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Interest in Lowell, but Marlins will have to pay


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The Marlins left the general managers' meetings confident they can jettison third baseman Mike Lowell. What they probably can't do is altogether eliminate him from the books.


Owed $9 million each of the next two seasons, Lowell is tradable if the Marlins are willing to absorb some of the remaining dollars. According to a front office official who has spoken with the Marlins, they had "a few hits" on Lowell this past week.

With one unidentified team the Marlins discussed a scenario in which they would cover half of Lowell's remaining salary. They did not discuss any package deals involving Lowell and Carlos Delgado.


"It will get down to how much Florida is willing to pay," said one official from a club monitoring the Lowell situation.


The Brewers and Orioles were among the teams that might have inquired about Lowell, but they are going with Bill Hall and Melvin Mora at their respective hot corners.


One club that could take him at a discount is the Minnesota Twins. Former Marlin and Lowell friend Mike Redmond last season got in the front office's ear about acquiring the Gold Glove winner.


Once their general manager situations are resolved, the Dodgers and Red Sox also could look at Lowell.


Though he batted 41 points below his career average and hit just eight homers after averaging 27.6 from 2002-04, Lowell did finish with 36 doubles. Coupled with his steady defense, that should be enough to land him elsewhere.


"If they don't want you and you bounce back, maybe you want to have a good year to prove they should have wanted you," Lowell said at season's end. "If they do want you, you want to reward them for believing this was just a down year and not the way things are."


New Marlins manager Joe Girardi approached former Yankees teammate Jimmy Key about serving as the club's pitching coach. Key turned down Girardi, saying he wanted to spend more time at home. ...


The Braves and Cubs are among the teams that have contacted Marlins free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez. ...


Bullpen coach Luis Dorante has been offered the managing job at Double-A Carolina.



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I have a horrible feeling Lowell is going to go elsewhere, we're still going to pay a pretty good amount of his salary and he's going to have a comeback year. I don't know if it's worth it.


We definitely need to find a way to keep Gonzo, I don't want him going to the Braves or Cubs and I don't like Andino starting.

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If the objective is to cut roughly $10-13 million off of our 2005 payroll, then trading Lowell, even at a price, gets us closer to that goal. Hypothetically speaking, if we were able to limit the Marlins contribution to around $4 million, that move would get us 1/3 of the way, maybe more, closer to the goal.


But at the same time, (deep sigh) I'm not sure it's the best move the Marlins can make.

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