Ah, Winter Meetings: that fabulous time of year when everyone in baseball gets together, trades Twinkies for Capri-Suns, sells human beings in an open market, and cheats on their wives.
Kidding aside -- or is it? -- the Marlins will likely say goodbye to a few players this week in Indianapolis, and not just because there's nothing else to do there. They have the world's tiniest payroll to trim, and a considerable streak to maintain: the Marlins haven't signed a high-end free agent since Carlos Delgado in 2005.
But they do have arbitration-eligible players they're trying to release back into the wild -- 11, actually, and Dan Uggla, for starters. He knew it, we knew it, the second base on which he trod knew Uggla would likely be traded this offseason. Rumors swirl daily and involve several teams; the latest report has the Marlins asking the Giants for Madison Bumgarner, a top pitching prospect, but no deal has been finalized.
Then there's relievers Matt Linstrom and Renyel Pinto, the latter of whom might end up traded to the Broward County Sheriff's Office if he isn't careful, and who are the more attractive prospects of the 10 other arbitration-eligible players. Each earned a little over the $400,000 league minimum last year, and the Marlins could save $3 million by getting rid of both of them. Little birds say the Marlins are fielding offers.
The only catch? The Fish have already seen the departures of Kiko Calero and Brendan Donnelly into free agency. Losing all four will require restocking the bullpen, which will happen in a bargain basement, so maybe the team should just get creative and trade off miser/owner Jeffrey Loria.
Surely he'd see the humor in that.
Janie Campbell is surprised the Marlins have never turned to the cheap, union-less labor provided by third-world children. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.