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Marlins unlikely to make major moves


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MIAMI -- Barring something overwhelming that would pique their interest, the Marlins are unlikely to make any major moves before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Following the Marlins' 5-4 win over the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, manager Joe Girardi and general manager Admin Beinfest spoke of the club staying the course with its current players.

 

"I really believe we're done trading for the year," Girardi said. "We talk about it. The feeling I get from Admin is the only way we [would] trade somebody is if someone blows us away."

 

One of the surprise teams in the league, the Marlins improved to 45-52 on Sunday after starting the season off 11-31. In a season where 20 different rookies have played, they club has made great strides.

 

While they are five games back in the loss column in the National League Wild Card standings, the front office recognizes there are a number of teams ahead of them and that playoff aspirations are a long shot at this point.

 

"We'll check the marketplace to see what opportunities are there," Beinfest said. "I'd suspect it would generally be like in the past -- to help now and into the future. Whether that turns into anything, I don't know. We'll see.

 

"We're seven games under .500 with a bunch of teams ahead of us. We'll see how it goes."

 

While no one in the organization is speaking about any specific players, numerous sources have told MLB.com that the word is out that Dontrelle Willis is extremely unlikely to be traded.

 

Willis, making $4.35 million in his first year of arbitration, is not eligible to be a free agent until after the 2009 season. The team is prepared to keep going year-to-year with the two-time All-Star and 24-year-old left-hander.

 

Marlins policy is never to say never, but in the case of Willis, it would take something so overwhelming to make them consider trading a front-line starter.

 

There is no clear definition of "overwhelming," but to give a comparison, in 2004, the Marlins traded Brad Penny, a front-line starter, to the Dodgers as part of a package that brought in Paul Lo Duca, Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota.

 

At the time, Penny was going into his fifth year of arbitration, and the Marlins brought back established big-league players.

 

For Willis, the asking price would likely be far more than a couple of prospects. And the team likely would seek pitching in return should Willis be dealt.

 

Willis is viewed by the organization as one of two centerpieces, along with third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is arbitration-eligible after this season. A three-time All-Star, Cabrera is making $472,000 this year, making him arguably the best bargain in the game.

 

Based on their big-league service time, Cabrera and Willis will qualify for free agency after the 2009 season.

 

The Marlins are surprising the league, as they remain competitive with a $15 million payroll, by far the lowest in the Major Leagues. The team is in a tight financial crunch because of an unsettled stadium situation.

 

The Marlins are negotiating with the city of Hialeah, in Miami-Dade County, for a baseball-only building. Talks are continuing, but nothing has been finalized.

 

As the team works within its budget restraints, Beinfest is pleased with the roster and development of the young players. Ironically, with a 6-7 record and 3.97 ERA, Willis is only fourth on the Marlins in victories.

 

Rookies Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen and Ricky Nolasco each have eight. But with 53 career wins, Willis has the most victories in Marlins history.

 

"We like this team, and we think they've done a nice job," Beinfest said. "They've battled and they've played with a lot of enthusiasm, things we were looking for since the season started. And they've played well since the break.

 

"As far as the trade deadline goes, it's like every year. We're on the phone, seeing what's in the marketplace, seeing if there is an opportunity. You never really know if something is going to happen or not."

 

It may be more likely that the Marlins make lesser deals. There is some interest in the market for veterans like closer Joe Borowski, reliever Matt Herges and infielder Wes Helms.

 

Still, all three have key roles with the Marlins, and it is unclear if enough would be offered to make parting with them practical.

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And here's the one from ESPN.com:

 

 

 

 

MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins say they aren't looking to make any deals before the trade deadline, and that's fine with Dontrelle Willis.

 

The Marlins' ace was the subject of frequent trade speculation earlier this season, but a surprising midseason surge has left the team less inclined to cut payroll.

 

"I really believe that we're done trading for the year," manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. "We like the club we've got. I think the only way we trade someone is if someone blows us away."

 

Rumors always heat up as the July 31 trade deadline nears. But speculation has cooled regarding Willis, who is 5-1 since starting the season 1-6.

 

"I don't hear about myself anymore," Willis said. "I don't think they want me anymore. When I was 1-6, everybody wanted me. Now I've battled back and I don't hear anything. Nobody wants me anymore, but I'm happy where I'm at."

 

Willis pitched six innings without getting a decision Sunday in a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh. Widely projected to lose at least 100 games this season, the Marlins are 34-21 since May 22.

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One of the surprise teams in the league, the Marlins improved to 45-52 on Sunday after starting the season off 11-31. In a season where 20 different rookies have played, they club has made great strides.

 

While they are five games back in the loss column in the National League Wild Card standings, the front office recognizes there are a number of teams ahead of them and that playoff aspirations are a long shot at this point.

 

 

Thank F-ing God that wasn't our position in 2003. This team is 14 games over 500 over their last 56.

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