Leftovers from Marlins media luncheon

This offseason, the Marlins changed how they do business.

For the first time in more than five years, the organization offered several players multiyear contracts.

With their new stadium opening in 2012, revenues project to rise. Most likely, so will the team payroll, which could be about $58 million by Opening Day.

In the offseason, Ricky Nolasco signed a three-year, $26.5 million contract. Free agent catcher John Buck signed for three years at $17.94 million, while reliever Randy Choate secured a two-year, $2.5 million deal.

Previously, the last big named free agent Florida signed to a multiyear deal was Carlos Delgado in 2005.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said on Monday at the annual media luncheon at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami that players must show they’re worthy of multiyear contracts.

“Ricky showed me a tremendous amount of development and maturity, and a work ethic,” Loria said.

Loria talked with Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest about offering a long-term contract to Nolasco, and a deal was reached in December.

“I told Larry, ‘We have to lock him up and take care of him.’ And we did,” Loria said. “Going into the new stadium, it will give us further opportunity to do stuff with players, but they have to show the manager and the general manager and all of us that they’ve earned it. It just isn’t something that you hand out. You earn it.”

Some other topics touched on at the luncheon:

* Slugger Mike Stanton, who turned 21 in November, has added about eight pounds since the end of last season. A towering presence, Stanton said he is at 250-pounds. When asked if it was muscle, Stanton joked: “Fat.” That responsde brought laughter because he is in terrific shape.

* Stanton talking about Twitter: “It’s fun to interact with our fans, and even people who aren’t our fans. To see what they have to say. It’s fun.”

* With 100 MLB games under his belt, Stanton projects to bat cleanup in his first full big league season.

“You either can handle it or you can’t,” Beinfest said. “Either you’re Miguel Cabrera and you can handle it, or you are Mike Stanton and you can handle it. His ability is off the charts, and he’s going to be fine. There are going to be some days when he’s going to look like a 21-year-old without a lot of big league experience. But he is a special talent.”

* Hanley Ramirez will be expected to take on more of a leadership role. “He will,” Loria said. “I think that is also a matter of maturity and recognizing who you are. Hanley is a bright young man. He’s only 27. Maturing takes a little while.”

Loria spoke with Ramirez a couple of months ago, and he feels the 27-year-old shortstop is primed to bounce back in 2011.

“He’s as excited as ever,” Loria said. “I said to him, ‘Hanley, you’ve won a batting championship. You’ve won the Rookie of the Year. It’s time to be what they call the MVP.’ He said he got the picture.

“I’m not saying he’s going to be the MVP, but he has the ability to do whatever Hanley wants. I love him. There is no secret about that. I think he’s going to come in here and do what he needs to do.”

* You can put to rest any speculation of Ramirez eventually moving to another position. The Marlins have no intentions of playing the three-time All-Star anywhere other than shortstop. “He’s there,” Beinfest said. “And I hope he’s there for a long time. I think defensively, he’s improved over the years. There are some things that he can clean up too. But I don’t see anything major with him.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

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