Results tagged ‘ Larry Beinfest ’

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


More movement in Uggla talks

From months, the Marlins have made it clear they are hopeful of signing Dan Uggla to a multi-year contract.

President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest repeated the team’s stance on Wednesday when he confirmed there has been continued dialogue with Uggla’s agent, Terry Bross of Gaylord Sports Management.

Beinfest briefly addressed the team’s stance on Uggla during a conference call introducing Edwin Rodriguez back as Florida’s manager.

According to multiple sources, talks with Uggla have been progressing. Exact details are still stetchy, but there has been movement to bridge the initial gap.

The Marlins’ initial offer over the summer was three-years, $24 million. Uggla’s camp countered with five years at more than $50 million.

There are indications that the Marlins have agreed to add a fourth year. Based on performance, Uggla has positioned himself to be worth about $11 million a season. So there is a likelihood that the sides could be discussing a four-year deal worth roughly $44 million.

Uggla earned $7.8 million in 2010.

The 30-year-old power-hitting second baseman has one more season left in arbitration before he’d qualify for free agency. The Marlins are trying to avoid that by locking up one of their top players.

After hitting 33 homers and driving in 105 runs, Uggla is lined up for a substantial raise.

Uggla is posting historic numbers at his position. He is the only second baseman in MLB history to hit at least 30 home runs in four seasons. He has done so in four consecutive years, which also is a team record.

With 154 career homers, Uggla is the Marlins’ all-time leader in that category.

Uggla and Hanley Ramirez combine to form one of the most productive middle infields in the game. The organization is hoping to keep them together for several more years.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins on the mend

With a modest payroll, success for the Marlins’ largely rests on the team staying healthy.

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest touched on that Wednesday during the announcement that Edwin Rodriguez would return as manager.

“We need to keep our starting pitching healthy,” Beinfest said. “We need to keep JJ, Ricky, Anibal and Vollie pitching deep into September. We really can’t afford to lose our starting pitching like we did this year.”

Josh Johnson missed the final few weeks with a back and shoulder ailment. Nolasco was out down the stretch with a meniscus tear in his right knee. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad pitched down the stretched, and both actually finished up strong.

The Marlins will be counting on Johnson, Nolasco, Sanchez and Volstad to be four workhorses in 2011.

“One of the things we’re looking for the team to do too is to just grow up a little bit,” Beinfest said. “We’ve transitioned a little bit some of the guys who had been here since ’06. … Health and the arms will be important.”

Currently, several players are on the mend this offseason. Johnson and Nolasco are recovering nicely, and neither should have any restrictions when Spring Training gets underway.

Chris Coghlan is recovering from a meniscus tear in his left knee. Coghlan recently was checked out by team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan. As of now, he doesn’t have a timeline to start baseball activities.

Hanley Ramirez, who was bothered with left elbow inflammation, will soon be examined again by Kaplan to determine when he will begin baseball activities. Ramirez is spending much of the offseason in Miami working out. 

John Baker underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and he hasn’t begun baseball activities.

Sean West, who was in the Arizona Fall League, has been sent home with a left elbow strain. The 6-foot-8 lefty is scheduled to see Kaplan. The team doesn’t think the injury is serious, but more will be known after the visit.

Alex Sanabia, who missed his final start due to a right forearm strain, is making progress. The team didn’t think the ailment was serious.

Also on Wednesday, Beinfest noted that the team has had on-going discussions with Terry Bross, Dan Uggla’s agent, regarding a long-term contract for the power-hitting second baseman. There has been little movement, however, on a multiyear deal with Nolasco, who has two more seasons left in arbitration.

Beinfest said he was given his payroll range for the ’11 season. He didn’t give any estimates, but he noted payroll will be higher than the $46 million in 2010.

Look for Florida’s payroll to be in the $50 million range.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins managerial update

The search for the Marlins new manager will take about two weeks.

Fresh off an 80-82 season, the front office is in the process of narrowing its list of candidates and setting up interviews. The process is expected to take a little while.

In contention for the job are Bobby Valentine, Jim Fregosi, Bo Porter and Tony Pena. Other names that have been reported are Ted Simmons and Tim Wallach.

Edwin Rodriguez, who replaced Fredi Gonzalez on June 23, remains a candidate. But it appears he isn’t a frontrunner. Under Rodriguez, the Marlins were 46-46.

As the Marlins are plotting how to move forward with their managerial search, the organization also are being impacted by the Mets’ general manager vacancy.

The Mets have asked for permission to talk with president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, general manager Michael Hill and vice president of player personnel Dan Jennings about their GM post.

Indications are the Marlins will deny the request. However, reports that Jennings has a stipulation in his contract that would allow him to talk with the Mets. So the door may not be completely closed for him to talk with New York.

— Joe Frisaro

Stanton in mix to make roster

Production may overtake patience when it comes to deciding if Mike Stanton is big league ready.

The way the Marlins 20-year-old outfield slugger is performing has the Marlins considering carrying him on their Opening Day roster.

stanton1z.JPG“Funnier things have happened,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Obviously, we’ll sit down and make sure it’s the right move, the right decision. But for me to say, “absolutely not,” I can’t do that right now. I can’t say that he’s not going to make the team. I can’t absolutely tell you, 100 percent that he won’t. We’ll sit down and decide how that plays out.”

There is a temptation to promote Stanton right now, especially after the way he’s produced. On Wednesday against the Astros in Kissimmee, the right fielder crushed a two-run homer off Wandy Rodriguez and he added an RBI groundout. Overall, he is batting .333 with two home runs and five RBIs.

Another factor are some health issues in the outfield. Cameron Maybin and Cody Ross have been nursing left groin strains. If say, Maybin, is slowed down to the point where he isn’t going to be either ready — physically or performance wise — then Ross could move to center field. In that scenario, Stanton could factor in playing right field.

“There are a lot of guys who came up in the big leagues as 19 and 20 year olds who have had Hall of Fame careers,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not ruling that he’s not going to make the team.”

From an organizational standpoint, the plan entering Spring Training has been to start off Stanton in Double-A, where he had 299 at-bats in 2009.

For the Marlins to promote Stanton this quickly, a number of factors must be addressed.

“Generally players will tell you when they’re ready or not,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “I know that he’s looked good. It’s hard not to love him, and look at what he can do in his future. But we’ve got to do what’s best for him. Is the breaking ball recognition and all the things that we want him to be confident in, are they ready to go?”

There are some health issues, too. In the Arizona Fall League, Stanton was sent home with lower back stiffness. And he’s had an issue with his left shoulder, which is repeatedly iced after games.

Then there is the fact that in 299 at-bats at Jacksonville last year he hit .231, although he had 16 homers and 53 RBIs.

“There are a couple of things with Mike. He didn’t dominate in Double-A,” Beinfest said. “Then he’s had a little bit of an injury issue. We wanted to make sure that he’s strong, and he feels good. The rigors in the Major Leagues are tough on these guys. He’s had some shoulder things off and on. We want to make sure that he’s healthy, first and foremost. We want to make sure that he’s comfortable.”

The Marlins have had a strong track record of promoting young players. In 2003, Dontrelle Willis was 21 when he was called up from Double-A, and Miguel Cabrera was 20 that same year.

“How did we know when Dontrelle and Miguel were ready?” Beinfest said. “Or Hanley [Ramirez] and those guys in ’06. Sometimes you are right, and sometimes you’re wrong. Generally, they’ll tell you.”

One thing that is clear is Stanton projects to be in the big leagues, at least some point in 2010.

“It’s all coming. He really wants to do well,” Beinfest said. “He’s a great kid. He’s a student of the game. He’s learning very quickly. His learning curve is shorter than the other guys. He’s getting it. There are a lot of positives. Let him keep playing, and we’ll see what happens.”

Would the Marlins rule out Stanton being on the Opening Day roster?

“We never do,” Beinfest said.

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins pitching coach search

On the radar for the Marlins’ pitching coach position is Bryan Price.

The Marlins, however, are not alone.

“He’s on everybody’s list,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Marlins have contacted Price, who has drawn interest from a few other teams, including the Reds.

Years ago, Florida president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest worked for the Mariners when Price also was in the organization.

There also is speculation that Price may be waiting to see what Bob Melvin does. Melvin and Price are close friends, and both opened the season with the Diamondbacks. But when Melvin was dismissed as manager, Price stepped down out of loyalty.

Melvin is a candidate for the Astros managerial job.

The Marlins are in the market for a pitching coach after Mark Wiley was not retained. The team also has a bullpen coaching position open because Steve Foster turned down a contract to return.

There are a number of names on the market who are drawing attention for pitching coach jobs. Not all necessarily choices for the Marlins. But these are names within the industry that are being tossed around for a number of teams. 

Carl Willis was recently released as pitching coach of the Indians. Chuck Hernandez was athe Indians bullpen coach before being dismissed.

A name to keep an eye on is Bryan Harvey, an original Marlin, who is the pitching coach for Double-A Tulsa in the Rockies system. Harvey’s son, Kris, pitched for Florida’s Class A Jupiter squad this season.

Rick Peterson is a front-runner for the Brewers pitching coach job. He formerly was with the A’s and Mets. Peterson has also been linked to the Reds.

Dick Pole was dismissed earlier this month as the Reds pitching coach, but he is highly respected.

Another possible candidate to return as a big league pitching coach is Tom Hume, formerly with the Reds.

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins stance on long-term deals

Typically, the Marlins are reluctant to approach pitchers about long-term contracts. But that doesn’t mean the team has a sweeping policy to not lock up a pitcher to a multi-year deal.

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was asked on Wednesday about the team’s stance on signing pitchers.

“I think there is a recognition by the organization that pitchers can be risky,” Beinfest said. “Pitchers do get hurt, maybe at a higher rate than position players. But I don’t think that necessarily we’ll rule out a pitcher.”

The Marlnis after the season will have some decisions to make regarding pitchers. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco will be entering their second seasons of arbitration.

Now the team can go year-to-year on each of them through the 2011 seasons.

With Johnson, especially, the Marlins will have to make a tough call. Some insiders believe the team will approach Johnson about a mega-year deal before his price tag gets too costly.

However, the team will make that decision after the season.

With a new stadium set to open in 2012, the Marlins are in a better position to sign players to multi-year deals. Currently, Hanley Ramirez is locked up for six years at $70 million. Wes Helms is the only other current player signed for 2010.

“I don’t think anything has really changed in terms of long term,” Beinfest said, speaking generally. “We’ve always been open. We’ll evaluate it case-by-case. We understand our revenue structure and how it plays out with our payroll. Payroll flexibility is important to us in how we put together rosters, not only for next year, but for future years.

“It’s not something we’ve ever ruled out. We’ll go case-by-case. We’ll look at the player. Where we’re heading with that player. The health of the player. The work habits of the player. All those things are factors we’ll take a look at.”

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins still in playoff mix

It’s six days and counting to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and the Marlins feel they are very much in the mix for playoff consideration.

Things can change between now and Friday, but the Marlins generally regard themselves as realistic Wild Card contenders. And entering Saturday at the Dodgers six games behind the Phillies in the N.L. East, the division also is in play.

“I don’t think we consider ourselves out,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said Saturday afternoon. “The Wild Card is certainly not out of reach. The Phillies won today. There still is a lot of baseball left, and we’ve got a bunch of games with the Phillies. I don’t think you can say we’re out of the division.

“Where we sit six days away from the deadline, we’re in, but we’ll see what happens.”

The Marlins are actively working the phones, seeking possible deals.

“We’re looking to improve ourselves. We are active,” Beinfest said. “I don’t think we’ve ever been inactive. It’s just different every year.”

The Marlins are in a pivotal stretch with contenders. They wrap up their series with the Dodgers on Sunday. They are off on Monday, and then begin a homestand on Tuesday with the Braves, followed by the Cubs.

“I’d like to think things are not going to change significantly between now and Friday,” Beinfest said. “You talk about how you’re trending. We’ve had four quality starts in a row on the road.

“That’s what you want to see. We’ve talked about the pitching driving us. If the pitching continues to perform, you never say never, but I don’t see a lot of things changing between now and Friday.”

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins improving defensively

Protect the baseball was among the Marlins’ highest priorities heading into this season. A couple of trades made after the 2008 season were done to reshape the roster to add speed, athleticism and defense.

A year ago, the club was more power oriented. But first baseman Mike Jacobs was dealt to the Royals for reliever Leo Nunez, and left fielder Josh Willingham was sent to the Nationals as part of a deal that brought in third baseman Emilio Bonifacio.

“We’ve seen improvement, no doubt about it,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said.

Heading into Thursday, the Marlins were tied for 21st overall in the Major Leagues in field percentage at .982. They were joined by the Cubs, Reds, Mets and A’s.

Now, the current lineup has been slightly different than what the team drew up in Spring Training. Jorge Cantu was switched from third base last year to first base. Bonifacio, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third. Infielder Chris Coghlan was switched to left field.

The Marlins had thought the outfield would have Jeremy Hermida in left field, Cameron Maybin in center and Cody Ross in right. But Maybin struggled early and was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in May.

Ross went to center, Hermida to right, and Coghlan in left.

“The defense itself has been good,” Beinfest said.

A case in point of how the defense stepped up came in Wednesday’s 5-0 win over the Padres. Ricky Nolasco pitched 6 1/3 strong innings, striking out 10. The defense came up big on a couple of occasions and the offense scratched out some runs.

“Again, this is not rocket science,” Beinfest said. “You get a quality start, you play good defense, you’re in the game, and you end up winning, even if the offense wasn’t going crazy. It worked out.

“We’ve seen that steady improvement. I think in May, there was that little bit of everything. The pitching was struggling. The defense. I think since then, it’s steadily improved. There is still room for improvement.”

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins striving for consistency

As the Marlins weigh whether to buy or sell by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the team is striving to find more consistency at the plate.

The Marlins are exploring help in all areas, and at the plate is one of them. However, the numbers show there is offensive potential. After completing their three-game sweep of the Padres on Wednesday afternoon, the Marlins ranked fifth in the National League in runs scored with 431.

“There’s enough offense, it’s just a matter of doing it consistently,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said.

Hanley Ramirez is a force in the middle of the lineup. He’s leading the N.L. with a .348 batting average. Key is for Chris Coghlan and Emilio Bonifacio to get on base in front of Ramirez.

“We’ve shown that when Chris and Emilio can get on base, Hanley is going to knock them in,” Beinfest said. “Those guys need to be on base, that’s important. We just need consistency. You see it.

“It’s been a struggle all year to be consistent. I think there is enough offense, because when you look at the numbers, we’ve scored a bunch of runs. It’s a matter of being consistent, which has been frustrating at times.”

— Joe Frisaro