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Florida Relief--Miami Herald News

Postby Transmogrifier » Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:25 am

I looked up some Florida news and found what's below. It at least explains some of the thinking behind the trade.

(Before the deal, when they were also considering Benitez):
Said Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest: ``If there is one specific area we're looking at, it's in right-handed relief. We want to fortify that area and [add a set-up reliever] to get to [closer] Braden Looper. We're talking to all kinds of teams.''


After the deal:


Marlins upgrade with Urbina
AL saves leader comes at cost of three prospects
By CLARK SPENCER
mailto:cspencer@herald.com

MONTREAL - The Marlins aren't playing for next year or the one after that. They're playing for the present, underscoring those intentions Friday by trading three top minor-league prospects to the Texas Rangers for American League saves leader Ugueth Urbina.

''We wanted to bring in a guy who could really help us right now, a high-impact guy,'' said Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest, who had been working the phones for more than a week in search of a quality reliever.

Beinfest said Urbina, 29, will be used in a set-up role for closer Braden Looper. Urbina, a hard-throwing right-hander, converted 26 of 30 save chances for Texas this season and has 200 saves in nine major-league seasons.

''Urbina we did identify as one of the key guys that could really help us,'' Beinfest said. ``He's a winner and very intense, and he'll take the ball any day at any time.''

Said manager Jack McKeon: ``No question it's big. Makes us a [heck] of a lot stronger. I think this shows the fans and players [management is] in this thing, they believe in this club. It shows people we're not tearing this club apart.''

But the bullpen upgrade didn't come cheap. The Marlins gave up first baseman Adrián González, outfielder Will Smith and left-handed pitcher Ryan Snare.

González was the Marlins' first-round pick in the 2000 draft and was ranked by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the organization. Smith was ranked by the publication as the organization's ninth-best prospect, while Snare was No. 11.

''We gave up some quality,'' Beinfest said. ``But we want to win now. In Adrián, we thought we were dealing in an area of strength.''

The Marlins have high hopes for prospect Jason Stokes, another first baseman in their farm system.

Said McKeon: ``If you want something, you've got to overpay, and evidently we overpaid. But if it proves to be a plus . . .

'The [Marlins players] couldn't believe it when they heard it. It's a case where they're saying, `Hey, this is a good sign. Management wants to help us.' ''

McKeon said third-base coach Ozzie Guillén talked to Urbina -- a fellow Venezuelan -- on the phone Friday and that the veteran reliever was agreeable about his new set-up role.

''He said he'd do anything to help us,'' McKeon said.

Major-league sources said the Rangers -- who sent an undisclosed amount of cash to Florida in the deal -- will pick up all but $600,000 of the approximately $2 million left on Urbina's contract this season, after which he can become a free agent. He is expected to join the Marlins today.

The Marlins bullpen ranks 13th in the National League in ERA and is without Tim Spooneybarger, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow.

''With Ugie coming on board, it's going to be tough against the back end of our bullpen now,'' Beinfest said. ``We didn't want to strengthen it. We wanted to fortify it.''

Urbina throws his fastball in the 93 to 94 mph range and has a solid changeup to go with a breaking ball.

To make room for Urbina, the Marlins outrighted right-handed reliever Allen Levrault.
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Postby Leiter Fan » Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:14 pm

Thanks for the info. As a Looper owner, I was nervous that he was going to lose his spot to Benitez or Urbina. Even though Looper is a better pitcher than both of them this year, he hasn't been given enough save opportunities to show himself off.
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Postby Arlo » Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:18 pm

Well, we'll see how this works out for the Marlins. It's certainly a significant price to pay...
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Postby jdh » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:39 pm

If I had Looper, I would still be very worried about him losing his job. It's likely that the second Looper has any kind of slip up or meltdown, they will move Urbina into the closing role. If you can, you should try to see if you can get Urbina cheaply as insurance.
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Postby Danks81 » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:42 pm

I already have both! What do I do???
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Postby Pokeyouindaeye » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:43 pm

Pat yourself on the back?
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Postby jdh » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:44 pm

If you have both, I'd hang onto both of them for now because it's very possible Looper gets dumped for Urbina at the first sign of trouble. At least you now know that at least one of them will be closing.
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Postby Danks81 » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:49 pm

That's what I will most likely do. However I hate the idea of Urbina hurting my WHIP and ERA without giving me saves. His ass is going to the bench til he becomes the closer.
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Postby Leiter Fan » Sat Jul 12, 2003 3:06 pm

I'm a little less confident than the rest of you that Urbina will ever close for the Marlins (and I'm not just saying that because I own Looper).

For several years now, the Marlins have been grooming Looper to be a closer, and he's finally become a solid one for them. In fact, he's MUCH btter than Urbina in every category that counts (the only one he's not better in is saves (a B.S. stat anyway) which is simply a result of not being given many opportunities - which is the reason why Urbina was acquired to set him up for those opportunities!!)

I can't imagine that the Marlins would destroy all the progress they've made with Looper for the sake of a 3-month rent-a-player who has already said he wants to test the market next year. I think Looper would really have to implode to move him out of the closer spot.
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Postby mth1185 » Sat Jul 12, 2003 3:16 pm

This was a stupid trade for the marlins because i agree with leiter fan, the marlins need to keep looper as closer and probably will.
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