MIAMI — The Marlins did their diligence and made a strong push for Jose Dariel Abreu. But with a number of other teams in the bidding, Miami on Thursday pulled out of the sweepstakes for the Cuban slugger.
The Marlins heavily scouted the 26-year-old first baseman.
Teams made blind bids for Abreu about a week ago to get an indication of his value.
Initially, the cost for Abreu was believed to be in the $45 million to $60 million range. But, according to reports, his price tag was rising to close to $70 million.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the White Sox were closing in on a six-year, $68 million deal. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reported the deal was done, pending completion of a physical. The Red Sox and Astros were finalists, and the Rangers also had strong interest.
Abreu is considered a power bat to hit in the middle of any order.
With Abreu no longer an option, the Marlins will look in other areas to address their offensive needs.
Logan Morrison is the incumbent to remain at first base.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Naming Frank Menechino as their new hitting coach was step one. Next, the Marlins will be working towards establishing a new identity at the plate.
After finishing last in the Majors in runs scored, batting average, home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, the Marlins will be striving to develop an organizational hitting identity.
Ideally, they’d like to establish a basic approach that can be adopted at all levels of their organization.
Menechino, who came highly recommended, spent the past five seasons as a hitting coach in the Yankees’ system.
With so many young players in their system, Menechino promises to do as much teaching and instructing as coaching. But he won’t be going at improving the offense alone.
New general manager Dan Jennings said organization will be having meetings before the start of Spring Training to discuss an philosophy to move forward.
“We’re going to have some meeetings before Spring Training, and we’re going to solicit input from all of our hitting people within the organization,” Jennings said. “We’re going to create a Marlins Way, a Marlins Mindset, and work on all of our guys having a plan, and an understanding on how to take that into the game. And hopefully get the results that will get production.”
Production is the ultimate goal. Whatever steps they go through to achieve that is what the team will weigh.
Also still on the table is the possibility of adding a second hitting coach or instructor. MLB rules allow a seventh coach on the staff for such a position. Miami has six on its staff.
“We’ve had conversations. We’ve tossed it around,” Jennings said. “We’ve weighed the pros and the cons. I’d say right now, I don’t think we’re leaning either way. It’s something that we’ve taken note of, that some teams are doing it. We’ve talked about with us, would it be advantageous or detrimental.
“I think there are arguments on both sides, but we need to be comfortable with it.”
Manager Mike Redmond and Menechino have to have a comfort level with bringing in another coach.
“Right now, I wouldn’t say we’re leaning either way,” Jennings said. “It’s something we’ve talked about.”
Two members of the 2013 staff will not be coming back. Joe Espada has informed the team he would accept managing Class A Jupiter. And John Pierson will go back to being the Minor League field coordinator.
There always is a chance Espada could be offered a big league coaching job elsewhere.
Managing in the big leagues could be part of Espada’s future, and he could gain valuable experience at Jupiter.
“We have great respect, everybody in the organization feels the same about Joe,” Jennings said. “We like him. We were glad he decided to remain inside the organization. From a career standpoint, this may be a great move for him as he goes forward, having an opportunity to manage a game and being in that capacity.”
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Some changes are being made to Marlins manager Mike Redmond’s coaching staff.
Third base coach Joe Espada has been asked to manage Class A Jupiter in the Florida State League. On the big league staff the past four years, Espada is taking a few days to decide if he wants to accept the reassignment or seek a big league job with another club.
A native of Puerto Rico, Espada has the makings of being a future big league manager. The thought from the Marlins’ perspective is to give him the opportunity to gain managerial experience in the Minors.
In the past, Espada went through the interview process for the Marlins’ manager post. He last interviewed before Ozzie Guillen was hired in 2012.
Espada is highly respected by the players, and he gained some international attention as the third base coach for Team Puerto Rico, which lost in the finals to the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
With the Marlins this past season, Espada also coached the outfielders and he was the base-running instructor. In Spring Training, he worked daily on bunting with the players early in the morning at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.
Last week, the Marlins reassigned interim hitting coach John Pierson to the Minors.
Andy Haines managed the Jupiter Hammerheads this past season. His new role has yet to be decided.
The Marlins are considering going with two hitting coaches, a trend being used by a number of teams, including the Cardinals.
Andy Barkett, who managed Double-A Jacksonville, reportedly is in the mix for a hitting coach spot.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — We’re about to find out how serious the Marlins are about signing Jose Dariel Abreu.
Earlier in the week, the organization was well represented at Abreu’s two-day workout in the Dominican Republic.
Word is the organization is highly impressed with the power-hitting first baseman. The latest is blind bids for Abreu are due on Saturday. Projections are it will take between $45-60 million to land the 26-year-old Cuban native, who is said to have a boyish face and fun-loving personality.
The Marlins are all-in on signing Abreu. But can they seal the deal? That will be up to team owner Jeffrey Loria, and how much he is willing to spend.
According to a source, the Giants are considered a favorite to land his services.
The Marlins, meanwhile, plan to make their pitch. The thought of having Giancarlo Stanton and Abreu in the middle of the order could immediately upgrade the team that scored the fewest runs in the Majors (513) this season.
At his workout, Abreu showed an easy swing, and the ball exploded off his bat.
Abreu is said to be more of a pure hitter than Stanton, who has the edge in raw power.
The Marlins are not expected to be major players in the free agent market for established big league veterans. However, the international market presents an attractive alternative.
Abreu’s price tag will be dramatically lower than, say, Robinson Cano, who is said to be seeking $300 million.
Even if that is an inflated figure to start off with, Cano still projects to make $200-plus million, still out of Miami’s price league.
Abreu also is interesting because he might be passable at third base. Ideally, he would play first. But he could be a candidate to play third, if the club also would like to retain Logan Morrison.
Bottom line with Abreu is his bat.
If he can hit the way some believe he will, he could play a defensive third base similar to what Miguel Cabrera is doing in Detroit.
Also telling about the Marlins’ interest in Abreu is the club may be willing to boost payroll to more than the projected $38 million they initially were leaning towards.
The exact budget the team plans to operate with has not yet been determined.
Perhaps the key is finding the right player to invest in to incresae payroll. Abreu just may be that guy.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Through the arbitration process, several Marlins are headed for substantial raises in 2014.
Heading the list of nine players up for arbitration are Giancarlo Stanton and Steve Cishek.
Assuming neither signs a multi-year deal, which is highly likely, they project to be the two highest paid Marlins when Spring Training opens in February.
The MLB Trade Rumors web site has a formula of tabulate what players are in line to make in arbitration. The model, developed by Matt Swartz, estimates Stanton will make $4.8 million, compared to Cishek’s $3.2 million.
Miami’s front office has yet to be presented payroll parameters for next season, but indications are it will remain close to the $38 million the team operated under this year.
Stanton earned $537,000 and Cishek made $505,000.
Stanton turns 24 in November, and the slugger is coming off a disappointing season. Cishek, meanwhile, was one of the most consistent performers, setting a franchise record for consecutive saves.
As usual, there will be plenty of speculation as to whether the Marlins will trade Stanton. There are strong signs from within the organization that Miami plans on retaining the slugger, while attempting to sign him to a multi-year deal.
If Stanton isn’t agreeable, and he seeks to wait out his service time in Miami, the Marlins seem prepared to go on a year-to-year basis until the slugger is free agent-eligible after the 2016 season.
Cishek, actually, may become a more realist trade piece. The Marlins have some power arms in the system, and they likely will seek offensive upgrades on the trade market.
Cishek’s value is at its highest, and it might make sense to include him as a trade piece for offensive help.
Coming off a 62-100 season, the club is at least another year away from seriously contending. So the organization is probably asking itself if it needs a $3.2 million closer at this point.
If the Marlins do opt to trade Cishek, it would be a change of strategy from the regular season. Clubs repeatedly checked to see if the 27-year-old was available before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Each time they were told, Cishek wasn’t available.
Here’s the projected arbitration numbers, according to MLB Trade Rumors
Name, Service time, ’14 projected salary
• Giancarlo Stanton: 3.118 yrs: $4.8 million
• Steve Cishek: 2.143 (Super Two): $3.2 million
• Kevin Slowey: 5.053: $1.8 million
• Justin Ruggiano: 3.019: $1.8 million
• Logan Morrison: 3.069: $1.7 million
• Ryan Webb: 4.029: $1.5 million
• Mike Dunn: 3.079: $1.4 million
• Chris Coghlan: 3.171: $800,000
• Koyie Hill: 5.087: $500,000
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Marlins prospect Jake Marisnick on Monday will undergo a scope on his left knee to repair a meniscus tear.
The 22-year-old outfielder has felt discomfort in the knee for several months, and he believes it was brought on by wear and tear.
Recovery time is four to six weeks.
Marisnick was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville in late July, and in 40 big league games he is batting .183.
Also, outfielder Christian Yelich will had a minor procedure on Monday to remove a stye from his right eye. The stye surfaced in July, around the time of the All-Star Game.
Like Marisnick, Yelich opened the season at Double-A Jacksonville before being promoted to the big leagues in late July. He’s become the regular left field, and is batting .288 since his promotion.
Donovan Solano, who was plunked on the back of his helmet by a pitch on Saturday night, is feeling fine. But as a precaution, the second baseman was not in the starting lineup on Sunday.
Solano was struck behind the left ear in the back of his helmet by a 95-mph Evan Reed fastball in the 10th inning.
Miami went to beat the Tigers, 2-1.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — The Marlins have called a noon news conference for Sunday, where they are expected to announce the new structure of their front office.
Dan Jennings, according to sources, is in line to be promoted to oversee personnel decisions.
Michael Hill, the current general manager, also is expected to remain in the organization.
The Marlins on Friday dismissed Larry Beinfest as president of baseball operations. The club also let go of Jim Fleming, who was a special assistant to the president of baseball operations.
Jennings has been the vice president of player development and assistant general manager.
The Marlins on Sunday are wrapping up their fourth straight losing season. They carry a 61-100 record into the 1:10 p.m. ET contest with the Tigers.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — A day after Miami underwent a front office shakeup, it was business as usual on Saturday at Marlins Park.
Still there is unfinished business to take care of, mainly finalizing how the front office will be restructured now that Larry Beinfest has been dismissed.
The Marlins on Friday afternoon announced, effective immediately, that Beinfest was being relieved of his duties as president of baseball operations. Also, Jim Fleming was let go as special assistant to the president of baseball operations.
No official announcements have been made on what moves are next.
According to several insiders, Dan Jennings, currently the vice president of player development and assistant general manager, is expected to be promoted to handle a number of baseball decisions. What exact title he will assume remains to be seen.
There are indications Jennings and vice president and general manager Michael Hill will share a number of responsibilities.
Team owner Jeffrey Loria met with Hill at Marlins Park for more than a hour on Friday. Insiders say it went well.
Jennings, meanwhile, was in Venezuela the past few days scouting players. He returned on Friday night to South Florida. It’s assumed that he met on Saturday with Loria.
One school of thought is Jennings will be more hands on in player evaluations, while Hill could be more involved in contract negotiations.
Jennings and Hill have worked together even before they both joined the Marlins. They were also together at Tampa Bay.
It is likely, the team will announce how the front office will be structured early next week.
The Marlins’ season comes to a close on Sunday.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Speculation continues that the Marlins may be making front office changes after the season.
But there are strong indications that the club’s top slugger will be part of the team’s plans for 2014.
Sources say Giancarlo Stanton will remain with the Marlins.
Asked if there is any chance Stanton could be traded, a plugged in MLB source said: “I don’t see any scenario.”
Another insider added the Marlins are looking to build around Stanton.
Multiple sources see a likely scenario in which Stanton signs a one-year deal for 2014, mainly because the slugger is keeping his long-term options open. And the Marlins themselves have concerns over the slugger’s durability, because he has missed so much the the past two years.
Stanton, who turns 24 in November, is arbitration-eligible in ’14, and technically the Marlins could sign him on a year-to-year basis through 2016.
Miami is weighing whether to offer Stanton a multi-year contract. Ideally, that is what the club would like to do.
However, because of Stanton’s injury history there are reservations if the back-end base salary years are in the $20 million range.
Stanton played in 123 games in 2012, missing more than a month due to right knee surgery. Still, he pounded out 37 home runs, second most in the National League.
Stanton missed all of May this year with a strained hamstring.
The slugger enters the final weekend having played in 113 games, and he is at 24 home runs.
Few players in the game pose the threat of Stanton. Since there is no urgency to either trade or sign Stanton long-term, the Marlins are prepared to ride out his arbitration years. His arbitration figures to be around $7 million in ’14, which is highly affordable for the Marlins.
Miami’s payroll is expected to remain roughly where it was this year, around $37 million.
The Marlins play in a ballpark that ranks last in the Majors in total home runs. There have been 84 blasts at Marlins Park, and Miami players have just 36 of them. Stanton has 15 of that total.
Stanton may not want to sign a multi-year deal, and he could play out the string in Miami until he is up for free agency.
But for next year, the Marlins are looking to upgrade their offense, and build around Stanton.
If the Marlins are serious about signing Stanton long-term, they should seriously consider moving in the fences.
A couple of days ago, Stanton told MLB.com about the difficulty of hitting home runs in Miami.
“You love to see scoring, but you love to see home runs as well,” Stanton said. “You don’t see them when you come here — from both sides.”
Stanton estimated he lost about 10 home runs this season due to how tough it is to hit the ball out at Marlins Park.
Because of his size and strength, the slugger has heard from fans and the media that he can hit the ball out anywhere. That may be true, but he also wants to be treated the same as any other hitter.
“I want the normal ones, too,” Stanton said. “Where I don’t have to crush it 500 feet all the time.”
– Joe Frisaro
Dwight “Doc” Gooden, the former Mets great, is among the growing list of people inside the game with enjoy watching Fernandez, the Marlins’ rookie sensation.
Gooden was at Citi Field on Friday promoting his book, simply titled “Doc.” The pitching icon took a few minutes between signing books to talk about Fernandez.
Like Fernandez, Gooden broke into the league at a young age. In 1984, Gooden was a 19-year-old who went on to win National League Rookie of the Year honors.
Fernandez opened the season at age 20, and he turned 21 on July 31. The Marlins right-hander is a frontrunner to be named the Nationals League’s top rookie.
Gooden was born and raised in Tampa, and Fernandez settled into Tampa five years ago after he defected from Cuba.
Like Gooden, Fernandez wears No. 16.
Doc offers the Miami rookie some helpful advice: “The main thing with a guy like that is, on the field, continue to work hard and remember what got you there. Stick around the veterans. Always be a student of the game. There is always something you can improve on. I know he had a great year, but you always constantly challenge yourself to improve. Keep working hard.”
Gooden still has family in Tampa, and his nephew actually played high school baseball against Fernandez, who attended Alonso High School.
“As far as off the field, just understand that a lot of people may approach you,” Gooden cautions Fernandez. “A lot of them might not have your best interest.”
Fernandez was able to meet Gooden on Friday.
Gooden likes the energy the Miami rookie brings.
“The main thing that sticks out is his mound presence,” Gooden said. “He pitches like he’s been there a long time. He’s not afraid of the hitters. He likes pitching inside. He has a lot of confidence. I don’t think he’s cocky. Just a lot of confidence. That’s what really sticks out.”
– Joe Frisaro