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The Winter Meetings are Over

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The Marlins didn't make much of a splash in the Winter Meetings but that doesn't mean they weren't a success.  The organization was able to lay the ground work for some possible future deals.  And if they don't work out, as they say, sometimes the best trade is the one you didn't make.

Center field is secondary to the Marlins.  They will continue to look at center field options but are prepared to go with what they have.

Closer on the other hand, the organization would really like to have someone with experience manning the position.

Sources say the Marlins are exploring how to lure veteran Armando Benitez back to South Florida for a second stint. In 2004, Benitez set a franchise record with 47 saves.

After that season, the right-hander signed a three-year deal with the Giants worth $21.5 million. For 2007, Benitez will make $7.6 million, which is the catch.

Another source said the Marlins have set aside $2 million for a closer, so they would either have to increase that allocation or have the Giants take on a big chunk of the $7.6 million in order to make a trade realistic.

While the Marlins are batting around how to bring Benitez back, the team is also talking about signing 40-year-old free agent Jose Mesa, who had a setup role in Colorado last season. Mesa earned $2 million in 2006 and would be in line to sign for about the same figure.

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A second former Marlin also may be in the mix. The Tigers are believed to be shopping Todd Jones, who signed a two-year, $11 million contract last December. Jones will make a about $5.2 million in 2007, but Detroit would want solid trade value in return.

The Fish would have trade for Benitez and the Giants would have to eat almost all of his salary.  Which means the Giants really want to clear a roster spot or that the Marlins are going to have to trade enough value to make it worth the Giants while to eat his salary.  Not to mention that no one knows if he knees can hold up for the entire season.

The same is true with Todd Jones, sans the problem with the knees, the value of the Marlins offer would have to be such that the Tigers will take on some of his salary.  That or Loria would have to expand the payroll more than he initially desired.  I wouldn't mind having Todd back and I think he would be a good influence on the young guys, given the diligence with which he prepares for each game.

Finally, Jose Mesa, he is in the Marlins reported price range but I am less than thrilled about the prospect of him closing games for the team.  There was a time when he was a pretty good closer but time has past.

According to the article above the Marlins have some interest in Mesa, but this one paints a different picture.

The Rockies were telling teams they were expecting closer Jose Mesa to sign with the Marlins, but the Marlins have no interest in signing the Miramar resident. Mesa is believed to have received a $1.5 million offer to return to the Rockies.

At this point, if the reported budget is written in stone, going with what we got is looking like a mighty fine option.