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Marlins taking shape

Since the net is all a buzz about Barry Jackson's article in the Miami Herald, I guess I should cover it.

First up: center field.

General manager Larry Beinfest believes free agent pickup Alex Sanchez has a realistic chance to win the starting spot in center field: ``He's had a lot of success in the big leagues. We like his speed. He can bunt. He can do a lot of things that put pressure on people.''

Sanchez, 30, is a career .296 hitter with 122 steals in five seasons, but hit .251 in 203 at-bats in Double A and Triple A for the Reds before being released in June. He played well in Venezuela this winter.

I'm not sure what all playing well entails but he has hit for a good average thus far in the league.  Sanchez was hitting .350 through 35 games.  Sanchez's ability to hit for average has never be in question.  It's his ability to hit well enough to offset his defensive liabilities that is the concern.  Eric at FakeTeams gives his assessment of Alex's defensive skills.  I think he is being kind.

Hopefully one of the young guys will step up during spring training and earn the position instead of the team being saddled with Sanchez in center.  

Speaking of the young guys, New York Collegiate Baseball League Blog has their spotlight on Brett Carroll.

Jackson goes on to the closer situation.

Giants closer Armando Benitez, 34, has been the Marlins' No. 1 bullpen target, and a trade remains possible. The Giants appear willing to cover all but $1 million to $2 million of his $7.6 million salary.

But the Giants want a Marlins starter or top reliever ( Taylor Tankersley), and the Marlins won't do that. The Marlins might be willing to give up Yusmeiro Petit or Sergio Mitre. Benitez, who saved a Marlins-record 47 games in 2004, comes off knee surgery but will be ready for spring training, his agent said.

I really don't think Benitez is worth that price.  No one knows for sure if he is healthy but even if he is, he will be only a one-year deal.  The risk-reward isn't worth it, in my opinion.

The article did quote Beinfest as to the way he sees the bullpen shaping up.

Beinfest is encouraged about his ''under-the-radar deals'' for three relievers -- former Angel Kevin Gregg (``We think he will fit into the seventh and eighth innings''), former Mets prospect Henry Owens (a seventh-inning option)...

It goes on to mention that Carlos Martinez may be back before the All-Star break and Logan Kensing afterward.  Even if they both rejoin the team during the upcoming season, I doubt they will be back in form.  It normally takes a year or so to get up to speed again after Tommy John surgery.

Oh, if you were hoping that Antonio Alfonseca would be putting on the teal, well, he signed with the Phillies.  The $1.1 million contract they offered was slightly more attractive than the $380,000 offer by the Marlins.

Who would have thunk it?