January 2011

Dobbs, Hill sign Minor League deals

The Marlins have another candidate to challenge for the left-handed bat off the bench role.

Greg Dobbs, who has spent the past four seasons with the Phillies, has signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

The 32-year-old also is a candidate to play either first or third base. In 88 games with the Phillies last year, Dobbs batted .196 with five homers and 15 RBIs.

Dobbs’ best seasons were in 2007 and 2008. In ’07, he batted .272 with 10 homers and 55 RBIs in 142 games. On Philadelphia’s 2008 World Series title team, Dobbs appeared in 128 games and he belted nine homers while driving in 40 runs. He batted .301 that season.

Dobbs has 292 career pinch-hit at-bats, and he has a .250 average in that role. But last year, he struggled and was 6-for-49 as a pinch-hitter.

The Marlins on Monday also officially announced the signing of right-hander Shawn Hill to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

— Joe Frisaro

Hill signs Minor League deal

The Marlins have added some big league experienced starting pitching depth to their Spring Training roster.

Right-hander Shawn Hill, who made four starts with the Blue Jays, has signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. If Hill, 29, makes the team, he will earn $600,000.

Hill was 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA for Toronto last year, throwing 20 2/3 innings.

Hill broke in with the Montreal Expos in 2004. The right-hander also has pitched for the Nationals and Padres.

He has made 44 big league starts, and is 9-18 with a 4.74 ERA.

— Joe Frisaro



Encore Game on Fox Sports Florida

History will note that on May 29, 2010, Roy Halladay tossed the 20th perfect game ever in the Major Leagues. Halladay’s performance for the ages came at the expense of the Marlins, as the Phillies won 1-0.

What occurred the next day has pretty much been forgotten. There wasn’t anything historical, but what took place still was impressive.

The Marlins rebounded from being blanked by Halladay by posting a 1-0 win of their own.  Anibal Sanchez, who no-hit Arizona as a rookie in 2006, combined with Taylor Tankersley, Clay Hensley and Leo Nunez for the shutout. Sanchez scattered three hits, and the Phillies managed just four all afternoon. 

Marlins fans have a chance to revisit that gem at noon on Wednesday as part of Fox Sports Florida’s Encore Games package.

This May 30 game matched Sanchez against veteran Jamie Moyer, who has enjoyed years of success against Florida.

The Marlins needed six hits to win the game.

The Encore Games package is a reminder that Spring Training is swiftly approaching. Marlins pitchers and catchers begin workouts at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 18. Full-squad workouts start on Feb. 22.

Joe Frisaro


Marlins updated roster numbers

A new season means some new faces in Spring Training along with some new numbers.

As a refresher for the upcoming season, Marlins fans may want to check out the roster page on marlins.com for the latest updates. For instance, first baseman Gaby Sanchez no longer is wearing No. 14. Instead, he has switched to No. 15.

John Buck, the club’s new catcher, will be wearing No. 14.

In the offseason, the Marlins made several significant free agent signings as well as trades.

Omar Infante, obtained from Atlanta in the Dan Uggla trade, will be wearing No. 13. Uggla’s old No. 6 is now being worn by catcher Brad Davis.

Javier Vazquez will be No. 23, while Randy Choate is No. 35. Other newcomers and their numbers are Edward Mujica (34), Ryan Webb (58) and Dustin Richardson (24).

Along with new numbers, one Marlin on the 40-man roster will be at a new position. Chris Hatcher, formerly a catcher, is switching to pitching.

Hatcher, the Marlins’ fifth-round pick in 2006, pitched a little in college at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He also has thrown a couple of innings at the Minor League level.

At Double-A Jacksonville last year, Hatcher made one appearance, and he collected the win.

The Marlins also have signed two players with previous big league experience to Minor League deals — outfielders Jorge Padilla and Alex Romero.

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins payroll projects at $58 million

The Marlins aren’t waiting until moving into their new ballpark to bump up payroll.

After taking care of all their arbitration business on Tuesday, the Marlins’ have already allocated more than $52 million on 13 players. By the time their 25-man roster is completed, their Opening Day number projects to be about $58 million.

It’s the franchise’s highest payroll since it opened 2005 with a $60.4 million figure. That squad featured Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, Paul Lo Duca and Juan Pierre.

In 2010, the Marlins’ payroll to start the season was $47.4 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Hanley Ramirez will be the highest paid player on the team with a base salary of $11 million. Josh Johnson will be making $7.75 million, while Javier Vazquez is signed for $7 million, and Ricky Nolasco is set to earn $6 million.

Payroll increases are expected over the next few seasons, after the team moves into their new retractable-roof ballpark, which is set to open in 2012.

— Joe Frisaro


Hensley, Sanchez agree to terms

The remaing two unsigned Marlins eligible for arbitration are now under contract.

Clay Hensley and Anibal Sanchez each avoided arbitration on Tuesday by reaching agreements on one-year contracts.

Hensley’s deal, according to a source, is worth $1.4 million. The right-hander can collect another $50,000 in incentives for 35 games finished.

A non-roster invite in 2010, Hensley became the team’s most versatile pitcher in 2010. He opened the season pitching in long relief before he become the primary eighth inning setup reliever. In September, he became the closer, and logged seven saves.

Hensley was 3-4 with a 2.16 ERA. In 75 innings, he struck out 77 while walking 29.

Sanchez, who turns 27 on Feb. 27, was 13-12 with a 3.55 ERA last year. The right-hander paced the team in starts (32) and innings pitched (195).

Now, Sanchez will be looking to build on his solid 2010. He was especially strong after the All-Star Break, posting a 3.44 ERA in 91 2/3 innings.

Sanchez made $1.25 million in 2010, his first year eligible for arbitration.

The Marlins have club control over Sanchez through 2012, the franchise’s first year in their new ballpark. The right-hander will be eligible for free agency in 2013, if he isn’t signed to a multiyear contract.

Hensley, meanwhile, earned $425,000 in ’10, and this is his first arbitration year.

When Spring Training opens on Feb. 18, Hensley projects to return to a setup role. However, he is a fallback option to close.

— Joe Frisaro

Nunez, Mujica reach agreement

The Marlins have reached agreement on one-year contracts with relievers Leo Nunez and Edward Mujica. Both right-handers avoid arbitration.

Nunez will head into Spring Training as the frontrunner to be Florida’s closer. Last year, he converted 30 of 38 save opportunities.

Nunez will earn $3.65 million, plus performing bonuses.

In two seasons with the Marlins, Nunez has saved 56 games. In 2010, the right-hander appeared in 68 games, and he logged 65 innings.

Mujica, arbitration eligible for the first time, was acquired from the Padres in the Cameron Maybin deal.

— Joe Frisaro



LoMo Camp For A Cure

In honor of his father, Logan Morrison is taking an initiative to help combat lung cancer.

The Marlins outfielder has established the first “LoMo Camp For A Cure” that will take place on Saturday and Sunday on the backfields at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. The camp is aimed at offering instruction to youth players while raising awareness in the fight against lung cancer.

The camp is for baseball players, ages 8-18, who will spend two days receiving instructions from Marlins players and coaches.

Instructors for the two days include Morrison, outfielder Bryan Petersen, along with Marlins coaches Brandon Hyde, Joe Espada and Reid Cornelius.

Registration is from 7-9 a.m. on Saturday, with on-field instruction lasting from 9-11 a.m. Lunch will be from 11-noon. The afternoon on-field session will be from noon-3 p.m.

On Sunday, the camp also will last from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The cost per player is $250, with the proceeds going to the American Lung Association. Those interested can register on Saturday morning at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.

Morrison’s father, Tom, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer last April, and he passed away from the disease in early December.

Logan Morrison, a standout Marlins’ rookie last season, said he plans on making the camp an annual event. He also hopes to eventually add a second camp in his hometown of Slidell, La.

— Joe Frisaro


Will Hanley someday be HOF worthy?

Hall of Fame talk is dominating the baseball world, as the class of 2011 will be announced on Wednesday afternoon. Much of the attention is being centered on Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, two favorites to be headed to Cooperstown.

A year ago, Florida celebrated the induction of Andre Dawson, a special assistant in the organization. As a player, Hawk retired as a Marlin, but he built his Hall of Fame credentials with the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs.

Throughout their history, the Marlins have had plenty of talented players. A couple of former players who could be Cooperstown bound are Gary Sheffield and Miguel Cabrera.

On the Marlins’ current roster, the player with the best chance of being a Hall of Famer, of course, is Hanley Ramirez.

The 27-year-old shortstop has been one of the most dominant players in the game since he broke in as a rookie in 2006. In his first five big league seasons, Ramirez has already been the NL Rookie of the Year, an NL batting champion, a three-time All-Star starter, and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner.

If his next five years track like his first five, Ramirez should be well on his way to building Hall of Fame numbers. Since 2006, he paces all MLB shortstops in home runs (124) and runs scored (562). His .313 career batting average is second only to Derek Jeter’s .314, and his .385 on-base percentage tops his position, as does his .521 slugging percentage.

Ramirez has 934 hits, which is second most among shortstops, and he’s stolen 196 bases. The only shortstop with more is Jose Reyes (239).

About to enter the prime of his career, the Marlins are wondering if the best is yet to come from Ramirez.

— Joe Frisaro