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Herald: No major deals in the works


jonnylons
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Posted on Fri, Jul. 09, 2004

 

MARLINS

 

 

No major deals are in the works

 

Even though Florida has some needs, general manager Admin Beinfest said no trades are close to being made, as the team continued to explore possibilities.

 

BY KEVIN BAXTER

 

kbaxter@herald.com

 

 

Anyone waiting for the calvary to ride in and save the stumbling Marlins might be in for a wait. General manager Admin Beinfest said Thursday no major deals are close, although the team continues to explore a number of trade possibilities.

 

''We're always looking at everything,'' Beinfest said.

 

Among the Marlins' needs is a potent middle-of-the-lineup bat, a reliever to set up closer Armando Benitez and, possibly, a catcher. But for the time being, Beinfest believes he can fill all three holes with players already on the roster.

 

''We have the major pieces here,'' he said. ``We have people here who can do the job. They just have to perform the way they're capable of performing.''

 

They're certainly not doing that now, which is why the Marlins have lost 10 of their past 14 games to fall to fourth in the East for the first time in a year heading into tonight's opener of a three-game series with the New York Mets.

 

STRUGGLING

 

Jeff Conine, who averaged 82 RBI over the past three seasons, has been bothered by a sore right shoulder and is hitting 29 points below his career average -- and just .169 with runners in scoring position. Luis Castillo, who has hit .305 or better in three of his past four seasons, is 21 hitting points below that this year and Juan Pierre, the majors' stolen base champ in 2003, was caught stealing more than anyone in 2004.

 

As a result, the Marlins have been outscored by all but five teams, while on the mound they have been plagued by injuries and inconsistency, especially in the bullpen, where 11 have auditioned for the set-up role.

 

Despite Beinfest's patience, if those numbers don't turn around before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline the team might have to consider a trade if they hope to stay in playoff contention. Trouble is, they might not have much to offer. The Marlins, honored as Baseball America's organization of the year in 2003, gave up five top minor-league prospects to acquire Ugueth Urbina and Conine last season. And while the moves paid off with a World Series titles, they have left the team's talent cupboard bare.

 

Complicating matters further is baseball's newfound parity that has more than three-quarters of the teams still in the hunt for postseason berths. That means the teams that are willing to trade the type of players the Marlins need are asking for more than Beinfest may want to give in return.

 

MUTUAL BENEFIT

 

''A trade has to be a mutual benefit,'' said Beinfest, who has been a creative trader in his first two years as Marlins GM. ``It was to have value for your team as well as the other team.''

 

Even then, trades that would seem to help both teams on the field may fall apart in the financial department. Colorado, for example, would like to deal outfielder Admin Walker, a left-hander power hitter who would be a perfect short-term fit for the Marlins. But Walker has another year and more than $18 million remaining on his contract, and no amount of restructuring is likely to make work for both sides.

 

A better trade prospect is Arizona outfielder Danny Bautista, a former Marlin and free-agent-to-be the Marlins count rent for about $2 million this summer. The Diamondbacks might be willing to pay part of the that, but they're asking for a package of prospects in return.

 

''You have to look at the profile,'' Beinfest said. ``If it's a rental player, is he a player you have under contract? And you have to look at the money, not only for this year but in the future.''

 

For now, the Marlins say they will stand pat, but the next two weeks could determine their long-term future.

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First of all readers need to consider that Kevin Baxter is about as plugged into the Florida Marlins front office as Mike Berardino.

 

Second, I'm sure the closed door meeting between Beinfest (with Loria in attendance) a few days ago went something like this, "Show us you want to win, show us there's a reason to invest in upgrading this team".

 

There's no reason to go out and spend penny one until the Marlins as a team can start winning games. The idea of trades is to put the frosting on the cake, not to bake a whole new one. In Beckett's done, if Conine's done, if Fox won't return and the team doesn't starting scoring more runs with regularity there's no reason to throw money at the problem because unless you're George Steinbrenner that never works.

 

If the Marlins can take two out of three (or sweep) this weekend and show some spark I'm confident Beinfest will start wheeling and dealing.

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Regardless of whether or not this article has its finger on the pulse of MarlinNation, I think that there is an important message that has to be seen here.

 

This team needs to focus on doing its job and winning - without the idea of some impending deal. This team has lost a lot of confidence, it seems, internally and with its own people. And I think that is harsh and unjustifiable. This team HAS the tools to win and win now. The talent is there and that is what I have been saying all along and trying to communicate to others on this board.

 

I agree, Marlins2003, that throwing good money after bad, to put it lightly, is never a good way to run a business. The same goes for baseball. If the foundation is not there, then it isnt there. But I think that the foundation is there and this organization believes it is there too. It is up to the players to regain that belief as well - and with a little luck, we may see that.

 

And I agree, Baxter is hardly a guy with a clue. But the Marlins seem to be using the Herald as a voicebox to speak or deny what it reported elsewhere.

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if this isnt the team to build on, then i dont know what is

 

this team definitely is under performing, thats for sure

 

what other team is the organization going to build on in the future if they wont build on this one? the starting pitching on this team is insane

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