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Conine is a Fish Worth Keeping


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I notice that George waited until Conine had a couple of hot games to write this, but nevertheless...

 

Conine Is A Fish Worth Keeping

By Dave George, Palm Beach Post

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

 

MIAMI GARDENS ? In or out of contention? Coming on strong or going down the drain? Now or later? For the moment the Florida Marlins are muddled in the middle of all those categories, which is perfectly suiting for a team with a coin-flip record of 50-50.

 

Baseball's calendar demands a declaration this time of year, however, and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria can't rely on a coin flip or rock-paper-scissors or any other time-tested sandlot method to provide the proper answer. By Saturday's trading deadline the team will either symbolically go for broke by adding expensive players to the roster or ship key talent to other teams in the surest sign of surrender for this season.

 

Incredible that we should be talking again about a world championship team on the verge of irrelevance. It all may come down to the difference between finishing out a series win over Philadelphia or settling for a 2-2 split. That's how it works around here, always on edge, but the low hum of activity at the ballpark is particularly monotonous this summer when compared to the buzz surrounding Shaq and Ricky and Bobo, too.

 

For that reason, the Marlins, winners against Philadelphia on Tuesday night for the 12th straight time at home, will do something by week's end that is splashy. Bold. Maybe even creative. With a stadium plan still to sell, there's little incentive to coast.

 

Just don't let it be Jeff Conine who gets shipped away for some exciting, new face in the lineup. Don't let it be Mr. Marlin, who only last August returned to the franchise he helped to birth and provided exactly the same offensive spark and veteran leadership that everyone is praying for today.

 

I'm not saying this out of some sappy sense of loyalty, though Conine is due as much of that as this fickle market can muster. Chalk it up, instead, to the sinking suspicion that swapping a 38-year-old outfielder (Conine) for a 37-year-old outfielder (Colorado's Admin Walker) is a ton of convenience and an ounce of genuine change.

 

It's the easy way out, in other words, now that Steve Finley apparently has used the no-trade clause in his Arizona contract to rule out the Marlins. Walker is a Gold Glover, to be sure, but the rest of him is rusty after missing the first 58 games of the season with a strained groin, and the cost of carrying him is high, as in $11 million or so over what's left of this season and all of next.

 

Pudge Rodriguez cost just less than that in 2003.

 

Then there's talk of getting Arizona outfielder Danny Bautista, who the Marlins traded away four years ago for utility man Andy Fox. Is a Florida retread like him a guaranteed upgrade over the guy who led the team last October with a.367 post-season average and an eight-game playoff hitting streak?

 

Probably not, but that's the artificial urgency of the trading deadline. You remember the genius of Admin Beinfest picking up Ugueth Urbina last year and yes, Conine, too, and it illogically follows that every fresh Fish will gleam like a diamond in the August sun. Truth is, about half of the grand-slam deals that teams make to produce a finishing kick turn out to be stinkers.

 

To the good, Loria certainly sounded like a buyer rather than a seller following Tuesday's 5-2 victory.

 

"We always make wise decisions because we've got good baseball people," he said. "It's my job to make sure the decisions are good for everybody. It's in our sights to do what we have to do to make it work. We're working the phones every day. With the group I have, I'm absolutely optimistic. We will make it interesting here."

 

Tuesday's late news that Armando Benitez has inflammation in his pitching elbow could factor into the trading deadline frenzy, signaling that the Marlins might yet need to add a closer to their wish list. Still, the Marlins are just 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and no needier than the Phillies, whose bullpen is completely bankrupt. Besides, Florida was 52-48 through 100 games last season, just a hair higher than today's record, and went on to win it all. Conine, a.287 career hitter, was a big part of that and he's just now starting to heat up again, hitting a bases-loaded double on Monday night and another run-scoring double in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 5-2 win.

 

Trade Hee-Seop Choi before you trade Conine. Trade a couple of prospects, even, if the instinct to win now is so strong.

 

I don't argue with the aggressiveness. Just don't lop Mr. Marlin out of the lineup for problems he didn't cause and can't by himself solve, such as the fact that Ramon Castro didn't pan out behind the plate, or the loss of three big bats (Pudge, Derrek Lee and Juan Encarnacion) that Loria couldn't afford to keep around.

 

There's got to be a better way to walk this trading circus tightrope, even if it takes until the final second on Saturday to find it.

 

I will say that even though I liked the idea of a Finley or Walker, I haven't exactly loved the idea of dealing away Conine in the process...

 

I just sort of get the feeling he's the kind of guy who'd come through late in the season or in the playoffs...

 

And I'm not nearly as sold on Danny Bautista. If he's the target, we'd better not be offering anything close to Stokes & Murphy...

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I will say that even though I liked the idea of a Finley or Walker, I haven't exactly loved the idea of dealing away Conine in the process...

 

I just sort of get the feeling he's the kind of guy who'd come through late in the season or in the playoffs...

 

And I'm not nearly as sold on Danny Bautista. If he's the target, we'd better not be offering anything close to Stokes & Murphy...

479601[/snapback]

I feel the same way, that's one reason I liked the idea of Finley so much, because Jack would've been able to keep Conine fresh by rotating him between 1b and LF against lefties. Now that that is not an option it will be interesting to see what they do.

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I don't agree with the fact that he said we should trade Choi instead of Conine. That's just stupid. Right now I'm starting to think, that our main priority should be relief help. Get that set-up man that we need, and then make a move for a less expensive bat like Rob Mackowiak.

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What Mr. George forgets is that on this team to take on a big salary we've got to drop one. Of the big salaries Lowell, Castillo, Pierre, Conine, or some of the pitchers...who would you get rid of?

 

Of course we could just not take on a big salary and end up with a one year rental. But if I'm trading good players or prospects I want the player for more than a few months (exclude Urbina from this, he doesn't fit my model)

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You know a bunch of players have not been doing what they are capable of doing and it's wrong to single out Conine. I want to keep Conine more than I want one of those other players we're interested in. Conine has been doing his job lately getting hits and he always has great defense.

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You know a bunch of players have not been doing what they are capable of doing and it's wrong to single out Conine. I want to keep Conine more than I want one of those other players we're interested in. Conine has been doing his job lately getting hits and he always has great defense.

479655[/snapback]

really?

 

our top 4 in the lineup are all having very good years, as is Alex Gonzalez

 

so what is this bunch of players?... our catchers? sure

 

(im just talking on offense here)

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

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You know a bunch of players have not been doing what they are capable of doing and it's wrong to single out Conine. I want to keep Conine more than I want one of those other players we're interested in. Conine has been doing his job lately getting hits and he always has great defense.

479655[/snapback]

really?

 

our top 4 in the lineup are all having very good years, as is Alex Gonzalez

 

so what is this bunch of players?... our catchers? sure

 

(im just talking on offense here)

479657[/snapback]

I'm not getting at a big dramatic difference, I just talking about the many games in the past month(not recently) where we were unable to score many runs. All of that is not Conine's fault. There were times with people on base where even Mike would ground or fly out. Many of our players had been having problems hitting. They are hitting now and Jeff is along with them.

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

 

He was batting .260 in April because he was getting over the flu or some cold. But according to his career avg he is getting ready to heat up. I like the idea of keeping him and retiring his # when the time comes.

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

 

He was batting .260 in April because he was getting over the flu or some cold. But according to his career avg he is getting ready to heat up. I like the idea of keeping him and retiring his # when the time comes.

479746[/snapback]

He had a shoulder injury early on too.

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

Dude, that's just stupid logic. Don't look at April, look at right now; we're trying to win a championship...it's all about "what have you done for me lately." And for the record, Conine hit .309 in April.

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?statsId=4600

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

Dude, that's just stupid logic. Don't look at April, look at right now; we're trying to win a championship...it's all about "what have you done for me lately." And for the record, Conine hit .309 in April.

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?statsId=4600

479757[/snapback]

i think he was referencing conine's decline after a promising april... hence the "falling apart at any moment."

 

.309 april

.267 may

.247 june

.225 july

 

personally, i think conine would be a valuable bat to keep on the bench if we end up trading for another outfielder.

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

Dude, that's just stupid logic. Don't look at April, look at right now; we're trying to win a championship...it's all about "what have you done for me lately." And for the record, Conine hit .309 in April.

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?statsId=4600

479757[/snapback]

i think he was referencing conine's decline after a promising april... hence the "falling apart at any moment."

 

.309 april

.267 may

.247 june

.225 july

 

personally, i think conine would be a valuable bat to keep on the bench if we end up trading for another outfielder.

479765[/snapback]

 

Yeah I'd love to have Steve off the bench. but unless we're playing the Sillies he isn't an everyday player. well he is but we could do better than this

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

Dude, that's just stupid logic. Don't look at April, look at right now; we're trying to win a championship...it's all about "what have you done for me lately." And for the record, Conine hit .309 in April.

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?statsId=4600

479757[/snapback]

i think he was referencing conine's decline after a promising april... hence the "falling apart at any moment."

 

479765[/snapback]

yes thank you alk

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Guest Juanky

Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

Dude, that's just stupid logic. Don't look at April, look at right now; we're trying to win a championship...it's all about "what have you done for me lately." And for the record, Conine hit .309 in April.

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?statsId=4600

479757[/snapback]

What's having 14 RBI in 13 games with a .304 do for ya?

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Not trading Conine because he is Mr Marlins is stupid. Conine is expensive, old and inconsistant. He could fall apart at any moment (just look at April). His .260 batting average and few RBI's are a terrible sign, and a chance to trade him for someone that can still produce nightly would be key.

479713[/snapback]

 

Dude, that's just stupid logic. Don't look at April, look at right now; we're trying to win a championship...it's all about "what have you done for me lately." And for the record, Conine hit .309 in April.

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?statsId=4600

479757[/snapback]

What's having 14 RBI in 13 games with a .304 do for ya?

479803[/snapback]

That is a little decieving. He's hit against Philly 4 out of those 14 games lol.

 

On a serious note, Conine has been hitting the ball much better since the Break, but if you were to be dealing with the 1st half Steve . . . well then it's different.

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The odd thing about Conine is that while his BA has dropped consistently, his RBI production has increased, albeit very modestly, and far below what we would want from a #5 hitter.

 

Month BA RBIs

April .309 7

May .267 10

June .247 12

July .225 14

 

So Conine is an enigma. I'm not in favor of trading him, but still would like to see us get another bat......and an 8th inning reliever.

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