Results tagged ‘ Jeffrey Loria ’

Time to kick it into gear

JUPITER, Fla. — Jeffrey Loria on Wednesday sat through the Marlins’ ninth-straight loss, and the team owner isn’t happy.

With the season set to open in 2 1/2 weeks, Loria says it is time for the team to play with more urgency.

“It’s time to kick it into gear, because the switch doesn’t turn on the first day of the season,” Loria told after Florida lost 6-3 to the Rays at Roger Dean Stadium. “I’m here 10 days and I haven’t seen us win one game.”

The Marlins made 11 roster moves prior to Wednesday’s game, getting the number down to 41 in camp. The plan is for the regulars to see more playing time in the two-plus weeks before the opener.

“I see a lack of energy at the moment, and it doesn’t make me happy,” Loria said. “We have some extremely skilled athletes here, and hopefully they’ll come out of it when the season starts. … Our players are not ready to play yet.”

Joe Frisaro

First seat installed at new ballpark

It was a monumental day at the Marlins’ new ballpark.

The first of the 37,000 seats at the retractable-roof stadium was installed on Tuesday morning. Also, several players took batting practice on the grounds of the Marlins’ new home, which will open in 2012.

The ballpark will feature blue seats. But to distinguish the first seat installed, it has been painted red.



Leftovers from Marlins media luncheon

This offseason, the Marlins changed how they do business.

For the first time in more than five years, the organization offered several players multiyear contracts.

With their new stadium opening in 2012, revenues project to rise. Most likely, so will the team payroll, which could be about $58 million by Opening Day.

In the offseason, Ricky Nolasco signed a three-year, $26.5 million contract. Free agent catcher John Buck signed for three years at $17.94 million, while reliever Randy Choate secured a two-year, $2.5 million deal.

Previously, the last big named free agent Florida signed to a multiyear deal was Carlos Delgado in 2005.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said on Monday at the annual media luncheon at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami that players must show they’re worthy of multiyear contracts.

“Ricky showed me a tremendous amount of development and maturity, and a work ethic,” Loria said.

Loria talked with Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest about offering a long-term contract to Nolasco, and a deal was reached in December.

“I told Larry, ‘We have to lock him up and take care of him.’ And we did,” Loria said. “Going into the new stadium, it will give us further opportunity to do stuff with players, but they have to show the manager and the general manager and all of us that they’ve earned it. It just isn’t something that you hand out. You earn it.”

Some other topics touched on at the luncheon:

* Slugger Mike Stanton, who turned 21 in November, has added about eight pounds since the end of last season. A towering presence, Stanton said he is at 250-pounds. When asked if it was muscle, Stanton joked: “Fat.” That responsde brought laughter because he is in terrific shape.

* Stanton talking about Twitter: “It’s fun to interact with our fans, and even people who aren’t our fans. To see what they have to say. It’s fun.”

* With 100 MLB games under his belt, Stanton projects to bat cleanup in his first full big league season.

“You either can handle it or you can’t,” Beinfest said. “Either you’re Miguel Cabrera and you can handle it, or you are Mike Stanton and you can handle it. His ability is off the charts, and he’s going to be fine. There are going to be some days when he’s going to look like a 21-year-old without a lot of big league experience. But he is a special talent.”

* Hanley Ramirez will be expected to take on more of a leadership role. “He will,” Loria said. “I think that is also a matter of maturity and recognizing who you are. Hanley is a bright young man. He’s only 27. Maturing takes a little while.”

Loria spoke with Ramirez a couple of months ago, and he feels the 27-year-old shortstop is primed to bounce back in 2011.

“He’s as excited as ever,” Loria said. “I said to him, ‘Hanley, you’ve won a batting championship. You’ve won the Rookie of the Year. It’s time to be what they call the MVP.’ He said he got the picture.

“I’m not saying he’s going to be the MVP, but he has the ability to do whatever Hanley wants. I love him. There is no secret about that. I think he’s going to come in here and do what he needs to do.”

* You can put to rest any speculation of Ramirez eventually moving to another position. The Marlins have no intentions of playing the three-time All-Star anywhere other than shortstop. “He’s there,” Beinfest said. “And I hope he’s there for a long time. I think defensively, he’s improved over the years. There are some things that he can clean up too. But I don’t see anything major with him.”

— Joe Frisaro


Cody made pitch for Ferrari

After joining the Giants, Cody Ross cashed in with a World Series championship.

In the aftermath of celebrating a title, the former Marlin wondered if he also was due a red Ferrari.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald blogs that Ross made a stab at trying to collect on an incentive thrown out by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria prior to the 2009 season. Hoping to pep up the team, Loria stated that he would give his red Ferrari to the player voted MVP of the NL Championship Series.

Ross was named the NLCS MVP in San Francisco’s win over the Phillies.

At the GM Meetings in Orlando, Loria clarified the situation: “I said whoever wins the MVP in the World Series and playing for us can have my car. The whole concept was to get to the World Series.”

On Wednesday, Ross responded in a text message to “The deal was made back in ’09. He said whoever was the NLCS MVP he would give his Ferrari. … So I texted him wondering if the deal was still valid.”

No, the red Ferrari offer was off the table since Ross didn’t win it as a Marlin. Ross certainly isn’t walking away empty handed. He is receiving a World Series ring.

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins open to making moves

Frustrated. Disappointed. And open to change.

The Marlins are all three right now. After a disappointing first half, Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said on Sunday that the club will explore ways to improve, not just for 2010, but into the future.

“Change is always possible,” Beinfest said before the Marlins faced the D-backs on Sunday afternoon. “I think we need to be more open to everything at this point, because we haven’t had that run.”

Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Marlins will be facing the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg next Friday at Sun Life Stadium.

“We’d like to see that run come, maybe it will come right when we come back Friday against Strasburg and the Nationals,” Beinfest said. “I think we need to be open to everything.”

So will the Marlins be “buyers or sellers.” The team usually doesn’t define itself as one or the other. Beinfest did not that conversations already are on-going, internally and with other teams.

The Marlins are looking for more consistency, but they are well behind the Braves in the NL East. The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is approaching, and the team wants to get some momentum building.

Beinfest added that if moves are made, it won’t be money related, meaning there is no mandate from owner Jeffrey Loria to clear salary.

Any moves that could occur would be driven to turn the team in another direction.

“We never usually use buyer or seller, we’re open to everything,” Beinfest said. “We don’t do re-dos or anything like that. This team is capable of winning. But if we want to tweak something because it’s just not working, I think we’re going to look at it. I think that’s where we’re at right now.”

— Joe Frisaro



Valentine on Mad Dog Radio

The “process” ran its course. Now, the Marlins have moved forward. Edwin Rodriguez is the new manager, but questions remain as to why negotiations with Bobby Valentine broke down.

A few days ago, Valentine made some critical remarks on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.

“If this is a Major-League process, I hope I’m never in the process again. It’s very disturbing, confusing and it was insulting at times,” Valentine said on ESPN.

Valentine offered some more insight on SIRIUS XM’s Mad Dog Radio with host Chris Russo.

Here’s the conversation.

Chris Russo: “Those are some harsh words. Can you tell me what’s going on with the Marlins?”

Bobby Valentine: “I didn’t mean for them to be harsh. I just meant for them to be honest. It’s a tough process once you start getting down to a situation. We never negotiated anything and, you know, I just feel when you’re 60 years old – you know, I know Jeffrey [Loria], I’ve known him for 25 years – I just felt that being left in the dark isn’t quite the way to allow things to move forward.

But I think it’s a good situation. As I told them right from the start, someone from the outside moving in in mid-season I don’t believe is a good idea. I don’t think you can train coaches and train players to think and do what you’re expecting on the run. That’s what spring training is for. And Edwin Rodriguez has had these guys in the minor leagues. He knows the spring training process, what that organizational philosophy is. So, you know, that was a good move. If, in fact, they had to change Fredi [Gonzalez] I would think that’s probably the right way to go.”

Russo: “So in other words, Bobby, they talked to you and then left you in the dark? What do you mean ‘left you in the dark?’ They began a discussion? What happened?”

Valentine: “Yeah, basically. I mean, I don’t want to get into the details on it, Chris. You know, I mean, I was reading in the paper I wasn’t a candidate, you know? And I don’t really like that stuff. You know, we did have conversations and then the next thing I know their leaks have people writing things that I’m no longer a candidate and they’re going in another direction. Well, you know, if that’s the case tell me. I’m a big boy. It’s real easy.”

Russo: “Would you say you’re soured on this whole managerial search now for these jobs? Was the Baltimore thing decent?”

Valentine: “No. To tell you the truth, the in-season stuff where you have all the rules and regulations that are set forth – rightfully so, I guess – by the commissioner that you have to interview so many different types of people from in and outside your organization before you’re allowed to hire a person you want to, it’s a pretty tough process. I don’t know that it’s tough. It doesn’t seem like it’s the way most industries do it.”

— Joe Frisaro

Continuity after a confusing week

A constant in an otherwise confusing week was the Marlins determination to “find the right guy” to be the next manager.

Some clarity came on Tuesday, one day shy of a week that Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed.

Ending six franctic days of speculation and plot twists, team owner Jeffrey Loria told the team minutes before taking the field on Tuesday that Edwin Rodriguez would manage the club for the remainder of the season.

At that point, the owner will re-evaluate which direction to go. The timing of the decision was crucial because the clubhouse was wondering what would happen next.

“Continuity is important, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Loria said.

To the players credit, they stayed as focused as possible under otherwise trying circumstances.

To Rodriguez’s credit, he handled his interim status with class and dignity. Never did he speak about what was in his best interests. He talked about how it would be fair foremost for the players to know who they will be answering to. Now they know.

What this means for the big picture — the future of the franchise — we’ll have to wait and see.

Still unanswered is what went wrong in the negotiations with Bobby Valentine. The frontrunner when Gonzalez was let go, all signs pointed to Valentine taking over until late Sunday night.

When Loria announced Rodriguez was staying on, he said he didn’t want to go into details of anything else. So the team isn’t saying what happened.

Indications are there was a difference in philosophy, perhaps with Valentine wanting more say in personnel moves. The Marlins remain a low-payroll roster, and the team has a number of young players, like Mike Stanton, who are adjusting to the big leagues.

Typically, high-profile managers are brought in with the expectation to win now. Whether it’s Pat Riley or Bill Parcells or Phil Jackson, they are looking to win championships, not rebuild.

Bobby Valentine would have been a Pat Riley or Bill Parcells type presence in South Florida. He would have been the Marlins’ answer to Joe Torre.

Those types of people aren’t stepping into seven-year projects. They are there to help a team reach a championship, sooner rather than later.

Perhaps after the season, Valentine will be re-visited. By then, though, he may entertain other possibilities.

Bo Porter also interviewed for the job, and he was impressive. Now Arizona’s third base coach, Porter was a strong candidate after a very good interview last Friday. Had the Marlins gone with Porter, it likely would have been a sign that they would get younger again.

Also the outfield coach, Porter would have been viewed as someone to work with Stanton, Cameron Maybin, and perhaps Logan Morrison, when he eventually is promoted from Triple-A. Porter has familiarity in the clubhouse because he was on the Marlins staff from 2007-09. The organization likes his energy and passion.

As part of the staff shakeup, outfield coach Dave Collins stepped down last Saturday. Collins was very popular. Porter would have been a familiar voice as a replacement.

By staying with Rodriguez, the organization has more time to weigh the situation without making any hasty decisions. The players also have a building connection with Rodriguez, whom many played for in the Minor Leagues.

For the rest of the year, the Marlins players and staff can focus on playing baseball. The team has work to do if they want to get back into the race. They are three-games under .500, and the July 31 trade deadline is approaching. So more changes can be made — this time in terms of player movement — if the club falls completely out of the race.

Now with the cloud of uncertainty lifted, the current staff and set of players have been given a chance to seize the opportunity.

— Joe Frisaro


Home plate part of history

Home plate didn’t get much use in the Marlins-Phillies three-game series at Sun Life Stadium. In three games, just seven total runs were scored.

Still, the plate will forever be part of baseball history.

homeplate.jpgOn Saturday night, Roy Halladay tossed the 20th perfect game in MLB history. Immediately following the Phillies, 1-0, victory, home plate and the pitching rubber were authenticated. The rubber was dislodged on Friday night, with grounds crew workers digging it up as the Super Saturday’s Concert act was performing.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had the rubber presented to Halladay, who struck out 11 on a night for the ages.

After the Marlins rebounded and won on Sunday — ironically, 1-0 — the grounds crew was back at work. For several hours after the final out, they dug up home place, which now will be part of Marlins history.

The Marlins are opening their new retractable-roof ballpark in 2012, and the team will recognize its history in the building. The home plate used in Halladay’s perfect game will eventually be displayed once the new ballpark opens.

— Joe Frisaro


Owner says Hanley matter resolved

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is a believer in clubhouse harmony.

In recent days, the organization has been engulfed in controversy in light of Hanley Ramirez being disciplined for not hustling.

From a team perspective the issue was put to rest on Wednesday when Ramirez apologized to his teammates.

On Friday, Loria addressed the situation with the Marlins beat reporters. Loria has been observing the situation, and he says the clubhouse once again is strong.

“Whenever you’re going along a road, and there is a bump in the road, it’s a slight jar,” Loria said. “This is not a major episode in any sense of the word. It’s something that happens over the course of a season.

“We have great guys on this team. All 25 are great guys. If you had a family of 25 brothers and sisters, things would happen along the way.”

The Marlins are set to face the White Sox in Interleague play on Friday night. Ramirez is once again batting third.

Loria says the team is together, working towards getting better on the field.

“This was not major surgery,” Loria said. “This was not brain surgery. This was a scratch.

“It was an internal family matter. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve moved on. Everybody has moved on. I moved on [Wednesday], from even asking about it.”

— Joe Frisaro


Attracting All-Star interest

Bringing the All-Star Game to South Florida remains a strong possibility.

With their new stadium set to open in 2012, the Marlins have openly talked about their desire to someday host the All-Star Game. The year 2015 has been discussed as a possibility.

newpark2.jpgOn Thursday, MLB President and COO Bob DuPuy noted that South Florida is on the league’s radar.

“As has been talked about repeatedly, the commissioner has been committed to rewarding communities with All-Star Games for persevering and getting new ballparks,” DuPuy said.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has discussed with Commissioner Bud Selig the possibility of hosting the All-Star Game. DuPuy and team president David Samson have had similar conversations.

“I know Jeffrey has talked with the commissioner. David and I have talked about it,” DuPuy said. “I’m confident that South Florida will be in the queue.”

DuPuy was at the Marlins-Cardinals game on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium. Earlier in the day, he toured construction of the new ballpark Miami.

The Marlins are two years away from moving into their 37,000-seat retractable-roof building in the Little Havana section of Miami.

The league was instrumental in the ballpark being approved. Throughout the long process to find the Marlins their own home, MLB has stressed that South Florida could blossom into a prosperous baseball market.

The new staidum is crucial for the growth of the franchise.

“They’ve had location issues. They’ve had climate issues. They’ve had weather issues,” DuPuy said. “Even though they don’t get a lot of rainouts, I think the most important part of how the market is set up is that fans are going to know that games are going to start at 7:05, and they’re going to be over in a normal time period. Fans are not going to have to wait through an hour rain delay or an hour-and-a-half rain delay.”

The hope is that there also will be development around the ballpark, such as restaurants and shops. The long-term vision is to make the area a destination.

“I think the stadium is great for baseball. It’s great for this franchise,” DuPuy said. “It’s great for the community.”

— Joe Frisaro