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For those who are speculating on the direction the Marlins will take building the 2009 team, here is a recent article from the PBP with Beinfest laying out his priorities. Key sections are bolded by me.

 

Beinfest: Defense is Marlins' 2009 priority

 

By JOE CAPOZZI

 

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

 

WASHINGTON ? Hanley Ramirez hit the first pitch of Wednesday's game against Washington for a home run, the 204th for the Marlins in what has been another record-setting season of home runs for the franchise.

 

But don't be surprised if the Marlins don't hit home runs at a record pace again next season.

 

After watching Florida make a surprising run this season, Baseball Operations President Admin Beinfest thinks the Marlins can be a playoff team in 2009 with a return to the organization's preferred formula of pitching, speed and defense.

 

Despite poor pitching and defense in the first half, the Marlins rode their power hitters to stay in games and playoff contention until they finally were eliminated Tuesday in the final week of the season.

 

"We found a way this year, with the offense in the first half, to make up for some of the pitching and defense deficiencies and basically out-wail (teams) and score runs, but that's not the model we'd like to subscribe to long-term," he said before Florida's 9-4 win against the Nationals.

 

"The pitching came back and you can see what it did for the team. For that reason, there's a lot of optimism (for 2009) because when we have that starting pitching lined up, that's how we're going to win consistently."

 

That philosophy - which the front office used for the makeup of the 2003 championship team - will help determine how many of the Marlins' 17 arbitration-eligible players the team keeps or tries to trade this winter.

 

Six of those players have combined to hit 145 home runs - second baseman Dan Uggla (31), first baseman Mike Jacobs (32), third baseman Jorge Cantu (29), left fielder Josh Willingham (14), center fielder Cody Ross (22) and right fielder Jeremy Hermida (17).

 

Beinfest, following organization policy, wouldn't discuss the fate of specific players, but he offered praise for Cantu, who has hit .277 with 29 home runs and 94 RBI in his first season with the Marlins.

 

"You go to replace Miguel Cabrera, who's one of the best offensive players in the game, and (Cantu) did it admirably," Beinfest said.

 

Three starters also are among the arbitration group, and indications are right-handers Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson are more likely to return than left-hander Scott Olsen.

 

Johnson and right-hander Anibal Sanchez returned from injuries in the middle of the season, and rookie Chris Volstad was called up in July from the minors. All three bolstered a starting rotation that struggled in the first half and gave reason to believe the Marlins will have a strong staff in 2009.

 

Sanchez and Volstad can be paid the league-minimum because they are under club control. So the team probably will try to trade Olsen, who could get $2.5 million.

 

Another factor that will help determine who stays will be defense. Florida has played better defense in the second half, but was 15th in the National League in both errors (115) and fielding percentage (.980) entering Wednesday.

 

"We need to catch the ball better next year to go along with this pitching and we need to put the ball in play a little bit more," Beinfest said.

 

"That by no means takes away from the four infielders and what they've done in scoring runs, but you'd like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back."

 

Along with Ramirez (33 home runs), who is signed to a long-term contract, Florida became the first team in history to have all four infielders hit at least 25 home runs.

 

"If this whole team stays together for another year, it'll be a real exciting year We have a high ceiling," reliever Logan Kensing said.

 

But few expect the existing team to stay together. The process starts next week when owner Jeffrey Loria begins meeting with his front office.

 

"We will sit down with Jeffrey pronto and talk to him about how we want to proceed" Beinfest said. "There's no question we have our challenges with the 17 arbitration guys and we'll just deal with it. We'll get payroll from him and just move forward."

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Well we heard the same thing last year.Defense Needs To Improve

 

How are they going to do it?

Andy Fox and Bo Porter are staying so no change there.

 

Maybin will play center and Cody on one corner so that should be solid. I think Hammer is gone so we will see if Hermida recovers from surgery - the one to remove his head from his a$$ - but no upgrade there.

 

They will trade at least one of the right sided infielders if not two. Gaby and Cantu platooning at first should be better than Jacobs.

If Uggla goes Coughlin will not be a defensive upgrade but Fredo would.

 

Cantu/ McPhereson platoon at third would not be an upgrade.

 

Baker is steady but not stellar defensively. Lookng to add a right-handed backup catcher perhaps. Room for improvement.

 

Then there is the enigma of Hanley. How are the Marlins going to get him to use the tools God gave him? That's the seventy million dollar question.

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Well we heard the same thing last year.Defense Needs To Improve

 

How are they going to do it?

Andy Fox and Bo Porter are staying so no change there.

 

Maybin will play center and Cody on one corner so that should be solid. I think Hammer is gone so we will see if Hermida recovers from surgery - the one to remove his head from his a$$ - but no upgrade there.

 

They will trade at least one of the right sided infielders if not two. Gaby and Cantu platooning at first should be better than Jacobs.

If Uggla goes Coughlin will not be a defensive upgrade but Fredo would.

 

Cantu/ McPhereson platoon at third would not be an upgrade.

 

Baker is steady but not stellar defensively. Lookng to add a right-handed backup catcher perhaps. Room for improvement.

 

Then there is the enigma of Hanley. How are the Marlins going to get him to use the tools God gave him? That's the seventy million dollar question.

 

I dont see us platooning cantu hes gonna be a regular stater at 3rd or 1st i bet 3rd also he hits both righties and lefties. Dallas and Gaby can battle it out at 1st. Some ones gonna be the odd man out on the bench probably dallas cause i dont think hes great on d and gaby apparantly doesnt k much and walks alot along with playing good d and if uggla stays we dont need his power. Fredo cant be a regualr starter we saw that this year when he had to play alot of games straight and got worn out. I wonder if Uggla could play 3rd i bet he can and throw cantu back at 2nd. But thats a down grade at 2nd cause uggla was good there but it strengthens the left side. I love bakers bat and want him in as much as possible, and the runners running on him are mostly the pitchers fault, also he calls a good game. I have no idea who we could get though treanor is good on d but terrible with the bat. I have a feeling hanleys d imporves next year.

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"That by no means takes away from the four infielders and what they've done in scoring runs, but you'd like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back."

= Coghlan

 

 

He cant play D at all though and even though i thin hanley will improve your 2nd basemen cant be making around 20 erros along with your ss 13 or so. What about Raynor.

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"That by no means takes away from the four infielders and what they've done in scoring runs, but you'd like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back."

= Coghlan

 

 

He cant play D at all though and even though i thin hanley will improve your 2nd basemen cant be making around 20 erros along with your ss 13 or so. What about Raynor.

Coghlan's D is no worse than Uggla's when he came into the league. And he'll only improve. And as I've said before, Andino is a fine late inning defensive replacement if Coghlan is that bad. I know the article is about improving D but that paragraph screams Coghlan.

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"That by no means takes away from the four infielders and what they've done in scoring runs, but you'd like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back."

= Coghlan

Coghlan is a defensive downgrade from Uggla. Plus, Uggla did a lot of things well this season. He was our best hitter with RISP and he got on base a bunch. If anything that part of the article is more about replacing Jacobs.

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"That by no means takes away from the four infielders and what they've done in scoring runs, but you'd like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back."

= Coghlan

Coghlan is a defensive downgrade from Uggla. Plus, Uggla did a lot of things well this season. He was our best hitter with RISP and he got on base a bunch. If anything that part of the article is more about replacing Jacobs.

 

Maybe, but replacing Jacobs isn't necessarily going to address those things, especially with the guys we're talking about platooning there. So you have to think he's telling Uggla he's not safe.

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Defense will come as Jacobs and Uggla will be gone

Hopefully Coughlan gets a lot of Practice in Spring Training.

If Cantu Play's 1st his error Total will surly go down and at 3rd he'll be more expirienced over there After all it's not easy just walking over and Playing at the HOTCORNER.

Hanley has been getting better every season and Gaby is a Gold Glover to Be at 1b

 

In the OF Cody IS Great Defensivly, Maybin Looks Good defensivley in his breif showing, especially tracking balls down with his speed and Hermida as long as he hustles and uses that one tool he was said to have we'll be fine.

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"That by no means takes away from the four infielders and what they've done in scoring runs, but you'd like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back."

= Coghlan

Coghlan is a defensive downgrade from Uggla. Plus, Uggla did a lot of things well this season. He was our best hitter with RISP and he got on base a bunch. If anything that part of the article is more about replacing Jacobs.

 

Maybe, but replacing Jacobs isn't necessarily going to address those things, especially with the guys we're talking about platooning there. So you have to think he's telling Uggla he's not safe.

But my point is that the sentence in question doesn't even describe Uggla. He did help manufacture runs, more than anyone else on the team. He put the ball in play with RISP and he was able to walk with RISP as well. Jacobs is a guy who couldn't manufacture a run without sending the ball 400 feet and god forbid even do anything but hack at every pitch.

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Here's an article from today's Herald along the same lines:

 

Florida Marlins hope addition by subtraction improves team

By GREG COTE

The Marlins are about to do something smart even if it might not seem like it: Take a bright young team -- one that didn't miss the playoffs by much -- and shake it up.For a sweet change, this won't be the kind of shake-up that has twice before followed Marlins success -- a fire sale to drastically cut player payroll. That is the one benefit of being last in the majors in payroll: Tough to drastically cut what barely exists.

 

No, this time the shake-up will be to transform the Marlins from a power-hitting team whose home runs could not disguise its flaws into one better rooted in pitching, speed and defense.

 

The transformation might also serve to help limit the payroll increase, much to the delight of the club's cheap ownership, because several players set for big raises in arbitration won't be back. But this time the changes will improve the team.

 

The biggest surprise in the Marlins finishing 84-77 (a 13-win improvement) is they did it having batters who struck out 171, 138, 122, 119, 116 and 111 times. A seventh hitter -- that's most of the lineup -- also was on pace to top 100 if not injured.

 

Category 2 hurricanes create less wind than the Marlins did fanning in 2008. Add clunky defense, little speed and an erratic bullpen and 84 wins seems a Biblical miracle.

 

The record alone, third best in the club's 16 years, might have justified a stand-pat approach. The Marlins, though, unlike the Dolphins, are not retooling from desperation.

 

The Dolphins began their reconstruction from a cracked foundation of weakness, detonating a 1-15 team bereft of talent. The Marlins are reconfiguring from a position of strength, augmenting what's good, reducing what's bad.

 

DOUBLE DOWN?

 

An embarrassing player payroll that hovered just above $20 million this year needs urgent remedy, of course, no matter how the team evolves.

 

The long-awaited and finally approved new ballpark came with an assurance from owner Jeffrey Loria of greatly increased spending. We look forward to Loria keeping his word, and trust he won't dare wait until 2011, when the new park opens.

 

It is estimated, with 16 Marlins set for arbitration, that it would take a doubled payroll to keep this '08 team intact. The thing is, that wouldn't be smart.

 

I don't mean the doubled payroll. That would be.

 

I mean spending it to keep together the same free-swinging squad that at times played like a Sunday men's softball team, a parade of giant uppercuts aimed at fences.

 

The Marlins need to swap some power for more of a contact-hitting club that has the speed to manufacture runs when needed.

 

Second baseman Dan Uggla could be traded in the makeover (call it likely), because he has value, and because the Marlins can do without his 171 strikeouts.

 

For Uggla they might get in return a solid starting corner outfielder with speed, because chances are slim both Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida will return.

 

Mike Jacobs also is headed for the exit, personifying the type of team Florida wants to stop being: Power, but low average, mega-strikeouts, no speed, bad defense.

 

To quote Barack Obama and John McCain in a Marlins context: We need change. And change is coming.

 

Fleet Cameron Maybin seems ready to take over in center, based on his hitting as a late season call-up and the fact he covers almost as much ground as the green grass.

 

Gaby Sanchez also is ready to burst free of his minor-league shackles and take over for Jacobs at first.

 

Fast-rising minor-league star Chris Coghlan looks almost ready to take over for Uggla at second if needed. If he requires a bit more seasoning, well, Jorge Cantu played second in Tampa Bay and could play there until Coghlan was ready.

 

Cantu, playing mostly third base this year, probably should have beaten habit-selection Hanley Ramirez as team MVP. Cantu should return if only in an infield utility role, with minor-league slugger Dallas McPherson promoted to take over at third. (McPherson, a homers/strikeouts guy, is counter to the planned makeover, but his bat would help compensate for the departure of Jacobs, Hermida, perhaps Willingham and maybe even Uggla.

 

Once Coghlan is ready at second, there would be the option of moving Cantu back to third and trading McPherson.

 

Change also is coming behind the plate, where John Baker has proved himself ready to be the Marlins' best offensive catcher since Pudge Rodriguez.

 

DEEP ROTATION

 

Pitching? Closer Kevin Gregg won't return, and the sound you hear is much of South Florida chorusing a ''Hallelujah!'' Matt Lindstrom, of the 100 mph fastball but with better control than Gregg, is poised to take over.

 

Scott Olsen might not be back in the starting rotation because he could be too pricey. There would be no greater commitment to increased spending than if Loria approved re-signing Olsen. But, if not, he has enough trade value to bring a needed piece in return, such as a quality corner outfielder with speed and a strong glove.

 

Even without Olsen, the Marlins would be solid with a returning rotation led by Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad -- all 25 or younger.

 

When the makeover is done, the Marlins will have managed to do what seems impossible: Lose power, but somehow get stronger.

 

I really don't like the idea of putting Cantu back at 2nd.

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As impressive as his power numbers this year in the minors were, I am not really at all hyped about Dallas McPherson. My preferred infield is Sanchez, Uggla, Ramirez and Cantu. The way things are going, we are moving from a power team to a speed/defence team. I am fine with that. However it may be better to gradually change the philosophy of the team and not such a drastic movement.

 

This year as a team we hit 208 home runs.

Assuming a lineup of Baker (10 HR max), Sanchez (15), Coghlan (10), Ramirez (35), Cantu (30), Ross/Hermida? (20), Maybin (15) and a speedy corner OF (10-15) as talked about in the article, plus contributions from bench players, thats in the region of 160-170 homers which is a huge drop off. Basically what Im saying is keep Uggla and his 30 homers.

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"That by no means takes away from the four infielders and what they've done in scoring runs, but you'd like to be able to manufacture, put the ball in play, put a little more speed in the lineup, kind of go back to the model that was successful for us a few years back."

= Coghlan

 

I honestly think that Uggla is a good defender. He is a great player and he can play great defense. IMO what Admin said = getting Jakkkobs the hell outta here. It could mean putting Coghlan in there to replace Uggla but Jakkobs cannot do any of that either. Idk if Gaby can put the ball into play but he definitely has more speed than Jacobs ever will, and he is a great defender, so I think that Admin insinuates that he wants to get Jacobs outta here and replace him with Gaby.

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As impressive as his power numbers this year in the minors were, I am not really at all hyped about Dallas McPherson. My preferred infield is Sanchez, Uggla, Ramirez and Cantu. The way things are going, we are moving from a power team to a speed/defence team. I am fine with that. However it may be better to gradually change the philosophy of the team and not such a drastic movement.

 

This year as a team we hit 208 home runs.

Assuming a lineup of Baker (10 HR max), Sanchez (15), Coghlan (10), Ramirez (35), Cantu (30), Ross/Hermida? (20), Maybin (15) and a speedy corner OF (10-15) as talked about in the article, plus contributions from bench players, thats in the region of 160-170 homers which is a huge drop off. Basically what Im saying is keep Uggla and his 30 homers.

Your preferred infield is fine. McPherson can take over Helms role as the bench/platoon 1B/3B and obliterate RHP. They can easily have a three man platoon at the corners. Dallas murders RHP, Cantu and G. Sanchez murder LHP, and Cantu and G. Sanchez are adequate (.750+ OPS) against RHP. This would be a very productive corner infield situation.

 

I'd keep Uggla too, but I wouldn't view it solely as HR. Uggla did post a .360 OBP this year.

 

And besides, the starting lineup you have above is around 150 HR without Uggla. Assuming the Marlins get the normal 20-40 HR off the bench, which is pretty realistic if McPherson is in town and the Marlins retain a solid 4th OF, that is still a middle of the pack HR hitting team, and you'd expect the loss in pure HR production would be offset in gains of OBP and defense.

 

We're good any way Beinfest really does it. Going to be a fantastic offseason to watch.

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Guys, the writing's on the wall. Uggla will probably be traded (to save $$, if nothing else). Putting Coghlan at 2B might not improve the defense at 2B, but what we'll get for Uggla will improve the defense as a whole whether it be in the outfield or behind the plate. Coghlan brings the offensive tools that Beinfest is talking about.

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are there any gold glove caliber 2B with good contact who are free agents this year.

 

I got a feeling the fish might splurge a little in FA to make up for what they can't trade for.

First of all, how can a free agent have a good contract?

 

Secondly, we have 16 arbitration cases left and not enough money to sign those guys, let alone a splurge.

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are there any gold glove caliber 2B with good contact who are free agents this year.

 

I got a feeling the fish might splurge a little in FA to make up for what they can't trade for.

First of all, how can a free agent have a good contract?

 

Secondly, we have 16 arbitration cases left and not enough money to sign those guys, let alone a splurge.

He said good contact, not a good contract.

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Lets look at this methodically.

 

AL East starting 2B - Pedroia, Cano, Roberts, Iwamura and Hill.

AL Central - Polanco, Ramirez, Grudzielanek, Cabrera and Casilla.

AL West - Kendrick, Lopez, Kinsler and Ellis.

 

NL East - Utley, Belliard, Castillo and Johnson.

NL Central - De Rosa, Phillips, Sanchez, Matsui, Weeks and Lopez

NL West - Kent, Hudson, Baker, Velez and Iguchi.

 

Now this may be total garbage but the teams I could imagine to pursue Uggla would be Toronto, KC, Oakland, Houston, LA Dodgers and Colorado, the ones in bold.

If he was traded he would defo not go to another NL East team in my opinion. Possibly not KC and Oakland since they keep relatively low payrolls.

It would be good to hear everyone elses opinion to see if my ideas of possible destinations are realistic or not.

 

Also, I dont know if some of these guys have multi-year contracts or not, Im just making judgement on their ability etc.

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Lets look at this methodically.

 

AL East starting 2B - Pedroia, Cano, Roberts, Iwamura and Hill.

AL Central - Polanco, Ramirez, Grudzielanek, Cabrera and Casilla.

AL West - Kendrick, Lopez, Kinsler and Ellis.

 

NL East - Utley, Belliard, Castillo and Johnson.

NL Central - De Rosa, Phillips, Sanchez, Matsui, Weeks and Lopez

NL West - Kent, Hudson, Baker, Velez and Iguchi.

 

Now this may be total garbage but the teams I could imagine to pursue Uggla would be Toronto, KC, Oakland, Houston, LA Dodgers and Colorado, the ones in bold.

If he was traded he would defo not go to another NL East team in my opinion. Possibly not KC and Oakland since they keep relatively low payrolls.

It would be good to hear everyone elses opinion to see if my ideas of possible destinations are realistic or not.

 

Also, I dont know if some of these guys have multi-year contracts or not, Im just making judgement on their ability etc.

St. Louis and San Francisco will be all over Uggla if he is put up for trade. Probably Cleveland as well.

 

-----

 

Concerning other posts, we don't need a second baseman in trade or free agency if Uggla goes. We have Coghlan, who is neutral vs RHP and LHP and projects well to hit at the big league level with his BB:K rate, Amezaga who does produce adequate OBP against RHP and is one of the better middle infielder defenders in baseball, and Andino did hit RHP pretty hard in AAA and is probably the front runner for the last bench spot.

 

Splitting up 2B to Coghlan (1/2 RHP all LHP), Amezaga (1/3rd RHP), and Andino (the rest), would be a pretty solid 2B situation. That would be like 450 PA for Coghlan, 175 PA for Amezaga, and 75 PA for Andino at 2B. It would probably end up around a .750 OPS on the year, with the drop nearly all slugging, which the Marlins can easily make up through defensive gains, and slugging improvements throughout the field.

 

We really simply don't have any areas of need. We are really deep right now for Beinfest to trade the guys bringing the best packages back, and then shuffling the lineup around whichever 4-5 prominent guys are traded away.

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