O-Zone Intelligence has intercepted an e-mail from Marlins GM Larry Beinfest. It reads:
ďDear Josh Byrnes,
Geesh, I was only kidding about that Jorge Julio trade! You take things way too seriously. Simple misunderstanding, thatís all. Iím sending Julio back to Arizona where he belongs. If you could get Yusmeiro Petit on the next flight to Miami, thatíd be great. Thanks!Ē
Or so Beinfest wishes.
Julio has been a train wreck. I predicted doom and gloom for him recently in The O-Zone, but I didnít think it would be this bad: 10 hits and 0/6 K/BB in 3 2/3 innings; 14.73 ERA; 4.36 WHIP. I know itís early and Julio could right himself, but heís quickly running out of time to do so -- if he hasnít run out already.
If Julio gets demoted, who will take his place? Hereís a quick look at the four most likely replacements, with the most likely replacement listed first (and then working our way down from there).
PROS: Owens got the save on Monday, so he might be next in line to be Floridaís closer. Thereís little doubt his stuff is stellar; just look at his 74/10 K/BB in 40 innings at Double-A last year. Doesnít get much better than that.
CONS: Owens was 27 when he dominated Double-A last year. His performance isnít as impressive when you take that into account. He also has no experience at Triple-A and limited time in the bigs, so heís still getting his feet wet.
PROS: Tankersley possesses the dominance one needs to be a good closer. Last year, he fanned 46 batters in 41 innings at the big-league level. Yup, heís got it.
CONS: Tankersley is wild; he walked 26 in 41 innings last year, obviously way too many for a ninth-inning arm. Heís also getting over a shoulder injury, so we have to question his health for a while.
PROS: Lindstrom had a strong 54/14 K/BB in 40 Double-A innings last year.
CONS: Like Owens, he was old when he did it. A 26-year-old reliever at Double-A should have some success. Lindstrom also has no time at Triple-A or the big leagues (until now), so heís still inexperienced at the higher levels and therefore risky.
PROS: Experience. Gardner has saved 130 games in the minors.
CONS: Thereís nothing spectacular about this guy. Last year, the then-31-year-old had a 46/17 K/BB in 62 innings at Triple-A. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, but it certainly isnít anything to be excited about. Gardner doesnít have close to the upside the others possess.