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Who needs a big payroll? Not the Marlins


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Found this on FOX Sports Website




Posted: 6 hours ago


The Marlins yes, the Marlins are trying to add a veteran reliever before the Aug. 31 deadline for setting postseason rosters.


Gotta love it.


The Marlins' $14.3 million payroll is the lowest in the majors, yet the team is again demonstrating that shrewd management is more important than dollars spent.


Ditto for the Twins, who rank 19th in payroll, and the A's, who rank 21st.


Oh, the playing field isn't level, and probably never will be. But low-revenue teams such as the Pirates should be embarrassed that every season is an exercise in futility. Wealthier flops such as the Orioles are an even bigger disgrace.


Heck, even certain owners are figuring out that decision-making is as important as money-making for a franchise to achieve long-term success.


Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., defending his team's budget, inadvertently violated the owners' code last week, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Everybody wants there to be a linear relationship between payroll and winning. The facts don't support that."


Actually, the owners spent years contending that the facts supported exactly that, insisting upon increased revenue sharing and even a salary cap.


Well, revenue sharing certainly is enhancing parity, but Major League Baseball is making so much money, the owners no longer can argue a cap is necessary for their survival.


In any case, the entire discussion misses the point.


If the season had ended Monday, the Twins would have reached the postseason for the fourth time in five years, and the A's for the fifth time in seven.


The two-time World Series champion Marlins, meanwhile, are just 1 1/2 games back in the National League wild-card race heading into Tuesday play.


"We look at the Minnesota and Oakland models maybe Florida's needs to be taken into consideration," one rival general manager said. "Jack your payroll up to a certain number for two or three years, then tear it down if it doesn't work."


The Marlins, though, might be the only team that can get away with such an approach, the G.M. says; they will rank near the bottom of the majors in home attendance no matter how much they spend.


Yet, they also can get away with repeated fire sales because their front office repeatedly has demonstrated superior acumen in identifying young talent.


We're still talking about a sub-.500 team, mind you, but the Marlins' 65-66 record entering Tuesday's play qualified as the eighth best in the 16-team N.L.


The Marlins were ahead of the defending N.L. champion Astros, ahead of the perennial N.L. East champion Braves, ahead of the $94 million Cubs.


While the Marlins' chances of winning the wild card were remote, one scout mused, "Without greenies and steroids, maybe their young kids will have more stamina down the stretch."


And if the Marlins continue to improve never a sure thing for a young club, as the Indians can attest they could be an even greater force next season.


Their off-season goal will be to add a young center fielder, and the track record of G.M. Admin Beinfest and his staff indicates they'll probably find the next Grady Sizemore.


Consider how the Marlins assembled their starting pitchers and everyday players:




LHP Dontrelle Willis: Acquired in six-player trade with Cubs in which the Marlins parted with right-handers Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca, March 27, 2002.



RHP Josh Johnson: Fourth-round draft pick, 2002.


LHP Scott Olsen: Sixth-round draft pick, 2002.


RHP Ricky Nolasco: Acquired from Cubs in Juan Pierre trade, Dec. 2005.


RHP Anibal Sanchez: Acquired from Red Sox in Josh Beckett trade, Nov. 2005.




C Miguel Olivo: Signed as free agent after he was released by Padres, Jan. 2006.


1B Mike Jacobs: Acquired from Mets in Carlos Delgado trade, Nov. 2005.


2B Dan Uggla: Acquired from Diamondbacks in Rule 5 draft, Dec. 2005.


SS Hanley Ramirez: Acquired in Beckett trade.


3B Miguel Cabrera: Signed at age 16 as non-drafted free agent, 1999.


LF Josh Willingham: 17th-round pick, 2000.


CF Reggie Abercrombie: Acquired on waivers from Diamondbacks, April 2005.


RF Jeremy Hermida: 1st-round pick, 2002.


Thus, in a span of three months in 2002, the Marlins added four potential cornerstones Willis in a trade and Johnson, Olsen and Hermida in the draft.


Chances are, unless the Marlins secure financing for a new ballpark, they won't be able to afford all of those players long-term.


No problem.


Beinfest and Co. will just find some more.

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