Are the Fish Going After Aroldis Chapman?

MLBTradeRumors is reporting that the Marlins are a surprise entrant in the chase for the young Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

MLBTR has learned of a surprising suitor for free agent lefty Aroldis Chapman: the Marlins. They intend to submit an offer and hope to meet Chapman this month. Offers began rolling in for Chapman last week.

Chapman is only 21 and is looking for a major upfront signing bonus which is not something the Marlins like to do. That being said, he is as good as signing the first pick in the draft and could be a great long-term investment. Chapman could also serve as a marketing tool to drive more Cuban-Americans to Marlins game, just a few seasons before the Fish move to Little Havana. My guess, the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers overpay despite a strong push by the Marlins.

Miami Herald: Marlins to Offer Josh Johnson a Deal

Barry Jackson is reporting that the Marlins are planning to offer Josh Johnson a multi-year deal:

The Marlins plan to make a multiyear offer to Josh Johnson, who’s eligible for free agency after 2011, and we hear he would be receptive to a four-year, $50 million deal. But it would be surprising if Florida offered that much over four years. In arbitration, Johnson could get $4 million-plus this winter and $10 million-plus next. If he doesn’t sign an extension, “our expectation is he will sign one of the two or three biggest free agent contracts ever for a pitcher,” agent Matt Sosnick said.

Sosnick has been suggesting for some time that JJ will command a huge deal and with the Yankees and Red Sox always looking to overpay for pitching, it’s not a stretch. But, if the Marlins can buy out his remaining two arbitration years and then lock him up for two more, that could be a big win for the organization, assuming he stays healthy and continues pitching at a high level.

Sheffield Rumors: Marlins Looking for Another Bat?

The New York Post is suggesting that the Marlins may be looking for another hitter and Gary Sheffield may be a good fit:

Sheffield, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs in the Mets’ eight-run, 10-hit fourth inning, has been taking care of himself and his teammates all season. He’s batting .290 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 245 at-bats. He certainly would be a formidable weapon for a contender in need of a right-handed bat.

According to industry sources, Florida and Texas are in search of such a commodity. As an NL team, the Marlins, for whom Sheffield played from 1993 to 1998, would get their shot at a claim before the Rangers.

While I think the Fish may be better off with another starting pitcher, the choices are slim. Despite the latest offensive surge, having another clutch hitter could be very helpful.

Marlins Request 2015 All-Star Game

The Fish have formally requested that MLB award the 2015 All-Star Game to the new ballpark in Miami. While MLB usually waits a few years before awarding games to new parks and the team has denied any promise, you have to wonder if there was a wink or a nod from MLB during the negotiation process with the City and County. Regardless, it would be a great way to celebrate the relaunch of baseball in South Florida.

SI Hacks Continue to Push Loria Urban Legend

I’ve always thought that Jeffrey Loria‘s bad reputation in the media was highlight exaggerated. Therefore, I’m not surprised to read that Sports Illustrated just named him as one of the 5 worst owners in MLB. Here is what they had to say:

Despite the best efforts of another crop of youngsters, Loria may be running a second franchise into the ground. The art dealer turned a nation of fans against him with his first team, the Expos, before forcing their move from Montreal and selling them back to Major League Baseball. He then took control of the Marlins and watched his exciting team shock the Yankees in the 2003 World Series and then became Miami fans’ worst nightmare: the second coming of Wayne Huizenga. The Marlins slowly have been rebuilding themselves with more young talent, despite the lowest cash outlay provided by any owner, and could be turning a corner soon. That is, until Hanley Ramírez and Dan Uggla are shown the door like Josh Beckett, Derrek Lee and Miguel Cabrera.

=It is clear that the SI team just phoned this one in. After all why do any research and thinking when you have this urban legend about Mr. Loria. While he didn’t make the best moves in Montreal, he was, in the end, nothing more than a caretaker for a dying franchise. His time with the Marlins has been a mix — a couple of fire sales on one hand, but a championship and a new ballpark on the other. We can debate his decision to keep a low payroll for most of his tenure but it is the results on the field and talent today that matter. Despite not being a serious contender since winning it all in 2003, the team still outperforms many MLB teams over this period.

Today, the Fish are looking at a new ballpark which secures their existence in South Florida for the long run. Hanley Ramirez is locked up for the next 6-years of his potential Hall of Fame career. Larry Beinfest and Mike Hill continue to run and excellent front office which has built a nice core of young players that allows the Fish to compete. Yes, we will miss Josh Beckett, Derrek Lee and Miguel Cabrera but no team (other than the Yankees, perhaps) could have kept all these guys. In fact, in baseball, you can be good one day and terrible the other. See Dontrelle Willis. And SI, since you liked ripping Dan Uggla for his All-Star errors, but now elevate him to a star, I will point out his sub .200 average today.

I’m not elevating Mr. Loria on a pedestal. He, like every MLB owner, has made mistakes and clearly he hasn’t spent as much money as everyone would like him to spend. But his performance as the owner of the Marlins has been a successful one. He has a championship, a great front office, a new ballpark and talent for the future. It’s something very few teams have today.

Marlins Willing to Sign Pudge at a Big Discount

After hearing that the Fish have no chance of signing Pudge Rodriguez, we are obviously not too surprised to find out that it’s all a ploy to convince the still-unsigned catcher to return at a huge discount. Pudge is looking for something around $5 millions while the Marlins could see an incentive-based $1 million deal.

The question is if Rodriguez’ is willing to accept a six-figure base salary and modest incentive package. The source said even though owner Jeffrey Loria is on board with a Rodriguez reunion, it would have to happen for around $1 million, including performance bonuses.

No doubt that Pudge will be an upgrade from Rabelo so let’s hope this dry market, which has left several big name players without a contract, allows an opportunistic front office to bring him back.

Sources Claim Olsen and Willingham are Headed to DC

Peter Gammons and Ken Rosenthal are reporting that the Marlins have sent Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the Washington Nationals for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, right-hander P.J. Dean and outfielder Jake Smolinski. Continue reading Sources Claim Olsen and Willingham are Headed to DC

Jacobs Almost Traded, Olsen and Gregg On The Market

It’s now clear that the Marlins will focus on trading Mike Jacobs, Scott Olsen and Kevin Gregg. In fact, one trade almost happened:

The Marlins, who had a $22 million payroll in 2008, wanted to deal Jacobs to Kansas City, but the deal died last week because of a medical issue involving the minor-league pitcher that Florida would have received. The Marlins also spoke to Toronto and San Francisco about Jacobs.

As for Dan Uggla, it looks like the Fish will keep him:

”They haven’t put Uggla out there” — though several teams inquired. The Marlins have decided they value Uggla’s power and run production and it ”will take an insanely high offer” to move him, one official said.

Gaby Sanchez will probably get a chance to win the first base job in the spring but if he falters, expect Jorge Cantu at first and Dallas McPherson at third.

Also, on other front:

One official said the Marlins are still mulling whether to trade or keep Jeremy Hermida and/or Josh Willingham (both arbitration-eligible), but Beinfest wouldn’t discuss that. ”There is still a lot of upside to Hermida,” Beinfest said. ”Willingham, hopefully his back will be healthy.” Several teams inquired about Hermida. Beinfest — speaking in general — said there has been “a lot of interest in our players.”

With Hermida’s underwhelming performance and Willingham’s back, you have to wonder if anyone will offer anything meaningful for either one.

Photo by Flickr user Literal Salmon

Latest in Manny: Dead Like Disco

Seems like everyone now thinks the Manny Ramirez deal is dead. The hangups range from the Marlins not willing to give up better prospects to the Marlins demanding more cash to John Henry hating the deal. We’ll know for sure in about 2 hours.

Update: Jason Bay is about to go to Tampa so the 3-way Manny deal is dead as currently constituted.

Update 2: Now it looks like the Pirates and Red Sox cut the Marlins out of the deal and closed it with LA instead. Alas, it was fun while it lasted.

… and Bengie?

If Manny wasn’t enough, looks like the Marlins are serious about Bengie Molina and offered a trade that I think many fans will sign up for in a heartbeat. This from the Palm Beach Post:

In other trade talk, the Marlins reportedly are talking to San Francisco about sending first baseman Mike Jacobs to the Giants for catcher Bengie Molina.

For all the negatives Fish fans see in Jacobs, he is a nice player who could hit quite a few bombs into the Cove. Let’s hope the Giants feel the same way because this would be a nice deal for both teams. This will allow Jorge Cantu to move to his newly discovered position at first base and also allow the Marlins to bring up Dallas McPherson who leads the whole baseball universe in home runs.

Manny-Mania

Yes, the media is exploding with rumors of Manny Ramirez being traded to the Marlins. Best source I can find is MLBTR which has been updating these rumors regularly.

Marlins GM Mike Hill had to cancel his appearance on tonight’s broadcast so let the speculation continue.

Update: Of course, Mike Berardino says NFW

Update 2: So the Red Sox want Jeremy Hermida, Ryan Tucker, and Mike Stanton (Jason Stark / ESPN). Two good prospects sounds expensive for a rental player.

Update 3: My take on Ken Rosenthal’s latest update that the Fish will not include Stanton: The Marlins are seriously talking about acquiring Manny Ramirez.

Update 4: Here is what was supposudly submmited to the Commisioner’s office for approval:

Marlins get Manny Ramirez, one prospect (BOS), and cash (likely Ramirez’s remaining salary)
Pirates get Jeremy Hermida and three prospects (two FLO, one BOS)
Red Sox get Jason Bay and John Grabow

Update 5: Nice dramatic feel in this writeup by the Palm Beach Post.

Big Marlins Event Tomorrow at the Orange Bowl?

A fan over at the MarlinsBaseball Forums says he received the flyer below at his home calling fans to the Orange Bowl area Saturday at 11 AM. Seeing that the Marlins, the City, and the County are all listed, it makes one wonder whether the ballpark will be revealed. It is also a good opportunity to announce Hanley Ramirez’s new contract.

Hendrickson to Start on Opening Day

A few news and notes:

  • Mark Hendrickson is the lucky winner of our opening day starting pitcher lottery joining the ranks of Charlie Hough, Kevin Brown, and Dontrelle Willis in the Marlins record books.
  • With Jose Castillo gone, Jorge Cantu will start at third base.
  • ESPN is reporting that Miguel Cabrera just signed an 8-year $153MM extension with the Tigers. It’s, deservingly, the 4th largest deal in MLB history. No way we could (or should) have afforded that.
  • If you look closely, you’ll see that the Official Marlins website has been slightly redesigned.