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Catcher, bullpen on Marlins' shopping list


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Catcher, bullpen on Marlins' shopping list

 

By Mike Berardino

Staff writer

Posted June 5 2004

 

Determined to upgrade their two glaring weaknesses, the Marlins have begun contacting teams in hopes of landing help at catcher and in the bullpen.

 

According to industry sources, the Marlins have asked the Toronto Blue Jays about Gregg Zaun and the Boston Red Sox about Doug Mirabelli. Arizona's Brent Mayne is another veteran catcher on the Marlins' lengthy shopping list.

 

One big-name catcher who does not suit the Marlins' tastes is Kansas City veteran Benito Santiago. At 39 and due more than $3.55 million through next season, Santiago, the original Marlins' catcher, is viewed as a declining and overpriced commodity.

 

Instead, recent talks with the last-place Royals have focused on reserve outfielder Abraham Nunez, who could bring one of several right-handed relievers in return: Scott Sullivan, Jason Grimsley or deposed closer Mike MacDougal, now battling a balky shoulder at Triple-A.

 

The Marlins also could piggyback onto the eventual deal for Carlos Beltran once the Royals decide where to move their star center fielder. High-payroll clubs without a deep farm system, such as the Red Sox and New York Yankees, could use Marlins prospects to facilitate a deal.

 

Ideally, the Marlins would emerge from such a transaction with both catching and bullpen improvements.

 

Sullivan, who pitched for Marlins manager Jack McKeon during his tenure in Cincinnati, signed a two-year, $5 million deal last winter. As with all free agents signed this offseason, Sullivan can't be traded until June 15. The same restriction temporarily will keep the Marlins from swapping disappointing left-hander Darren Oliver, who was dropped from the rotation May 23. He is making $750,000 this year and could draw mild interest from Baltimore, Milwaukee, Texas or Cincinnati.

 

Toronto might be willing to unload Zaun, who appeared in 174 games with the Marlins from 1996-98, but a run of catching injuries has left the Blue Jays exposed at the position. Starter Greg Myers is out for several months with an ankle injury, while young Kevin Cash and Triple-A prospect Guillermo Quiroz are on the disabled list, as well.

 

Cash and Quiroz are expected back in the coming weeks. Zaun, a switch-hitter, was hitting .364 in 66 at-bats since Montreal released him out of spring training.

 

Mirabelli, a career .239 hitter stuck behind Jason Varitek, could become expendable if hot-hitting Andy Dominique, recently promoted from Triple-A, is viewed as a permanent replacement.

 

Mayne, a career .264 hitter, has been sharing time with Robby Hammock; Mayne was batting .197 in 71 at-bats.

 

Zaun is only making about $500,000, while Mirabelli ($825,000) and Mayne ($800,000) are moderately priced, as well.

 

Any of those veterans would be a suitable complement to banged-up starter Mike Redmond, who opened the season sharing time with Ramon Castro. A former first-round draft pick, Castro hit .135 and landed on the disabled list Tuesday with an inflamed toe.

 

Marlins catchers entered Friday's play ranked 15th in the National League in batting average (.205) and slugging percentage (.303). They were last in on-base percentage (.284), but their 24 combined RBI ranked seventh.

 

That's a severe nosedive from their 2003 numbers when Pudge Rodriguez was on the scene. Last year, Marlins catchers ranked fourth in batting average (.286), fourth in homers (19) and third in RBI (94).

 

Marlins relievers entered Friday ranked eighth in the league with a 3.98 ERA. Their 10 blown saves (in 31 chances) were the second most in the league.

 

Cleveland's David Riske and Boston's Byung-Hyun Kim, both former closers, remain trade possibilities. Kim, however, is on the DL with a back injury.

 

 

Link to Article

 

Mirabelli and Grimsley look interesting. Glad to hear about the no interest in Santiago....over-priced with declining skills.

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i want to see what treanor can do for a couple weeks before even contemplating a move behind the plate.

I'll agree with that. I don't think the other alternatives out there are much of an improvement. The bullpen is the only place we drastically need to improve.

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i want to see what treanor can do for a couple weeks before even contemplating a move behind the plate.

I'll agree with that. I don't think the other alternatives out there are much of an improvement. The bullpen is the only place we drastically need to improve. I agree. We need bullpen help now. Let's see how Treanor does....we can afford to wait until after the All-Star break to make a move for a catcher if necessary.

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