Shaq-Man Posted December 9, 2003 Share Posted December 9, 2003 for you believers... from the palm beach post: Vlady or Javy may be targeted By Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Now that Pudge Rodriguez is gone, the Marlins are considering a run at two other top free agents -- outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and catcher Javy Lopez. The Marlins will go into baseball's winter meetings starting Friday in New Orleans and explore the possibility of making an offer for Guerrero or Lopez with money that Rodriguez rejected, according to sources with knowledge of the front office's strategies. Landing a top name like Guerrero would be the kind of splash the Marlins would like to make as they try to win political support for a new ballpark. Guerrero was signed as a 17-year-old amateur in 1993 by Expos scout Fred Ferreira, who now works in Florida's front office. Guerrero, 27, made $11.5 million while batting.330 with 25 homers and 79 RBI for the Montreal Expos last season, despite missing nearly two months with a herniated disk. If the Marlins land the four-time All-Star, he could play right field, with rookie Miguel Cabrera moving to left and Jeff Conine to first base. But he would be out of Florida's price range unless he agreed to what one league source called "a creative contract." Such a deal could be contingent on ballpark construction, such as the four-year, $32 million contract signed by third baseman Mike Lowell last week, or it could include deferred money. On Friday, Guerrero rejected a heavily backloaded five-year contract from the Expos worth more than $70 million. Lopez, who turned 33 last month, made $7 million in 2003 while posting his best offensive season, batting.328 with 43 home runs and 109 RBI for the Atlanta Braves. The native of Puerto Rico is said to be seeking a three- to four-year deal that would pay him $7 million to $8 million a season. Guerrero and Lopez both are being pursued by the Baltimore Orioles, among other teams. But like the Marlins, the Orioles probably can't afford both. With Rodriguez rejecting the team's final contract offer Sunday night, the Marlins are prepared to defend their World Series title with the catching tandem of Ramon Castro and Mike Redmond. Rodriguez, in declining to return to Florida late Sunday night, rejected a deal worth $24 million for three years: $8 million each for two years, plus a vested option for the third year. Florida's initial offer was for $14 million for two years, well shy of the four-year, $40 million that the 10-time All Star was seeking. "We will be looking at a lot of different things,'' General Manager Admin Beinfest said. "We have a lot of balls in the air right now. We're in an ever-changing environment. We'll look at players not offered arbitration and non-tendered after Dec. 20.'' Miami native Rafael Palmeiro, a member of the 500 home-run club, could be on Florida's radar. He made $9 million last season with Texas and is expected to take a pay cut. Palmeiro is 39 but he would provide a left-handed bat and could share time at first base with Hee Seop Choi. Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, told the Marlins he had spoken with four other teams interested in offering the catcher a four-year deal. Whether he can get $40 million is another question. The Cubs, A's and Tigers are among teams interested in catchers. But the Cubs may have an eye on Pittsburgh's Jason Kendall if the Pirates pay a portion of the $42 million left on his four-year contract. (The Marlins are not interested in Kendall unless the Pirates paid more than half, something Pittsburgh's financially strapped front office can't afford.) The Dodgers would have a spot for Rodriguez if they can trade Paul LoDuca. Meanwhile, the Marlins' baseball executives are said to be "perplexed" that Rodriguez declined their offer, which amounted to one total year and $2 million a year less than what he wanted to play close to his Miami Beach mansion. The front office also was miffed at a statement released early Monday by Boras and attributed to Rodriguez. "To my knowledge, I'm the only major-leaguer in recent times who won the World Series and received a post-season MVP award, and yet his club did not offer a higher salary,'' said Rodriguez, who signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Florida in 2003. "... It is unfortunate the ownership chose not to keep the club together, as I felt we had the players to repeat as world champions.'' Lowell was in Disney World on Monday with his family and could not be reached. But earlier in the morning he told Miami TV station WFOR that Rodriguez's decision was "definitely disappointing." "You want your team with Pudge as opposed to not having him, but you know, he's a big boy. He makes his decisions and we've got to move on.'' http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/conten...27313000bf.html Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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