The Marlins on Friday announced the signings of six-year free agents: RHP Kasey Olenberger, OF Brandon Tripp, RHP John Fulton, RHP Jesse Foppert, utility player Vinny Rottino and infielder Hector Luna.
– Joe Frisaro
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest addressed the local media on Thursday, advancing the upcoming Winter Meetings in Indianapolis.
Among the highlights were:
* Expect Marlins to be active in Indy.
* Eight internal candidates for five rotation spots: Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Sean West, Chris Volstad, Anibal Sanchez, Andrew Miller, Rick VandenHurk, Hayden Penn.
* Leo Nunez is the frontrunner to be the closer. Matt Lindstrom would have to win spot back.
* Team is prepared to lead off Chris Coghlan once again in 2010, although his speed isn’t prototypical for the position.
* Alfredo Amezaga remains slowed by his microfracture surgery to his left kneecap. The hope is Amezaga will be ready for Spring Training, but that is unclear right now.
* Cameron Maybin (shoulder), Cody Ross (wrist) and Jorge Cantu (ankle) are all progressing nicely from their end of season injuries.
* Without offering specifics, Beinfest didn’t dismiss the prospect of still trying to work out a multiyear contract with Josh Johnson.
– Joe Frisaro
Expect changes on the Marlins roster in 2010. Also expect to have two prominent every day players back.
The Marlins are prepared to take on the contracts of Jorge Cantu and Cody Ross.
Since the end of this past season, Ross was projected to return. Nothing has changed in the Marlins thinking.
Ross comes off his most productive season, batting .270 with a career high for home runs (24) and RBIs (90).
The left-handed thrower and right-handed batter can play all three outfield spots. If Cameron Maybin isn’t ready to take over in center field, Ross is the likely choice there. If Maybin is healthy, Ross will slide over to right field.
Eligible for arbitration, Ross made $2.225 million in 2009. He is entering his second season of arbitration.
With the Winter Meetings set to begin on Monday in Indianapolis, there promise to be speculation involving a number of Florida players. Cantu likely will be one of them.
Don’t look for Cantu, however, to be on the move. The 27-year-old drove in 100 runs batting cleanup behind Hanley Ramirez. Cantu made $3.5 million in ’09, and he will be entering his final year of arbitration.
Cantu projects to start at either first base or third base, depending on whether Logan Morrison or Gaby Sanchez wins a starting job in Spring Training. Both prospects play first base.
The Marlins payroll projects to be under $40 million in 2010. A year ago, it was at $36 million. A round ballpark number would be $38 million when all is said and done.
In all, the Marlins have 11 players eligible for arbitration, including relievers Renyel Pinto, Matt Lindstrom and Leo Nunez. All three are in their first seasons of arbitration. Chances are two of the three will be traded.
– Joe Frisaro