Lo Duca Up; Miller Down

The Marlins wasted no time in bringing up newly signed Paul Lo Duca. The Fish have been carrying 13 pitchers and they desperately needed another bench player. Justin Miller was the unlucky DFA and will head to AAA.

I’ve been wondering why Lo Duca and not Dallas McPherson and my only guess is that the Fish felt that having another veteran presence (and a catcher at that) would be better than a high-strike out power hitter. But, as I’ve said before, “In Beinfest We Trust”.

Meanwhile, the team found a new way to lose: offense is back but bullpen blew it. 3.5 games out is not the end of the world, but it’s mid-August and momentum is head in the wrong direction.

Marlins Bring Back Paul Lo Duca

Word from the the Miami Herald is that the Marlins are about to sign Paul Lo Duca and send him to AAA. The 36 year old Lo Duca‘s performance has diminished significantly this year (age? no steroids?) and he was recently cut by the Nationals after hitting .230.

This is a low risk move for the Fish as he will start off in AAA and if somehow he figures out how to hit or if Matt Treanor‘s condition worsens, Lo Duca will be be a nice fit.

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.

Judge Loses Control of Braman Trial

The circus surrounding the Norm Braman trial continued today when Judge Jeri Beth Cohen postponed a decision on one of the two remaining issues for at least 5 weeks. The issue in question is whether money can be reallocated for a different purpose without a referendum. The Judge wants to wait for a Florida Supreme Court reconsideration of case concerning reallocation of bond funds.

Frankly, this seems like the only real legal issue left in this case so everything else that happened is irrelevant (hence the term “circus” in this post). The issue of whether the stadium is a good public use of money is not an issue for a court to decide, that’s why we have elected officials. Now, if Braman wanted to challenge the elected official’s authority to make such decisions, that’s a legal challenge. But in this case, debating whether the Marlins will leave town without a stadium or whether they cannot afford to pay more is not an issue for the court to decide.

Anyway, Judge Cohen is scared to make a decision because she doesn’t want her ruling overturned but the end result of her decision is to give the Braman a big victory.

Will an Appeal by Braman Delay the Ballpark?

It looks like Braman’s lawsuit is going down in flames (as expected) but a big concern may be his decision to continue wasting his money by appealing the decision.

We are not happy with the prospect, but we are not concerned. One thing to keep in mind is that Braman did not obtain an injunction (and no court has issued an injunction) against the projects. Absent that, the county, the city, and the Marlins are going ahead full steam. Even if Braman ultimately prevails in some sort of appeal (keep in mind that appeals can’t just be a disagreement with the ruling, there has to be an obvious error), the city/county will have to find a way to pay for the ballpark or else they would have to pay the Marlins for all costs incurred as well as damages.

Our Long National Nightmare is Over

Most of you on the East Coast (we’re out west) were probably sleeping and had a nightmare involving Dan Uggla make three errors and striking out three times (including twice with runners in scoring position). I can tell you that it never happened, the game never happened, this one did not count.

Dan, if you’re reading this, and I’m sure you’re not — stop worrying about it and move on. Thanks to the magic of HDTV it was clear from 3,000 miles away that you were freaking out in your own calm way. Real baseball returns on Friday and you can continue your great season in a critical battle against the first-place Phillies.

Update: To all the non-Marlins fans who are hitting our site today looking for everything and anything about Dan Uggla: He’s ours, he’s great, get over it!

All-Star Game Tonight

Don’t forget to watch our very own Hanley Ramirez lead-off tonight’s game. Let’s hope that Dan Uggla gets a chance to play too.

Note: Photo above is of Hanley at bat, the last time he and the Marlins played at Yankee Stadium (2006)

Breaking: Judge Orders Settlement Talks in Braman Suit

At the opening of today’s trial involving Norman Braman’s attempt to stop the Miami Megaplan (which includes the Marlin’s Ballpark), the following happened:

”At this time I am ordering all the parties back in mediation,” Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen told a packed courtroom just before 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Her order may indicate that the parties — which had scrambled Tuesday and Wednesday to broker an agreement — may in reality be close to reaching such an accord.

This move apparently surprised the parties but is actually common in today’s busy court systems where busy Judges prefer to force sides into a settlement, especially if one is possible as is suggested above.

The proposed compromise seems to conflict with Norman Braman’s holier-than-thou arguments:

Those familiar with the proceedings said the last minute negotiations centered around an offer to build a community center next to the stadium and more public use of what will be a county-owned ballpark. But no closure was reached — at least not yet.

I think Greg Cote captured the double-standard/hypocrisy in his editorial today.

Assuming nothing changes in the next few days, the parties will meet again with the Judge on Monday.

Hanley Ramirez Voted Starting Shortstop for NL All-Star Team

Hanley Ramirez became the second Marlin every voted into a starting position for an All-Star game. Joining Hanley, who will start at shortstop in his first ever All-Star game, is Dan Uggla who will be part of his second All-Star game and is one of a few candidates for the starting DH position. Uggla is also likely to participate in the Home Run Derby.

The New Look 2008 Florida Marlins

Despite being 45-43 and only 2.5 games out of first in early July, the Marlins are about to undergo major changes. The pitching staff, most desperately needing help right now, is changing radically as both Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad are moving into the starting rotation this week. With Anibal Sanchez beginning his rehab starts, the Fish suddenly have 5 really good pitchers (assuming the newly healthy can remain that way). Mark Hendrickson and Ryan Tucker will move to the bullpen where they can help eat innings from an injured and overworked pen.