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Inbox: Is Coghlan suitable for Marlins in center?

Inbox: Is Coghlan suitable for Marlins in center?

With Carl Crawford heading to Boston, is there any chance the Marlins will try to trade for Mike Cameron? Cameron is a former Gold Glove winner and he can swing the bat pretty well. He would fit well in the outfield, and that would allow Chris Coghlan to play his natural position, third base. The move would really improve the team's overall defense.
-- Alex G., Miami

Even though the Marlins have publicly made it clear that Coghlan will be their center fielder when Spring Training opens, it seems many doubt this will actually happen. At least that is the reaction from a number of e-mails I'm receiving. All I can do is pass along where the team stands in the here and now.

In public and private conversations I've had with club officials, Coghlan will be given every opportunity to win the center-field job. Also, the team is giving Matt Dominguez a chance to come in and win the third-base job. Dominguez's situation is similar to what Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez have gone through in recent years. In 2009, Sanchez was offered the first chance to win the first-base job. It didn't happen, as he struggled and started off in Triple-A. Then, in '10, Sanchez was more seasoned and Morrison had his Spring Training difficulties at first base. So Sanchez won the starting job and Morrison went to Triple-A to open the season.

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Whether Dominguez is ready or not will be determined by how he looks in Spring Training. Coghlan is viewed as an important part of the team, and team officials feel he will adapt nicely in center field. Manager Edwin Rodriguez, who previously worked with Coghlan in the Minor Leagues, is confident he can perform in center field.

Making a trade, of course, is always possible. But indications, as of now, are that Coghlan will be given a chance in Spring Training to be the center fielder. Unless he shows a reason for concern, it is doubtful we'll see a trade for a center fielder before camp gets underway in February.

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Now that the Phillies have shocked the world by signing Cliff Lee, are the Marlins going to be more tempted to go after Zack Greinke? I feel with him in the rotation, it would make the Marlins a force to be feared.
-- Jorge D., Weston, Fla.

At the recent Winter Meetings, the Marlins' flirtation with Greinke made some headlines. But the speculation never made much sense. As you've noticed, the story fizzled just as fast as it was tossed around. From what I've gathered at the Meetings and since, the Marlins' interest was more hotel lobby talk than real serious interest. Let's put it this way -- for a trade to happen, those involved in consummating a deal would at least have preliminary conversations. That wasn't the case with the Greinke rumors.

Now, Greinke may end up being traded by Kansas City. And in an environment like the Winter Meetings, where all teams are gathered around each other, there may indeed have been exploratory conversations.

This is what I've heard since, and it is why it is extremely doubtful Greinke will become a Marlin in '11. Some have speculated the Marlins could offer Ricky Nolasco and Leo Nunez. It would take much more than those two. To even get the conversation seriously moving forward, Mike Stanton would be the player coveted most by Kansas City, along with Nolasco and probably two more prospects. For the Marlins, such a deal wouldn't be worth it -- especially when they already have an impressive rotation.

He's not a headline name, so maybe I missed it. But I haven't heard anything about Donnie Murphy this offseason. What are the chances of the Marlins bringing him back in 2011? I thought he was a useful pinch-hitter, and he also could be an option to play third base if Matt Dominguez doesn't pan out.
-- Blake T., Quincy, Ill.

Murphy is still in the Marlins' organization, but chances of him being ready for Opening Day are slim. On Sept. 1, Murphy dislocated his right wrist and he underwent surgery the next day. Recovery time is about six months. Before the injury, the Marlins were planning on bringing Murphy back and using him as their utility infielder, as well as a pinch-hitter. Now, it will depend on how his wrist responds in the upcoming months and how quickly he will get in game shape before he would be in position to contribute.

How come we aren't hearing anything about Brett Carroll? Can he play center field for Florida?
-- Joey T., Boca Raton, Fla.

Many may have missed this transaction, but Carroll is now in the Royals' organization. He was a popular player with the Marlins, and a terrific defensive player who possesses one of the strongest outfield throwing arms in the game. Offense is where he had his difficulties. With him not being part of the Marlins' plans, a change of scenery should do him good.

With the third-base position up for grabs, do you think a player like Eric Chavez would be a good fit? Although Chavez is coming off injuries, he has been a consistent hitter and defender with the A's. Would he accept a Minor League contract? The Marlins have a knack for giving players a second look.
-- Ryan S., Buffalo, N.Y.

If the Marlins weren't thinking about this scenario beforehand, you may have given them something to ponder. Recent reports say that Chavez plans on giving an audition for all 30 big league clubs after the new year. The veteran third baseman is said to want to play again. Injuries have really slowed him down in recent years, as he's played in 154 total games since the start of '07.

What is the likelihood of the Marlins adding to the bullpen by signing former Florida players like Kevin Gregg, Braden Looper and/or Mark Hendrickson?
-- Chris J., Sunrise, Fla.

After a solid season with the Blue Jays last year, Gregg reportedly is close to signing with the Orioles. The Marlins have not shown any interest. Overall, the team isn't looking to revert back to relievers from its past -- at least not those you have mentioned. Florida has been active this offseason moving forward, acquiring lefties Dustin Richardson and Mike Dunn in separate trades. The Marlins have also added right-handers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. They are still searching for a veteran lefty, with Randy Choate and Joe Beimel being possible choices.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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