Any Marlins fans out there? Let's take a look at the team's setup for 2007.
Larry Beinfest's contract obligations:
C - Miguel Olivo - $0.7MM
C - Matt Treanor - $0.38MM
1B - Mike Jacobs - $0.38MM
2B - Dan Uggla - $0.38MM
SS - Hanley Ramirez - $0.38MM
3B - Miguel Cabrera - $6MM
IF - Alfredo Amezaga - $0.38MM
LF - Josh Willingham - $0.38MM
RF - Jeremy Hermida - $0.38MM
OF - Joe Borchard - $0.38MM
OF - Cody Ross - $0.38MM
SP - Dontrelle Willis - $7MM
SP - Josh Johnson - $0.38MM
SP - Scott Olsen - $0.38MM
SP - Anibal Sanchez - $0.38MM
SP - Ricky Nolasco - $0.38MM
RP - Taylor Tankersley - $0.38MM
RP - Sergio Mitre - $0.38MM
RP - Logan Kensing - $0.38MM
RP - Yusmeiro Petit - $0.38MM
RP - Renyel Pinto - $0.38MM
RP - Randy Messenger - $0.38MM
RP - Jason Vargas - $0.38MM
I see the payroll landing in the $21MM range once Willis and Cabrera get their raises. The figures I have above are estimates; if Cabrera got $6MM I believe that would be a record for a first-year arbitration player. If anyone deserves more than Jeter/Gagne received, it's Miggy.
Among position players, the team is almost entirely locked in. Around the infield, the only position Beinfest might consider upgrading is first base. But Jacobs's .798 OPS wasn't that far below league average for the position, and he could improve entering his age 26 season.
It's well known that the Fish are searching for a reliable center fielder for 2007. Back in October, Joe Capozzi wrote a list of possible targets: Chris Duffy, Willy Taveras, Matt Kemp, Rocco Baldelli, and Elijah Dukes. Florida has a surplus of young starters to send the other way.
Should Houston sign Gary Matthews Jr., the Taveras to Florida rumors will intensify. Taveras will be 25 next year and he plays solid defense. He wouldn't be bad at the bottom of the lineup. Juan Pierre wouldn't mind returning, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the Marlins. One guy who could work is Reggie Willits of the Angels. He'll be 26 next season and posted a .448 OBP in Triple A this year.
While Hermida disappointed in right field, he is only 22 and he skipped Triple A. Plus, he dealt with hip flexor and ankle problems for much of the season. He'll be a walk machine with good power before long.
As for the rotation, Dontrelle and the Kids somehow came up with the third best ERA in the National League (4.22). I expect various health issues and some decent regression for Sanchez, but there's nothing to tinker with this offseason. One of Mitre, Petit, Pinto, and Vargas should be able to step up if needed as all are starters by trade.
Willis, as the face of the team and veteran leader, should not be traded. There's no rush to do so. The Marlins only have two players making more than a million bucks; their cost per win is astronomically low. No one is picking Beinfest's pocket with some kind of Brian Bannister and Alex Ochoa package or something.
Right now the 'pen looks like a slew of kids with Mitre as the elder statesman. Time for another veteran reclamation project! Danny Graves? Dustin Hermanson? Dan Kolb? Shawn Chacon? Cliff Politte? Mike DeJean? Hideki Irabu? John Rocker? OK, the last two were jokes, but all these guys have closing experience. Always fun to see who the Marlins resurrect. Maybe Ugueth Urbina will get out on parole or something.
Bottom line, the Marlins are awesome. It is just cool to see so many young guys on one team doing surprisingly well. While players like Uggla and Sanchez could take a step back in '07, there's no telling how things will play out. Just a ton of uncertainty with this group. One thing's for sure - everyone will take this club seriously in 2007.
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