Inbox: Does Miami have pieces to land Garza?
Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers questions from Marlins fans
With Gio Gonzalez headed to the Nationals, will the Marlins continue to explore a trade for a starter or go into Spring Training with what they have? Do they have the pieces to acquire Matt Garza?
-- Yader G., Miami
Garza is drawing plenty of attention on the trade market, and the Marlins have interest in the Cubs right-hander. The Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox and Yankees are among the other teams in the mix.
Other than moving Mike Stanton or Logan Morrison, the Marlins are willing to part with their top prospects in order to land a frontline pitcher. Ideally, the club would like to lure in someone like Garza before Spring Training.
There are some free agents on the market as well. But Miami has little to no interest in Edwin Jackson and Joe Saunders. If the Marlins can't obtain another starter by the start of Spring Training, they will see how those already on the roster perform in camp.
Also, don't discount the possibility of a trade leading up to Opening Day.
If the Marlins do sign Yeonis Cespedes, what happens to Emilio Bonifacio? Does he go back to a backup/super utility role? I think he's at least earned a starting position, based on last year.
-- Cameron C., Coral Gables, Fla.
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First, Cespedes has to be cleared to file for free agency. That has yet to happen, and the process has lingered for some time. The longer that drags out, the more it hurts his preparation for Opening Day.
Should Miami sign Cespedes, chances are he still would need some time in Double-A or Triple-A to get back into the full swing of things. That could be a couple of weeks or months after Opening Day.
The Marlins fully expect Bonifacio to start somewhere. It would be up to Cespedes to win the job over him in center field, at least for Opening Day.
Also keep in mind, Hanley Ramirez is recovering from left shoulder surgery. All indications are that Ramirez will be ready for the start of the season. If he isn't, Bonifacio could find himself starting at third base for a little while.
Do you think the Marlins will try to convince Javier Vazquez to come back for one more year?
-- Ernesto V., Miami
There is all sorts of speculation regarding whether Vazquez will retire or be tempted to return. When the season ended, Vazquez told many on the team that he was leaning towards retiring because of family reasons. He wanted to spend more time with his children. Will he have a change of heart now that it is January and the season is just around the corner? Perhaps. Or he may opt to skip the grind of Spring Training altogether and eventually sign with someone once the season starts.
From what I've gathered, the Marlins feel Vazquez is retired, and they are looking in other directions. I wouldn't be surprised if Vazquez pitches in 2012, but I don't think it will be with Miami.
With all the talk about the Marlins going after Albert Pujols, people are forgetting that the team already has an All-Star first baseman in Gaby Sanchez. What are the chances the Marlins go after some utility player to come off the bench in the late innings and give them spot starts? Or do you see another player from the organization filling the role?
-- Ryan B., Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
Your point is well taken on Sanchez playing first base. Obviously, Miami made a strong push for Pujols, but that wasn't a reflection on Sanchez. The way the Marlins looked at it was, Pujols is the best player in the game, and the team was in position to make a push for him, so it did.
When that didn't happen, they went back to more strongly pursuing starting pitching. If you remember, the day they stopped talks with Pujols, they signed Mark Buehrle.
As for a utility player to back up at first base, the team has options. Miami is hoping to finalize a deal that will bring back Greg Dobbs, who can play first and third.
Do the Marlins feel Alex Sanabia can win a spot in the back of the rotation? I realize there are more things to go off of than statistics, but he's proven time and time again he can compete and he can get results.
-- Noah D., Des Moines, Iowa
You raise a good point, because much is made over the projected starting five in the rotation. But over the course of a season, teams need more than five starters, due to either injuries or lack of performance. On average, teams use about nine or 10 starters over a full season.
This is where Sanabia can fit in and help. Remember, the right-hander is just 23, and he was rushed to the big leagues at 21 in 2010. He missed most of last year with an elbow injury, appearing in just three big league games, including two starts.
Foremost, Sanabia needs to be healthy and needs to keep developing. At some point in the season, he could offer depth to the rotation. There is always a chance he could be used out of the bullpen, but the team likes him as a starter. He will get a look in Spring Training.