A spot in the rotation. A Closer. A backup catcher. A Leftfielder and a first basemen.
If Florida Marlins General Manager Larry Beinfest drew up a shopping list this offseason those would be the main entrees for them to pick up. With 17 players due to get a huge pay raise since playing at the major league level for three seasons, it was going to be an interesting Hot Stove for the Marlins.
For starters you parted ways with a ninth inning pitcher whose contributions were in question. On paper, Kevin Gregg is a proven closer with 32 and 29 saves the last two years, respectively. However, August was a month he was happy to end last season. Gregg lost four games including back-to-back blown saves to the New York Mets during what was turning out to be a close race for first place. A day after giving up a lead changing grand slam to Carlos Beltran with two outs in the ninth, Gregg complained about “inflammation in his left knee” and also learned he wouldn’t be resigned next season. Matt Lindstrom won the September closer audition over set-up man Joe Nelson, who left for greener pastures in Tampa.
Trades were inevitable for the Marlins and none bigger when Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen were shipped to divisional rival Washington. Willingham averaged 20 homers with a .266 batting average but his 100 strikeouts a season was far too much for Beinfest, not to mention missing 60 games last season due to a back injury. As for Olsen, his DUI last season mixed with fights with teammates became too much to bear along with a 31-37 win-loss mark. We’ll be seeing the Nationals 18 times this season.
Here’s a breakdown of the players who won’t be returning to camp this year. Interesting to note it would have cost us 20 million to retain these players.
Mike Jacobs– The power-hitting first baseman was a centerpiece of the Carlos Delgado trade. A converted catcher, Jacobs put up huge numbers last season with 32 homeruns and driving in 93 runs. However 119 strikeouts and just 118 hits was a major flaw in Jacobs. He’s currently battling arbitration with the Royals, whom he was traded to for Leo Nunez.
Expected ’09 Salary -Seeking 3.8 Million ’08 395,000
Kevin Gregg– Gregg was lights out during his two-year stint with the Marlins. Totaling nearly 30 saves both seasons. However struggles to the bullpen before the September stretch run saw demotion come Gregg’s way who was playing with “Inflammation in left knee.” With the closer role open during September, Matt Lindstrom out-battled Joe Nelson to secure the gig.
Expected ’09 Salary 4.2 Million ’08 2.5 Million
Joe Nelson– Nelson was a very solid reliever for the Marlins and his departure to intrastate rival Tampa Bay will be missed. Nelson appeared in 59 games and allowed just a dozen earned runs all season. However 1 save in 5 opportunities made it clear who the 2009 closer would be.
Expected ’09 Salary 1.3 Million
Scott Olsen– 25 year old southpaw with plenty of potential. Hopefully things pan out for him in the nation’s capital.
Expected ’09 Salary 2.5 Million (Asked for 3.5 but agreed since he would lose arbitration) ’08 405,000
Josh Willingham– Will have to compete with a crowded outfield in DC with Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Elijah Dukes, and Willie Harris.
Expected ’09 Salary Currently taken to Arbitrators (Asking 3.6 million, Received an offer of 2.55 million)
Expected ’09 Salary 750,000
Expected ’09 Salary 645,000
Expected ’09 Salary 1.5 million
Expected ’09 Salary– Invited to Giants camp
Expected ’09 Salary Currently Unsigned Free Agent
Expected ’09 Salary– Signed a 2 year, 4 million dollar deal
Paul Lo Duca
Expected ’09 Salary Currently unsigned Free Agent
Expected ’09 Salary 650,000 (If he makes the Reds 25 man roster)