spend: The team is coming off a horrible season; Loria is viewed suspiciously by players after trading Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle a year after signing them; and the roomy ballpark dimensions –-- criticized by Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison –-- are a major turnoff to hitters.

“Any single person who has taken batting practice here,” Stanton reiterated this week, “is not talking about how beautiful the park is or what hitters they’re worried about. They’re talking about the graveyard it is out there.”

Stanton said he suspects Marlins management is aware of the “chatter about” the ballpark dimensions but said “it’s not my job” to implore Loria to move in the fences. Manager Mike Redmond said he would not get involved in the issue. The Marlins have hit just 36 homers at home, 59 on the road.

Among free agents at the three priority areas:

### Catcher: The Braves’ Brian McCann (.261, 20 homers, 57 RBI) is presumably out of Miami’s price range. Other notable free agents: Boston catcher and West Palm Beach native Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.266, 13, 59), Texas’ A.J. Pierzynski (.275, 17, 66), the Cubs’ Dioner Navarro (.303, 13, 34) and Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz (.273, 5, 37).

### Third base: Weak group of free agents. The Marlins want someone who can be productive there for at least a year or two until Colin Moran is ready. The top free agents are all between 33 and 36: the Dodgers’ Juan Uribe (.273, 12, 48), the Dodgers’ Michael Young, who previously drew Marlins interest (.284, 8, 46) and Arizona’s Eric Chavez (.283, 9, 44).

### First base: A Marlins person said Loria expected more from Morrison (.246, 6, 36 in 81 games), even though Morrison was coming off knee surgery. “With all due respect to Logan, you want to address the need for better defense and more production offensively,” Dawson said.

Among free agents, the Brewers’ Corey Hart (.270, 30, 83) would be too expensive. Also set for free agency: Cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu, who intrigues the Marlins; Boston’s Mike Napoli, who grew up in South Florida and can also play catcher (.257, 23, 90), Pittsburgh’s Justin Morneau (.258, 17, 76), Tampa’s James Loney (.296, 13, 71) and Seattle’s Kendrys Morales (.276, 22, 78).

Fort Lauderdale native Mike Morse, 31, has slumped badly for Seattle and Baltimore (.215, 13, 37) but had two exceptional years for Washington in 2011 and 2012 (combined 49 homers, .298 average), and Marlins like taking chances on players one season removed from good years because they tend to come cheaply.

CHATTER

### Dolphins defensive end Cam Wake, nursing a mild MCL sprain, did on-field work in a half-speed practice Tuesday and wants to play against New Orleans in passing situations, but the Dolphins haven’t decided whether to allow that. They will make a decision later in the week.

### Though defensive tackle Paul Soliai said there’s a 50-50 chance he will play Monday, it wouldn’t be surprising if he remains out. He told teammates that the original prognosis was four weeks for his MCL sprain, which would sideline him for the Saints and Ravens games before a bye week. And with the Dolphins playing a pass-heavy team Monday, Soliai wouldn't play as much as he would against a run-heavy team. He is still receiving treatment and hasn't been cleared to practice.

### Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson said he re-aggravated his groin injury last week and might miss a third consecutive game.

“Best thing is to rest,” he said. “You have to be careful how you nurse it. If you aggravate it, it will turn into a year old deal.”

### Though the Dolphins auditioned several veteran free agent corners on Monday (DeMarcus Van Dyke, Ryan Mouton, Terrence McGee, Jacob Lacey, Jalil Brown, Ron Bartell), Bartell’s agent said the Dolphins told Bartell none would be signed for now.

### Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi, who missed part of Sunday's game with a shoulder injury, participated in the light session Tuesday, and teammates expect he will be fine for Monday's game.

### Dwyane Wade and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant engaged in a testy exchange on social media late tonight.

It started when Durant told Cinesport that his former Thunder teammate, James Harden, should have been included in Sports Illustrated's list of the top 10 NBA players this season instead of Wade, who was ranked eighth.

Wade responded with this hand-written note on Instagram: "9/24/13: Kevin Durant said James Harden should replace me in the Top 10. Note to self* Make him respect your place in history... again." Wade also typed the words: "Don't believe me. Just watch."

Durant's response? "Show me, Don't tweet me."   

### Heat players have shown no sign of complacency off two championships. Wade indicated he was working out until 1:30 a.m. Monday night, Norris Cole has been shooting jumpers late into the night and Chris Bosh has been working hard on his game in California. A bunch of others, including Michael Beasley, have been doing on-court work at AmericanAirlines Arena. And Greg Oden, continuing to progress from his history of knee programs, has been doing work both on court and in the weight room.

### Add veteran NBA swingman Roger Mason Jr. to the list of players auditioning for the Heat. Mason, who's workout out for Miami this week, averaged 5.3 points in 69 games for New Orleans last season and shot 41.5 percent on three-pointers. Swingman Von Wafer was invited back to Miami for a second week of workouts but has been unable because of an injury.

### UM safety Deon Bush, still trying to regain his speed after hernia surgery and abdomenal issues: “It’s obvious I’m a totally different player than last year. I was disappointed in the way I played [Saturday].” When does he expect to be back to himself? "I can't really tell how long it will be."

### UM chose to discontinue its five-game series with USF, meaning Saturday will be the last matchup. UM saw no upside in continuing the series. The Hurricanes still have one non-conference opening on next year's schedule, with Southern Mississippi a possibility. A road game at Nebraska's is UM's only particularly challenging non-conference game in 2014.

### For more UM, Dolphins and Marlins notes, please see the last post from earlier today. I'm on Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

   

Comments

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Bobbyd12

The only thing "offensive" about the Marlins is Loria. He offends me as a baseball fan and as a human being. Sell the team, that's the only way I ever step foot in that Stadium again.

Ed

Durant's right. Harden is better now. Wade is maybe 15th.

Penguin

Loria is his ballpark's worst feature. Maybe the ballpark dimensions are large, but they are tiny compared to Loria's outrageous ego.

Usaywha

Only with the Marlins is offense added at .261, .257' .258....please Loria sell the team. The biggest joke in all sports.

fan with no team

cannot imagine why any free agent, other than someone at the very end of his career, would want to come and play for loria. there are many well respected players around both leagues, who spent some time with the marlins, telling of their experience playing for low life loria. until the team is sold, there will be more of the same. sad but I believe very true.

BOYCOTT_THE_MARLINS_

Will not spend another cent on anything Marlins related or step foot in that stadium until that crook, scumbag, low-life, POS Loria sells the team.

D-Rod

Barry,

Seeing as you are the rare breed of a true "insider" in the journalistic sense, that still practices his craft every day. Providing readers with information, measured thoughtful opinion, and mainly just the facts.

I sense bigger things for you are probably just in the offing professionally. and if so, I hope your future and maybe critical success, sees you maintaining and further developing the pleasure that for me, is witnessing true journalistic principles in the age of magalomania. Be it sports, but really any applicable realm and scope of news today.

Keep up the good work.


Keepin it real always

True Harden should have been included in the list but it s not Durant s place to say Wade should be removed either.Too funny.Most all of Miami sports fans in general would love to see Loria sell the team and LEAVE.Loria will never ever again be a respected owner of any baseball franchise again.He burns bridges and is not loyal to players or even a man of his word.THAT is one of the worst things a man can be.He is a dictator and bully because he has some money to do so.His associates he will never respect and he never trusts his baseball people(inner circle) who know much more about baseball than he does.

Barry Jackson

Thanks, D-Rod.

TK SWANN

RESPECT WADE'S PLACE IN HISTORY!! 3 RINGS BEEN TO 4 NBA FINALS..DAN MARINO IS THE GREATEST PASSING QB EVER TO ME BUT EVERYONE NOTES "HE HAS NO RINGS" OKAY HARDEN HAS NO RINGS YET AND UNTIL HE GETS ONE "RESPECT WADE'S PLACE IN HISTORY". AS FAR AS WHO IS BETTER? WE ALL KNOW THAT ANSWER BUT WHEN IT ALL IS SAID AND DONE WHO WILL HAVE THE MOST RINGS? HARDEN HAS TO WIN 4 OR MAYBE 5 TO REPLACE WADE UNTIL THEN"RESPECT WADE'S PLACE IN HISTORY"..

Gary

It's funny that maybe Durant should have included himself to take off the list based on his choke job against the Heat in the 2012 finals & Harden's choker in that same finals, out in 5 & Durant's choke against the Grizzles in the post season. It's always easier to run your mouth when you've won nothing. No College ring , no pro ring. Just a mamas boy with a punk attitude. At least Dwayne carried a team to the finals in 2006.

Marios

Durant talks a lot of crap for a toothpick armed shooter.

He'll be home watching D-Wade in the finals again this year with the team that D-Wade put together, while the OKC "franchise player" could not get the team to keep Harden around.

You have been shown ........ again.

Marios

Barry don't waste your ink on the Marlin's owner(won't say his name)or your valuable column trying to foresee what he will do next.
You take into account logic and performance, something the weasel does not have high in his list when looking for cheap labor.

NC_Cane

Wade had a better season than Harden and also contributed better when it counted in the playoffs. Wade completely shut down Harden just 2 finals ago for the entire finals series. Harden is not top 10. You can't judge Wade based on last year's playoffs. He was injured and he still came through when it counted which you cannot say the same for Harden. Enough said.

Pablo

I don't think that any decent free agent is going to sign with the Marlins with the history of its owner, the dimensions of the ball park and the likelihood that the Marlins won't be in the playoffs for a while. The current owner wore out his welcome in Montreal and now Miami. The team will only flourish with an owner with deep pockets that's committed to winning, hires good baseball people and lets them do their jobs. The current owner isn't going to sell because he doesn't want to and he doesn't want to share the profits of the sale with Miami-Dade. So get used to the status quo.

Marios

Durant wasn't willing to sacrifice part of his salary to keep a top ten player around?

rbleigh

None of those guys mentioned at 1B or 3B are a difference maker and at best might be a mere upgrade over mediocrity at this point in their careers; Chavez, Juan Uribe et al? I for one would much rather give Moran a shot immediately then spend needless millions on over the hill veterans.

Give LoMo one more year to turn it around because none of those guys mentioned above will take the Marlins from last to next to last place. Save the money. Okay, a quality catcher is needed but one from the baseball people's recommendation. Ruiz, I don't know, maybe. If the pitching holds again next year, perhaps they'll lose only 85 games. My prediction for next season, 74-88

305ive

.....Said the man who was crying on his mothers bossom when wade was collecting ring number 2. Lol.... who, at the time, had 3 of the "top 10" (westbrook, harden, durant) on the same team. But to be honest, wade needs to remind the NBA this season... seems like folk forgot.

dom

Harden shot like in the low 40S, I mean real low didn't he?? wade over 50%..... if wade had the ball like harden does, wade 09, wade avg 31 ppg on 47-48% shooting. harden shot what 41-43$

PULLLLZ KD

LiLi

Can't stand Durant, his personality or lack of & his game. He was made a hero when the media wanted to trash on Lebron in 2011. That all.
Totally dislike the cry-baby PUNK! Oh, he is also ringless.

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