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Some one's gonna get traded

AJBurnett34

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If we continue playing like this Luis Castillo, Lowell or pudge will be traded! Read this..

Marlins' players know they're next


By Tom D'Angelo, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 13, 2003



SAN DIEGO -- Now that the focus has been taken off the Marlins' manager and pitching coach, the spotlight shifts to the players.

Management's first move was typical of struggling teams, fire the manager and put the players on alert.

"The front office is in a sense of urgency, otherwise they don't make the move to fire the manager,'' first baseman Derrek Lee said. "In that respect we feel that sense of urgency that they are going to do what they have to do.''

Which, according to some players, could be to start dumping the players who put the biggest dent in the payroll.

The contract of every player on the team, with the exception of center fielder Juan Pierre, expires after this season. Pierre is signed through 2005. Many in baseball believe if the team continues to struggle, any combination of Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Lowell and Luis Castillo could be gone by the July 31 trading deadline.

"This (the firings) doesn't change the way we thought about that,'' Lee said. "We know the situation. Most likely if the team is not winning, they can't afford to keep guys.''

The Marlins' payroll is just less than $50 million, 25th in the majors. Rodriguez, who is earning $10 million, and Castillo ($4.85 million) will be free agents. Lowell ($3.7 million) is among a large group of players who will be eligible for arbitration.

"I don't know what the game plan is,'' Lowell said. "I'm sure there will be speculation all over the place. It's their decision.''

Castillo and Lowell, the team's two All-Stars from last year, certainly will command a hefty increase -- even in arbitration for Lowell -- if they continue to hit as they have this season. Rodriguez hasn't yet delivered the way a player who is sapping 20 percent of the payroll should, but he should remain a $10 million-plus a season player.

"Before July 31st are they going to trade a guy who is going to be a free agent and try to get someone for him? I'm sure that will happen if we haven't improved to the point where we're in a playoff race," said reliever Braden Looper, who also is eligible for arbitration after this season. "That's just baseball.''

The Marlins will not hesitate to dump salaries as owner Jeffrey Loria and General Manager Admin Beinfest have proven by unloading players such as Antonio Alfonseca, Matt Clement, Ryan Dempster, Cliff Floyd, Charles Johnson and Preston Wilson since the start of the 2002 season.

Floyd, the team's only left-handed power hitter last season, was dealt July 11, weeks before the trading deadline. Floyd was a free agent at the end of the season. The move was a sign that the front office had given up on a season in which the team was 45-43 and 11 games behind Atlanta.

Currently nine games behind the Braves, the Marlins are in much more of a precarious position than they were a year ago.

"We've got a good team," pitcher Brad Penny said. "It's a little frustrating because all that's going on, but you can't control the front office stuff. I have no idea what they're thinking up there."

Because the team is so young, most players -- including Lee, Lowell, Penny, Looper, shortstop Alex Gonzalez, right fielder Juan Encarnacion and pitchers A.J. Burnett and Mark Redman -- are up for arbitration. Those with more than six years of experience are free agents.

"What makes it tough is when you're so young together, everyone hits that arbitration point at the same time,'' Lowell said. "Payroll is going to increase. That's why there's definitely decisions that have to be made.''
 

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