The Florida Marlins annually find a way to put an entertaining team on the field. But the problems with funding a stadium -- complicated by the hurricanes of the last two years -- prevent them from being able to compete in the payroll levels of the Phillies and Mets.
So to clear payroll and make it possible to sign
Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to long-term contracts, sources indicate that Florida is deep in trade discussions involving Josh Beckett and Carlos Delgado.
To get Beckett, the trading partner has to take Mike Lowell's contract, which has nearly $18 million remaining over the next two seasons. Beckett is a four-year arbitration-eligible player who made $2.4 million in 2005.
Right now, the two teams hottest on Beckett are Texas and Boston. The Rangers would deal third baseman Hank Blalock, but thus far have balked at dealing either of their two prize pitchers, John Danks or Thomas Diamond. From the Red Sox, the Marlins want shortstop Hanley Ramirez and a young pitcher, either Jon Lester or Anibel Sanchez.
The three teams interested in Delgado are the Orioles, Mets and Yankees.
"Florida is being very aggressive, trying to beat everyone into the market," a GM for another team said. "Once again, they are being very creative."