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Rotation Shuffling; Dontrelle to Get Paid?

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Josh Beckett would normally be slated to pitch against the Angels on Sunday, but because of his blister problem, that isn't going to happen.

It's also not a given at this point that Leiter will get the start in his place:

It's clear confidence in Leiter, who is 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA, has waned. Even though Leiter is available, Beinfest and McKeon made it clear that nobody has been slotted yet for Sunday.

Potential recall options for a spot start include Nate Bump, Ariel Prieto and Les Walrond from Triple-A Albuquerque and Scott Olsen and Josh Johnson from Double-A Carolina. Walrond and Olsen are scheduled to start Sunday for their teams.

While that's all encouraging, I doubt that the Marlins would recall someone like Olsen for this type of a start (or brief series of starts). I say that because this likely boils down to a financial decision as much as it is a baseball decision.

Someone recently did the math (it was reported in this week's print edition of USA Today's Sports Weekly) and found that Dontrelle Willis will likely be arbitration eligible by season's end. While that's great for the Dontrelle, it will make the D-Train significantly more expensive to the Marlins. Willis is likely to command a $4 million salary through the arbitration process (as opposed to the less than $400,000 salary he'll earn this season).

How does this relate to Scott Olsen? By recalling Olsen now, the Marlins would be starting his major league service clock. While the "clock" only runs while Olsen is in the majors, it would still be started if he's brought up for one or two starts. In the long run, with a prospect as highly touted as Olsen, that could prove to be expensive.

Just look at the situation the Marlins are in now. Dontrelle Willis (May 9) and Miguel Cabrera (June 20) were recalled mid-way through the 2003 season. That 42 day difference between when Willis and Cabrera were called up will turn out to be huge. Willis will likely be eligible for arbitration after this season; Cabrera will not. Both players are earning less than $400,000 this year, thus making them very valuable commodities to the club (as their market value is many times higher).

Via arbitration, Dontrelle will be able to earn a salary next season that's very close to his true market value. Maybe he won't earn his true market value (i.e. the contract he would be offered if he was a free agent - eligible to sign with any team). Dontrelle will earn considerably more (barring an unforseen change in strategy by the Marlins - who could offer both players long term contracts today, if they chose to) next season than Miguel Cabrera. That won't be based on past accomplishments, present role on the team, or future expectations. The differences in their salaries will purely be based on Major League service time.

Larry Beinfest and the folks in the Marlins' front office have surely thought of that. Because of it, I think we're much more likely to see Frank Castillo or Nate Bump again (if not Alois Leiter) instead of Scott Olsen.