Results tagged ‘ Mike Stanton ’

Finding a winning formula

Finding ways to win close games is one of the Marlins’ objectives in Spring Training.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez asked his staff on the first day of camp to come up with ways the team could pull out one and two run games.

leo1a.jpgAmong the suggestions was squeeze bunting and slap hitting. On Sunday, outfield coach Joe Espada worked with the pitchers on situational hitting. Specifically, they practiced squeeze bunting and slapping ground balls.

On the slap hit drills, the pitchers would turn to bunt, then bring the bat back and attempt to swat a grounder up the middle.

Some other highlights from Sunday:

* Josh Johnson, Javier Vazquez and Leo Nunez each threw their second bullpen sessions since camp opened on Friday. Johnson, who missed the final month of last year with back and shoulder problems, is fine. He already is impressing with how well he’s throwing. Nunez is working on his slider, and Vazquez is building back up his arm strength.

* A number of position players filtered into camp early Sunday afternoon, including Hanley Ramirez. Mike Stanton, Omar Infante, Chris Coghlan, Emilio Bonifacio and Gaby Sanchez were among the players getting settled. Full-squad workouts begin on Tuesday.

* Pitchers and catchers will be on the field at 10 a.m. Monday morning.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

Fun at FanFest

Marlins players mingled with fans on Saturday at FanFest at Sun Life Stadium.

All the players made their way down to Miami before heading up to Jupiter for a second day of workouts at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

– Joe Frisaro

(Photos by Robert Vigon and Denis Bancroft)

 

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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

 

Cousins in outfield bench mix

When the Marlins head to Spring Training in mid-February, most of their regular position spots will be set. Pretty much the only job unsettled is third base, where prospect Matt Dominguez still must show he is big league ready. If the 21-year-old is, there will be little drama when manager Edwin Rodriguez fills out his lineup card.

What will be up for grabs are a few bench spot, particularly in the outfield. Heading into Spring Training, the Marlins are planning on going with Logan Morrison in left, Chris Coghlan in center and Mike Stanton in right.

A candidate to keep a close eye on is Scott Cousins.

Typically, the Marlins prefer their prospects who aren’t in the lineup every day to get steady playing time in the Minor Leagues. Cousins may be an exception. A third-round pick in 2006, he will turn 26 on Jan. 22.

A left-handed batter and thrower, Cousins has the strongest outfield arm in the organization. He is a plus defender in all three outfield spots.

Cousins has had plenty of Minor League seasoning, including 118 games at Triple-A New Orleans in 2010, where he batted .285 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs.

Late in the season, Cousins also saw action in 27 games with the Marlins, and he hit .297 with two doubles, two triples and two RBIs. His first big league hit was a walk-off, game winner to beat Atlanta. He also came through with some timely pinch-hits, going 5-for-17 (.294) in that role.

Even though he is seeking his first MLB homer, he has 55 as a Minor Leaguer. Also as a Minor Leaguer, he did something yet to be accomplished by a Florida player — hit for the cycle.

Entering Spring Training, Cousins will be looked upon as a fourth outfielder. But that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually develop into a quality every day player. In 2006, the Marlins acquired a player from the Reds who was a similar type of player. Back then, Cody Ross was an unheralded 26-year-old who was looking to prove he could play every day.

– Joe Frisaro
 

 

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

Winter Meetings leftovers

It’s no secret the Marlins are exploring lefty relief help. Randy Choate has been added to the mix of possibilities. Also on Florida’s radar is Joe Beimel.

In all likelihood, the team will add a veteran lefty, who projects to join Mike Dunn on the Opening Day roster.

As the lefty search continues, don’t rule out the Marlins eventually exploring the possibility of landing an experienced closer. At the Winter Meetings, which wrapped up last Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, representatives of the organization inquired about the availability of Padres All-Star Heath Bell.

After Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Red Sox, the Marlins checked to see if San Diego has more big moves ahead. For now, it appears Bell will be staying with the Padres. But that could change over the course of the next few months, and into the season.

The Marlins are planning on giving Leo Nunez the first shot at closing when Spring Training opens. Clay Hensley is a backup option.

* Manager Edwin Rodriguez offered a preliminary batting order for upcoming Grapefruit League games in March — Chris Coghlan (CF), Omar Infante (2B), Hanley Ramirez (SS), Mike Stanton (RF), Logan Morrison (LF), Gaby Sanchez (1B), John Buck (C) and Matt Dominguez (3B).

* Recently, Rodriguez came to terms on an endorsement deal with New Balance. “Edwin is honored as the first Puerto Rican-born Major League manager to be with New Balance,” said Burton Rocks, Rodriguez’s New York-based agent.

* Here are some contract details of recently signed Marlins. Burke Badenhop will earn $750,000 in 2011 after he avoided arbitration. John Buck’s three-year, $17,943,787 million contract includes base salaries of $4.5 million in ’11, $6 million in ’12 and $6 million in ’13. There also is a $1.5 million signing bonus, and incentives of $25,000 if he makes the All-Star Game and winning the Silver Slugger Award. He has a $50,000 Gold Glove bonus. Javier Vazquez’s one-year, $7 million deal includes a $25,000 All-Star bonus and a $100,000 bonus if he wins the Cy Young Award. Buck and Vazquez also can earn bonuses if the Marlins reach the playoffs and they are named MVP of either the League Championship Series or the World Series.

– Joe Frisaro
 

Marlins every day lineup set

Barring anything unforeseen, the Marlins’ every day lineup is set. At least, the lineup the team envisions when Spring Training opens.

Around the horn, the team plans on going with John Buck (catcher), Gaby Sanchez (first base), Omar Infante (second base), Hanley Ramirez (shortstop), Matt Dominguez (third base), Logan Morrison (left field), Chris Coghlan (center field) and Mike Stanton (right field).

A few weeks ago, Florida explored some possible center field options. They were linked to having interest in Arizona’s Justin Upton.

MLB.com has learned the Marlins also inquired about Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton. But the asking price didn’t match.

The Marlins have no intention of trading their young core of players — Coghlan, Morrison, Sanchez and Stanton. If Dominguez isn’t ready, there is a chance the team could move some pieces around. Wes Helms could play third. Another scenario would be Emilio Bonifacio playing second and Infante sliding over to third. 

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Porter emerges as frontrunner

The Marlins may be weighing all their options, but the candidate that appears to have the most momentum to manage the club in 2011 is familiar to Florida fans.

Indications are Bo Porter has emerged as the frontrunner.

Porter, a former big league outfielder, was the Marlins’ third base/outfield coach from 2007-09, before he joined the Arizona staff in 2010.

Numerous sources confirmed the Marlins have serious interest in Porter, who is regarded as a strong teacher of fundamentals. Known for being well prepared, the 38-year-old already has been making inquiries about candidates for his coaching staff.

Earlier this month, Porter interviewed for the Pirates managerial position.

The Marlins’ search is entering another week after Bobby Valentine, who was offered the job, opted to withdraw from consideration. 

Edwin Rodriguez, who went 46-46 after replacing Fredi Gonzalez on June 23, remains in the mix. But the club hasn’t spoken with Rodriguez since the season ended.

Porter previously interviewed for the Marlins job after Gonzalez was dismissed in June. Porter impressed the club then, and he remained under consideration even after the team decided to stay with Rodriguez.

Other candidates being mentioned are Tony Pena, Ted Simmons and Jim Fregosi. It remains unclear how much serious interest the team has in them.

The Marlins finished 80-82 in 2010, and the organization is placing an emphasis to improving fundamentally.

Florida has a young outfield that features rookies Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton. Cameron Maybin isn’t a rookie, but he is 23-years-old.

Porter would be looked at to help the developments of these young players.

In recent years, Porter worked with former Marlin, Cody Ross, who now has become a playoff hero for the Giants. In 2008 and 2009, Porter frequently stated that Ross was deserving of a Gold Glove.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins-Pirates lineup Friday

With Thursday’s win, the Marlins snapped their four-game slide. Now, they look to make it two in a row over Pittsburgh on Friday night at Sun Life Stadium.

Adalberto Mendez will get the start for Florida, while Daniel McCutchen takes the mound for Pittsburgh.

 

 

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1) Andrew McCutches, CF

2) Jose Tabata, LF

3) Neil Walker, 2B

4) Pedro Alvarez, 3B

5) John Bowker, 1B

6) Brandon Moss, RF

7) Ronny Cedeno, SS

8) Chris Snyder, C

9) Daniel McCutchen, P

 

 

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1) Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2) Ozzie Martinez, SS

3) Logan Morrison, LF

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

6) Chad Tracy, 3B

7) Mike Stanton, RF

8) Brad Davis, C

9) Adalberto Mendez, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins lineup for Thursday

Home again after getting swept by the Braves, the Marlins look to finish 2010 on a high. They certainly endured a low on the road, going 1-6 at Milwaukee and Atlanta.

The Marlins face the Pirates in the first of four games on Thursday at Sun Life Stadium.

At home this season, the Marlins are 38-39.

 

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1) Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2) Ozzie Martinez, SS

3) Logan Morrison, LF

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

6) Mike Stanton, RF

7) Wes Helms, 3B

8) Brad Davis, C

9) Chris Volstad, P

 – Joe Frisaro

 

 

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