January 2010

Marlins interested in Gregg

A former Marlins reliever could be returning to Florida.

The Marlins have made a contract offer to veteran Kevin Gregg, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

MLB.com has confirmed the Marlins indeed have interest in Gregg as an eighth-inning setup reliever for closer Leo Nunez.

After spending 2007 and 2008 as the Marlins closer, Florida traded Gregg to the Cubs for reliever Jose Ceda, who was injured for all of 2009.

The Marlins are seeking veteran relievers.

A free agent, Gregg has appeared in at least 70 games in three straight seasons. With the Cubs last year, he was 5-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 72 games. He added 23 saves in 30 chances before losing his position.

With the Marlins in 2007, Gregg saved 32 games in 36 chances. The right-hander had his struggles in the role in 2008, posting 29 saves in 38 opportunities. He was bothered by a left knee injury late in that season.

On Friday, the Marlins announced they signed Derrick Turnbow and Jose Veras to a Minor League contracts with a Spring Training invitations.

— Joe Frisaro


Ross hearing set for Feb. 15

Cody Ross will find out his salary for the 2010 season on Feb. 15.

That’s when the Marlins outfielder will have his arbitration hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla.

In his second year eligible for arbitration, Ross and the Marlins were unable to reach agreement on a one-year deal by the Jan. 19 deadline to exchange contract figures. Team policy is if no agreement is struck by the deadline, then the matter would head to a hearing.

The three arbitrators will listen to arguments from both sides, and pick either the $4.45 million Ross is seeking, or the Marlins counter offer of $4.2 million.

Marlins pitchers and catchers begin workouts for the start of Spring Training on Feb. 19. So Ross’ contract will be decided before camp begins. However, because he is not yet signed, it is doubtful Ross will participate in the upcoming Marlins caravan or FanFest, which is set for Feb. 13.

— Joe Frisaro


Mermaids squad finalized

mermaids10.jpg (more…)

Is Nolasco next in line?

Perhaps the next major, multiyear signing news conference at the Orange Bowl will be for right-hander Ricky Nolasco?

The Marlins on Thursday formally announced the signing of ace Josh Johnson, who has signed a four-year, $39 million contract.

Nolasco, meanwhile, is projected to be Florida’s No. 2 starter. The right-hander recently signed a one-year, $3.8 million contract, avoiding arbitration.

After 2010, Nolasco will be entering his third and final season of arbitration. The Marlins have already spoken with Nolasco’s agent, Matt Sosnick, who also represents Johnson, about doing a multiyear deal next offseason.

The condition is if Nolasco has another solid season, the squad would be receptive to locking up the right-hander long-term.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins to announce J.J.

The Marlins have scheduled a news conference on Thursday to announce the signing of Josh Johnson.

The event is taking place at the Orange Bowl, site of the Marlins new ballpark.

Last week Johnson reached agreement on a four-year, $39 million deal.

— Joe Frisaro


Projected Marlins Opening lineup

Meet the 2010 Marlins. They actually look a lot like the 2009 squad.

Now that the club has reached agreement with a number of key players, the projected starting lineup is more in focus.

Even though Cody Ross is headed to an arbitration hearing, still expect him to be in the Opening Day lineup.

The return of Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu also gives the middle of the order some power.

Here is my projected Opening Day lineup:

1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Logan Morrison/Gaby Sanchez (whoever wins the job), 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) John Baker, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Cameron Maybin, CF

9) Josh Johnson, P

— Joe Frisaro


Cantu agrees on $6 million contract

The Marlins came to terms on a one-year, $6 million contract with slugger Jorge Cantu.

Retaining Cantu also was a high priority. The veteran will turn 28 on Jan. 30, and he’s been one of the Marlins top run producers the past two years. In 2009, he collected 100 RBIs batting in the cleanup spot, behind All-Star Hanley Ramirez.

Cantu, who made $3.5 million in ’09, can play either first base or third base. In Spring Training, prospects Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison will get a shot to win the first base job. If one of them does, Cantu projects to play third base. If neither prospect claims first base, then Cantu would be the front runner to play first.

In the first half of 2009, Cantu dealt with some injury and health issues. He played through a sore left hand, after being hit by a Daniel Cabrera fastball in the third game of the year. Before he was completely recovered, he went through stretches where his body was lethargic, a side effect created by medication he was taking for a cholesterol condition.

In the second to last game of the season, Cantu sprained his right ankle, and he spent a few weeks in a walking boot.

While Cantu’s home run total was down from 29 in 2008 to 16 in 2009, he drove in more runs last year.

He was able to reach the century mark by driving in 25 after August.

Cantu added a career high 42 doubles, topping the 41 he hit in 2008.

— Joe Frisaro

Ross headed for a hearing

Unable to reach an agreement on a one-year deal, the Marlins and outfielder Cody Ross are expected to have the impasse decided at an arbitration hearing in February.

Arbitration hears will be in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Eligible for arbitration for the second time, Ross, 29, earned $2.225 million last year. The left-handed throwing and right-handed hitting outfielder, comes off a career high for home runs and RBIs in a season. In 2009, he belted 24 homers and drove in 90 runs to go along with a .270 batting average.

After opening the season in right field, he played a majority of 2009 in center field. He committed three errors all year.

Ross projects to open Spring Training in right field, but he could wind up in center field if Cameron Maybin (who is recovering from left shoulder surgery) isn’t ready.

— Joe Frisaro

Nunez agrees for $2 million

The Marlins on Tuesday reached agreement on a one-year, $2 million deal with closer Leo Nunez.

Nunez, 26, will head into Spring Training as the frontrunner to close. The right-hander is in his

first season of arbitration, and he collected 26 saves in 33 opportunities a year ago.

Acquired from the Royals for Mike Jacobs in 2008, Nunez appeared in 75 games and he finished 4-6 with

a 4.06 ERA. He tossed 68 2/3 innings, striking out 60 while walking 27. He was hurt by the long ball,

allowing 13 home runs.

When 2009 began, Nunez was in a setup role to Matt Lindstrom, who was traded to the Astros in


Nunez made $414,500 in 2009.

— Joe Frisaro


Uggla should remain a Marlin

Even after the Marlins agreed to terms with Dan Uggla, speculation remains that the team will trade the two-time All-Star before Opening Day.

From what I’ve heard, don’t believe it.

The Marlins are planning on retaining Uggla, who will be the team’s highest paid player in 2010. Uggla’s one-year deal is worth $7.8 million, which tops Hanley Ramirez, who will collect $7 million this season. Ramirez is in the second of a six-year, $70 million contract.

The Marlins explored trading Uggla in the offseason, but they couldn’t find a match. The Giants and Orioles each expressed interest, but no talks were serious since the Winter Meetings in December.

The way the roster is shaping up, Uggla should remain at second base and batting fifth, behind cleanup hitter, Jorge Cantu.

Uggla’s expected return pretty much secures Chris Coghlan in left field, and makes Emilio Bonifacio the probable super utility player.

The fact the Marlins are bringing Uggla back at $7.8 million means he fits into their 2010 budget. So there is no mandate to move him.

Now, the club can certainly explore trade options at any time. It appears now the only way that would happen is if the team is out of playoff contention at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Of course, during Spring Training, if another team has the need for a second baseman, they could check to see Uggla’s availability. But by that point, the Marlins also will be looking to secure their roster, and it would have to take a sweet offer for them to pull the trigger.

The Marlins maintained all along that they would not just give Uggla away. One reason why the few teams that expressed interest in Uggla shied away from a deal was the fact he was lined up to make more than $7 million.

The fact that his contract is now $7.8 million limits his market, at this point.

Another reason why Uggla is expected to be with the Marlins in 2010 is the team isn’t sure either Bonifacio or Coghlan is ready to be the every day second baseman. In Uggla, the Marlins have a proven 30 homer, 90 RBI slugger who can hit in the middle of the order.

One alternative the Marlins could have explored if they did move Uggla was switching Coghlan to second base and going with prospect Logan Morrison in left field. Morrison will be getting a look at first base in Spring Training, but he can also play either corner outfield spot.

— Joe Frisaro