01/23/12 9:45 AM EST
Inbox: Why not go after Fielder?
Marlins beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers fans' questions
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
-- Rodrigo L., Santiago, Chile
It's been well documented why the team pursued Pujols. He's the best player in the game, and his impact would be felt in the lineup, clubhouse and in ticket sales over an extended period of time.
Once the Marlins didn't sign Pujols, they turned toward locking up Mark Buehrle, and the team has money left over to pursue Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban outfield sensation.
Fielder has yet to sign, and while it is doubtful he will join the Marlins, there are some in the industry who believe Miami is quietly in the mix for the All-Star first baseman. I'm not convinced of that, based on my conversations.
Fielder's asking price is incredibly high, and if you've noticed, there aren't a lot of teams going aggressively after him. Fielder certainly is a threat and an exceptional talent. But a $200 million investment in him is very risky. We'll see where Fielder lands, but the way the Marlins see things, first base is not an area of need, at least not at a price that may prevent them from making other moves. Remember, Sanchez was an All-Star last year, and he's a productive player.
As a fan of the San Francisco Giants, who finally got a taste of World Series champagne in 2010, how about this trade: Tim Lincecum for Hanley Ramirez? San Francisco's strength is pitching, and it is offset by its lack of hitting and scoring. The Giants can't afford to keep and pay Lincecum and Matt Cain, while the Marlins recognize the problem of shifting Ramirez to third base. San Francisco would be picking up a premier hitting shortstop while Miami would get a premier pitcher, who it could afford to sign long term.
-- Alan G., Boynton Beach, Fla.
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The fun part of these Inboxes is we can toss around ideas. You raise an highly interesting trade proposal that would rock the baseball world.
If the Marlins were to obtain Lincecum, they'd certainly have a rotation that could match with the Phillies and Braves. It would come at the expense of a middle-of-the-order bat. Ramirez is due to make $46.5 million over the next three years.
Lincecum, of course, is seeking a substantial raise, and he will get it somewhere, if not San Francisco.
I doubt anything along these lines has actually been discussed between the clubs, but it's fun to toss the idea out there for the sake of discussion.
The way I see it, with Ramirez returning from shoulder surgery, the Giants would have to be convinced he is healthy and ready to regain his All-Star form before they'd consider trading Lincecum for him.
With the addition of Heath Bell, what will the Marlins do with Juan Carlos Oviedo? Will he move to the eighth inning?
-- Isaac H., Sibley, Iowa
Last week, the Marlins avoided arbitration with Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez) when they signed him to a one-year, $6 million deal. As of now, he remains on MLB's restricted list, and he will only get paid if he is cleared to play.
Oviedo's visa to return to the United States is still pending, and there is optimism that a new visa will be approved before the start of Spring Training. Once Oviedo is eligible, he would be the front-runner for the eighth-inning setup role.
Remember, in the weeks leading up to the season, injuries occur, and if another club felt it needed a closer, Oviedo would be a nice trade chip for Miami. I wouldn't be surprised if he were on the Marlins' Opening Day roster or if he gets moved to another club. The first step is getting him off the restricted list.
Are the Marlins still pursuing Yoenis Cespedes?
-- Matthew C., Newport Beach, Calif.
Much like Oviedo, the Marlins are waiting to see if Cespedes is cleared to play. The Cuban star still hasn't gained temporary residency in the Dominican Republic. Teams were under the impression that could have happened a week ago. The wheels of government, however, move at their own pace.
Once Cespedes is eligible, look for the Marlins to make a strong push. The team is on record saying it believes the outfielder would be a nice fit in Miami.
Recently, Cespedes told reporters in the Dominican Republic, where he is playing winter ball, that the Cubs have shown the most interest. Those are his words. In terms of signing, his agent, Adam Katz, can't start negotiating until Cespedes is ruled a free agent.
Where do you think the Marlins would rank in the National League East if they were to sign either Cespedes or Fielder?
-- Dusty M., Washington Court House, Ohio
Basically, I have two answers. One for each player.
I think the bigger immediate-impact player is Fielder, who is regarded as a division-changer. The issue with Fielder isn't his talent, it is cost. Say the Marlins meet his demands. Would that financially prevent them from making other moves, like, signing Mike Stanton long term? These are the types of questions the club asks itself.
As for Cespedes, people I've spoken to consider him as a "can't miss" player. But there isn't the same track record as Fielder. So we'd have to take a wait-and-see approach. Initially, I'd look at Cespedes as a highly touted prospect, like a Logan Morrison, who has the potential to post big numbers.
But I do think Cespedes would help take this club to another level. I just can't say it with the same conviction as with Fielder.
Any updates on a possible naming-rights partner for the new stadium?
-- Eddie K., Plantation, Fla.
Until a naming-rights partner is announced, the stadium will be called Marlins Park. The team is not expecting to have a naming-rights partner before the April 4 opener against the Cardinals. Conversations continue, but nothing is considered close at this point.