The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Carlos Delgado to the Marlins?

The Marlins have apparently found money in a pile somewhere as they are making serious overtures to Carlos Delgado. While signing Delgado would be a huge coup for the Fish, this is not something that was widely expected – even as recently as a week or two ago.

It would reportedly take a franchise record contract (in terms of dollars, not years) for the Marlins to land the slugger, but all things considered, he would be well worth it. Carlos is 32 (turns 33 in late June), meaning that a 3-year deal would only extend into his mid-30s – a time when he should still be expected to be very productive. The Marlins may actually be getting Delgado at a discount (should they be able to stave off offers from the Mets and Rangers, amongst others), as he is coming off an (by his standards) unproductive 2004 campaign.

Delgado would also help to shore up the Marlins lineup, from one of the few places where an impact bat would make an immediate improvement. The acquisition of Delgado would also improve the Marlins bench, as it would force Jeff Conine (or possibly Juan Encarnacion to the bench).

Speaking of such things, let’s have some offseason fun and speculate as to what the Marlins lineup might look like:

1 – Juan Pierre (CF)
2 – Luis Castillo (2B)
3 – Miguel Cabrera (LF)
4 – Carlos Delgado (1B)
5 – Mike Lowell (3B)
6 – Paul LoDuca (C)
7 – Juan Encarnacion (RF)
8 – Alex Gonzalez (SS)
9 - Pitcher

Suddenly having Juan Encarnacion in your lineup doesn’t seem so painful. As a 7th place hitter, Juan could actually be considered productive, although he still isn’t likely to put up the numbers that you’d probably like to see from your right fielder.

The big question mark in this lineup (assuming Delgado really ends up in it) is Luis Castillo. Rumors have started to circulate that Castillo may be on the trading block. The purported reason is that his salary (Luis signed a new contract after the 2003 World Series season) may be too expensive for the Marlins over the long run. In my opinion, this is likely a cover for the sad truth that Luis has injury problems (he has had hip surgery in the past) and has lost much of his speed (or at least the ability to steal bases).

If Castillo is moved, that would likely move LoDuca up to the second slot in the lineup (a nice place for a proven run producer and a good contact hitter) and would elevate Encarnacion from 7th to 6th in the order. Castillo’s replacement – who is likely to be an unproven major leaguer would then bat 7th or 8th.

While yesterday it seemed more likely that Delgado could end up in black and teal, it's now seeming more likely that he will end up with the Rangers (apparently he likes Texas and their stadium) or the Mets (where they're willing to spend most anything to steal headlines - since titles are apparently unattainable - from the Yankees).

At this point, it’s all just conjecture, but at least it’s interesting. This could be the third year in a row of positive talk surrounding the Marlins. That would be an all-time first I believe.


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