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Marlins GM: Trade talks heating up


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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Trade talks have intensified for the Marlins over the last 36 hours, and the club may be primed to complete a deal before the Winter Meetings wrap up on Thursday.

 

Without offering specifics, Florida general manager Admin Beinfest noted that since the meetings began, several new ideas have surfaced that have caught the team's attention.

 

"I would say there are some new things that we've pursued over the last 36 hours, and maybe there is a chance we could consummate [a deal]," Beinfest said early Tuesday night. "But I don't have a good feel at this time. It will revolve around the areas that we have talked about already."

 

The areas the Marlins are looking at are center field and a potential closer.

 

In the meetings on the grounds of Disney World, Beinfest noted: "We're not coming here for the thrill rides."

 

A prime center field target is Tampa Bay's Rocco Baldelli, who likely will command a young starting pitcher.

 

Interest in Baldelli intensified on Monday, and to secure a deal may involve a package that would include one of the four rookies in the Marlins rotation this past season.

 

The team will not trade Josh Johnson, and it is very reluctant to move Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez or Ricky Nolasco.

 

"I don't want to give false hope to the media, or our fans, but we are active," Beinfest said. "Again, it takes two to tango. We've been through this drill before. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. But there are some new things we have followed up on in the last 36 hours, either presented or they were brought to us."

 

A number of Marlins officials are actively combing through the Dolphin Hotel lobby, interacting with representatives of other teams.

 

Signing a high-profile free agent isn't part of the team's plans at this time. Because of budget restraints, the Marlins are seeking making deals for affordable parts.

 

"People want to improve their clubs," Beinfest said. "We talk to teams. They want to be active because this is the time to try to make your team better. Whether it's trying to sign a high-profile free agent or moving around some prospects, people want to do stuff. It's just a matter of how they are set up and if it makes sense."

 

Pitching is the luxury the Marlins most enjoy. Organizationally, there is depth throughout their farm system.

 

Complete coverage >

 

 

Typically, if the Marlins move pitching through a trade, they'd seek pitching in return.

 

Another plus the Marlins have is, should all four rookie starters from 2006 return, they'd each make the league minimum of $380,000 next year. And their arbitration period doesn't kick in until after the 2008 season.

 

It's for those reasons that the Marlins are so cautious about moving their current rotation. Also, the team wants to have additional starting pitching depth as insurance to guard against injury or a performance drop off.

 

That makes Sergio Mitre, Jose Garcia and Yusmeiro Petit valuable in the eyes of the front office.

 

"It's very important to have those people in place," Beinfest said. "They are very important parts to us. It's a long season, and you are going to need everybody."

 

Beinfest repeated that there are closer candidates from within, including Matt Lindstrom, Henry Owens and Taylor Tankersley. Perhaps converting one of their current starters like Nolasco to closer is another possibility.

 

Ideally, the team would like to have someone with experience in the back end, either as closer or eighth-inning options. Milwaukee right-hander Derrick Turnbow fits the profile.

 

In Winter Meetings-related news, National League Rookie of the Year Hanley Ramirez was at the Trade Show as part of a promotion for Pro-Start Athletics.

 

The 22-year-old shortstop is endorsing an instructional hitting tool called "Hit Like A Big Shot!"

 

Ramirez is the Marlins' second Rookie of the Year. In 2003, Dontrelle Willis won the award. Ramirez signed autographs and mingled with fans at the Trade Show for a couple of hours.

 

http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/...sp&c_id=fla

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I really do like the idea of converting Nolasco to a closer, out of all our starting pitchers I think he'd be the most effective in that role. However, that obviously would depend on if we give up any other starting pitchers for a CF. I have a feeling that whatever hole we fill first, that will allow us to move in a different direction either for our closer or CF.

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*wets self in anticipation*

 

 

Turnbow would be interesting to add to the mix.... any thoughts on why he stunk so bad last season?

 

I don't know where quotes like "The team will not trade Josh Johnson" come from, but okay...

 

 

Hey, if they can somehow wrangle Rocco and keep Olsen, Anibal, and JJ, I'll squeal like a little girl.

 

Go Beinfest Go!

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Turnbow was about as wild as he looks last year. The only time he could get the ball over the plate it was right down the pipe.

 

I'd still take him, though. He still was hitting 97-99 mph consistently - if Kranitz could get his mechanics straightened out he would be a very effective closer - his mindset fits the bill.

 

I'm really hoping they can finalize a deal for Baldelli. He's exactly what we need in center. I wouldn't deal Anibal, Olsen or Johnson but i'd deal Ricky for him in a second.

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Turnbow was about as wild as he looks last year. The only time he could get the ball over the plate it was right down the pipe.

 

I'd still take him, though. He still was hitting 97-99 mph consistently - if Kranitz could get his mechanics straightened out he would be a very effective closer - his mindset fits the bill.

 

I'm really hoping they can finalize a deal for Baldelli. He's exactly what we need in center. I wouldn't deal Anibal, Olsen or Johnson but i'd deal Ricky for him in a second.

I really believe it's Upton

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Without offering specifics, Florida general manager Admin Beinfest noted that since the meetings began, several new ideas have surfaced that have caught the team's attention.

 

I hate to read into things but he says "new ideas." I am thinking a three way deal.

 

 

Just for fun....here is my three team deal using names we have heard (+ Willingham)

Pirates: Willingham, Petit

Rockies: Mahomes

Marlins: Hawpe + Duffy

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Without offering specifics, Florida general manager Admin Beinfest noted that since the meetings began, several new ideas have surfaced that have caught the team's attention.

 

I hate to read into things but he says "new ideas." I am thinking a three way deal.

 

 

Just for fun....here is my three team deal using names we have heard (+ Willingham)

Pirates: Willingham, Petit

Rockies: Mahomes

Marlins: Hawpe + Duffy

 

That would be awesome, but it will never, ever, happen.

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Without offering specifics, Florida general manager Admin Beinfest noted that since the meetings began, several new ideas have surfaced that have caught the team's attention.

 

I hate to read into things but he says "new ideas." I am thinking a three way deal.

 

 

Just for fun....here is my three team deal using names we have heard (+ Willingham)

Pirates: Willingham, Petit

Rockies: Mahomes

Marlins: Hawpe + Duffy

 

That would be awesome, but it will never, ever, happen.

 

It can be tweaked. There is a Hawpe/Mahomes rumor. The Buccs are willing to deal Duffy but not for Jacobs. The Rox get their pitcher and can then deal Jennings as rumored for a LFer. The Buccs get a big bat in LF and a young inexpensive pitcher. For us Hawpe provides LH power and Duffy a solid glove in center at the very least.

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There's another Roto blurb on The Nats trying to dump Ryan Church for pitching prospects.

 

The Cubs and Philly are in there making offers (if you believe what's written) and I keep thinking,"sheesh no one has more pitching prospects than us. Would I rather have Reggie Abercrombie or Ryan Church? Would I rather have Joe Borchard or Ryan Church? The answer is so obvious..."

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"Winter Meetings Rumblings

? When we polled a bunch of baseball people before these meetings to ask which prominent player was most likely to get traded, the most popular prediction was Tampa Bay's Rocco Baldelli. But the odds of Baldelli getting dealt any time soon seem to be shrinking by the minute.

Rocco Baldelli

Center Field

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

 

Profile

2006 SEASON STATISTICS

GM HR RBI R OBP AVG

92 16 57 59 .339 .302

 

 

There are a bunch of teams hunting for center fielders -- including the Rangers, Cubs, White Sox, Marlins and Rockies. But an official of one team that inquired about Baldelli said the Devil Rays asked for possibly their two best prospects -- "so I think we'll try something else. I don't think they're being too realistic."

 

An official of yet another club, however, said he foresees the Rays eventually lowering the price -- because they need to open an outfield spot for former No. 1 pick B.J. Upton. "Basically," the official said, "they need to move him, because, at some point, the limits of the lineup card come into play. They can't start more than three outfielders at one time, can they?"

 

Whats new???

 

Also

 

"The Marlins continue to hunt for a young center fielder. Three names it's believed they've talked about, besides Baldelli: Cleveland's Franklin Gutierrez, Boston's David Murphy and Tampa Bay's Elijah Dukes (although Dukes is actually a right fielder)."

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Closer could be a current starter

 

 

Nolasco might be moved to fill stopper opening

 

By Juan C. Rodriguez and Mike Berardino

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted December 6 2006

 

 

LAKE BUENA VISTA ? The Marlins won't use any of their starters to acquire Devil Rays center fielder Rocco Baldelli, but one of them could address another need.

 

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz endorsed the idea of converting a starter to a late-inning reliever, the way the Red Sox did with Jonathan Papelbon and the Cardinals with Adam Wainwright last season. The most likely candidate is Ricky Nolasco, who has a good fastball and unlike his counterparts is more of a max-effort, two-pitch guy.

 

 

 

LocalLinks

 

"It's an interesting concept," said Kranitz, who Tuesday received the Baseball America Major League Coach of the Year award. "There's no doubt about it. ... Those five guys we have are five guys we want to count on everyday, but if they can help us in the backend of the ballgame, I don't see why we wouldn't do it or at least explore that option."

 

One option the Marlins no longer are exploring is using any of their premier arms to land Baldelli. A National League official familiar with the Marlins strategy said: "Put it to rest."

 

The Marlins may put to rest the notion of turning Nolasco or any other rookie starter into a reliever before spring training. At this point, neither Kranitz nor General Manager Admin Beinfest is ready to rule out anything.

 

Beinfest said Marlins pitchers and catchers could report for spring training in two months with an unresolved closer situation.

 

"It's a very real possibility, and we may have some internal options that at the end of the day we may say, `These are really good arms, let's give them a chance' given what our other opportunities were and what it may cost us," Beinfest said. "We're working on a bunch of different ideas."

 

The Marlins may still make a late run at a Dan Kolb or Rudy Seanez. They'll also take a hard look at any pitchers not tendered contracts by next week's deadline.

 

Another option: Armando Benitez.

 

A 47-save All-Star in his only season with the Marlins (2004), Benitez has fallen out of favor with the Giants and could come cheaply. Though Benitez is due $8 million for the final season of a three-year deal, the Giants could be motivated to eat perhaps all but $1 million or $2 million for the right prospect or prospects.

 

The Marlins, while wary of his troublesome right knee, have told people they would be open to a Benitez return if the price were right. Benitez, 34, has been working with a personal trainer in South Florida, where he still maintains a home, although most of his work is limited to a stationary bicycle.

 

In the end, Beinfest may determine the arms he has in house are better than overpaying for what's available -- whether that relates to the bullpen or center field.

 

"We would rather err on keeping the pitcher too long than giving up the pitcher early and having him perform elsewhere," Beinfest said. "If the pitcher is performing and is at a reasonable rate, there will always be a need for it."

 

STADIUM FRONT

 

Keeping a promise to help the Marlins find a solution to their stadium dilemma, Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy met with local politicians and team officials in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday.

 

Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina said he spoke with DuPuy about progress toward building a stadium in Hialeah west of I-75. Sites in downtown Miami are also under consideration.

 

"I think our site is very accessible to baseball fans throughout South Florida," Robaina said. But, he added, "at the end of the day wherever this community decides baseball should be, I'll support it because my goal has always been to keep baseball in South Florida." ... Tuesday, the Marlins met with the Red Sox, perhaps to discuss a deal for David Murphy or Jacoby Ellsbury.

 

Staff Writer Sarah Talalay contributed to this report.

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