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The Smoke is Clearing

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It's about time to call in the dogs and pi...uh,..put out the fire.  The fire sale is almost over.  The only one left to jettison is Villone.

Aside:  I heard an interview with Ron Villone on XM radio during the winter meetings and he sounded like an intelligent, thoughtful and all-around good guy.  I do hope he will go somewhere where he is happy.

Have you ever noticed that when you have been through the wringer and you think you can finally just sit and relax and that's when all hell breaks loose?  Just a thought.

First to the Marlins tying-up a few loose ends as the re-signing/arbitration period came to an end.

Late Wednesday night, Florida welcomed back Brian Moehler and bid farewell to the man called "Mr. Marlin."

The Marlins signed Moehler to a one-year contract believed to be worth about $500,000. Veteran pinch-hit specialist Lenny Harris also signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp.

Big Moe will once again strut his prominence to the mound for the Fish.  If the prominence thing makes no sense to you, please consult the Site Dictionary.

It should help to have veteran pitcher on the staff.

Jeff Conine was offered a contract but turn it down.  He hopes to play for a team that has a possibility of contending in the twilight of his career.  The Marlins did not offer arbitration to Conine so he is free to pursue the free agent market.

Antonio Alfonseca was also offered a contract but decided not to return and he is free to test the waters of free agency.

At the arbitration deadline for free agents the club decided to call no-joy with one exception.

the Marlins did not offer arbitration to any of their free agents before Wednesday's midnight deadline with the exception of A.J. Burnett, which was a formality to assure they receive a compensatory draft pick from the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays are set to draft in the first half of the first round so the Marlins will receive a sandwich pick, between the first and second rounds, and a second-rounder in the 2006 draft.

So there we have it, the salary purge is just about complete.  What did the team lose?

Offensively, the Marlins will lose upward of 76 percent of their hits, 74.3 percent of their runs scored, 67.2 percent of their homers, and 72.4 percent of their RBI from last season. The aforementioned pitchers accounted for 31 wins, 270 appearances (61 starts), 598 1/3 innings and 536 strikeouts.

In return the organization received:

In return for seven accomplished veterans, the Marlins accumulated 14 mostly touted prospects (one to be named), including 10 pitchers. The majority will have a legitimate chance of making the '06 club.

The team is definitely weaker for the near future but trades, such as these, are evaluated in terms of years.

That's it, right?  Oh, Hell No!

[The Marlins] have begun to tell teams that every player on their roster - including Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera - is available for the right price.

Now what that price is, who knows.  But for the D-Train and Cabrera some team may be willing to pay the tab.

Is the goal to get the payroll below that of the Isotopes?  'Cause it sure isn't to field a competitive Major League team anytime soon.

Market correction, my butt.

I don't know if another team(s) will bite but those are two mighty tempting apples they have put on display.