General Manager Larry Beinfest knows how to make something out of nothing. There is nothing that he can't do. You give him a dollar and he gives you two dollars back.
On July 11, 2003 he made what he considers his most aggressive transaction when he sent first base prospect Adrian Gonzalez (now with the San Diego Padres) and two other minor leaguers to the Texas Rangers for reliever Ugueth Urbina. A trade that catapulted the Marlin's season.
"That was a big day for the organization," Beinfest said. "We were still coming, still in the middle of the pack. There were plenty of teams ahead of us in the wild-card race, and it was still relatively early — almost half the schedule still to be played."
Today is July 11, 2009 and the Marlins find themselves in the exact situation that they were in six years ago. They are two games over .500, three games back of division leader Philadelphia, four games back of the wild card spot and in need of a closer.
The San Diego Padres are in need of an infielder. Second baseman David Eckstein is injured and they have SS Luis Rodriguez and 3B Edgar Gonzalez filling in. Neither of which are batting over .200. When Eckstein returns they can move him over to short stop and slide Uggla right into second base.
The top of their line up would be a force to be reckoned with.
- 2. Tony Gwynn Jr. - .296
- 3. Dan Uggla - 16 HR, 50 RBI
- 4. Adrian Gonzalez - 24 HR, 52 RBI, .393 OBP
Dan Uggla has always been a better hitter at the top of the line-up. He batted 3rd for eight games this year while Hanley Ramirez was out with an injury and he performed as expected.
- Stat Line - .370 AVG, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 5 R
His run producing stats weren't stellar because number two hitter Emilio Bonifacio is scarcely on base.
Dan Uggla is expendable with the emergence of Brett Carroll. Carroll would become the everyday right fielder, Chris Coghlan would moved down to second base and Jeremy Hermida would slide back over to left field. Brett is better defensively at right than Hermida and Coghlan is lighter on his feet at second.
Relief pitcher Heath Bell was the set-up man for all time saves leader Trevor Hoffman last year. After Hoffman departed for Milwaukee, Bell got the nod for closer.
Bell leads the National League with 23 saves and is tied for second in the Majors behind Brian Fuentes who has 25. He leads the National League with a 1.49 ERA which is second to Joe Nathan's 1.31 in the Majors.
The Marlins have committed themselves to a struggling closer. Matt Lindstrom is a roll of the dice. Leo Nunez filled in a couple of games and has three blown saves in seven opportunities. Dan Meyer is two for two in save opportunities but is too important as a middle reliever to make him our closer.
- Matt Lindstrom - 2-1, 14 SV, 2 BS, 26 K, 20 BB, 6.52 ERA
- Heath Bell - 3-1, 23 SV, 1 BS, 40 K, 15 BB, 1.49 ERA
- Ugueth Urbina (at time of trade) - 0-4, 25 SV, 4 BS, 41 K, 18 BB, 4.19 ERA
This trade makes sense for both clubs. It would benefit both teams and address areas of need. San Diego has a replacement for Bell in Edward Mujica and the Marlins have a replacement for Uggla in Chris Coghlan - making both players expendable.
Larry Beinfest has worked magic before. It's time for him to do it again.
Plus, San Diego should do it as a thank you for Adrian Gonzalez (a returned favor for Gary Sheffield in 1993). Let's continue this great relationship. San Diego won't be disapointed with Uggla if they use him properly.