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"Ponson emerges as key to Marlins' deal"


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Ponson emerges as key to Marlins' deal

 

BY JUAN C. RODRIGUEZ

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

 

SAN FRANCISCO - (KRT) - Determined to rid themselves of Mike Lowell as part of any A.J. Burnett deal, the Marlins spent Friday working with the Orioles on a scenario that would do just that.

 

The teams shifted to finding a landing spot for Orioles right-hander Sidney Ponson. Moving Ponson, who is due about $13.5 million through next season, is paramount to the Orioles absorbing Lowell and the $21 million he's guaranteed through 2007.

 

One obstacle to moving Ponson is he has a 10-team, no-trade provision that includes the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After acquiring him, the Marlins reportedly were ready to send Ponson to Tampa Bay for reliever Trever Miller.

 

Barry Praver, Ponson's agent, said: "Neither Sidney nor I have been approached by the Orioles seeking Sidney's consent to accept a trade to Tampa or any other team."

 

The foundation of a deal appears in place as long as the Marlins or Orioles find a taker for Ponson. The teams apparently were willing to pick up all but $2 million of Ponson's remaining salary.

 

One possibility is the Texas Rangers, who Ponson had a handshake agreement in place to sign a free-agent deal with the Rangers before 2003 contingent on the Rangers moving Alex Rodriguez to Boston.

 

A proposed deal would bring Ponson, Jorge Julio, Hayden Penn, Steve Kline and Admin Bigbie to the Marlins for Lowell, Burnett, and Triple-A outfielder Eric Reed. The Marlins would in turn move Ponson to the Rangers for someone like outfielder Richard Hidalgo.

 

That would give the Marlins one more outfielder than they need since they planned to platoon Jeff Conine and Bigbie in left and move Miguel Cabrera to third. They could solve that logjam by trading the left-handed hitting Bigbie to a team like the Pirates, who are willing to deal left-hander Mark Redman for him. The Marlins might also find a taker for Hidalgo if they are set on a righty-lefty platoon.

 

According to one baseball executive, the Marlins might even consider keeping Ponson. They would still save $7.5 million through 2007.

 

"I think it has to be a consideration," the source said. "(Pitching coach Mark) Wiley had him, so there is some history there ... At times he can be really good."

 

Ponson owns a Fort Lauderdale residence. A source close to the pitcher said if he's traded, the Marlins would be his preferred landing spot. A couple of brushes with the law, one in his native Aruba and one in Fort Lauderdale last spring training, may be giving the Marlins pause.

 

One National League scout's take on him: "I would consider taking Ponson but I'd be a little worried about the health of his arm. ... The thing that scares me is this year he sat at 90-91 mph for six innings. For me that's not Sidney Ponson."

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I think its strange that the Marlins and O's are willing to eat Ponson's salary, you'd think the Marlins would want to avoid owing anyone money. And as for Ponson, Im not a fan, but if this trade goes through maybe some sucker will give us something good for him. As for the FO Im glad to see they are looking at other possibilities in Redman and Hidalgo, who in turn would be valuable trading chips themselves. Of course the window for trading is closing...

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I really don't think this whole trade is really that bad. i mean we could get nothing for Burnett and keep Lowell's underperforming contract or we could trade them and get 2 very good relievers, a Jeff O'niel like OF, a top prospect and maybe a pile poopy Ponson.

 

But then we could trade Ponson for relief or Hidalgo sounds good. We need offensive help and sending him to the rangers for an OF (preferably not Hidalgo, but hey we could do worse) isin't such a bad idea. Personally i'd say deal himto Tampa so we could get another reliever... can never have enough arms.

 

Then sending Bigbie to the Pirates for Redman... love that.

 

We need relievers, 12th in the NL in reliever ERA is not good!

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