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Q&A With Mike Berardino

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Sep 2, 2002
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LinkVery Good one! Luis Is probaly gone and so is D.Lee and lowell if we are out of contention.... :eek:

Q: Did the Marlins really refuse to let pitching coach Brad Arnsberg back into Pro Player Stadium to say goodbye to his pitchers after he was fired? Ryan Michaels, San Bernardino, CA

A: Yes, Ryan, they did. They also refused to let Jeff Torborg address his players before the game. Both decisions were classless and wrong.

Q: What are the chances of Luis Castillo being re-signed? Where might he end up if he doesn't stay? Ron Slogar, Cleveland, OH

A: I'll be shocked if Castillo returns in 2004. More likely, he'll be traded in July as a pending free agent. Possible landing spots include the Mets, where Robby Alomar is on the way out, and the Cardinals, where Fernando Vina has fallen out of favor. It will be interesting to see how many years and dollars some team throws at Louie, one of the real good guys and solid all-around players in the game. His utter lack of power will hurt his case, but he does many other things well.

Q: Which players are likely goners by the July 31 trading deadline? Mark Wickstrom, Lloyd Harbor, NY

A: This, of course, assumes the Marlins won't roar back into contention by the trade deadline, which I don't see happening. In addition to Castillo, you'll probably see Mike Lowell and Derrek Lee shopped actively to make room for Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez, respectively. Todd Hollandsworth is another experienced hand with some trade value. I suppose Pudge Rodriguez could waive his no-trade clause to join a contender, but I'd be very surprised if that happened. He wanted to come home for at least a year, and I think he'll stay right here through season's end.

Q: Was the only reason not to promote Dontrelle Willis earlier in the season a financial decision? Alex Whittenburg, Arlington, VA

A: Depends on who you ask. It's my understanding there was great division within the front office on Willis. The bean counters wanted to play their little arbitration game in order to save perhaps $2 million in 2006, while the player development people believed Willis was major-league ready several weeks sooner. In fairness to the Marlins, they aren't the first team to hold back a qualified rookie for arbitration reasons. But that delay, coupled with a rash of injuries, did contribute to Jeff Torborg's firing, which is a shame.

Q: How the heck did Gerald Williams make the team over Al Martin? Didn't Martin have the best spring training of any player on the team? I'm still shaking my head on that one. Darrell Klein, West Palm Beach, FL

A: You're right, Al Martin belonged on the team from the start of the season. Unfortunately, the Marlins chose to spring a contract stipulation on him at the last second that drove him to the waiting arms of the Devil Rays. Williams accepted those terms, whereby the Marlins could farm him out anytime within the first 45 days and pay him minor-league money the rest of the year instead of the new big-league minimum of $300,000. Martin still has some life in his bat, while Williams, quite obviously, is done.

Q: How much money are the Marlins going to be fined for failing to follow baseball's minority-hiring initiative? Why didn't the team just interview Ozzie Guillen and Andre Dawson for the managerial opening? Were they oblivious to this rule like they are everything else? Esteban Franks, Coral Gables, FL

A: No idea on the penalty, but all indications are they will be penalized. In the case of the Tigers, who failed to interview anyone besides Phil Garner in 1999, the final bill came to about $250,000, mostly in the form of league-mandated community work. A similar outlay for the Marlins would be quite crippling, especially in light of their penny-pinching ways. In order to interview Ozzie or the Hawk, not to mention Bill Robinson and Tony Perez, the Marlins would have had to fire Torborg and replace him with an interim manager (Perry Hill?) for a few days. To conduct secret interviews with the minority candidates while Torborg was still employed would have embarrassed a good man. But there's no reason they couldn't have followed the interim scenario.

Q: Were you shocked that the Marlins named Jack McKeon manager? Ricky P., Weston, FL

A: "Shocked" is a good word for it, although the connection to Marlins Traveling Secretary Bill Beck made it a little more understandable. McKeon and the Boomer have known each other for nearly four decades. There's a great deal of mutual trust and respect. McKeon, in my understanding, knew no one else in the Marlins front office, but Beck's presence on the staff may have been a draw for him. Plus, the guy just wanted to manage again.

Q: How did the Sun-Sentinel not have the story the following day about Jeff Torborg being fired, when the Miami Herald had it? I couldn't believe that because you guys usually beat them to the punch. I actually thought it was a joke. Don Welling, Fort Lauderdale, FL

A: Thanks for the backhanded compliment, Don, and you're right: It was a joke. Torborg told me he received a call from the Herald less than 10 minutes after he was fired following his final game on a Saturday night. The Herald writer called him at his apartment even though Torborg had never given out that number to the Herald. And get this: The Marlins wouldn't tell Torborg who his replacement was but the Herald knew all about it. Hmmmm. The Marlins can deny it all they want, but they were (and remain) upset with me and the Palm Beach Post for investigating A.J. Burnett's concerns that team management had suppressed vital medical information regarding his elbow. This, apparently, was their way of getting back at us. How pathetic.

Q: Are you surprised that the Marlins' pitching has held up despite all the injuries, while the hitting has been horrendous? Ron Budner, Bayonne, NJ

A: You're right, the pitching hasn't really been the problem. Rather, it's been some horrendous situational hitting. The Marlins continue to struggle with runners in scoring position, something I thought they had addressed with their offseason moves to cut down on strikeouts. Such problems tend to become epidemic, and that's definitely been the case at the plate the last three weeks or so.

Q: Do the Marlins plan on making Brian Banks an everyday player next season? Lisa Rykiel, Homestead, FL

A: As much as everybody likes Brian Banks, he's probably never going to get a chance to play every day again. He's in his early 30s now and he is viewed as a key part of the bench, which isn't bad for someone who's had to battle his way back from the minors and Japan.

Q: Do you think the Marlins have a realistic chance of making the playoffs this season? Aaron Boetel, Plantation, FL

A: Maybe in 2005.
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