Because the Marlins are willing to listen to possible trade scenarios for just about every one of their players, speculation has surfaced that Jorge Cantu will be dealt.
Indications are that won’t be the case.
MLB.com has learned that it is “almost 100 percent” certain that Cantu will be a Marlin in 2010. The 27-year-old is entering his final season of arbitration. He made $3.5 million in ’09, and he ended up with 100 RBIs, hitting cleanup behind Hanley Ramirez.
Hat tip to MLB Trade Rumors.
Readers know my stance on this matter. Jorge Cantu is expected to make $5M that for some reason the Marlins are more than willing to pay. But the market is rife with players of similar caliber who may come cheaper on one-year deals, which is what Cantu would essentially be on as this is his last arbitration season.
Take a look at the 2010 MLB free agent list provided by MLBTR. I challenge you to check out the list of first basemen/third basemen that would produce as well if not better than Cantu at the respective positions over similar playing time and cost the team $5M or less. Here’s my list:
Possibly Adam Kennedy
That was more of a conservative list, though I suspect the maximum any of those players would sign for is $5.5M. None of those players are elite, they each excel at different things (Crede and Feliz are defensive specialists, Blalock is an offense guy) and I would bet that all of them, given Cantu-like playing time, could produce at a similar level, many at cheaper prices.
Once again, I think the two best choices would be Hinske and Blalock, mostly because those two are well-known commodities and that they’d be suited for platoon roles. Feliz would also be a great option, but third base seems to be a busy market and I doubt the Marlins would be interested in a no-bat, all-glove guy. Nevertheless, I’d say there are quite a few options out there at very similar prices, which makes the Cantu move a bit of a head-scratcher. I guess the value to the team lies in familiarity, not in money.