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Lopez, Benitez and Worrel

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Lopez is possible solution at catcher


By Juan C. Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Posted December 9 2003


The situation behind the plate isn't much different for the Marlins than it was a year ago. They are prepared to start the season with a Mike Redmond-Ramon Castro tandem while remaining open to other possibilities.


Among them is free agent catcher Javy Lopez.



Coming off a career year, Lopez might be more receptive to an offer similar to the one Rodriguez turned down Sunday night. Rodriguez would settle for nothing less than four years. He also was unwilling to entertain any deals calling for a pay cut from his 2003 salary of $10 million.


What Rodriguez left on the table was a two-year contract guaranteeing $16 million with a vesting option on a third year, bringing the maximum value to $24 million. About an hour before Sunday's midnight deadline for teams to offer their free agents arbitration, Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, told the Marlins his client wasn't interested.


"[boras]led me to believe at that time that there were offers from other clubs that did not involve a pay cut from his 2003 salary and four years was being offered elsewhere," said Marlins general manager Admin Beinfest, who was contractually precluded from offering Rodriguez arbitration. "When you look at a player and bringing him back, you have to make sure it fits and does not deter from other areas that need to remain strong in order for us to be competitive."


Rodriguez issued a statement after the deadline, thanking fans for their support and expressing regret at the evening's outcome.


"It was a privilege to be a part of this world championship team and it is unfortunate the ownership chose not to keep the club together," Rodriguez's statement read, "as I felt we had the players to repeat as world champions."


A year older than Rodriguez and a fellow Puerto Rico native, Lopez, 33, set career highs in 2003 with 43 homers and 109 RBI, and had a 1.065 on-base plus slugging percentage. The Braves chose not to offer him salary arbitration, making Lopez an even more attractive option since the team that signs him won't lose a draft pick.


Most of the speculation regarding Lopez has centered around the Baltimore Orioles, a team that made a multiyear pitch to Rodriguez last offseason. Lopez's agent, Chuck Berry, last week confirmed there was mutual interest but figures had not been exchanged.


If the offers are close, Lopez might take a serious look at playing close to his homeland and remaining in the National League East. In any case, the Marlins are prepared to move forward with Castro and Redmond if a Lopez bid does not materialize.


Castro, who is playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, is awaiting trial on charges stemming from an August rape allegation in Pittsburgh. He has spent the last two seasons playing sparingly as the Marlins' third catcher.




Mike Powers, the agent for free agent right-hander Armando Benitez, confirmed that the Marlins have inquired about his client. Nothing is imminent as Benitez is waiting to see what kind of deal Keith Foulke receives.


In July, the Marlins were close to acquiring Benitez from the Mets before agreeing to terms with the Rangers on Ugueth Urbina.


"Once Foulke sets the table for closers this year I think the rest takes its place from there," said Powers, adding that the prospect of playing for the Marlins appeals to Benitez, a native of the Dominican Republic. "There are [Marlins] players he's very good friends with. I think anybody would look at that situation as an attractive one."


Another free agent closer that might pique the Marlins' interest is Tim Worrell, who saved 38 games for the Giants in 2003 filling in for the injured Robb Nen. According to his agent, Paul Cohen, Worrell is considering offers from four teams and should have a decision by mid-week.


Cohen would not reveal the teams, but the Braves are considered the frontrunners for his services.


Juan C. Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected].





Copyright ? 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel



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Dec 4: The Orioles have opened talks with free-agent catcher Javy Lopez. "We've had a couple of conversations [with the Orioles]," Lopez's agent, Chuck Berry, said yesterday. "There's no offer out on the table, but I think we'll be talking soon about some dollars and cents." Lopez to Baltimore would make plenty of sense, but no offer will be made until after the arbitration deadline passes.

Source: Baltimore Sun



Dec 7: With Rod Beck out of the picture, the Rockies are looking at Armando Benitez and Antonio Alfonseca as possible closers.

This apparently is how far Benitez has fallen. We're not sure whether it's worse that he's viewed as a weaker option than Beck or a similar option to Alfonseca.

Source: Denver Post



Dec 6: The Braves would like to sign free agent Tim Worrell to act as John Smoltz's top setup man.

There haven't been any teams showing interest in Worrell as a closer, but that could change once Keith Foulke and Eddie Guardado sign. For that reason, expect Worrell to take some time to make up his mind.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Dec 8: Tim Worrell was negotiating with two teams Sunday and Atlanta was thought to be one.

Worrell could be signed soon. He won't cost the signing team a first-round pick, so in that way at least, he's a better investment than Keith Foulke or Eddie Guardado.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Benitez and Worrel could be nice options for closers that would most likely come pretty cheap.


Benitez has the more upside because he is younger at 31 but has struggled as of late. But maybe playing in a smaller market team without so much media attention should take pressure off him. Also playing in a pitchers park also should help him.


Id take Benitez

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ERA 3.77

W-L 6-4

SV 43

SVO 46

SV% 93.5%

IP 76.1

WHIP 1.30

HR/9 1.41

K/BB 2.02

BB/9 4.72

K/9 10.97

H/9 6.96



ERA 2.27

W-L 1-0

SV 33

SVO 37

SV% 89.2%

IP 67.1

WHIP 1.05

HR/9 1.36

K/BB 3.16

BB/9 3.34

K/9 10.56

H/9 6.15



ERA 2.96

W-L 4-4

SV 21

SVO 29

SV% 72.4%

IP 73

WHIP 1.37

HR/9 0.74

K/BB 1.83

BB/9 5.05

K/9 9.25

H/9 7.27


Last 3 Years

ERA 3.03

W-L 11-8

SV 97

SVO 112

SV% 86.6%

IP 216.2

WHIP 1.25

HR/9 1.08

K/BB 2.33

BB/9 4.40

K/9 10.26

H/9 6.81

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