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Palm Beach Post: Marlins and Vlad "Talking"


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Reliever interests Marlins



By Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer




NEW ORLEANS -- The Marlins completed most of their off-season heavy lifting in the past three weeks by trading first baseman Derrek Lee and signing third baseman Mike Lowell and second baseman Luis Castillo to multiyear contracts.


But the defending World Series champions certainly aren't done.


Watch for Florida to use baseball's winter meetings, which start today at the New Orleans Marriott hotel, to go after free-agent catcher Javy Lopez, All-Star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and a reliever, possibly Armando Benitez.


The Marlins wasted no time after they officially parted with catcher Pudge Rodriguez at midnight Sunday. Less than 12 hours later, Florida was on the phone with Lopez's agent.


"I think they're evaluating exactly what they want to do at this point now that Pudge is not in their plans and they expressed some interest in Javy, but there haven't been any number exchanged. We haven't gone any further than that," said Chuck Berry, Lopez's agent.


Berry, who expects to talk to Florida's front-office members this weekend, said he has spoken to Lopez about the Marlins.


"He likes the idea," Berry said. "It's a possible fit. Being from Puerto Rico, it's very convenient being in South Florida. He's got a home in Atlanta. It's in the National League, so there are a number of positives as far as Florida goes.


"It used to be going from the Braves to the Marlins could be disappointing for a guy who has been in the playoffs every year, but the Marlins certainly put that to rest last year.''


Berry also is talking to other teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, who also have inquired about Rodriguez. Lopez, who turned 33 last month, might prefer an American League team because he is open to the idea of being the designated hitter and playing some first base as a break from catching.


Lopez made $7 million last year while hitting 42 home runs and batting.328 for the Braves. He is seeking a three- to four-year deal worth about $8 million a year. With the Marlins, he could spell Hee Seop Choi at first base to give playing time to catcher Ramon Castro.


Considered more of a long shot is the idea of Florida acquiring Guerrero, considered one of the prime free agents. The Marlins will at least look into whether they can make an offer for the right fielder, who made $11.5 million last year while batting.330 with 25 home runs for the Montreal Expos.


"They're talking," an executive from one rival National League team said of Florida's pursuit of the four-time All-Star.


Florida has ties to Guerrero, who was signed as a 17-year-old amateur by Fred Ferreira, now in the Marlins' front office. But the Marlins also are aware that Guerrero, 27, turned down a heavily backloaded five-year contract from the Expos worth more than $70 million.


The Orioles are considered the front-runner and reportedly are prepared to make a six-year offer for more than $10 million a year.

Florida's most likely acquisition out of these meetings might be a closer to replace Ugueth Urbina, a free agent who was not offered salary arbitration. The Marlins have until Dec. 19 to offer a contract to right-hander Braden Looper, who lost the closer's job to Urbina in September.


If Florida can cut a deal with Benitez or another veteran reliever, Looper will be cut loose. But would Benitez be a better fit?


Benitez has a 3.03 lifetime ERA and a career average of 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings. But he was booed out of Shea Stadium last season when he had seven blown saves in 28 opportunities for the Mets. After a brief stop with the Yankees, he finished the season with Seattle.


"We have been fairly open that the bullpen is an area we're going to keep an eye on,'' Marlins General Manager Admin Beinfest said. "We've talked about a lot of things we're going to do this weekend -- re-contacting teams in person and talking about different ideas.


"How active are we going to be? We're going to be actively speaking with other clubs on ideas. In terms of pulling the trigger on something, it's not gaugeable at this point. We will have trade discussions. Whether it culminates into something, it's too early to tell.''


Courtesy of the Palm Beach Post Vlad Talking to Marlins, Looking at Benitez

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oh come on Gee...


we all know its a longshot but let us have our fun


there hasnt even been a big rumor like this in 5 years

I know....i guess i'll let you have your fun now....i just don't want everyone to be too upset if this deal doesn't work out. And if he does sign....I'll personally make a thread apologizing for being a non-believer :thumbup

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To add fuel to the fire, the O's have yet to schedule a face to face with Guerrero, and they're hotter after Tejada considering that the M's have made on offer to him already. Perhaps this makes Vlad feel less wanted in Baltimore, like Pettitte in NY? :mischief2

It all just keeps coming together. It is getting kinda spooky.

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To add fuel to the fire, the O's have yet to schedule a face to face with Guerrero, and they're hotter after Tejada considering that the M's have made on offer to him already. Perhaps this makes Vlad feel less wanted in Baltimore, like Pettitte in NY? :mischief2

It all just keeps coming together. It is getting kinda spooky. The only thing that'll make Vlad feel less wanted in Baltimore is less money....


And the only thing Spooky would be where the Fish come up with 11 mil over 5 or 6 years to pay for Vlad....



Granted, it's nice to dream and all that...but let's put away the Pixie dust and dream a possible dream, Like Javy or Benitez.....

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Why must you try and shatter everyone's dream?


Fortunately (or maybe not) for the other believers, I am stubborn and will not give up hope until it is officially D.E.A.D.

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Of all the intangibles, I think this is the main one: Vlad has to be tired of LOSING. Baltimore has had trouble signing players for this very reason, should this be any different? He's dealt with losing his whole career, the defending World Champs schtick will (hopefully) loom largest in his mind.


Look at guys like A-Rod, who got all the money he could and ended up losing. Karl Malone took a minimum salary just for a chance at a ring. Winning means a lot to these guys, and another 6 years of losing must be a depressing thought. Eventually, he's going to have to ask if the extra 2 million will make him happy, staying in a city with so few Latins and so few wins. In the post-A-Rod era, money isn't everything. It's most, but not everything. If we can get it up to 14.5, I feel good.

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