November 2010

Cody made pitch for Ferrari

After joining the Giants, Cody Ross cashed in with a World Series championship.

In the aftermath of celebrating a title, the former Marlin wondered if he also was due a red Ferrari.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald blogs that Ross made a stab at trying to collect on an incentive thrown out by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria prior to the 2009 season. Hoping to pep up the team, Loria stated that he would give his red Ferrari to the player voted MVP of the NL Championship Series.

Ross was named the NLCS MVP in San Francisco’s win over the Phillies.

At the GM Meetings in Orlando, Loria clarified the situation: “I said whoever wins the MVP in the World Series and playing for us can have my car. The whole concept was to get to the World Series.”

On Wednesday, Ross responded in a text message to MLB.com: “The deal was made back in ’09. He said whoever was the NLCS MVP he would give his Ferrari. … So I texted him wondering if the deal was still valid.”

No, the red Ferrari offer was off the table since Ross didn’t win it as a Marlin. Ross certainly isn’t walking away empty handed. He is receiving a World Series ring.

– Joe Frisaro
 
 

Miller welcomes fresh start with Boston

They joined the Marlins together, and by chance they exited one day apart from each other.

In separate moves last weekend, the Marlins traded Andrew Miller to the Red Sox, and followed that up by dealing Cameron Maybin to the Padres on Saturday.

The two deals brought three big league-ready relievers to the Marlins.

But the trade also meant the Marlins are moving past their blockbuster 2007 trade when they sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit. Miller and Maybin were the two centerpiece players Florida received in return.

Miller and Maybin are both out of options, so the Marlins would have had to keep them on their 25-man roster or else risk losing them. That fact also is a big reason why both were dealt.

“I kind of knew something would happen with me,” Miller said in a phone interview. “I kind of knew.”

Despite things not working out in Florida, Miller (24) and Maybin (23) are still young enough to develop into solid big leaguers. It’s just a matter of time, Miller believes.

“I think it’s unfortunate,” Miller said of the deal not working out for Florida. “I still believe that one day Cam is going to be an unbelievable player. I believe for us, the time hasn’t come yet, and it’s going to click one of these days for us. We’ve seen flashes from Cameron and I believe I’ve shown them before.

“For both of us, when we find that consistency and put it together, it came happen for us. There is no doubt in my mind that it will. Unfortunately, that time didn’t come with the Marlins. But they certainly gave us some opportunities. I can say nothing bad about them.”

While Miller has been primarily a starter, the 6-foot-7 lefty expects to be competing for a bullpen job with Boston.

“I know what the situation is. I’m out of options,” he said. “Going to a club like that, I’m assuming I’m going to have to battle and to put myself on that team with just Spring Training. That’s basically what I have to look forward to. I think it’s a good opportunity whenever somebody makes a trade for you.

“My assumption is what they’re going to ask of me is relieving. If that is something to find my way onto a Major League team, then that’s certainly what I’m going to go after. Nothing is ever set in stone. If I’m relieving and doing well, and something pops up and I’m starting, then I’d think there is an advantage that I’ve started in the past. That’s really not my concern. My concern is doing everything I can to find myself on a 25-man roster.”

– Joe Frisaro

More movement in Uggla talks

From months, the Marlins have made it clear they are hopeful of signing Dan Uggla to a multi-year contract.

President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest repeated the team’s stance on Wednesday when he confirmed there has been continued dialogue with Uggla’s agent, Terry Bross of Gaylord Sports Management.

Beinfest briefly addressed the team’s stance on Uggla during a conference call introducing Edwin Rodriguez back as Florida’s manager.

According to multiple sources, talks with Uggla have been progressing. Exact details are still stetchy, but there has been movement to bridge the initial gap.

The Marlins’ initial offer over the summer was three-years, $24 million. Uggla’s camp countered with five years at more than $50 million.

There are indications that the Marlins have agreed to add a fourth year. Based on performance, Uggla has positioned himself to be worth about $11 million a season. So there is a likelihood that the sides could be discussing a four-year deal worth roughly $44 million.

Uggla earned $7.8 million in 2010.

The 30-year-old power-hitting second baseman has one more season left in arbitration before he’d qualify for free agency. The Marlins are trying to avoid that by locking up one of their top players.

After hitting 33 homers and driving in 105 runs, Uggla is lined up for a substantial raise.

Uggla is posting historic numbers at his position. He is the only second baseman in MLB history to hit at least 30 home runs in four seasons. He has done so in four consecutive years, which also is a team record.

With 154 career homers, Uggla is the Marlins’ all-time leader in that category.

Uggla and Hanley Ramirez combine to form one of the most productive middle infields in the game. The organization is hoping to keep them together for several more years.

– Joe Frisaro
 

 

Would Olivo be a fit in Florida?

The Marlins are looking for a catcher, and Miguel Olivo may soon be on the market.

On Wednesday, it was reported the Rockies will decline their end of Olivo’s mutual option for next year. The option was worth $2.7 million after the 32-year-old earned $2.5 million this season.

The Rockies will agree to pay a $500,000 buyout, freeing Olivo to explore the free agent market.

The Marlins are exploring catcher options, and there may be a fit with Olivo. At least internally, the team has brought up the possibility of bringing Olivo back to Florida, where he was a regular behind the plate in 2006 and 2007.

For the Rockies in 2010, Olivo appeared in 112 games, and he batted .269 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs.

In 2006 and ’07 with the Marlins, Olivo belted 16 home runs in each season.

Catching is an area of need for Florida.

Ronny Paulino, who is arbitration eligible, was suspended for 50-games for violating MLB’s substance policy, and the team is weighing whether to bring him back.

John Baker underwent Tommy John surgery and he has not been cleared to begin baseball activities. With the uncertainty about when Baker will return, catcher is a primary position the Marlins are seeking to upgrade.

Olivo will at least draw consideration from Florida.

– Joe Frisaro

Marlins on the mend

With a modest payroll, success for the Marlins’ largely rests on the team staying healthy.

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest touched on that Wednesday during the announcement that Edwin Rodriguez would return as manager.

“We need to keep our starting pitching healthy,” Beinfest said. “We need to keep JJ, Ricky, Anibal and Vollie pitching deep into September. We really can’t afford to lose our starting pitching like we did this year.”

Josh Johnson missed the final few weeks with a back and shoulder ailment. Nolasco was out down the stretch with a meniscus tear in his right knee. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad pitched down the stretched, and both actually finished up strong.

The Marlins will be counting on Johnson, Nolasco, Sanchez and Volstad to be four workhorses in 2011.

“One of the things we’re looking for the team to do too is to just grow up a little bit,” Beinfest said. “We’ve transitioned a little bit some of the guys who had been here since ’06. … Health and the arms will be important.”

Currently, several players are on the mend this offseason. Johnson and Nolasco are recovering nicely, and neither should have any restrictions when Spring Training gets underway.

Chris Coghlan is recovering from a meniscus tear in his left knee. Coghlan recently was checked out by team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan. As of now, he doesn’t have a timeline to start baseball activities.

Hanley Ramirez, who was bothered with left elbow inflammation, will soon be examined again by Kaplan to determine when he will begin baseball activities. Ramirez is spending much of the offseason in Miami working out. 

John Baker underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and he hasn’t begun baseball activities.

Sean West, who was in the Arizona Fall League, has been sent home with a left elbow strain. The 6-foot-8 lefty is scheduled to see Kaplan. The team doesn’t think the injury is serious, but more will be known after the visit.

Alex Sanabia, who missed his final start due to a right forearm strain, is making progress. The team didn’t think the ailment was serious.

Also on Wednesday, Beinfest noted that the team has had on-going discussions with Terry Bross, Dan Uggla’s agent, regarding a long-term contract for the power-hitting second baseman. There has been little movement, however, on a multiyear deal with Nolasco, who has two more seasons left in arbitration.

Beinfest said he was given his payroll range for the ’11 season. He didn’t give any estimates, but he noted payroll will be higher than the $46 million in 2010.

Look for Florida’s payroll to be in the $50 million range.

– Joe Frisaro
 

 

Marlins set to name Rodriguez

With the World Series completed, the Marlins now are about to conclude their manager search.

Their search has led the team back to where the season ended.

In recent days, speculation had been growing that there were two finalists — Edwin Rodriguez and Bo Porter.

But on Tuesday, the Nationals announced their staff, and Porter was named their third base coach.

With Porter out of the mix, the Marlins now are set to announce they will retain Rodriguez. An official announcement is expected on Wednesday, according to sources.

Along with naming Rodriguez, who met on Tuesday with team owner Jeffrey Loria in New York, the Marlins are set to finalize their staff. Perry Hill will return to the ballclub and be the infield and first base coach. John Mallee will be back as hitting coach. Brandon Hyde returns as bench coach, and pitching coach Randy St. Claire will return. Joe Espada is lined up to be the third base coach.

Rodriguez posted a 46-46 record with the Marlins after taking over for Fredi Gonzalez in late June. For the season, Florida was 80-82 — third place in the NL East.

Rodriguez is the first Puerto Rican-born manager in MLB history. The 50-year-old was promoted from being the Triple-A New Orleans manager on June 23.

A week ago, Marlins president David Samson said the team expected to make a managerial announcement after the World Series. 

Shortly after the season ended, the Marlins pursued Bobby Valentine, who withdrew from consideration a couple of weeks ago. The team also inquired about the availability of Ozzie Guillen, who is returning to the White Sox.

– Joe Frisaro
 

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