Results tagged ‘ Cliff Lee ’

Would pursuing Greinke make sense?

Speculation at the Winter Meetings had the Marlins expressing trade interest in Royals’ ace Zack Greinke. There was little substance to the rumors, and the story faded as fast as it surfaced.

But now that the Phillies have assembled their dream rotation by adding Cliff Lee, should the Marlins counter and make a run at Greinke? Such a move would create a formidable one-two punch with Josh Johnson and Greinke. It certainly would stack up with Philadelphia’s duo of Roy Halladay and Lee.

South Florida already has the “Big Three” with Wade, LeBron and Bosh in basketball. So the possibility of having Greinke in the Marlins’ rotation would clearly stir plenty of excitement in a big-event market. For Internet sites, newspapers, blogs and talk radio, this would give the fans and the media plenty to talk and write about.

But at what cost could making a “dream rotation” happen? This is the sticking point, and the major reason why it is highly doubtful that Zack Greinke will  become a Marlin in 2011.

To even get the Royals seriously to engage in trade talks for Greinke, the Marlins would have to be willing to part with Mike Stanton. Foremost, the now 21-year-old slugger would be the centerpiece. The asking price may also include Logan Morrison. Then, the Marlins would likely have to be prepared to include Ricky Nolasco as well a prospect or two. In all, it would take about four or five players, including major parts of the current club, to land the former Cy Young award winning right-hander.

Some have speculated that Nolasco and Leo Nunez could get the deal going. It wouldn’t even pique Kansas City’s interest.

Considering the Marlins already have a formidable rotation with Johnson, Nolasco, Javier Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad, there isn’t the urgency to acquire Greinke. At least not at the price of trading perhaps the best young power hitter in the game, who is under club control through 2016.

As the Marlins front office has repeatedly stated, the price of quality starting pitching is extremely high. It is either costly in terms of contracts (Lee will make $120 million over five years), or players offered to obtain a true ace. Grooming your own starting pitching — like the Giants have done — remains the most effective way to build a rotation.

When you look at the possible return for someone like Greinke, it also shows why the Marlins have no intentions of trading Johnson to the Yankees or anywhere else.

With Lee going to the Phillies, it didn’t take long for reports out of New York to suggest the Yankees inquire about JJ. For the record, the Marlins’ ace is not on the market. But if he were, Florida wouldn’t narrow its trade partner to exclusively the Yankees. A player like Johnson would generate wide appeal, and even the best package the Yankees may be able to offer might not stand up to other clubs.

The bottom line for the Marlins on the Greinke front is — is it worth overpaying for a right-hander they’d have under contract for two years?

– Joe Frisaro

How Lee decision impacts Marlins

Landing Cliff Lee gives the Phillies the strongest rotation in the game.

The pending signing also reinforces what the Marlins have been preaching for a long time — Pitching and defense wins.

“A good team just got better,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said of Lee joining Philadelphia. “Our plan has been to build a team to win, and to do that, you have to beat the best teams. So, we’re planning to do just that.”

Well before Lee picked Philadelphia, Florida’s front office has been working towards crafting a formidable starting rotation. The recent free agent signing of Javier Vazquez was another step in piecing together a top-flight starting five.

The Marlins certainly like their rotation of Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad. The team feels they can match up favorably on most nights. It’s just a matter of these young starters gaining consistency, along with staying healthy.

With Lee off the market, the Marlins certainly aren’t looking to trade away their top starters. There will be speculation about Nolasco, who has a three-year contract offer on the table that hasn’t been agreed upon.

But Nolasco has two more years left in arbitration, and the Marlins certainly value him as either their No. 2 or No. 3 starter, depending on the competition in Spring Training shapes up.

Florida is prepared to go year-to-year with Nolasco, who remains a highly valued right-hander for the cost. The team has no urgency to move him.

Obviously, the Marlins would listen to offers, but to trade Nolasco, Florida would covet pitching in return. Because the team is trying to compete in 2011, they would seek a big league-ready starter in any trade.

Johnson, who has three-years remaining on his contract, is a franchise player who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The Marlins are looking for Johnson to be their Opening Day starter in the first game in their new ballpark, which opens in 2012.

In order to contend in the NL East, the Marlins will be banking on their rotation. They won’t be looking to break it up.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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