July 2012

Marlins trade Infante, Sanchez to Tigers

MIAMI — The Marlins have traded Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers for three prospects, including right-hander Jacob Turner.

The teams also have swapped competitive balance picks in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Shortly before facing the Braves on Monday night, the Marlins agreed to a deal that sends right-hander Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to the Tigers for a package of prospects, including right-hander Jacob Turner.

The Marlins also will receive catcher Rob Brantly, left-hander Brian Flynn, and a compensation pick between the first and second rounds in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Before the game, Infante told MLB.com that he felt he would be traded by the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

“I know it’s a business,” the 30-year-old second baseman said. “We have lost a lot of games, and the team may think maybe we have to change something.

“Maybe, for me, they think they can get another player, another prospect. They may think they have to do something. I’m ready. I’ve been ready. I know this is a business. We’ll see what happens.”

Last September, Infante signed a two-year, $8 million extension, and he set to make $4 million in 2013.

The Marlins are willing to listen on any of their players, except for Giancarlo Stanton.

Monday’s trade will save the team roughly $8 million for the rest of the season.

Joe Frisaro

Hanley could be starting Tuesday

MIAMI — Hanley Ramirez asked to be in the lineup on Monday night, but Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said the third baseman likely will be starting on Tuesday.

Ramirez, who didn’t start in the weekend series at Pittsburgh due to inflammation in his right hand, took early batting practice on Monday. Manager Ozzie Guillen liked Ramirez’s swing, and noted the veteran could be available to pinch-hit on Monday in the series opener against the Braves.

Barring a setback, the 28-year-old should be starting on Tuesday.

Giancarlo Stanton also took BP on the field, as he increases his rehab back from right knee surgery that was performed on July 8.

Stanton did some running on the treadmill, and the hope is he will be back perhaps as early as two or three weeks.

Marlins on Monday activated reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo from the restricted list, and placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow. It is unlikely he will pitch this season.

Oviedo is a free agent in 2013 and it is likely that he won’t return to the Marlins.

Joe Frisaro

Trade speculation likely to heat up

MIAMI — A week ago, the Marlins opened a six-game road trip with a sense of urgency.

Manager Ozzie Guillen called it a crucial week, one that could sway whether trades could be made before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The trip opened with promise with a 9-5 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. From there, the team fell on hard times. Hanley Ramirez experienced inflammation in his right hand, and he was sidelined.

The state of the team also worsened as they lost the next five, and they are now a season-worst seven-games under .500. At 44-51, they are 11 1/2 games behind the Nationals in the NL East.

Each passing day creates more speculation regarding who will stay or go.

Anbibal Sanchez, a free agent after the season, is a name being mentioned prominently in trade talks. With the Braves reportedly about to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs, Sanchez should generate more attention before July 31.

A recent report had the Tigers scouting Sanchez, but a source said that may not be a fit. Teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers and Rangers are in the hunt for a starter. One of those teams may be more realistic than Detroit.

Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Marlins were reviewing where they’d stand after their three-game series with the Braves, which starts on Monday at Marlins Park.

The hope was they’d make up ground in the 13-game stretch after the All-Star Break. They’re so far 3-7 in the span.

Omar Infante, who signed a two-year, $8 million extension last September, is another player who has been speculated to be on the move.

If the Marlins do decide to part with Infante, they would free up the remainder of the second baseman’s salary this year plus $4 million for next year.

What would the Marlins do at second base, should Infante be dealt?

It depends what happens in center field. If the team acquires a proven center fielder, Emilio Bonifacio could switch to second base. Or the club could keep Bonifacio in center field, and give Donovan Solano a look at second for the rest of the season.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins open three game set with Braves

MIAMI — If the Marlins are going to make up ground in the division, this is the week to do it.

After losing five straight on the road, Miami opens a three-game set with the Braves on Monday at Marlins Park.

Josh Johnson takes the mound, while Atlanta is going with left-hander Mike Minor.

The Marlins went 1-5 on their road trip, losing five in a row, including being swept at Pittsburgh over the weekend. On Sunday, they were blanked 3-0, marking the 10th time they’ve been shutout this year.


1) Reyes, SS

2) Solano, 3B

3) Lee, 1B

4) Ruggiano, RF

5) Morrison, LF

6) Bonifacio, CF

7) Infante, 2B

8) Buck, C

9) Johnson, P

— Joe Frisaro




Beinfest stresses importance to win now

CHICAGO — With their increased payroll, additions of high-profile players and the opening of a futuristic stadium, the Marlins have received plenty of attention since the end of last season.

Being under so much focus for such a long period of time makes it a natural that the team now finds itself at the heart of numerous trade rumors.

USA Today on Wednesday reported the Marlins considered trading Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell to the Red Sox for Carl Crawford. A day earlier, it was noted that a number of players also could be dealt by the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Even Giancarlo Stanton, virtually untouchable, has been mentioned as a possible trade piece.

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said on Thursday that rumors come with the territory.

“It’s normal this time of year,” Beinfest said. “And I think given a club like our club, that had a lot of expectations on it. And I think we’ve under-performed, under-achieved, and we’re in the position that we’re in, I think it’s normal to hear a lot of things about us.

“Especially how public we were this winter about being all-in, and really kind of the makeover. I don’t think it’s abnormal for us to be included in those discussions or trade rumors.”

Considering the track records of players on their roster, the Marlins are stunned to be 44-48 after losing 4-2 to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday. They dropped two of three in the series, and now head to Pittsburgh for a three-game set that starts on Friday.

“Come here and lose two out of three is disappointing,” Beinfest said. “It’s not something we needed to do.”

Each loss certainly makes it tougher for the front office to justify keeping the roster intact. Already, there is speculation that Anibal Sanchez, a free agent after the season, could be moved by July 31.

The Ramirez and Bell report already is out there, and perhaps Omar Infante could be a trade chip.

Without being specific on players or possible trades, Beinfest noted the team needs to start winning games.

“In terms of decision making, I don’t know how that’s going to go,” Beinfest said. “I really don’t. We need to win games here to make sure we’re on the periphery of even thinking about getting into things.”

Miami made a move on July 4, acquiring Carlos Lee from the Astros for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen.

Lee was brought in to boost the offense. But with Stanton recovering from right knee surgery, the Marlins continue to struggle scoring runs. They were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Thursday after going 0-for-8 in those situations on Wednesday.

“It’s been very frustrating, disappointing,” Beinfest said. “These guys are trying, working hard. We’re just not winning enough games. I think with the talent we have here, we should win more games than we have, and it hasn’t happened.

“We’ve said it publicly before, we’re in a tough spot. You believe in your talent and hope we get hot. I think that’s where we are right now. But every day that goes by, it gets tougher and tougher to do that.”

Joe Frisaro

Marlins stack up righty-hitting lineup

CHICAGO — With the Cubs going with left-hander Paul Maholm on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field, the Marlins have stacked up a right-handed hitting lineup.

Former Cub, Carlos Zambrano, signs autographs at Wrigley Field.

Justin Ruggiano is in right field, and Austin Kearns gets the start in left field.

Miami is starting lefty Mark Buehrle.


1) Reyes, SS

2) Bonifacio, CF

3) Lee, 1B

4) Ruggiano, RF

5) Ramirez, 3B

6) Kearns, LF

7) Infante, 2B

8) Buck, C

9) Buehrle

Joe Frisaro



Marlins-Cubs wrap up three game set

CHICAGO — It will be a battle of left-handers on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

The Marlins send Mark Buehrle to the mound, while the Cubs are going with Paul Maholm.

After losing 5-1 in a rain-shortened game on Wednesday night, the Marlins have a chance to take the series.

From Chicago, the Marlins will open a three-game set at Pittsburgh, which will wrap up their six-game road trip.


Latest rumor surprised Ozzie

CHICAGO  — Speculation that the Marlins may have considered Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell to the Red Sox for Carl Crawford surprised manager Ozzie Guillen.

A report in USA Today stated the clubs had conversations, and other reports claim the idea was immediately shot down.

“I just found out today,” Guillen said. “One of my kids asked me about it. I don’t know anything about it. The front office never said anything about it. But the rumors are going to be there, no matter what.”

The Marlins, two games under .500, are in a critical stretch to get back into the playoff picture.

Guillen says performance dictates what direction the front office will go.

“If we’re playing good, I don’t see any reason to trade people,” Guillen said. “But if we don’t play the right way, this is a business. And they can do what they have to do.”

Does the Marlins manager feel any move is imminent?

“Right now, no,” he said. “Not that I know. I got a couple of phone calls from guys from Boston. This morning, I was, ‘What!’ Not yet.”

Guillen doesn’t think Ramirez or Bell or the ballclub should be distracted by trade rumors.

“I don’t think it should be a distraction because when we are in the position we are, there are going to be rumors,” he said. “They’re going to try to add better players J, and we’ve got some good players who can help. But it’s all rumors.”

Joe Frisaro




Hanley, Bell part of latest rumors

CHICAGO — Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said it best on Tuesday: If the team wins, it will stay together. If it doesn’t, trade speculation will surface.

The Marlins once again find themselves at the center of reports.

USA Today is reporting the Marlins have had conversations with the Red Sox. The proposed trade would have Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell going to Boston for Carl Crawford.

A source said they wouldn’t be surprised if such a deal was proposed.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the conversation took place recently, but quickly was shot down.

Where there is smoke there could be fire.

The Marlins are looking to re-energize their roster. Next year, they will be looking to have speed in the outfield, and most likely move Logan Morrison to first base.

There is a general feeling if Ramirez is shopped, it most likely would be in the offseason to explore the maximum value he could command, rather than be shopped to a limited number of clubs in a few week window.

Other Marlins being mentioned in trade talks are Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson and Omar Infante.

Sanchez is a free agent after the season. Johnson and Infante are under contract through 2013. The club appears to be willing to listen for all three. But the Marlins are looking for value in return. They will only make a move that makes sense. The club isn’t dumping salary.

If Infante is moved, Emilio Bonifacio can move to second base. But if that happens, the team would need to find a solution in center field. It could be Justin Ruggiano after Giancarlo Stanton returns from his right knee surgery.

Joe Frisaro


Are Marlins thinking about being sellers?

CHICAGO — If the Marlins fall out of contention at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, would they become sellers?

ESPN’s Buster Olney says the team could be open to dealing everyone on their roster, including Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Johnson and Omar Infante.

Names like Hanley Ramirez, Ricky Nolasco and Gaby Sanchez also could be included.

The Marlins have a standing policy of saying they’d be open to trading anyone. They’ve stated this every year since Jeffrey Loria became the owner in 2002. Their thinking is, you don’t know if another organization would dramatically overpay.

Would the Marlins listen to offers for Stanton, who is 22-years-old and he isn’t eligible for arbitration until after the 2013 season? Yes, they’d listen. But chances are more likely Miami will sign him to a long-term deal by that date than move him.

Stanton is headed towards being the face of the franchise. Don’t expect the slugger to be going anywhere.

Still, Stanton also is the player who would bring in the biggest return in a trade. So at least listening wouldn’t be surprising.

That said, the Marlins are in their new ballpark, and they’re looking to sell tickets for the remainder of this season and for years to follow. Stanton clearly is someone to build around, not move at this point.

More realistic trade pieces could be Anibal Sanchez and Randy Choate. Both are headed for free agency at the end of the season. The club also could turn and move Carlos Lee, who also isn’t expected back in 2013.

One constant in a season where the Marlins have been inconsistent are rumors about the club.

The Marlins felt they were built to win this season. Obviously, they’ve under-performed. But the club has a rotation that has for the most part been steady.

A few days ago, Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest talked about the “Cardinals-Rockie Effect.”

Beinfest was referring to the 2011 Cardinals and 2007 Rockies. Both teams were well off the pace entering September, and both reached the World Series.

The second Wild Card also has created more hope.

Clearly, the Marlins have to start making up ground quickly. Foremost, they have to be over .500 as fast as possible. If they are not, look for trade speculation to increase.

Joe Frisaro