Marlins Dump Heath Bell

Heath Bell is Arizona’s problem now.

The Marlins have traded their frustrating reliever to Arizona as part of a 3-team trade with Oakland. In exchange for Bell, the Marlins receive minor league third baseman Yordy Cabrera from the Athletics. As part of the trade, Arizona also acquired infielder Cliff Pennington from Oakland for outfielder Chris Young.

Bell will not be missed.

Marlins Trade Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers

The Marlins are now sellers.

Just an hour before today’s game, the Marlins trade Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers for RHP Jacob Turner, C Bob Brantly, LHP Brian Flynn, and an exchange in compensation draft picks. Sanchez was to become a free agent at the end of the season while Infante was signed through 2013.

Turner, who just earned his first Major League win is considered one of the top prospects in baseball. Brantly is also highly touted and provides the Marlins with organizational depth at catcher.

Jorge Cantu Traded to Texas

The Marlins have traded Jorge Cantu to the Texas Rangers for AA right-handed pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda. The trade was approved by MLB just minutes before the Marlins wrapped up a 5-0 win against the San Francisco Giants. The Marlins also sent cash to Texas to offset some or all of the $2MM remaining on Cantu‘s salary for this season.

While Poveda is on the 60-day DL following Tommy John Surgery, Reed has pitched 39 innings in AA and has 34 strikeouts with 13 walks. Not clear if he is ready to move up to the Majors where the Marlins desperately need bullpen relief.

For now, the Marlins will call up Hector Luna from AAA to backup Wes Helms and Donny Murphy. When Chris Coghlan returns from the DL, he will take over the starting 3B spot.

Marlins Acquire Lefty Nate Robertson to be 5th Starter

The Marlins didn’t want to enter the season without a left-handed starter so earlier today they reacquired Nate Robertson from the Detroit Tigers for minor league pitcher Jay Voss. As part of the deal, Detroit will absorb a majority of his $10 million contract. Robertson will take the 5th spot in the rotation, pushing Clay Hensley into the bullpen. Robertson was in the Marlins system as late as 2002 when he was traded to Detroit for Mark Redman.

Matt Lindstrom Heading to Houston

Dethroned closer Matt Lindstrom is heading to the Houston Astros (literally, he is on his way to Houston for a physical). Will update once we hear who the Marlins got in return.

Update: Peter Gammons is reporting that the Marlins received two minor leaguers and a player to be named later.

Update 2: Minor leaguers coming back to the Marlins are RHP Robert Bono and SS Luis Bryan.

Hermida Shipped Out to Boston

The Marlins have traded Jeremy Hermida to the Boston Red Sox for left-handed pitchers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez.

Hermida was never able to live up to high expectations batting .259 last season with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs. Now that he is in Boston, the Yankees/Red Sox obsessed national baseball media will fawn over his talent and potential. For Hermida’s sake, we hope the change of scenery will help.

Nick Johnson a Marlin (Updated x 2)

The Marlins have acquired 1B Nick Johnson from the Washington Nationals for minor league pitcher Aaron Thompson. Despite earlier rumors that the deal was dead after the Nats rejected Ryan Tucker, it’s amazing that the Fish were able to close the deal for only Thompson. This is bad news for Emilio Bonifacio who will likely move into a utility role while Jorge Cantu returns to 3B.

Update: Beinfest and Hill clearly out maneuvered the Nats. Not only did they complete the trade for a lesser prospect, they also convinced the Nats to cover Johnson’s remaining $1.8 million salary.

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 Acquire Penn and Gload

Robert Andino, who was out of options, to the Baltimore Orioles for right-handed reliever Hayden Penn. Penn hasn’t had a stellar career:

Penn reached the big leagues with the Orioles in 2005, and he’s appeared in seven Grapefruit League games this spring. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 10.06 ERA in 17 innings.

The 24-year-old Penn was 0-4 with a 15.10 ERA in six starts last year, logging 19 2/3 innings.

Additionally, the Fish found a left-handed hitter to come off the bench. The Marlins acquired 33-year old Ross Gload and cash from the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later.

Marlins Acquire Catcher Ronny Paulino

Apparently not satisfied with their catching depth, the Marlins have acquired Ronny Paulino from the giants for minor league right-handed pitcher Hector Correa.

Paulino, 27, was traded to the Giants from Philadelphia for left-handed pitcher Jack Taschner Friday night prior to being traded to Florida. He was previously traded to the Phillies from Pittsburgh on December 10, 2008 in exchange for catcher Jason Jaramillo. He had spent his entire career with the Pirates, posting a career average of .278 (284×1021) with 49 doubles, 19 home runs and 128 RBI in 304 Major League games.

The Santo Domingo, DR native appeared in just 40 games with Pittsburgh last season while battling a right ankle sprain. For his career Paulino has thrown out 51 of 165 (24%) of runners attempting to steal. A right-handed hitter, he owns a career .355 (92×259) average against left-handed pitchers. Paulino was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 29, 1997.

I guess Mike Rabelo is still not good enough for the big leagues.

Update: The Marlins didn’t wait long. Mike Rabelo and Brett Hayes were sent down to AAA.