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12/11/2003 12:33 PM ET

Marlins explore possible deals

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com


NEW ORLEANS -- Smart spending enabled the Marlins to put together a World Series championship team.

Marlins management heads to the Winter Meetings this weekend hopeful of duplicating their 2003 success.


"We're going to follow up on ideas and we're going to be open to new ideas," general manager Admin Beinfest said.


But Beinfest cautions that just because the Marlins are noted for wheeling-and-dealing in the past doesn't necessarily mean they will complete any blockbuster moves in New Orleans.


"There really is only two times that everybody in the league is together, the GM meetings [in November], and the Winter Meetings," Beinfest said. "We're going to see what's going on."


Right now there is a lot of speculation of what the Marlins may be prepared to do. The team is exploring whether it is possible to sign either catcher Javy Lopez or outfielder Vladimir Guerrero.


Lopez may be receptive to an offer similar to what catcher Ivan Rodriguez recently turned down, two-years for $16 million with an option for a third year that would up the package to $24 million.


Guerrero, meanwhile, will be more costly. Both sides share a past history. Beinfest and a number of other front office personnel used to work for the Expos.


Beinfest declined comment on specific players.


In order to sign a high-priced free agent, however, the Marlins would have to be creative. Also, signing a big-name player could come at the expense of other players.


Owner Jeffrey Loria has given Beinfest a $60 million payroll range.


Beinfest did say the Marlins are in the market for relief help, particularly a closer. Reportedly, there is strong interest in Armando Benitez.


Already, a number of quality relievers have changed teams. In recent days, Tim Worrell signed with the Phillies, strengthening their improved bullpen that added closer Billy Wagner in November.


Asked if there still are quality relievers on the market, Beinfest emphatically says, "yes."


"I'm confident enough that we'll be able to add a quality player," he said.


Over the past few days, the Marlins have been focused on their arbitration-eligible players. Their list includes, shortstop Alex Gonzalez, pitchers Brad Penny, A.J. Burnett, Carl Pavano, Mark Redman, Braden Looper, catcher Ramon Castro and right fielder Juan Encarnacion.


Encarnacion is now expected back. And there is a chance the team will make a multiyear offer to Gonzalez, which would mean the entire infield would be signed for more than one season.


The Marlins promise to be active at the Winter Meetings. They could surprise by making a big splash with a high-profile signing. But that is not a given.

"We are always looking to improve," Beinfest said.


But they will do so by spending smartly to remain within their budget.


Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Many of you say Is your least favorite.


Reason why: He is quiet and when it comes to the end of the Season he always puts up solid number: .270+. 15+ homers, 75+ RBI's.


No errors defensively.

Yes, everyone doesnt like him because he puts up solid numbers... :rolleyes:


How about, Encarnacion has greater potential and we have yet to see it. How about we are paying him quite a lot of money to put out only 'solid' production. He strikes out quite a bit and is almost as anti clutch as Lee was. Dont get me wrong, he has his moments, but more often he doesnt have them.

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Many of you say Is your least favorite.


Reason why: He is quiet and when it comes to the end of the Season he always puts up solid number: .270+. 15+ homers, 75+ RBI's.


No errors defensively.

listen i am his biggest fan but avg/obp/slg/ops are ALL BELOW league average for an OFer


that is f***in pathetic..... he has way too much potential to be BELOW the LEAGUE AVERAGE

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I am a proud member of the Juan Encarnacion fan club. We are about 5 strong.


But I don't see how this article can say he is expected back when every other source I've come across has said he is most likely gone. It would be interesting to see how this all came about.

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if i read one more article that just speculates or ponders what the fish will do next im gonna shoot something


same goes if juan enc comes back

Dude, that is what the baseball offseason is all about. Its the funnest of any sport BY FAR.

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