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Marlins not looking to deal Cantu, but should be

Nov 23, 2009, 1:42 PM EST

As usual the Marlins are going to spend the offseason cutting payroll and trading players making more than minimum salaries, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that they’re “almost 100 percent” certain to keep Jorge Cantu.
On the heels of apparently balking at 25-year-old ace Josh Johnson’s long-term contract demands, the decision to hang onto Cantu of all players is very odd. Cantu is a good but not great hitter, a horrible defensive third baseman who should be at first base, and will likely make more than $5 million in 2010 via arbitration.
If anything he’s one of the guys Florida should specifically be looking to trade, because he’s expensive without being close to an elite player and has only one season left before free agency. Cantu tallied 100 RBIs this year, but his .289/.345/.443 line and 16 homers in 643 plate appearances were hardly special for a first baseman (or terrible defensive third baseman) and he’s a career .278/.323/.456 hitter. For comparison, the average MLB first baseman hit .277/.363/.483 this year.
Cantu would be a decent pickup for a contending team that has money to burn and just needs one more solid bat to plug into a strong lineup, but for a low-payroll team that is constantly forced to juggle players he makes little sense. They could get 90 percent of the production at 10 percent of the cost, add a couple prospects, and use the money saved to actually retain some truly elite players.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 23, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    The Feesh haven’t had a really good third baseman since they unloaded Mike Lowell, and whether they keep Cantu or not, it’s hard to imagine that they would pay what the market demands for anyone better. Then, there’s also 100 RBIs driving in members of one of the worst baserunning teams in baseball. Marlins third base coaches have a proud tradition of feeding runners to the opposing catcher like Canaanite priests feeding babies to Moloch.
    Marlins GM Larry Beinfest has proven himself something of a wizard at keeping the Feesh barely in contention given the trickledown budget head cheapskate Jeffrey Loria allows him, but you eventually reach a point of diminishing returns, and the Feesh have reached that point. And the fans, bless our disrespected hearts, know it, too. Joeprodolshark Stadium is usually so empty that the seats go into shock when a real human ass plants itself upon them during the first home Dolphins or UM game.

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