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32 posts from July 2009

July 31, 2009

Good Trade? Or Bad? Vote!

                   The Marlins gave up minor-league pitcher Aaron Thompson on Friday to acquire first baseman Nick Johnson from the Washington Nationals. Tell us what you think. Did the Marlins make the right move by adding Johnson? Should they have gone after someone else, like a starting pitcher, a closer, or a different position player? Or would they have been better off to keep things as they were?

If Marlins Land Nick Johnson, Can Cameron Maybin Be Far Behind?

             If the Marlins succeed in wrestling Nick Johnson away from the Nationals before this afternoon's trade deadline, it'll be interresting to see how the rest of the dominos fall. Johnson's arrival would almost certainly force Jorge Cantu back to third base, suspect throwing arm and all, and perhaps relegate Emilio Bonifacio to a platoon role in left with Chris Coghlan.

             But I'm wondering if the changes will stop there. It wouldn't surprise me if the Marlins also have a deal cooking for Jeremy Hermida (Cubs?), one that would allow them to call up Cameron Maybin and move Cody Ross to right. In effect, the Marlins would be replacing one left-handed bat in the lineup (Hermida's) with a better one (Johnson's). An outfield of Bonifacio/Coghlan-Maybin-Ross would be an upgrade defensively, as well.

             What's missing here, of course, is a fifth starter. I don't know if Burke Badenhop is the answer, and I strongly suspect the Marlins feel the same. But it'll all shake out in the next four to five hours. Stay tuned.


July 30, 2009

Samson: "Our Phone Is Silent"

                David Samson, making his weekly guest appearance with Dan LeBatard on 790 The Ticket, said it's been slow going on the trade front, not that the Marlins aren't trying to work out a deal to improve the team between now and Friday's 4 p.m. deadline.

                "Our phone is silent," Samson said. "I don't think people want to deal with us anymore. We have a low payroll, we win games, and I think people are afraid of getting burned maybe."

                Samson said the club has made calls proposing trades, but nothing was imminent.

                "We've made 10 different offers, 10 different things, throwing all sorts of crap against the wall," Samson said.


                "I think our team feels it can (succeed) as is," Samson said. "We'd like to bring in reinforcements. But we don't want to be one of those teams that causes themselves to not win 81 games by making foolish deals."

                 Samson said most of the interest from other clubs has centered on minor-league prospects Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, but the team has indicated in the past that it has no intention of trading either.

                 Samson confirmed a report that the Marlins expressed interest in Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay at one point, but quickly backed off when Toronto demanded "two left legs, a right arm and a left cerebellum."

                 Samson also dismissed a trade rumor that has the Marlins giving up Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin and Stanton to the San Diego Padres for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell.

                 Asked if there was any truth to the rumor, Samson replied 'no,' and that there was a "zero" percent chance of landing Gonzalez in a trade.


Marlins Targeting Heath Bell

                  The Marlins have been in discussions with the San Diego Padres for closer Heath Bell, but the cost to obtain him might be too steep. According to a FoxSports report, the Padres are demanding that a young pitcher -- Sean West or Andrew Miller, for example -- be included in a trade package.for the reliever.

                  It's hard to see the Marlins parting with either one considering their minor-league pitching depth isn't what it used to be. For that matter, it's interesting that the Marlins are focusing on a reliever, what with the uncertainty surrounding their starting staff. At the moment, Rick VandenHurk (career record 6-7, 6.50) is their fourth starter and they don't have anyone confirmed as their fifth.Heath

                  Bell would certainly provide the Marlins with a seasoned back-end reliever. He has 25 saves this season, a 2.01 ERA and is averaging 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He is also affordable, making $1.255 million in his first year of arbitration, and would fit within the Marlins' payroll parameters next season.

                  But the Marlins aren't the only club looking at Bell. There are said to be as many as 10 to 15 teams asking about him. And I'm not so certain, considering their need to address the rotation, that Bell is the only player on the Marlins' radar heading into Friday's 4 p.m. trade deadline.

July 29, 2009

Andrew Miller gets hurt after another poor outing

    According to Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, pitcher Andrew Miller rolled his right ankle Wednesday afternoon during his second minor league start with Triple-A New Orleans.

     Gonzalez said the play happened while Miller was chasing down a bunt down one of the base lines. Prior to the injury, however, Miller had another poor outing.

In one inning, Miller gave up four earned runs, while walking two and hitting a batter. In two starts, Miller has now gone 0-2 with 10 earned runs and 11 walks, six hits and eight strikeouts.

The development raises the question of who will be the Marlins' 5th starter for the near future? And do they now feel added urgency to make a trade for a starting pitcher?

There's of course Sean West, who pitched will earlier this season, but he may not be ready. Anibal Sanchez needs more time to recover. And even if Burke Badenhop starts Saturday, is he ready to be a part of the rotation?

Gonzalez said the team is having discussions on ways to improve the team, but did not elaborate. And he has yet to officially name a starter for Saturday's game against the Cubs, which is a day after the MLB trade deadline.

Here is tonight's lineup for the Marlins: 1. Coghlan lf; 2. Bonifacio 3b; 3. Ramirez ss; 4. Cantu 3b; 5. Hermida rf; 6. Uggla 2b; 7. Ross cf; 8. Baker c; 9. Johnson p.

Andrew Miller Exits Another Bad Start with Sprained Ankle

           If they weren't doing so already, have to figure that the Marlins are looking for starting pitching help after Andrew Miller turned in another dud for Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday and left after one inning with a sprained right ankle.

          Miller injured his ankle while fielding a swinging bunt during a first inning in which he gave up four runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman. On Friday, while making his first start for the Zephyrs after being sent down by the Marlins, Miller was brutal, walking nine batters in 4 2/3 innings.

          Clearly, the Marlins can't count on Miller returning to the rotation anytime soon. With Anibal Sanchez also injured and Sean West getting the seasoning he needs in the minors, all signs suggest that the Marlins, if they hope to contend for a playoff spot, must find a starter to join a rotation that now includes Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad and Rick VandenHurk.

           The Marlins to use Burke Badenhop in a long relief role even though he is expected to receive a spot start Saturday.

July 28, 2009

Carlos Tosca managing the opener; starting lineups

Hey Fish Byters, Andre Fernandez filling in for Clark and Manny tonight from the LandShark.

Marlins bench coach Carlos Tosca will manage tonight's opening game of their three-game series against the Braves, while Fredi Gonzalez serves a one-game suspension handed down Monday. The game will not count toward Tosca's managerial record, however. Tosca managed the Blue Jays from midway through the 2002 season to the latter part of the 2004 campaign, compiling a 191-191 record.

Reliever Burke Badenhop will serve out the three-game suspension he received following Sunday's game against the Dodgers when he hit Orlando Hudson with a pitch following Hanley Ramirez getting hit by Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver. Although Badenhop remains a likely possibility to head a "bullpen" start in Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs, Gonzalez said he has yet to name a starter.

Here are tonight's lineups:

- Marlins: 1. Coghlan lf; 2. Bonifacio 3b; 3. Ramirez ss; 4. Cantu 1b; 5. Hermida rf; 6. Uggla 2b; 7. Ross cf; 8. Baker c; 9. Nolasco p.

- Braves: 1. Nate McLouth cf; 2. Martin Prado 2b; 3. Chipper Jones 3b; 4. Brian McCann c; 5. Garret Anderson lf; 6. Yunel Escobar ss; 7. Casey Kotchman 1b; 8. Ryan Church rf; 9. Jair Jurrjens p.

July 27, 2009

Burke Badenhop, Fredi Gonzalez Receive League Suspensions, Fines

                Major League Baseball has suspended Marlins pitcher Burke Badenhop for three games and manager Fredi Gonzalez for one as the result of Sunday's actions in Los Angeles. The league office determined that Badenhop "intentionally" hit the Dodgers' Orlando Hudson in the bottom of the seventh -- after a warning had been issued to both dugouts by home plate umpire Bob Davidson.

               The warning was issued after the Dodgers' Jeff Weaver hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch in the top of the sixth. Weaver threw two pitches near Ramirez. The first one missed. Weaver was fined by the league.

               Badenhop and Gonzalez were ejected after the pitcher plunked Hudson. In addition to the suspension, which is scheduled to start Tuesday, Badenhop was fined $1,000. Judging by the jubilant reaction of Marlins teammates after he hit Hudson, it's a good bet a collection plate will be passed in the clubhouse and Burdenhop won't have to pay a nickel.

               Badenhop does not plan to appeal his suspension, according to his agent, Terry Braun.

               Badenhop is expected to start Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs. By serving the suspension during the 3-game Atlanta series, he'll be available to make that start.

               Gonzalez cannot appeal his suspension, which will be served Tuesday when the Marlins play the Atlanta Braves


July 25, 2009

Larry Beinfest on the Trade Deadline

               This much is certain as the trade deadline approaches: the Marlins definitely are NOT sellers. Just spoke with Larry Beinfest, who sounded upbeat about the club's prospects. Whether that leads to a trade to upgrade the roster between now and Friday's deadline is another story, but Beinfest at least sounded optimistic.

               "We were on the phone today, we'll see," said Beinfest, the team's president of baseball operations. "We're looking at ways to improve ourselves right now. We're active."

               Beinfest said that as far as he is concerned, the Marlins are in contention and is "trending" upward, with four quality outings out of their starters during the road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles.

               "The wild card is certainly not out of reach," Beinfest said. "And I think the Phillies won today, but we have a lot of baseball left and we have a bunch of games against the Phillies. The way we sit six days away from the deadline, we're 'in,' and we'll see what happens. I'd like to think that things aren't going to change between now and Friday and we're going to stay in in."

Meat Loaf and the Marlins

               The musician Meat Loaf, best known for his song "Bat Out of Hell," took part in a Hollywood celebrity softball game on the field at Dodger Stadium a couple of hours before the Marlins and Dodgers hooked up.

               Mr. Loaf, as the New York Times always refers to him on second reference, has a connection to the Marlins -- albeit a thin one.Meat loaf

              One of the musicians who performed on Meat Loaf's signature song was Todd Rundgren, whose son Rex was an infielder in the Marlins' farm system for a number of years. Rex Rundgren never made it to the big leagues and is now at Double A Tulsa in the Colorado organization.

              At any rate, Meat Loaf pitched for one of the celebrity teams and earned the win.