October 2012

Buehrle wins fourth straight Gold Glove

MIAMI — Switching leagues didn’t change Mark Buehrle’s ability to field his position.

In fact, when it came to defense, Miami’s veteran left-hander was pretty much perfect. Buehrle handled all 47 fielding chances he faced, and his error-free season again resulted in him being named the top defensive pitcher in his league.

On Tuesday night, Buehrle was named the National League’s Gold Glove-winning pitcher.

The Gold Glove was the first ever by a Marlins’ pitcher, but it certainly wasn’t something new for Buehrle.

The 33-year-old has now won four straight, including his string from 2009-11 while he was with the White Sox.

“I think the first one and this one probably mean a little bit more than the middle two,” Buehrle said. “This is one award that I’ve always wanted to win. Ever since I made it to the big leagues, I’ve always taken pride to field my position.”

Buehrle is just the third pitcher ever to win Gold Gloves in each of the American and National leagues. He joins Jim Kaat and Bobby Shantz.

With the Phillies in 1976-77, Kaat won two straight. Arguably the greatest fielding pitcher of all-time, Kaat also won 14 in a row in the American League from 1962-75.

Shantz had a run of four straight while with the Yankees (1957-60), as well as with the Pirates and Cardinals.

The Marlins had two Gold Glove nominees, and claimed one of them. Shortstop Jose Reyes was looking for his first top fielding award, but the award went to Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins.

Unlike a number of awards that are voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America, the Gold Glove winners are selected by managers and coaches. So Buehrle had to impress a new cast of those who pick the award.

He also had to beat out some stiff competition for the top pitcher honor.

The other two finalists were previous Gold Glove winners. Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, who won in 2011, and Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo picked up the honor in 2010.

“I had to actually beat out Kershaw, [while] having a whole new group of managers voting for you,” Buehrle said. “It wasn’t like it was handed to you.

“Last year, seeing Kershaw win it, and seeing some the highlights that he’s done. The guy is a fantastic athlete.”

A knock Buehrle has on the Gold Glove voting is once a player wins for the first time, he tends to just be given the award the following season.

“One thing about the Gold Glove that I’m not too crazy about is I think it gets to a ‘Who won it last year kind of thing.’ They kind of just hand it to that person if you have a decent year,” Buehrle said. “One of those two middle years I didn’t feel like I fielded my position as well as I could have. I didn’t really feel like I earned it or deserved a Gold Glove, and I got it anyways.

“I feel like the Gold Glove gets to where, ‘He won it last year, give it to him again.’ That’s why I think this one means a lot too, because switching leagues, it wasn’t like I had the same managers voting. There were different managers voting on it. I had to go out there and actually do my job to earn it.”

With his victory, Buehrle is the first Marlin to win a Gold Glove since Mike Lowell (third base) and Luis Castillo (second base) in 2005. And he’s just the fifth player in club history to receive the award.

In all, the Marlins have nine total Gold Gloves. But six of them are from two players. Catcher Charles Johnson had a string of three straight from 1995-97. And Castillo strung together three in a row from 2003-05.

The other Gold Glove winners in club history were first baseman Derrek Lee (2003) and Lowell (2005).

Joe Frisaro


Bowa discusses Marlins interview

MIAMI — Late last week, Larry Bowa interviewed for the Marlins manager job.

Bowa, now an analyst for the MLB Network, talked about his interview with Christopher Russo on Mad Dog Unleashed on Sirius XM.

The Marlins have interviewed Bowa, Mike Redmond and Bryan Price. The club continues to explore their options to replace Ozzie Guillen.

Larry Bowa: “I had a nice interview with Jeffrey Loria and the general manager, [Larry] Beinfest, and [Dan] Jennings. It was a good interview.”

Russo:  “Were you surprised they called you?”

Bowa: “No, not really. I’ve known Jeff Loria for awhile. It was a good interview. I had a good time exchanging ideas and everything and we’ll see where that goes.”

Russo: “Are you optimistic that something could happen there?”

Bowa: “You know what, Chris, you know how that goes. When you get interviewed you don’t know. You know, you think you did good, maybe you didn’t do good. I thought it was a good interview. We made some good points with each other.”

Russo: “That team could use a little feistiness from you.”

Bowa: (laughs) “Yeah, that was one of the issues that was brought up.”

 Russo: “They asked you how you are going to approach this team that underachieved, is that what they basically said?”

Bowa: “Well, no, they didn’t say underachieved. They said, are you gonna be, we need some intensity out there and we need some guys to play better than they played.”

Russo: “I can tell, Larry, you’ve still got a young heart. You want to manage. If the right opportunity comes you’re going to take a job.”

Bowa: “That ballclub would be good. That ballclub would be good, Chris.”

— Joe Frisaro

Could Gonzo be a sleeper in manager search?

MIAMI — Indications remain that Mike Redmond is the frontrunner, followed by Bryan Price in the Marlins search for a new manager.

Redmond interviewed for the job on Wednesday, and Price made his pitch with Miami officials on Friday.

But could there be a sleeper in the mix? If so, it very well could be Luis Gonzalez.

The 45-year-old played in parts of 19 big league seasons.  His final season was in 2008, with the Marlins. So he has a connection with the club, and he fits the profile of a leader with great knowledge of the game.

Gonzalez, who was a World Series hero with Arizona in 2001, is currently a special assistant with the D-backs. There is a belief he would be interested in managing, and the Marlins are believed to have him on their short list.

The common bond with all the candidates thus far is they have no previous big league managerial experience.

Jim Riggleman, for example, would make sense if the team was looking for someone who previously worked with up and coming teams. But Miami has not reached out to Riggleman.

Joe Frisaro


Price interviews for Miami post

MIAMI — The Marlins’ interviewing process is picking up steam.

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price interviewed for the vacated managerial post on Friday.

Price’s interview came two days after Mike Redmond made his pitch for the job.

The 50-year-old Price is one of the most respected pitching coaches in the game. Only the Reds and Giants this year had all five of their starters make 30 starts. In 2003, when Price was the pitching coach for Seattle, the Mariners also had five starters make 30 starts.

This is the second time Price has interviewed to manage the Marlins. He also went through the process in 2006.

Miami is looking to move quickly to replace Ozzie Guillen, who was dismissed on Tuesday.

Joe Frisaro

Redmond impressed in interview

MIAMI — As a player, Mike Redmond belted 13 home runs in a 13-year big league career. But during his interview for the Marlins’ managerial job on Wednesday, the former catcher hit it out of the park.

According to a source, Redmond made a very strong case to be the 13th manager in Marlins history.

The 41-year-old, who played for the Marlins from 1998-2004, is a leading candidate to replace Ozzie Guillen, who was dismissed on Tuesday.

The fact that the Marlins reached out immediately to Redmond is another sign that he was at the top of the team’s list.

Redmond interviewed with owner Jeffrey Loria and the rest of the front office in New York City on Wednesday. On Thursday, team officials had their organizational meeting, as they are beginning to lay out plans on how to move forward in 2013.

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price also is in the mix.

The Miami Herald reported the Marlins asked the Padres for permission to interview Brad Ausmus, and the paper claimed the former catcher isn’t interested.

The signs appear to be pointing in the direction of Redmond, who retired as a player after 2010.

This year, Redmond managed Toronto’s Class A Dunedin team.

During his playing days with the Marlins, Redmond was always regarded as a future big league manager. He may indeed be close to filling those projections with Miami.

— Joe Frisaro

Search for Ozzie replacement includes Redmond

MIAMI — The search for a new Marlins’ manager is well underway, as the organization looks to move quickly to replace Ozzie Guillen, who was dismissed on Tuesday.

The expectation is Miami will be seeking a more reserved, lower-profile figure in their dugout.

An early frontrunner is Mike Redmond, a former backup catcher who has ties to the organization. The 41-year-old previously was with the Marlins from 1998-2004. He backed up Ivan Rodriguez on the Marlins’ 2003 World Series title team.

Redmond retired after the 2010 season, and he managed Toronto’s Class A Dunedin squad this season.

Bryan Price, 50, also is in the mix.

Price is a respected pitching coach of the Reds, and he has a connection with Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest dating back to when they were both in Seattle.

Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, 55, is another possibility.

The only two members of Guillen’s staff returning are Joe Espada (third base) and Reid Cornelius (bullpen).

The Marlins are not retaining bench coach Joey Cora, hitting coach Eduardo Perez, pitching coach Randy St. Claire and first base coach Gary Thurman.

The Marlins may bring back Perry Hill to coach the infield.

Beinfest made it clear that previous big league managing experience isn’t a top priority in the Marlins’ search, which is moving away from the direction the club went when they hired Guillen.

The decision on Tuesday to dismiss Guillen came after weeks of owner Jeffrey Loria deciding which direction the ballclub should be heading.

After putting together a high-priced, underperforming squad in 2012, the Marlins appear to be restructuring to be younger. If that indeed is the case, a responsibility for the new manager will also be instructing and developing.

Guillen wanted a second season, but after weeks of thinking things over, the change was made.

On Oct. 3, the last day of the Marlins’ season, Guillen said he was hopeful of returning for a second year in Miami. But he also accepted blame for the team’s failures, and noted he wasn’t in a position to make any demands.

“If I’m back, I have to make this thing better,” Guillen said on the final day of the season. “How’s it going to happen? Working harder. Maybe teaching them a little bit more. Maybe know the players a little bit better. Maybe expect better things out of the players. There’s a lot of things. I don’t worry about getting fired.”

Since late last week there were indications that Guillen’s days as Marlins’ manager were numbered. Front office members contacted potential coaches for positions on the staff, and Guillen was not part of the discussions.

The Marlins hired Guillen on Sept. 28, 2011, after the former big league infielder spent eight seasons managing the White Sox.

To get Guillen out of the final year of his contract with Chicago, the Marlins offered prospects Oswaldo Martinez and Jhan Marinez to the White Sox.

The Marlins signed Guillen to a four-year, $10 million contract, the richest contract for a manager in team history. He is still owed $7.5 million over the next three years.

After a disheartening last-place finish in ’11, the Marlins anticipated Guillen would provide leadership and energy to a franchise that was rebranding itself as the Miami Marlins.

Guillen had a history with the Marlins, having been their third base coach in 2002-03. In 2005, the Venezuelan native guided the White Sox to their first World Series title since 1917. He was named American League Manager of the Year.

Spending top dollar on Guillen was the start of the biggest spending spree in Marlins’ history. Last offseason, Miami was one of the most active teams in the free agent market, signing Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle for a combined $191 million.

Miami’s Opening Day roster was a club record $95 million.

But the team encountered trouble in Spring Training, with outfielders Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton each missing substantial time with knee injuries.

A couple of days into the regular season, Guillen was at the center of controversy for comments he made to Time Magazine regarding Fidel Castro.

The Marlins suspended their manager for five days.

On the field, the Marlins got off to a rough start, but they rebounded with a terrific May, where the club set a franchise record for wins in a month, going 21-8.

That was the highlight of the season, which turned south in June. The Marlins went 8-18 in the month, and never got back into serious contention.

Sensing the team was out of the race by the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Marlins dealt Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers on July 23. Two days later, Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate were sent to the Dodgers. And on July 31, Edward Mujica was moved to St. Louis, and on the same day Gaby Sanchez was traded to the Pirates.

Perhaps the prime reason Guillen wasn’t retained stems from the performance of Ramirez, a former three-time All-Star shortstop.

A big reason Guillen was hired was to bring out the best in veteran players like Ramirez, who won the National League batting title in 2009.

But Ramirez slumped, batting .246 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs at the time he was traded.

In the first half, the Marlins also dealt with a number of blown saves by Bell, who converted 19 of 25 chances before being switched to a setup role in the second half.

Bell and Guillen had disagreements over the course of the season, creating friction within the clubhouse.

On the last day of the season, Guillen told reporters that no matter what, he was planning on being at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn.

“I’ll be at the Winter Meetings, either with the team, or without the team,” Guillen said. “I will be at the Winter Meetings, either managing the Marlins, or at the Winter Meetings looking for a job.”

Joe Frisaro

Murphy, Green opt for free agency

MIAMI — A couple of veteran backup infielders have opted for free agency.

On Wednesday, the Marlins outrighted infielders Donnie Murphy and Nick Green to Triple-A New Orleans. But both declined the assignment, instead selecting to become free agents.

Murphy, 29, made Miami’s Opening Day roster as a utility infielder. He appeared in 52 games, and batted .216 with six doubles, two triples and three home runs in 116 at-bats.

The Marlins designated Murphy for assignment on June 10, and he ended up playing in 33 games while batting .302 for the Zephyrs.

Murphy was called up by Miami on July 27, two days after Hanley Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers. He saw time at third base, but on Aug. 7 went on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

Green was promoted from New Orleans on Aug. 4, where he batted .344 in 63 games. The veteran played some third base for Miami, appearing in six games, batting .143 in 21 at-bats. But two weeks later, he injured his left thumb and missed the rest of the season.

Joe Frisaro



Samson confirms no A-Rod conversations

MIAMI — Speculation continues to grow that the Marlins are targeting Alex Rodriguez in a trade with the Yankees.

But at a Marlins community event at Miami Edison Middle School on Thursday morning, team president David Samson said nothing is in the works.

“There have been no conversations between the Yankees and the Marlins,” Samson told MLB.com.

Samson’s comment confirms what Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters on Wednesday.

“I’ve had no discussions whatsoever with the Marlins,” Cashman said prior to the Yankees and Tigers being rained out on Wednesday at Detroit. “I certainly would never have any trade discussions under the circumstances. … I can tell you there are no discussions whatsoever. We are not down the line on any trade talks on any of our players, including Alex, and I haven’t engaged any general manager about trade discussions since the [July 31 non-waiver Trade] Deadline, for the most part.”

Asked how a rumor would start, Samson replied: “We’re Miami.”

The possible trade connection was first reported in a blog by Keith Olbermann.

Rodriguez, who grew up in Miami, still has five years and a guaranteed $114 million remaining on his contract. Even if the Marlins had serious interest, a major issue would be how much of A-Rod’s salary Miami would absorb.

ESPN New York reported on Wednesday that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Yankees president Randy Levine previously discussed the possible trade for Rodriguez. It was said to initially be done jokingly, but has since gained some steam.

Loria has been in Europe recently, and next week he is expected to attend the Marlins organizational meetings.

More than making any possible trades, the Marlins foremost are looking to settle several internal matters.

Manager Ozzie Guillen, who has three years remaining on his contract, has not been informed if he will return in the 2013. And there still is the possibility that there could be restructuring in the front office.

These decisions are being made solely by Loria.

Joe Frisaro


Should Marlins make push for A-Rod?

MIAMI — Priority No. 1 on the Marlins’ offseason shopping list is finding an impact third baseman.

Will their search lead them to Alex Rodriguez?

That’s the hot topic on Wednesday.

Keith Olbermann reported on MLB.com’s MLBlogs Network that the Marlins have talked with the Yankees about a possible trade for A-Rod. One scenario to pull off the deal would be for the Marlins to send Heath Bell to New York.

Bell has two years remaining on his $27 million contract. The right-hander had a disappointing first season in Miami, where he lost his closer role in the second half.

Olbermann’s post claimed: “Sources close to both organizations confirm the Yankees would pay all – or virtually all – of the $114,000,000 Rodriguez is owed in a contract that runs through the rest of this season and the next five. One alternative scenario has also been discussed in which the Yankees would pay less of Rodriguez’s salary, but would obtain the  troubled Marlins’ reliever Heath Bell and pay what remains of the three-year, $27,000,000 deal Bell signed last winter.   “None of the sources could give an indication as to how serious the discussions have already gotten, but one of them close to the Marlins’ ownership said he believed the trade made sense for both sides, and would eventually be made in some form.”

Considering the Marlins’ needs, and A-Rod’s declining relationship in New York, speculating the Marlins could be a fit was pretty obvious.

And the Marlins, like last year, promise to be active in the offseason as they look to restructure their roster.

But from Miami’s standpoint, right now, the club still has many unanswered questions that are expected to be resolved next week at the team’s organizational meetings.

There still has not been official word if Ozzie Guillen will return as manager, and whether there will be any restructuring in the front office.

Of course, team owner Jeffrey Loria could be taking the lead on such a high-profile decision. Maybe he did extend some feelers in the Yankees’ direction.

But on Wednesday, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reported Yankees general manager Brian Cashman as saying the A-Rod rumor is “not true.”

That’s understandable, because the Yankees right now are focused on trying to stay alive in the American League Championship Series, where they trail 3-0 to the Tigers.

The fact A-Rod has been benched raises more speculation that his days could be numbered in New York.

The Marlins make perfect sense as a possible landing spot if New York opts to move their controversial slugger. Rodriguez could block any trade, because he has at least 10 years in the big leagues, including at least five with the Yankees. But there is reason to believe he would welcome a deal to Miami, his home.

Money, of course, would be an issue.

If the Yankees pick up all or almost all of the remaining salary, a trade could make sense for both sides.

There certainly would be star power if the Marlins had Rodriguez playing next to shortstop Jose Reyes.

Although his production has been in decline, Rodriguez is a threat, and he would provide protection in the middle of the lineup for Giancarlo Stanton.

The Marlins are never shy about finding ways to create headlines, and A-Rod is one of the most recognized athletes in any sport. He would certainly help sell some tickets, and more merchandise.

For now, it’s an interesting topic to discuss on talk radio and generate attention in blog posts. The reality is, we should have a better idea of what the Marlins are thinking in a week or so, after they put to rest speculation about their manager and front office.

Joe Frisaro



Blue Jays claim Cousins on waivers

MIAMI — With a surplus of left-handed hitting outfielders, the Marlins have parted ways with Scott Cousins.

The 27-year-old on Wednesday was claimed on waivers by the Blue Jays.

Cousins spent much of 2012 at Triple-A New Orleans, where he batted .296 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 61 games.

For the Marlins, he appeared in 53 games and batted .163 in 86 at-bats.

Also on Wednesday, right-hander Sandy Rosario was claimed on waivers by the Red Sox.

And the Marlins outrighted infielders Donnie Murphy, Nick Green and Gil Velazquez to Triple-A New Orleans.

Joe Frisaro