November 2012

Pavano has interest in Marlins

MIAMI — Some old faces have already returned to the Marlins. Could a former starting pitcher be next?

Carl Pavano, part of the Marlins’ 2003 World Series title team, has made it clear that he would welcome a return to the organization.

The 36-year-old right-hander told the Palm Beach Post that he wants to pitch again for the Marlins. And next week, his agent, Dave Pepe, plans on reaching out to Miami management at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn.

Miami management has a long-standing relationship with Pavano, stemming from his days in Montreal and Florida. In 2004, Pavano won 18 games for the Marlins, and the following season he signed as a free agent with the Yankees.

Pavano certainly has connections with the current Miami staff. He was a teammate of new manager Mike Redmond with the Marlins, and also in Minnesota.

Pavano also was a teammate of Miami manager Mike Redmond

There is a health risk with Pavano, who was hampered by a right shoulder injury last year. His fastball velocity dipped to 86 mph last season.

Pavano, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, told the Post that his shoulder is now fine.

“Obviously I had some issues last year, but I’ve been able to put those behind me. I’m looking forward to continuing my workouts and seeing what this off-season brings me,’’ Pavano said.

The Marlins have signed one major free agent this offseason, bringing back outfielder Juan Pierre.

Joe Frisaro

 

Impact of Marlins Park in power search

MIAMI — Adding some power is a priority of the Marlins as they prepare for the Winter Meetings.

Ryan Raburn, who cleared waivers on Monday, fits the mold of what the team is seeking.

Miami hit 137 home runs in 2012, with 37 of them coming from Giancarlo Stanton. They were tied with the Cubs for the 23rd most in the big leagues.

In Miami, home runs were even more of a challenge for any team.

Expansive Marlins Park was the third toughest building in the big leagues to belt a home run. According to StatsPass, there were just 113 total homers at Miami’s new building.

The Marlins hit 55 of their 137 home runs at home, which also ranked 28th.

Watching long drives, especially to center field wind up being loud-outs, prompted Miami first baseman Carlos Lee to have some fun with opponents. Seeing their reaction go from excitement to disappointment after a long fly out, Lee would quip: “Not at Marlins Park. Not in Miami.”

On the road, Miami hit 82 home runs, middle of the pack at 14th overall.

Marlins officials have repeatedly said they have no intention on moving in the fences. If that is the case, it will be challenging to attract an established free agent power hitter.

Still, the team could look to stock up on more players capable of reaching 15-20. Basically, players who pull the ball, have a greater chance of hitting home runs in Miami. Cody Ross, anyone?

Obviously, home runs don’t measure the success of a team. All you have to do is see that the Giants hit just 31 home runs at home. And AT&T Park overall was dead last, with 84 home runs.

With their ballpark playing big, the Marlins appear to be building like the Giants, around pitching, defense and timely hitting.

Total home runs in each ballpark

Yankee Stadium                 232

Miller Park                    230

U.S. Cellular Field            228

Camden Yards                   226

Coors Field                    218

Rogers Centre                  204

Rangers Ballpark               202

Great American                 199

Fenway Park                    185

Citizens Bank Park             175

Chase Field                    174

Target Field                   167

Nationals Park                 165

Angel Stadium                  161

Comerica Park                  159

Minute Maid Park               158

Citi Field                     155

O.co Coliseum                  153

Wrigley Field                  153

Progressive Field              149

Kauffman Stadium               149

Busch Stadium                  140

Turner Field                   137

Tropicana Field                137

Dodger Stadium                 126

PNC Park                       125

Safeco Field                   116

Marlins Park                   113

PETCO Park                     109

AT&T Park                       84

(courtesy of StatsPass)

Joe Frisaro

Redmond reaches out to Stanton

MIAMI — Marlins manager Mike Redmond has already taken steps to make sure everything has smoothed over with slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton last week vented his frustration over Miami’s 12-player trade with Toronto. The Marlins parted with Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck, and in the process, lopped $160 million in player salaries.

Upset about the club’s change of direction, Stanton make strong comments to Peter Gammons of MLB.com.

On Tuesday, Redmond said on SiriusXM’s Inside Pitch with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden that he has spoken with Stanton. The first-year manager is confident Stanton will be focused and ready to perform for Miami come Spring Training.

“I talked to Stanton, I reached out to him,” Redmond said during his radio interview. “I’ve been through that as a player, where guys have been traded, and it’s tough. I appreciate the fact that he’s upset. As a player myself, and now as a manager, that’s the kind of intensity and fire you want in your players. You want them to be passionate and to want to win.”

A year ago, the Marlins made major, high-priced additions. Now, after finishing in last place, they’ve revamped their roster.

“Any time you lose teammates to a trade, or whatever, you’re upset,” Redmond said. “You create such a tremendous bond with those guys. The players, when they get traded away, it hurts. I love the fact that he wants to win. That’s great. “

The Marlins have no intention of trading Stanton.

“I told him how much he means to this organization, and to our team,” Redmond said. “He understands what is at stake as a player, and what he has got to do to go out there, and not only be successful for the Marlins, but to have a great year for himself and his family.

“I’m not worried about him. I know he will be ready for Spring Training, and ready to help us win ball games.”

Joe Frisaro

 

Marisnick makes the switch at Fall League

A Blue Jay today, a Marlin tomorrow.

Talk about a change on the fly.

Newly acquired Miami prospect Jake Marisnick literally underwent a transaction on the field.

The Marlins and Blue Jays finalized their 12-player trade on Monday. Until the deal became official, Marisnick was playing in the Arizona Fall League, representing Toronto. He was on the field warming up in a Blue Jays uniform when he was handed a new Miami uniform.

Marisnick is a highly-touted outfield prospect who projects to open the season at Double-A Jacksonville.

Joe Frisaro

 

 

Marlins announce trade with Blue Jays

MIAMI — Six days after agreeing to a 12-player deal, the Marlins on Monday afternoon announced their blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays.

Miami has acquired SS Adeiny Hechavarria, LHP Justin Nicolino, OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Henderson Alvarez, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, C Jeff Mathis and INF Yunel Escobar in exchange for SS Jose Reyes, RHP Josh Johnson, LHP Mark Buehrle, C John Buck, OF Emilio Bonifacio and cash.

The Marlins said they were prompted to make such a major move after finishing last in the National League East with a 69-93 record.

“We’ve finished in last place the past two years, and that is unacceptable to our fans, to us as an organization, and to me,” said Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria in a statement. “We want to get back to our winning ways, and we want a winning baseball team for our fans. It’s incumbent on us to make the changes necessary to make us a winner again.

“It may not happen overnight. But with the players we acquired in the second half of last season, coupled with the infusion of players we are acquiring now, we will be returning to Marlins Baseball: high energy and hungry.”

MLB commissioner Bud Selig offered a statement on the trade, which upset many in South Florida because the Marlins parted with several high-profile and high-priced players.

“It is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion,” Selig said in a statement. “It is, of course, up to the Clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future.“I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday.

“Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park.  Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans.”

The Marlins on Monday also announced they signed free agent outfielder Juan Pierre.

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins finalize coaching staff

MIAMI — Mike Redmond’s staff is now completed.

The Marlins on Friday announced their new bench and pitching coaches.

Rob Leary has been named bench coach, and Chuck Hernandez will handle the pitching.

Leary and Hernandez round out the staff that also includes Tino Martinez (hitting), Perry Hill (infield/first base), Joe Espada (third base) and Reid Cornelius (bullpen).

The Marlins hired Redmond on Nov. 1 to replace Ozzie Guillen.

– Joe Frisaro

Nolasco, Stanton part of Marlins’ plans

MIAMI — Expect Ricky Nolasco to be with the Marlins in 2013, and the organization hopes to have Giancarlo Stanton playing in Miami for the foreseeable future.

Marlins president David Samson addressed both players on Thursday during a radio segment on “The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz” on 790 AM The Ticket.

Nolasco, in the final year of his contract, has been the subject of trade rumors of late. But Samson gave a definitive “yes.”

“Yes. Yes, he will,” Samson said when asked if Nolasco would be with the team next year.

Nolasco, the franchise’s all-time victory leader, is signed for $11.5 million, making him the highest-paid player on the roster.

Many fans are wondering about Stanton, who still hasn’t reached his arbitration years. The Marlins have no intention on trading their 23-year-old slugger, who was second in the National League in home runs in 2012.

“Giancarlo is on the team for, I want to say, four years at the minimum,” Samson said. “We’d love to have him end his career here because we think he is that good. If he wants to be with us, we will be able to work out something long term. If not, not. But we’re not even up to that now.”

Stanton will be eligible for arbitration in 2014, and eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.

“Having him in the lineup and healthy is critical,” Samson said. “If he can play a full season his numbers will be quote spectacular.”

Joe Frisaro

Samson discusses pending trade on radio

MIAMI — The blockbuster trade has not yet been made official, but Marlins president David Samson spoke about the pending deal  with the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

During a taped interview with Dan LeBatard on 790 The Ticket, Samson noted that the Marlins’ last-place, 69-93 record, triggered management’s decision to overhaul the roster.

Miami is sending Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to Toronto in exchange for seven players, including Yunel Escobar.

In the interview, which lasted about 20 minutes, Samson said: “We sat down after the season and talked about the team and said, ‘We cannot keep finishing in last place. It doesn’t make sense.’ We lost 93 games, and we entrusted all of our scouts and development people and upper-level baseball people and said, ‘What can we do to possibly start this to turn around? What needs to happen? How can it work?

“All sorts of different plans were possible. It just so happens that we found a way to possibly in one fell swoop get a whole lot better, and get on the road to getting better.”

Samson noted that in terms of name-recognition, the Marlins parted with four players who have been All-Stars in the past. In return, they are getting many talented, but untested big league players.

“I actually recognize, names coming back in the potential trade are names people are not familiar with,” Samson said. “But in the baseball world, people are familiar with them.

“As far as I’m concerned, what I really hope will happen and what we plan on happening is winning more games. Each year, starting to win more games. That’s what we want to do.”

Samson has a weekly segment on 790 The Ticket, and throughout the Marlins’ rough season, fans repeatedly vented their displeasure with the last-place team.

“I was just thinking about some of the calls we had during the season, when the team wasn’t playing well, and we were losing all those games,” Samson said. “I remember very well that our fans spoke to us, and they said they were not happy with what we are doing, and what the team was doing.

“We said, ‘What can we do? Where can we start, and what kind of flexibility do we need going forwards?’ We, meaning the baseball guys, starting talking around, and all of a sudden something possibly came to fruition.”

For all the high expectations the Marlins had when they hired manager Ozzie Guillen, and signed high-priced free agents, the Marlins endured one of their worst years in club history.

“To lose 93 games was the most embarrassing thing,” Samson said. “Far more embarrassing than this. Putting together a team in 2012 that we expected to win. The fact that they didn’t, that was the most embarrassing.”

Guillen was dismissed last month and replaced by Mike Redmond.

“I think that when we made the managerial decision, and when we made the player decisions we made last year, we could not have dreamt that our season would have ended that way,” Samson said.

Miami’s payroll was around $100 million in 2012, and it projects to be dramatically lower in ’13.

Pressed on payroll, Samson said he wasn’t sure of the range for the upcoming season, but the club has added flexibility after removing nearly $160 million in base salary commitments.

“I’m not sure what range the payroll will end up at, but I know we will have the players in place, and, hopefully, we will do better than last year,” Samson said. “That’s what it’s about. We tried the higher payroll and ended up losing more games. So whatever the payroll is, the real important part is having better players.”

Samson added that team owner Jeffrey Loria made a substantial financial commitment to the new ballpark.

“Let’s not forget how much money Jeffrey Loria himself put in, over $160 million of his money to get a ballpark built, which has been a very positive thing and will continue to be long after all of us are gone,” Samson said.

It’s unclear how active the Marlins will be on the free agent market. More important than dollars they spend, they are focusing on making better choices.

“We spent it wrong,” Samson said. “It showed with everything off the field and on the field. I don’t blame more fans for not coming out because who wants to see 93 losses? The fact is we think we have a young team now that may be hungrier and should win more.”

– Joe Frisaro

Marlins not intending to trade Stanton

MIAMI — Major turnover is taking place with the Marlins, but a player not being shopped is Giancarlo Stanton.

The Marlins have no intention to trade their All-Star right fielder. According to a source, the slugger pretty much remains untouchable, at least for 2013.

Miami has Stanton under club control for one more season before he is eligible for arbitration. And he won’t have the necessary service time to become a free agent until after the 2016 season.

Currently, the Marlins are not in discussions with Stanton’s representatives regarding a long-term contract.

Despite being limited by injuries to 123 games, Stanton finished second in the National League in home runs with 37. He’s belted 93 home runs in 373 games since being called up in June of 2010.

The Marlins are finalizing a blockbuster deal that will send Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Blue Jays.

In return, the Marlins will receive Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis and prospects Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick and Anthony DeSclafani.

Stanton, who turned 23 on Nov. 8, expressed his frustration via Twitter on Tuesday after learning of Miami’s pending trade with Toronto. “Alright, I’m [ticked] off!!! Plain & Simple,” Stanton tweeted.

Tuesday’s trade removes about $160 million of base salary commitments off Miami’s books.

Although the trade is unpopular in South Florida, the Marlins are redirecting and are hopeful they’ve added pieces for a better future. Also, they’ve created payroll flexibility.

Stanton’s role with the organization magnifies now as he has become the face of the franchise.

Joe Frisaro

Martinez new Marlins hitting coach

MIAMI — Tino Martinez, a four-time World Series champion as a player, will now get a chance to offer his insights to the Marlins as a coach.

Miami on Thursday hired Martinez as their new hitting coach. The 44-year-old, who was part of four title teams with the Yankees, takes over for Eduardo Perez, who recently was named Houston’s bench coach.

Martinez is the first coaching hire of new manager Mike Redmond. The Marlins continue to search for a bench coach and pitching coach.

The staff includes Martinez, Perry Hill (infield/first base), Joe Espada (third base) and Reid Cornelius (bullpen).

Joe Frisaro

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