The Marlins haven’t been searching like crazy for a number four hitter but, look no further. Playing in the final year on his current contract (set to expire this upcoming winter), Texas native Jorge Cantu might be surprised to not get an extension. July will be here before you know it. Talks might heat up concerning contracts and bonuses and all that talk about money. Aside from trading for or signing a power hitting first baseman (either in 2010 or 2011), it might be a problem for the team to not resign the 28 year old (he will be 29 years old come time for free agency). For those new to hearing about Jorge Cantu, he started his career with Tampa Bay’s then Devil Rays as a utility man. Now playing third base full time in, it could be possible he might stick to one position (that being third or first), if the club decides to resign him.
The start the Marlins are off to in 2010 might be translated a ‘positive cog wheel’ that should be kept in motion. Jorge Cantu is now an intricate part of this ‘Florida Marlins Machine’ spearheaded by All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla, 2009 NL Rookie of the Year outfielder Chris Coghlan, and 2009 NL Batting Champion & 2006 National League Rookie of the Year, shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Given a 1 year, 4.5 million dollar deal [last winter avoiding arbitration] it would be dumb for the club to not offer a multiyear deal. After losing Nick Johnson this past offseason (who’s currently playing for the Yankees as a designated hitter), first base has opened up a spot for Jorge Cantu. Gaby Sanchez is given full rights to first base now with Jorge Cantu moving to third base.
Moving up from the number three spot to clean up role in one year’s time, the team sounds impressed with his productivity. For those who are unaware, keep an eye on his consistent productivity and decent protection in the lineup. He won’t replace and OBP fiend in Nick Johnson, but he will damn sure give it what he’s got. He’ll be an everyday player, that’s for sure.
Losing the opening games of the recent three games series (against the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers), Cantu provided the Marlins with a five RBI game going 2 for 5 while raising his current batting average to .320. If you can count on Hanley Ramirez getting on base 3 out of 4 times, Cantu can add to offensive production if given the amount of playing time he’s been given over the past two seasons, Cantu has so far proved himself worthy as the man for the job as the cleanup hitter. The Marlins would end up winning both series in Citi field and at home two games to one.
Hurting his wrist in a game early last season might have been the culprit of Cantu only clocking 16 HRs in 2009. Managing to hit for power, get on base via the base on balls and drive in 100 RBIs is what a Marlins corner infielder should be doing. Gaby Sanchez hasn’t had much big league experience and Emilio Bonifacio has had the lowest OPS of any starter in the majors in 2009. OUCH! Jorge has put up over 35 HR over 180 RBIs and hit 40+ doubles in the past two seasons (his only seasons in Florida) as a third and first baseman. He managed to strike out less in 2009, thus keeping a higher batting average. What would happen if he doubled his batting cage time? I’m curious.
Locking up a first baseman (if Gaby Sanchez loses the job) might be a concern; however, I would be surprised to not find a once utility infielder turned everyday third baseman and power hitter a contract negotiation talk this season.
‘Fish makes a Splash’ (First six games of the 2010 season, FLA W/L 4-2 )
Jorge has 3 extra base hits (currently tied with Sanchez), and 5RBIs which leads the team. ->.350 BA
I say he’s heading down the road of consistent offensive productivity. I’d count on someone to make him an offer during the summer. Sign Jorge Cantu to a multi-year as your third baseman. He’s in the position (at 28 years and still in his prime) to get a contract extension.
He’s a free agent after the 2010 season. Included in this Free Agent winter is player Albert Pujols, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Prince Fielder, Derek Jeter, A.J. Pierzynski, Victor Martinez and Bronson Arroyo.
Jorge Cantu is entering his third season with Florida (7th career year in the majors)