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Marlins' offseason real downer


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I suppose this sums it up pretty well so far.

 

Marlins' offseason real downer

 

by Mike Berardino

Published November 11, 2005

 

So Dontrelle Willis came up short in the Cy Young Award voting?

 

So the Marlins' shining light finished second to the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter by a scant 20 points?

 

Yeah, it's a bummer. Sure, we all wanted Dontrelle to stage another historic breakthrough.

 

And no doubt some will feel like calling for Senators McCain and Bunning to add this perceived slight to their ever-growing sports investigation docket.

 

But Thursday's disappointment should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the Marlins' offseason closely.

 

Aside from Joe Girardi's hiring and the Rawlings Gold Glove announcements, it's been one downer after another for the unwelcome tenants on Dan Marino Boulevard.

 

Let's see, since they finished up an 83-win embarrassment, Jack McKeon has taken his stash of wisecracks and Padron cigars back to North Carolina.

 

A.J. Burnett, Todd Jones, Alex Gonzalez and Juan Encarnacion have filed for free agency, all with little expectation of a return engagement.

 

Josh Beckett's balky pitching shoulder required a pair of October MRI exams before he could be cleared for a normal winter of hunting and fishing on his South Texas spread.

 

Former third-base coach Ozzie Guillen, the manager who got away, led the White Sox (of all teams) to their first World Series title in 88 years.

 

Pat Gillick, the Cooperstown-worthy executive, was hired to run the underachieving Phillies and their $95 million payroll.

 

Hurricane Wilma has roared through the region, apparently drenching whatever appetite remained for using public funds of any sort for a Marlins-only stadium.

 

Payroll? No official word yet, but no one would be shocked to see the Marlins take it down 15 percent next season to around $55 million.

 

Or just $5 million more than they'll be spending in Kansas City and Milwaukee.

 

Getting there won't be easy for the Marlins. Not when it would have cost $90 million to keep this year's much-hyped flop intact, and definitely not when rival teams are running in panic from Mike Lowell's toxic contract.

 

Which brings us to this week's impromptu Carlos Delgado conference call in which the Marlins' rent-a-slugger ran to the media with his concerns over the eerie silence emanating from team offices.

 

What about that crossed-fingers "promise" Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made to Delgado back in September during the heat of the wild-card chase? You know, the one about Delgado having nothing to worry about when it came to percolating trade rumors?

 

His agent made a crack about Delgado not wanting to play next season with Willis, Miguel Cabrera and "the Seven Dwarfs." Not even that bit of cage rattling could make Marlins General Manager Admin Beinfest unzip his lip.

 

At this rate, you have to ask yourself what's next?

 

The Marlins' fan cruise taking a detour to Lake Minnetonka? Jeremy Hermida falling victim to a bizarre gardening accident?

 

Even Jacques Demers could read these depressing signs.

 

How to turn things around?

 

Well, a public statement declaring Delgado off limits would be nice, but that probably isn't very realistic. Not with the payroll heading south by perhaps 15 percent and the big first baseman still due $48 million over the next three years.

 

Besides, if Delgado and his agent really wanted workplace certainty, they should have signed with the Mets last winter. They would have given Delgado the right to veto any deal for the first three years of his contract.

 

Dumping Lowell would free things up a bit -- the Twins have some interest -- but that won't happen without the Marlins eating a sizeable chunk of his $18 million remaining obligation. At some point it would just be smarter to hold him and pray for a resurrection.

 

Signing Willis to a multiyear deal would be a welcome dose of sunshine. Talks with his agent, Matt Sosnick, are expected to commence next week, but it will take a minimum of $20 million over four years to get something done.

 

Otherwise, the D-Train will chug into the arbitrator's room next February and strap $4 million into his cargo area. From there, he's probably looking at arbitration-fed salaries of $6 million, $9 million and $12 million before he becomes a free agent after 2009.

 

Not to overload the suicide hotline, but can you really see the hand-to-mouth Marlins paying any pitcher $9 million in 2008?

 

Better question: Will anyone down here care by then?

 

Mike Berardino can be reached at mberardino@sun-sentinel.com.

 

 

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basebal...6.column?page=1

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Guest Moneyball

Since signing Delgado it has not been very fun being a Marlins fan. Except for the few rays of sunshine throughout the season.

 

Tough times behind us and tough times ahead.

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I agree with Lefty. But, IMO signing Delgado was not the wrong decision. I believe he is worth the money. He is actually a bargain compared to many sluggers (Manny 19 mil). Just because the Marlins are cash-strapped every questional decision seems magnified. I think guys like Lowell should go in and restructure their current contracts because of underperforming.

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Mike Berardino

BERARDINO: Marlins' offseason real downer

Published November 11, 2005

 

So Dontrelle Willis came up short in the Cy Young Award voting?

 

So the Marlins' shining light finished second to the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter by a scant 20 points?

 

Yeah, it's a bummer. Sure, we all wanted Dontrelle to stage another historic breakthrough.

 

And no doubt some will feel like calling for Senators McCain and Bunning to add this perceived slight to their ever-growing sports investigation docket.

 

But Thursday's disappointment should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the Marlins' offseason closely.

 

Aside from Joe Girardi's hiring and the Rawlings Gold Glove announcements, it's been one downer after another for the unwelcome tenants on Dan Marino Boulevard.

 

Let's see, since they finished up an 83-win embarrassment, Jack McKeon has taken his stash of wisecracks and Padron cigars back to North Carolina.

 

A.J. Burnett, Todd Jones, Alex Gonzalez and Juan Encarnacion have filed for free agency, all with little expectation of a return engagement.

 

Josh Beckett's balky pitching shoulder required a pair of October MRI exams before he could be cleared for a normal winter of hunting and fishing on his South Texas spread.

 

Former third-base coach Ozzie Guillen, the manager who got away, led the White Sox (of all teams) to their first World Series title in 88 years.

 

Pat Gillick, the Cooperstown-worthy executive, was hired to run the underachieving Phillies and their $95 million payroll.

 

Hurricane Wilma has roared through the region, apparently drenching whatever appetite remained for using public funds of any sort for a Marlins-only stadium.

 

Payroll? No official word yet, but no one would be shocked to see the Marlins take it down 15 percent next season to around $55 million.

 

Or just $5 million more than they'll be spending in Kansas City and Milwaukee.

 

Getting there won't be easy for the Marlins. Not when it would have cost $90 million to keep this year's much-hyped flop intact, and definitely not when rival teams are running in panic from Mike Lowell's toxic contract.

 

Which brings us to this week's impromptu Carlos Delgado conference call in which the Marlins' rent-a-slugger ran to the media with his concerns over the eerie silence emanating from team offices.

 

What about that crossed-fingers "promise" Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made to Delgado back in September during the heat of the wild-card chase? You know, the one about Delgado having nothing to worry about when it came to percolating trade rumors?

 

His agent made a crack about Delgado not wanting to play next season with Willis, Miguel Cabrera and "the Seven Dwarfs." Not even that bit of cage rattling could make Marlins General Manager Admin Beinfest unzip his lip.

 

At this rate, you have to ask yourself what's next?

 

The Marlins' fan cruise taking a detour to Lake Minnetonka? Jeremy Hermida falling victim to a bizarre gardening accident?

Even Jacques Demers could read these depressing signs.

 

How to turn things around?

 

Well, a public statement declaring Delgado off limits would be nice, but that probably isn't very realistic. Not with the payroll heading south by perhaps 15 percent and the big first baseman still due $48 million over the next three years.

 

Besides, if Delgado and his agent really wanted workplace certainty, they should have signed with the Mets last winter. They would have given Delgado the right to veto any deal for the first three years of his contract.

 

Dumping Lowell would free things up a bit -- the Twins have some interest -- but that won't happen without the Marlins eating a sizeable chunk of his $18 million remaining obligation. At some point it would just be smarter to hold him and pray for a resurrection.

 

Signing Willis to a multiyear deal would be a welcome dose of sunshine. Talks with his agent, Matt Sosnick, are expected to commence next week, but it will take a minimum of $20 million over four years to get something done.

 

Otherwise, the D-Train will chug into the arbitrator's room next February and strap $4 million into his cargo area. From there, he's probably looking at arbitration-fed salaries of $6 million, $9 million and $12 million before he becomes a free agent after 2009.

 

Not to overload the suicide hotline, but can you really see the hand-to-mouth Marlins paying any pitcher $9 million in 2008?

 

Better question: Will anyone down here care by then?

 

Mike Berardino can be reached at mberardino@sun-sentinel.com.

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