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Willis, Cabrera are still upbeat

BARRY JACKSON

 

For Dontrelle Willis, watching several teammates jettisoned by the Marlins has been akin to "all your friends transferring to new schools.''

 

Still, the Marlins' two remaining stars -- Willis and Miguel Cabrera -- have a message for fans: They want to remain Marlins long-term. (Management has said it's very likely Willis and Cabrera will return in 2006, but long-term extensions appear unlikely.)

 

''I hope to be here as long as the team is here,'' Willis said. "It's unfortunate what's going on around me, [but] it's a great situation for me. I love South Florida. It's my home. The Marlins are the only team that gave me a chance and believed in me.''

 

Cabrera, who isn't eligible for free agency until after 2009, is happy about now being able to play third base full time. ''I love third base,'' he said Saturday after signing autographs at Hollywood Collectibles. "I'll be more in the game there...

 

"I don't feel sad [about the trades]. We got good prospects. Let's try the young guys and see what happens. . .. . Manager Joe Girardi is a good thing for us. He'll make us play the right way. . . . I want to play here.''

 

Is he worried about not having protection in the lineup? "I don't believe in that. I know a lot of players without protection and they still hit.''

 

Willis, who won't be eligible for free agency until after 2008, said ''a ton of people'' have approached to commiserate. 'I [tell them], `It's all right. I'm going to continue to smile and work hard.' . . . I'm going to stay positive. That's the only way I've [ever] been.''

 

Still, the trades stung him, especially Wednesday's deal sending Juan Pierre to the Cubs. ''This is all new to me,'' he said. ``I'm a 23-year-old going through something unheard of in sports.

 

"It's not only teammates, but your friends leaving in such a rapid-fire pace. Juan's my best friend, bottom line. I was hoping [the Marlins] would overlook him.''

 

Willis, who stands to make around $4 million next season if he goes to arbitration, said he's trying not to pay attention to simmering negativity. "The toughest thing is when people are standing in your face telling you you're not going to be good. It [stinks]. I don't feel that way.''

 

Willis also isn't worried that a potentially subpar offense could impact his record. ''You've got enough problems on your plate just trying to get hitters out,'' he said.

 

Though he says he's not ''vocal,'' he will not shy away from a leadership role with rookie pitchers. "I lead by example.''

 

Of Girardi, Willis said: "He called [Friday] to see how I was doing. I like him. He's a very intelligent, articulate guy, a winner.''

 

And one other thing: Even though he could end up being a better hitter than some Marlins regulars, Willis -- who hit .261 in 2005 -- has ''no desire to play another position'' occasionally on days he's not pitching. "I don't want to take hacks away from position players.''

 

Dontrelle Willis & Miguel Cabrera sure don't plan on losing 100 games next season. :shifty

 

Seriously, good to hear the two of them trying to stay upbeat about next season. It's probably more just "saying the right thing" than actually meaning it, but regardless they're lucky to have two such talented kids. Cabrera sounds like he's just happy to get back to his natural position. Even with the payroll purge, these are two guys that any team would kill to build their franchise around. And the good thing is they're both still so young, they can grow up with the new crop of kids next season.

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It's a shock, no doubt. It'll take everyone some time to accept what has happened and move on. It will be most difficult for guys like Willis and Cabrera who have already experienced championship caliber ball. All the rest of the young players will be excited to have an opportunity to play. But what else can they do? What is done is done. Having a positive attitude is the best way to get through it.

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You can never say never if a team still has a core. Look at the Braves. We still have a core of players who know what they are doing. Albeit its small but hey, thats never prevented the Braves before. And this team is hungry, even on paper. You have young kids like Hermida and Jacobs who have shown they can produce at the MLB level and produce well. You have a Willingham who has shown a tremendous eye and power at all levels. You have a Hanley Ramirez who is one of the games tremendous talents at short stop. You have Chris Aguila who, when he played consistently, played well. I really think this team is going to suprise next year. Girardi is the right man for the job. It took the Marlins 7 years to figure out that a young Marlins team did not need babying anymore. It took the Marlins one offseason to figure out that they needed a coach and not a seasoned vet to lead the new era of Marlins baseball.

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Reading the line... "Sigining them long term appears unlikely"... makes me think then what is the point of keeping them around. Trust me, no one wants to see those two here more than me... I love those guys. But from a FO perspective, if you they know that they will not be signed long term.... They have to trade them sooner or later..... Right now their value is at their highest... Willis is not going to have another 20 win season... and Migue is a high as can be with his age and ability.

 

I mean, I really dont want to see these two go... Im still depressed about the whole situation... I am just surprised that they have not traded them yet.... Even though I am not advocating this in any way... I wouldnt be surprised if they do trade them during this offseason...

 

And I dont buy into "Management has said it's very likely Willis and Cabrera will return in 2006"... Why?... Just ask Delgado...

 

Damn you FO!

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It would be terrific if the FO did sign Willis at least through his arbitration years. But does it really matter one way or the other? He will continue to be under team control until after the 2009 season. Signing a contract for the next 4 years would only take the uncertainty out of what he would be paid. We would likely save some $$$ (considering escalating salaries) in trade for taking on the risk of injury.

 

Given the state of the franchise, it would make more sense to wait another year or so to see how everything plays out, IMO.

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Reading the line... "Sigining them long term appears unlikely"... makes me think then what is the point of keeping them around. Trust me, no one wants to see those two here more than me... I love those guys. But from a FO perspective, if you they know that they will not be signed long term.... They have to trade them sooner or later..... Right now their value is at their highest... Willis is not going to have another 20 win season... and Migue is a high as can be with his age and ability.

 

I mean, I really dont want to see these two go... Im still depressed about the whole situation... I am just surprised that they have not traded them yet.... Even though I am not advocating this in any way... I wouldnt be surprised if they do trade them during this offseason...

 

And I dont buy into "Management has said it's very likely Willis and Cabrera will return in 2006"... Why?... Just ask Delgado...

 

Damn you FO!

 

um sorry to crash your emo parade but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if Willis staysy healthy for his career and pitches another 15 full seasons he's going to have 13 with 15 or more wins and he'll win 20 games at least 3-4 more times, and the thing is is that he's capable to win 20 games every year for the next 15 years so don't make ignorant comments like that. and with cabrera, the kid is only getting better. he's up in hitting ranks with albert pujols, joe d, teddy ballgame so you should really educate yourself furthermore.

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Reading the line... "Sigining them long term appears unlikely"... makes me think then what is the point of keeping them around. Trust me, no one wants to see those two here more than me... I love those guys. But from a FO perspective, if you they know that they will not be signed long term.... They have to trade them sooner or later..... Right now their value is at their highest... Willis is not going to have another 20 win season... and Migue is a high as can be with his age and ability.

 

I mean, I really dont want to see these two go... Im still depressed about the whole situation... I am just surprised that they have not traded them yet.... Even though I am not advocating this in any way... I wouldnt be surprised if they do trade them during this offseason...

 

And I dont buy into "Management has said it's very likely Willis and Cabrera will return in 2006"... Why?... Just ask Delgado...

 

Damn you FO!

 

um sorry to crash your emo parade but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if Willis staysy healthy for his career and pitches another 15 full seasons he's going to have 13 with 15 or more wins and he'll win 20 games at least 3-4 more times, and the thing is is that he's capable to win 20 games every year for the next 15 years so don't make ignorant comments like that. and with cabrera, the kid is only getting better. he's up in hitting ranks with albert pujols, joe d, teddy ballgame so you should really educate yourself furthermore.

 

 

You claim to be Boog... but you are obviously not him.... OF COURSE... i know that Willis and Cabrera are going to have great careers.... and I am certain that he will have many more 20 game seasons... but if you knew anything about baseball... you would know that for his remainder here in South Florida.... chances are that he will not win 20 games again because of the team around him.... He is simply not going to get the run support and defense he needs to win 20 games...and if you think that is going to happen when a team is going to strugle to win 60 games next year, then you got another thing coming..

 

About Migue.... All i am saying that AS A MARLIN..... this is going to be one of his best seasons as a marlin.....first, he is loosing a lot of protection... he will also be walked ALOT.... and he is not going to get the same RBI opportunities that he did last year....

 

All I am saying.... that as MARLINS... their stock is as high as they will probably be.... they are young, cheap, and very talented with great 2005 seasons behind them.... i am not saying that they are not great players or that they will not have better seasons.... The way things are going around here, I just will not be surprised if they are traded in the offseason.... even though I would hate it....

 

Think about what people meant in their post... before you type your arrogant "lack of baseball knowledge" comments...

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...Manager Joe Girardi is a good thing for us. He'll make us play the right way. . .

Little jab at McKeon there? Hmmm...

 

Nice read. I liked Dontrelle's comments especially. It's true, you can't be sure if they're just being professional, but heaven knows we could use some upbeat attitudes around this club.

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Willis, who won't be eligible for free agency until after 2008, said ''a ton of people'' have approached to commiserate. 'I [tell them], `It's all right. I'm going to continue to smile and work hard.' . . . I'm going to stay positive. That's the only way I've [ever] been.''

 

Still, the trades stung him, especially Wednesday's deal sending Juan Pierre to the Cubs. ''This is all new to me,'' he said. ``I'm a 23-year-old going through something unheard of in sports.

 

"It's not only teammates, but your friends leaving in such a rapid-fire pace. Juan's my best friend, bottom line. I was hoping [the Marlins] would overlook him.''

 

Willis, who stands to make around $4 million next season if he goes to arbitration, said he's trying not to pay attention to simmering negativity. "The toughest thing is when people are standing in your face telling you you're not going to be good. It [stinks]. I don't feel that way.''

maybe i'm reading way too much into it, but dontrelle's comments don't sound very upbeat to me.

 

and what is that arbitration comment all about? who exactly are the "people" telling him he's "not going to be good"? the guys who are negotiating with him? i don't recall reading anything in the media about whether he'll be good or not.

 

edit: maybe he's talking about the team not being good...but that quote is so out of place.

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Willis, who stands to make around $4 million next season if he goes to arbitration, said he's trying not to pay attention to simmering negativity. "The toughest thing is when people are standing in your face telling you you're not going to be good. It [stinks]. I don't feel that way.''

maybe i'm reading way too much into it, but dontrelle's comments don't sound very upbeat to me.

 

and what is that arbitration comment all about? who exactly are the "people" telling him he's "not going to be good"? the guys who are negotiating with him? i don't recall reading anything in the media about whether he'll be good or not.

The arbitration process consists of both sides making their case for the salary they've requested to be assigned. The team is put in the position of bad mouthing its own player to win the case, and the player hyping his own game.

 

It's one reason why the Loria administration has typically signed players before meeting with an arbitrator.

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