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Marlins Direction Unclear


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Marlins Direction Unclear

 

November 11, 2008 by Josh Clinton

 

It didn?t take long for Marlins President Admin Beinfest to ship out first baseman Mike Jacobs to Kansas City, deploying the power-hitting lefty the day after the World Series for relief pitcher Leo Nunez. Now, nearly two weeks later, Florida has jettisoned starting pitcher Scott Olsen and left-fielder Josh Willingham to Washington for second baseman Emilio Benifacio and two single-A prospects.

 

Through dealing some of their arbitration-eligible players, the Marlins goals were seemingly to add relief pitching, defense, and speed, while shedding payroll in the process. While both of these trades were geared toward this goal, they haven?t exactly made the horizon any more clear as to what the Marlins will look like next season. In fact, they?ve only made it more unpredictable.

 

Now, after dealing three of their bigger bargaining chips, Florida is still in need of depth at the catcher position. They have made it known they are completely comfortable with John Baker behind the plate, but are still looking to add at the position. There were trade rumors about Texas? Max Ramirez, but those faded when Boston entered the picture.

 

At first base, the Marlins are left with several options. Jorge Cantu could shift over from the hot corner in order to make room for a new power-hitting lefty, Dallas McPherson. Gaby Sanchez, a 25-year-old double-A Most Valuable Player, is also in the mix.

 

At second base, the addition of Benifacio only intensifies the notion that All-Star Dan Uggla could be the next Marlin to be leaving Miami, despite hints made by Beinfest to the media that he will not be dealt. The Marlins now have Benifacio, Uggla, and highly touted double-A prospect Chris Coghlan all in the mix, and all offer completely different attributes.

 

Uggla is a major power contributor, and in line for a big pay raise. Traded to the Nationals just this July from Arizona, Benifacio is a switch-hitting defensive wiz kid with exceptional speed. Coghlan has been viewed as the Marlins future at the position, with a left-handed bat who provides a great walk to strikeout ratio and a career .293 minor-league average.

 

Third base stays as much as a mystery as it did before this off-season, with Cantu, McPherson, and Wes Helms all in the mix. It?s possible the Marlins could platoon McPherson against right-handed pitching and Helms against left-handed pitching, using Cantu at first in order to utilize his uncanny ability to hit both equally.

 

It seems as if the only two things made a little more clear in Florida through recent trades are the outfield and pitching rotation. They seem to be set on giving Jeremy Hermida one last chance to blossom in right-field, which could contract mixed results by fans. Cameron Maybin is practically a lock to roam Dolphin Stadiums? spacious center-field, and Cody Ross clearly earned a full time position in left-field.

 

In the rotation, the goal was clear: move Olsen in order to free space for super-stuff left-hander Andrew Miller, acquired from Detroit in 2007. The bullpen is a shuffle of several candidates, and even the closer role is quite open with Kevin Gregg on the way out (even though Matt Lindstrom holds a firm grip on the ninth inning at this point).

 

Florida?s attempts to clarify its many question marks going into 2009 have somehow only made things even more confusing up to this point, at least on the surface. Hopefully, the Marlins front office starts to scratch that surface very soon.

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The offseason just began.

 

And? I think most of us assumed a lot of these question marks would have become a little bit clearer after dealing those three guys. That hasn't been the case.

 

And I think things will look a lot clearer in March.

We still have projected starters, and we still have options.

 

...Free Agency has not begun yet, either...we'll see what happens.

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