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Neu returning to familiar turf


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Also some stuff about Cookie Rojas apparently turning down the 3B Coach job, the latest on Benitez, and the specifics on the Redman deal. If Oak can sign him by Saturday, Marlins get the additional player. If not, it's cash.

Neu will return to familiar turf

 

By Juan C. Rodriguez

 

He grew up 45 minutes away from Network Associates Coliseum. A native of Napa, Calif., Michael Neu still lives in the Bay Area. Yet the right-hander was far from crushed over the Tuesday night trade that sent him about as far from home as he could get while remaining in the majors.

 

Surprised? Yes. Disappointed? No.

 

Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane informed Neu he was a Florida Marlin, part of a deal that sent lefty Mark Redman to Oakland for the reliever and a player to be named or cash.

 

"I definitely didn't think my name would be considered in too many trades," Neu said. "I was excited, going to the team that won the World Series last year and going to a place I'm a little familiar with, playing at the University of Miami for a year."

 

That was 1999, when Neu served as the Hurricanes' bullpen stalwart and helped them win the College World Series. He was on the mound for the final out of the championship and recorded three saves in the tournament.

 

Neu took advantage of his lone season at home, learning from one of the game's best starting staffs and a premier closer in Keith Foulke. He's closed at every level of the minors, even though he lacks an overpowering fastball to go with his three other pitches (change, slider, curve).

 

The change is especially tough on left-handed batters, whom he held to a .214 average. Righties fared better, batting .295 against Neu.

 

"My thoughts right now, [closing] is not something I want to do necessarily but it's something I feel comfortable doing," he said. "I just want to be in there and have the ball in situations when the team needs me."

 

If the Athletics sign Redman, who is arbitration-eligible, the Marlins get a player. Oakland will send cash to complete the transaction if a deal with Redman is not consummated before Saturday's non-tender deadline.

 

ROJAS OUT FOR NOW

 

It doesn't appear Cookie Rojas will be reprising his role as third-base coach in 2004. Rojas, who served in that capacity from 1993-96, was offered the job around Thanksgiving but the sides could not agree on a salary.

 

"For what they offered there's no way I'm going to go back to the field," said Rojas, who played for Jack McKeon in Kansas City during the 1970s. "They have to make it worthwhile for me. If I'm the third-base coach there's a lot of responsibility there. I've been in the game 47 years, 20 of them in the coaching lines, and you just can't go down [to the field] for peanuts."

 

Rojas serves as a color analyst on the Fox Sports Net Spanish-language broadcasts in addition to working for ESPN. He's wary of leaving the booth without a more significant financial commitment, considering McKeon is on a one-year deal and could choose to retire or may not be retained after 2004.

 

"I haven't heard anything back from them so I imagine they'll go in another direction," Rojas said. "They made me an offer and I told them I couldn't accept it. They said that was all they could do."

 

Benitez deal in works

 

An industry source said the Marlins were not far apart with free-agent closer Armando Benitez. The Marlins have offered a one-year, $3 million deal, which Benitez is considering. If he doesn't accept it before Saturday's non-tender deadline, the Marlins may opt to retain Braden Looper, who is arbitration-eligible.

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i thinks he's good- for 2 mill, not 3

That's because you- don't know what you're talking about.

 

Benitez is sick, and in Florida will once again be an elite closer, something we lack, and something anyone would kill for, especially for only $3 Mill a year. For a major league club, $1 million isn't that big of a deal; if Beinfest thinks Benitez is what we need, we'll get it done.

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For a major league club, $1 million isn't that big of a deal; if Beinfest thinks Benitez is what we need, we'll get it done.

Exactly. And Benitez is what we need.

 

In fact, I'd prefer 2-years $6 Million, just so if he turns back into that elite top 5 guy we don't lose him after a one year rental.

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3 mill is too much 4 benitez, he's too shaky, i think looper can get it back together, especially with wayne's help

No. At worst Benitez has been shakey, but when you blow a save in NYC it is a little magnified. Ok. A lot magnified.

 

He has dominated at times and I would definently welcome him to play for 3 million for the Marlins.

 

Plus the media really bothered him.

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I am not here to argue that the Miami media is even in the same universe that the NY media is pressure wise. And I'm not here to say Miami's fans are harsher on their players then New York. But if there would be a list, it would be New York then Philly then Miami.

 

We don't jump on players right away, if they are home players. But we will jump on the home ones after a while (and the away ones and the Umps right away). Does no one remember in 2002, the Home Opener? The warm reception Loop got after blowing two saves in Montreal? We will turn around when a pitcher comes in new and give him a new every day, but Almanza, Looper, and Tejera all experienced the Quick Leash from the fans. Anyone on from them and they booed. And if Benitez messes up twice, he is done.

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I am not here to argue that the Miami media is even in the same universe that the NY media is pressure wise. And I'm not here to say Miami's fans are harsher on their players then New York. But if there would be a list, it would be New York then Philly then Miami.

 

We don't jump on players right away, if they are home players. But we will jump on the home ones after a while (and the away ones and the Umps right away). Does no one remember in 2002, the Home Opener? The warm reception Loop got after blowing two saves in Montreal? We will turn around when a pitcher comes in new and give him a new every day, but Almanza, Looper, and Tejera all experienced the Quick Leash from the fans. Anyone on from them and they booed. And if Benitez messes up twice, he is done.

If you can't handle getting yelled at by 9,500 people when you've just been mauled by the world's biggest city . . .

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You obviously don't go to the park very often, because our 9,500 sounds like 15,000 anywhere else (conservative amount there).

Noise doesn't affect the players that much; NY fans know stuff about the players, and they attack them personally, I go to NYU so I've been to my fair share of Yankees games, and I have Marlins season tix so I know what the Pro is like. We get loud, if the game means something, but NY fans are not only loud, they're mean...

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You obviously don't go to the park very often, because our 9,500 sounds like 15,000 anywhere else (conservative amount there).

i probably go more than you and i know we have loud crowds but you can't say that since he couldn't handle the pressure in New York the occasional splattering of boos if he blows a save, won't be a big factor

 

and plus

if we cheer him on opening day, it will be like a new start

 

don't compare New York to Miami in terms of pressure.

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Marlins fans booed Vlad Nunez right off the team basically.

 

If Benitez started blowing games here, he'd be booed the same as any player. Sure, NY fans & media are much tougher, but this is a year where the Marlins will be defending a Title, and there will be a lot of expectations on this team.

 

What does it say about a player who wants to come to play in towns where there's no pressure to perform?

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i probably go more than you

Doubtful.

 

And again, everytime Looper would get introduced for a while running people would either boo or go silent. It would be pretty bad for a closer to come into the 9th inning in your own park and no one to make a sound. And that is exactly how it will be with Benitez until he starts proving himself. And if he messes up, he will (like Hotcorner said) get the Vladimir Nu?ez treatment.

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