Larry Beinfest: Hyman Roth’s Progeny?

Tom Hagen, he of German-Irish descent, quote from G2:

Roth, he … he played this one beautifully

Hyman Roth meet Larry Beinfest. The kid’s been running molasses out of Jamestown, Greenboro, Jupiter and New Orleans. He always make money for his partners and eventually, he’ll do the same for some of his prospects. They just need to be patient.

If you’re the Marlins getting ready for 2011, there is one financial constraint you have to work around. The next prospect with a chance to continue the recent string of rookie successes — Coghlan, Sanchez, Stanton and Morrison — cannot use up a year of arbitration in 2011. Which means, as Juan Rodriguez from the Sun-Sentinel explains, that Matt Dominguez won’t make it to the majors until “probably after the late-May arbitration cutoff date.”

So these were Beinfest’s options coming into Spring Training:

  1. Announce that 3B was Emilio Bonifacio’s job to lose
  2. Announce that 3B was Wes Helms’ job to lose
  3. Announce that 3B was Matt Dominguez’s job to lose
  4. Announce that there was an open competition for the job

Option #1 would have brought threats of violence from the Sabermetric community. Option #2 would have brought threats of violence from Wes Helms. His role and future with the Marlins appears set. No need to risk a .150 average in mid-May to potentially ruin the good vibes. So it came down to option #3 or #4.

The risk with option #4 is that Dominguez has a nice spring under the radar and now the Marlins have created a PR problem — New Ballpark = Caring = PR problem — when they send him down at the beginning of the season. Think of it this way, the Marlins had to decide under which option Dominguez would perform better this Spring and then select the other option. The choice on how to handle Dominguez came down to under the radar or as a top gun.

Evidence of the top gun expectations choice is that Dominguez was touted as one of the best fielding 3B in MLB right now and that only hitting would be a question mark. Once Dominguez struggled, now the Marlins have a prospect who probably accepts that he needs additional time in the minors instead of thinking that he belongs in the majors right away.

Somewhere, likely in Hell, Hyman Roth is smiling through a persistent cough and a urinary tract infection. If the Marlins trade for a 3B before the regular season begins, please ignore all the above.

The Rodriguez article is copied in full at the end of the post.

Matt Dominguez Florida Marlins: Time for the Florida Marlins to send Matt Dominguez back to the minors – South Florida

South Florida
Time for Florida Marlins to pull plug on Matt Dominguez experiment
Third base prospect clearly isn’t ready to hit in the big leagues

Mike Berardino

Sun Sentinel Columnist

5:49 PM EDT, March 22, 2011

JUPITER – Mike Lowell, the greatest all-around third baseman in Marlins history, will be honored on Opening Night at Sun Life Stadium.

Too bad Matt Dominguez, his positional heir, won’t be there to accept the baton.

Yeah, I know, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez says the organization’s top position prospect will have another five days or so to win the starting job at third. But reading between the lines – and looking at the sickly offensive numbers – it’s clear the kid needs more time in the minors.

“We’re not going to force the situation,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. “If he’s not ready, he’s not ready, and then we’ll move on.”

Dominguez, sent home Tuesday with a stomach virus, is 1 for his last 28. That horrific skid has dropped his spring average to .175 (7 for 40), although he does have a couple of home runs and four walks.

That’s clearly not good enough to convince the organization their 2007 first rounder won’t get buried once the lights come on and the games start to count.

Doesn’t mean Dominguez won’t make it back to the majors at some point, probably after the late-May arbitration cutoff date. Doesn’t mean he won’t eventually justify the hype, even after flopping in the spring.

Hey, it happened to Gaby Sanchez two years ago and Logan Morrison last year, and look at them now. Both are entrenched as productive starting players in the big leagues.

Still, it’s probably best for all concerned if the Marlins pull the plug on this attempted force-feeding.

“Matty is going through tough times now at the plate,” Rodriguez said. “That’s one thing we want to find out is if he’s going to be able to handle that tough situation.”

Rodriguez managed the Kid From Larry Beinfest’s High School for two seasons in the minors, so he feels like he has a pretty good read on Dominguez’s mental makeup.

Then again, Rodriguez said the club still needs to see “if he has the mental toughness and the right approach” to survive this spring slump.

Long term, the answer had better be “yes.”

Back at the Winter Meetings, Rodriguez compared Dominguez to a young Brooks Robinson with the glove. Tuesday, the manager scaled back his praise and admitted Dominguez had been “pressing a little bit” on defense as well.

The biggest problem, however, has been the bat, which was entirely predictable.

“I would say the last four or five days he’s been facing very good pitching,” Rodriguez said. “We have to wait and see how he handles all those tough days like he already had. For sure, if he comes with us, he’s going to have several of those.”

Plan B?

It’s not Omar Infante. Rodriguez said he would prefer to leave him at second base so he can keep developing a rapport with star shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Smart move.

Plus, if the Marlins really liked the idea of moving Infante to third, they would have gone harder after old friend Luis Castillo instead of letting him sign this week with the Phillies.

Speedy Emilio Bonifacio is an option, as is journeyman Donnie Murphy, who got the start Tuesday against the Twins. Neither would hit much, however, at a corner infield spot that typically demands solid production.

Wes Helms? He’s mostly a pinch-hit specialist and clubhouse presence at this point.

Maybe the Marlins find one of those Jeff Ireland-style “acorns” on the waiver wire as the final days of spring training play out.

Maybe Dominguez snaps out of his funk and seizes the biggest opportunity of his young career.

Or the Marlins could also try to carry Dominguez and his weak bat in hopes he heats up as the season progresses and his nerves diminish.

“If he makes the club,” Rodriguez said, “he’s going to be the real Matty out there.”

Sounds like more wishful thinking for a team that can’t afford to think that way.

About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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