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Luis Gonzalez may not return to Fish


Eddie Altamonte
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http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/articl...sp&c_id=fla

 

Gonzalez mulls future with Marlins

Veteran outfielder may not fit in team's plans for 2009

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

MIAMI -- In his final at-bat of 2008, Luis Gonzalez stepped up as a pinch-hitter and tapped a routine groundout to second base in the seventh inning of the Marlins' last game of the year.

Even though the five-time All-Star went down quietly, the numbers he's compiled in 18 MLB seasons speak loudly. And indications are the 41-year-old outfielder has every intention to return for a 19th season.

 

The question is: Where?

 

After the World Series, Gonzalez will file for free agency. He certainly would be open to returning to the Marlins, but both sides may end up moving in different directions.

 

Asked if he plans on playing next year, Gonzalez said: "I'd like to. But I'll sit back and see what kind of options I have, and see what's right for myself and my family."

 

Signed by the Marlins for $2 million as a free agent on Feb. 7, Gonzalez accepted a role as a situational player. He ended up starting on Opening Day in right field in place of injured Jeremy Hermida.

 

Gonzalez also saw substantial time in left field in the first half after Josh Willingham was out of action for 50 games with a back problem.

 

For most of the second half, the left-handed-hitting outfielder was used as a spot starter in either left or right field, and he was regularly used as a pinch-hitter.

 

Gonzalez appeared in 136 games and had 341 at-bats, finishing with a .261 batting average, 26 doubles, eight home runs and 47 RBIs. In 44 at-bats as a pinch-hitter, he hit .159 with a home run and five RBIs.

 

Overall, Gonzalez showed he still can be productive on the field. Off the field, his leadership and presence was invaluable to a young Florida roster.

 

"There are still things I'd like to accomplish -- 2,600 hits, 600 doubles and things like that," he said. "These are accomplishments and some things a lot of guys don't get to do."

 

Gonzalez has 596 career doubles and 354 home runs. He is 15th all-time in doubles, and reaching 600 would be special to him. Only seven players in MLB history have at least 575 doubles and 350 home runs.

 

"I know my numbers say I played a lot of games, but a majority of that was as a pinch-hitter [52 in all]," Gonzalez said. "You just try to work at it, and get better at it.

 

"For 17 years, playing every day, and this being my first year [in a pinch-hit/spot-start role], you learn to appreciate those guys. I knew they were special breeds, your Lenny Harrises, your Manny Motas, guys like that. To be one of the premier pinch-hitters in the league, you are very appreciated on your club."

 

A role Gonzalez may end up embracing is being a designated hitter, which would mean heading to the American League.

 

"If I do come back, it will be my 19th season in the Major Leagues," he said. "It just depends on the situation. I could end up in the American League, and I'd be perfect for the DH. Obviously, I'm not going to hit as many home runs as I used to, but I think my extra-base-hit numbers will be there. I hit 26 doubles not playing every day. If you get 400-500 at-bats, I could very easily have been in the mid-30s or low 40s."

 

With more than a dozen key players eligible for arbitration, the Marlins front office is busy deciding what to do with the nucleus of the roster.

 

The team recently signed Wes Helms to a two-year, $1.9 million contract. Helms, for now, is providing a veteran presence. But Helms is an infielder, who plays first and third base.

 

The Marlins are mulling over what to do in the outfield. Hermida, Willingham, Cody Ross and Alfredo Amezaga -- who also plays infield -- are up for arbitration.

 

The role that Gonzalez held in 2008 may not be available in '09.

 

Still, the impact Gonzalez made on his teammates is undeniable.

 

Catcher Matt Treanor commonly called Gonzalez, "Uncle Gonzo."

 

A number of players looked to him for guidance, and his professionalism helped keep the team relaxed and in line.

 

The fact that the Marlins finished with a winning record and flirted with making the playoffs made the season both exciting and frustrating.

 

"It was fun. But it was disappointing at the same time because nobody expected us to be where we were at," Gonzalez said. "We made a run all the way to September. I think, all and all, if you look back at our season, August was the tell-tale time. We couldn't string two wins together.

 

"For me, I needed a little more patience. It was fun for the simple fact that I was in a different role. Usually, when I was helping younger players out, I was playing at the same time. This year was a lot different for me. I was finding myself on the bench, in a different situation. It was a period of adjustments, too. I didn't really know how to be a pinch-hitter. I still feel I have a ways to go in that, too."

 

I guess we can subtract Gonzo's salary from the payroll

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Good. I know he's had a nice career and everything, but he needs to hang it up. He started the season okay but got exponentially worse as the season went on. Nothing but weak pop-ups and grounders without an ounce of clutch. And there's something that isn't right about a grown man that throws like a chick. I'm not trying to bash him, he is a very classy guy and I wish him the best. But he needs to be a coach/commentator and not a player anymore.

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Good. I know he's had a nice career and everything, but he needs to hang it up. He started the season okay but got exponentially worse as the season went on. Nothing but weak pop-ups and grounders without an ounce of clutch. And there's something that isn't right about a grown man that throws like a chick. I'm not trying to bash him, he is a very classy guy and I wish him the best. But he needs to be a coach/commentator and not a player anymore.

Well, I think it was more that he's a bad pinch hitter. The first part, where he was good, was when he was starting after Hammer got injured.

 

He hit .277/.345/.443 in 333 PA as a starter and .156/.278/.222 as a sub. I think that's still good enough to start for some teams.

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I, too, have visions of him going to the Rays for two reasons: 1) He's from Tampa (would be the Andre Dawson, return home to finish career move) and 2) They're DH spot has been one of their weaknesses this season.

 

Not that he'd necessarily be a huge upgrade, but I believe his production from regular playing time warrants some consideration.

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great while it lasted, time to move on. What gets me thinking is, who will be our vet next year? :Batter LET'S START WITH THE METS!

 

guesses anyone?

 

I thought that was the point of signing Wes Helms. Isn't he supposed to be the vet?

 

Yea... At this point though, I don't know how neccessary a veteran guide is. These guys aren't in middle school... They're becoming vets themselves at this point. I mean, Uggla and Jacobs are in their late 20's, and Ross and Cantu are approaching that as well. The guys on the mound may need something along those lines, which is why I'd be in favor of re-signing Rhodes.

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great while it lasted, time to move on. What gets me thinking is, who will be our vet next year? :Batter LET'S START WITH THE METS!

 

guesses anyone?

 

I thought that was the point of signing Wes Helms. Isn't he supposed to be the vet?

 

 

The point of the matter is, we have young pitchers, we need a guy that can guide them to pitch better. Who better than Pudge who has basically seen every batter in the league and knows how to pick the spots? Not only can we use his veteran leadership but it makes major sense to sign him. He can still flat out hit, he is still a dangerous defender, and his game calling skills believe it or not have gotten better than when he was with Texas.

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great while it lasted, time to move on. What gets me thinking is, who will be our vet next year? :Batter LET'S START WITH THE METS!

 

guesses anyone?

 

I thought that was the point of signing Wes Helms. Isn't he supposed to be the vet?

 

 

The point of the matter is, we have young pitchers, we need a guy that can guide them to pitch better. Who better than Pudge who has basically seen every batter in the league and knows how to pick the spots? Not only can we use his veteran leadership but it makes major sense to sign him. He can still flat out hit, he is still a dangerous defender, and his game calling skills believe it or not have gotten better than when he was with Texas.

 

Pudge will still be out of our price range.

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great while it lasted, time to move on. What gets me thinking is, who will be our vet next year? :Batter LET'S START WITH THE METS!

 

guesses anyone?

 

I thought that was the point of signing Wes Helms. Isn't he supposed to be the vet?

 

 

The point of the matter is, we have young pitchers, we need a guy that can guide them to pitch better. Who better than Pudge who has basically seen every batter in the league and knows how to pick the spots? Not only can we use his veteran leadership but it makes major sense to sign him. He can still flat out hit, he is still a dangerous defender, and his game calling skills believe it or not have gotten better than when he was with Texas.

 

Pudge will still be out of our price range.

 

 

 

Whether he is out of our price range or not. Pudge is not getting any younger, so expect one of those famous one year deals the Marlins never fail to put together when it's a big year that is coming.

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great while it lasted, time to move on. What gets me thinking is, who will be our vet next year? :Batter LET'S START WITH THE METS!

 

guesses anyone?

 

I thought that was the point of signing Wes Helms. Isn't he supposed to be the vet?

 

 

The point of the matter is, we have young pitchers, we need a guy that can guide them to pitch better. Who better than Pudge who has basically seen every batter in the league and knows how to pick the spots? Not only can we use his veteran leadership but it makes major sense to sign him. He can still flat out hit, he is still a dangerous defender, and his game calling skills believe it or not have gotten better than when he was with Texas.

 

Pudge will still be out of our price range.

 

 

 

Whether he is out of our price range or not. Pudge is not getting any younger, so expect one of those famous one year deals the Marlins never fail to put together when it's a big year that is coming.

 

 

I doubt it. It's John Baker's job to lose, considering what he showed the organization this year.

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I doubt it. It's John Baker's job to lose, considering what he showed the organization this year.

 

Completely agree, Baker was great for teh Fish this past season, and i honestly thing that he could have a similar year in 09. If the Fish bring a vet catcher on board it might only be for the presesence and the occasional start.

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I doubt it. It's John Baker's job to lose, considering what he showed the organization this year.

 

Completely agree, Baker was great for teh Fish this past season, and i honestly thing that he could have a similar year in 09. If the Fish bring a vet catcher on board it might only be for the presesence and the occasional start.

 

 

No complaint with Baker's bat. But if he can't improve that defense he will be the back up.

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