Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

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

Postseason pitching flashbacks

After more than five decades, Don Larsen finally has company, and baseball has another game for the ages.

beckett.jpgRoy Halladay placed himself in exclusive company on Wednesday by tossing the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history. Halladay and the Phillies blanked the Reds, 4-0, in Game 1 of their NationaL League Division Series.

Before Halladay’s historical performance, Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series stood as the lone no-hitter in MLB postseason history. Standing in the way of perfection for Halladay was a lone walk.

The Marlins can certainly feel the Reds’ pain. On May 29, they were shut down by Halladay, who tossed the 20th perfect game in MLB history that day.

In their history, the Marlins have gone to the postseason twice, and in each year captured the World Series title.

While no Marlin has ever tossed a no-hitter in the playoffs, there have been a few masterful pitching performances.

Florida’s most memorable complete game shutout in the playoffs was turned in by Josh Beckett, when he closed out the Yankees in Game 6 of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

Beckett allowed five hits in a 2-0 victory that day, on his way to winning MVP honors. But an argument can be made that it wasn’t Beckett’s best playoff performance of that season.

In the NL Championship Series against the Cubs, Florida was trailing 3-1 in games heading into Game 5 in Miami. Beckett tossed a two-hit shutout, striking out 11. That performance set the stage for the Marlins to return to Chicago, where they took care of the Cubs in Games 6 and 7 at Wrigley Field.

The Marlins have had four complete games in their playoff history. Livan Hernandez striking out 15 Braves in the 1997 NLCS also remains one of the top pitching performances ever by a Marlin.

Postseason Marlins’ complete games:

* Josh Beckett, 10/12/03: 2 hits, 0 runs, 11 strikeouts, vs Cubs, NLCS
* Josh Beckett, 10/25/02: 5 hits, 0 runs, 9 strikeouts, vs Yankees, WS
* Kevin Brown, 10/14/97: 11 hits, 4 runs, 8 strikeouts, vs Braves, NLCS
* Livan Hernandez, 10/12/97: 3 hits, 1 run, 15 strikeouts, vs Braves, NLCS

– Joe Frisaro

Pena a managerial candidate

Having previous big league managing experience will be a plus for those under consideration to manage the Marlins in 2011.

Meeting the criteria is Tony Pena.

Currently the Yankees bench coach, Pena spent parts of four seasons (2002-05) managing the Royals. In 2003, he was named the American League Manager of the Year.

Internally, the Marlins see Pena as a serious candidate. 

The Marlins will address their manager situation after the season. So right now they are evaluating their options.

Edwin Rodriguez, who replaced Fredi Gonzalez in late June, also will receive consideration. But the team has made it clear that it will further evaluate Rodriguez once the season ends.

Most likely, the team will explore several possibilities, including Bobby Valentine. With Pena expected to be in the mix, the search could last throughout the playoffs.

The Yankees are primed to be in the postseason. So if the Marlins plan on interviewing Pena, they may have to wait until an opportune time arises in October or perhaps early November.

Pena, 53, was a five-time All-Star, and he won four Gold Glove awards. 

One of the primary positions the Marlins plan to address in the offseason is catcher.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Lates on Lowell, rumors

All of his credentials speak for themselves.

Mike Lowell is a three-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion, a World Series MVP. But is the 36-year-old a fit for the Marlins?

The question was raised again on Thursday when the Marlins visited the Red Sox at City of Palms Park.

mike-lowell-rounds.jpgAs popular a move it would be to bring back Lowell, there continues to be strong indications that there is minimal Marlins interest, at best.

In fact, the interest is said to be “barely above zero.”

In recent weeks, there has been speculation about the Marlins showing interest in acquiring Lowell in a trade. A scout from Florida recently watched him work out.

“I know it’s a feel good story,” Lowell said on Thursday. “But they’re rumors. That’s about it.”

Miami-raised, Lowell is one of the most popular players in Marlins history. He is Florida’s all-time home run leader with 143.

Lowell was a Marlin from 1999-2005, and he was a key member of the Marlins 2003 World Series title team.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez was Florida’s third base coach in 1999, Lowell’s first year in the big leagues.

“For me, he was always one of those guys who only needed an opportunity,” Gonzalez said. “He came to the right place to get that opportunity. If he had stayed with the Yankees, he might now even have gotten that opportunity. The Marlins gave him an opportunity to play.”

Lowell was drafted in the 20th round by the Yankees in 1995.

“He’d be a good addition for any ball club, including the Red Sox,” Gonzalez said.

Health-wise, Lowell says: “I feel good. Better than last year.”

A career third baseman, Lowell has been taking ground balls at first base. He may have to make the switch to prolong his career.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Hanley-Jeter breakdown

They are All-Star shortstops who each wear No. 2.

Derek Jeter, the captain of the defending World Series champion Yankees, is regarded as the standard at his position. Based on his overall numbers and five rings, it is easy to see why.

Still, when discussing the best shortstops in the game, don’t discount Florida’s Hanley Ramirez. The 26-year-old is the defending N.L. batting champion, coming off a .342 season. He’s won two straight Silver Slugger Awards. Manager Fredi Gonzalez quipped to Ramirez, “I was telling him, hey, ‘We’ve got enough silver, we’ve got to get gold this year.” Ramirez hopes to reach Gold Glove status in the field. He committed 10 errors in 2009 after racking up 22 in ’08.

Across the board, Ramirez stands above the rest at his position. He has speed, power, hits for average and he is one of the best baserunners in the game.

If scoring runs and stealing bases are qualifications for being a great base runner, then Hanley (nicknamed H2R) stands alone.

According to Elias, since 2006, Hanley’s rookie season, the Marlins shortstop is the only player in baseball to rank in the top five in runs scored and stolen bases.

Here are the stolen base leaders over that span:

* Jose Reyes, 209
* Carl Crawford, 193
* Juan Pierre, 192
* Chone Figgins, 169
* Hanley Ramirez, 164

The top run scorers since 2006:

* Hanley Ramirez, 470
* Chase Utley, 460
* Albert Pujols, 442
* Jimmy Rollins, 442
* Matt Holliday, 440

“I don’t think there is anything he can’t do on a baseball field,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez says of his two-time All-Star shortstop. “He’s got good instincts on the bases. The speed is still there. He goes from first-to-home. That’s when I like to see him run, when he goes first-to-third, or first-to-home on a double. That’s when you see his athleticism.”

The days of Ramirez stealing 50 bases may be over, because he is batting third now.

“You don’t want to beat up that body too much,” Gonzalez said. “But I think he’s a guy who can still run you 30. It’s when you steal them. I’ve seen guys with 50, stealing third with two outs, swiping a base that is really meaningless.”

Since his rookie season, Hanley’s numbers certainly hold up when next to Jeter.

From 2006-09, Ramirez has compiled: 470 runs, 771 hits, 170 doubles, 22 triples, 103 HRs, 313 RBIs, 164 stolen bases, .316 BA, .387 OBP, .531 slug, .918 OPS.

Jeter from 2006-09 posted: 415 runs, 811 hits, 130 doubles, 11 triples, 55 HRs, 305 RBIs, 90 stolen bases, .325 BA, .394 OBP, .453 Slug, .847 OPS.

In his first four big league seasons, from 1996-99, Jeter turned in these figures: 481 runs, 795 hits, 118 doubles, 30 triples, 63 HRs, 334 RBIs, 86 stolen bases, .319 BA, .391 OBP, .467 slg, .858 OPS.

Jeter’s obvious edge … five rings.

– Joe Frisaro

Meet Scott Strickland

This time, Scott Strickland said yes.

So often in the past, the 33-year-old waved no thanks to the offer. That changed when he agreed to a Minor League deal with the Marlins with an invitation to Spring Training.

Strickland, who last pitched in the big leagues in 2005 with the Mets, has been bouncing around with various Triple-A clubs the past four years. He was in the Pirates system in 2006, followed by the Padres in ’07, and the Yankees in ’08, and finally the Dodgers a year ago.

After being turned away so many times before, the Marlins finally landed Strickland, who broke in with the Montreal Expos in 1999. Because Marlins management previously owned the Expos, team officials have known Strickland for more than a decade.

“They’ve been trying to get me the last three or four years,” the right-hander said. “For whatever reason, I’ve always gone somewhere else. Every year, they’ve tried to sign me, and I’ve always gone somewhere else. I don’t know exactly why. Whether it was money, or whatever else. This year I didn’t wait to compare offers. I was like, ‘You know what, these guys came to me quickly like they’ve always done, and I’m going to sign.’ “

Strickland has six years of MLB service time, and he’s appeared in 236 games. In each of the past two seasons, he’s made at least 50 Minor League appearances.

“I’ve been looking for an opportunity to come back to the big leagues,” he said. “I’ve been to Triple-A. I’ve been with the Pirates, San Diego, Yankees, Dodgers and now here. I’ve been throwing well. It seems there has never been an opportunity.”

Perhaps his luck will change with the Marlins.

– Joe Frisaro

Pays off to finish second

As it turns out, finishing second does have its rewards. To players on the Marlins, it means another $10,000 in their pockets.

Major League Baseball on Monday announced the postseason shares for the 2009 season. A full share for players on the Marlins is $10,424.45.

In the final month of the season, players on the Marlins voted for their shares. In all, the team

awarded 49 full shares, 7.28 partial shares and seven cash awards.

Bonus money is awarded to the first and second place teams in each division. The Marlins won 87 games, second behind the Phillies in the NL East.

A full share for the World Series champion Yankees is $365,052.73. The Phillies received $265,357.50 for a full share.

The Marlins placed second for the third time in their history. The organization has never won the division. The only Florida clubs to win more games were 1997 (92) and 2003 (91). Both of those squads reached the playoffs via the Wild Card, and they went on to capture the World Series crown.

– Joe Frisaro
 

Marlins among comeback kids

Throughout the playoffs, we’ve seen late-inning heroics and thrilling comeback victories.

On Monday, both games were decided by comebacks. Jimmy Rollins provided some two-out, walk-off drama in the ninth inning to rally the Phillies past the Dodgers in Game 4. Rollins lined a two-run double off Jonathan Broxton to lift his team to a 5-4 win.

Earlier in the day, the Angels overcame a three-run deficit and beat the Yankees, also 5-4, in 11 innings when Jeff Mathis came through with a walk-off double.

The Yankees certainly have had their share of clutch hits in the playoffs. In the A.L. Division Series, Alex Rodriguez had a ninth inning homer off Joe Nathan to help rally his team. And A-Rod also went deep in the ninth inning off Brian Fuentes of the Angels to pull the Yankees even in the A.L. Championship Series.

Resiliency, obviously, is a characteristic of a championship-caliber team. That’s why it isn’t shocking that the four teams in their respective League Championshp Series also are the teams that paced the Major Leagues in comeback wins during the regular season.

What many people probably don’t know is the Marlins were fifth in the big leagues in rallying to wins.

The Marlins didn’t wind up in the playoffs, but they did win 87 games. In 41 of those victories, they trailed at some point.

The top five comeback teams in 2009 were:

* Yankees, 51
* Angels, 47
* Phillies, 43
* Dodgers, 42
* Marlins, 41

The Marlins 41 comeback victories is two behind their franchise record.

Florida’s top comeback seasons are:

* 43 in 2008
* 43 in 1997
* 42 in 2007
* 41 in 2009
* 41 in 2000.

The 1997 Marlins, of course, won the World Series, and the 2008 squad finished with 84 wins.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Yankees protest denied

After sweating it out for a couple of days, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez had some relief on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Major League Baseball sent a fax to the Marlins, informing them that the Yankees’ protest, officially filed on Monday, was denied. Therefore, the result of Sunday’s game stands, with Florida claiming a 6-5 win.

– Joe Frisaro

Marlins-Yanks TV numbers

Big crowds were on hand when the Marlins played host to the Yankees this weekend at Land Shark Stadium. The series also attracted a large television audience in South Florida.

The three-game set, televised on FOX Sports Florida and Sun Sports, drew a 5.2 overall Nielsen TV household ratings number, the highest of any Marlins three-game series since July of 2008.

Father’s Day on Sunday brought in the biggest numbers — a 6.2 average TV household rating (95,289 households) in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market. More viewers on average watched the Marlins game on Sunday than they did the second highest rated show of the day in the market — CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which posted a 4.4.

As the drama of the Marlins game built in the later innings, the TV numbers also grew. From 8-8:15 p.m. ET, the game had a ******** 8.8 average — more than 135,000 TV homes.

Saturday’s game also was widely watched. it produced a 5.6 average (87,245 households), and was the most watched cable program of the day. Friday night’s numbers were 3.8 (59,246).

– Joe Frisaro

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