Lowell's contract tied to stadium deal

Mike Lowell's days as a Florida Marlin might be numbered.

The Marlins talked about ways to rid themselves of Lowell's $34 million contract, which he just signed last year, at the team's organizational meetings, a source told The Palm Beach Post.

Florida also could lose ace Carl Pavano and Armando Benitez to free agency this winter.

Lowell's contract is tied to the Marlins' ability to secure financing for a new ballpark by Nov. 1, for which they currently are $30 million short.

If Florida finds the financing, the final three years of Lowell's deal become guaranteed. If the Marlins don't, then the All-Star third baseman would hold a $7.5 million option to return to the club in 2005 or he can file for free agency anytime between Nov. 1 and Nov. 6.

If Florida can't secure financing and Lowell does return, the club could trade him at any time next season. The last two years of Lowell's deal, worth $8 million each, would be erased.

A source told The Post that Lowell is ready to test free agency, although he grew up in Miami.

If the Marlins trade Lowell, they would move Miguel Cabrera to third base, which is his natural position, and search for a left fielder at baseball's winter meetings.

Lowell, a career .277 hitter, batted .293 last season with 27 home runs and 85 RBI.