clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Off-Season Kicking Into Gear

Two top executives, in a really bad career move, expressed public displeasure with their boss about making promises to Delgado.

Word is at least two top Marlins executives weren't happy that owner Jeffrey Loria told Carlos Delgado late in the season that he won't be traded. It's not that the team's front office insists on trading Delgado (.301, 33 homers, 115 RBI). But because of payroll constraints, they would like flexibility to consider offers.

Even so, there is nothing to keep Florida from dealing Delgado, who's owed $13.5 million in 2006 in the second year of a four-year, $52 million deal. But that would hurt Loria's credibility. ''If you can't take Jeffrey's word, who's word can you take?'' said Delgado's agent, David Sloane, who added he would be surprised if his client is dealt.

With all due respect to Mr. Sloane, from every indicator presented the club is looking to move Delgado.

The first is the pursuit of Jeff Conine.

The Marlins met last week with free agent OF Jeff Conine's agent, Michael Watkins, who said "there's interest on both sides to work something out. No doubt, Jeff [age 39] should be a starting player. I think the Marlins agree.''

Yesterday Watkins went on to say this.

The Marlins want Jeff Conine to return next year, his agent said Monday, but a contract offer is at least two weeks away.

The organization would have probably tried to sign Mr. Marlin even if Delgado was guaranteed to return, but he more than likely wouldn't have been the first free agent with whom they entered into serious negotiations.  If the Marlins think Conine should be starting, his best position is first base, and the team will need someone to man that role should Delgado be traded.

The second indicator is that teams are interested in him--take the Mariners for example.

Carlos Delgado and Jim Thome, both left-handed first basemen, are locked in for three more years with teams (the Marlins and Phillies, respectively) that would be willing to trade them.


(Bill) Bavasi may be able to acquire Delgado or Thome without surrendering choice prospects, if he assumes most of the salary.

If the Marlins are really serious about cutting the payroll, then Delgado's days in Florida are numbered.

The other player who keeps getting mentioned in the great payroll purge is Mike Lowell.

Trading Mike Lowell (due $9 million in '06 and '07) remains a Marlins priority.

If the team is going to trade Lowell I have one request - trade him out of the division.  I know a lot of people who read this site are down on Lowell and some would like to see him go.  But I do want to warn about extrapolating off one data point - and a statistical outlier at that. It has the potential to come back and haunt you.

Next up on the free agent tales is Alex Gonzalez.

While the Marlins pursued Conine, agent Eric Goldschmidt said he hasn't heard a word from the team about free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who remains intent on getting a multiyear deal.

This really isn't that big of a deal.  The Marlins know that Gonzalez  is going to test the open market to see what multiyear deals are available, and there is no need to try to secure him before Friday.

Oh wow, look at the time. More on the free agents tomorrow.  Later today we will have the AL Cy Young Winner for you; it should be a close race.  Rivera is the "experts'" guess to take home the award.