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December 5, 2007

Fredi Gonzalez


Q. Now you can comment publically now that it's official what does your lineup look like? That's what we want to know.
FREDI GONZALEZ: I don't know. I don't know what the lineup is going to be as far as, you know, you mean the batting order?

Q. Yeah, everything.
FREDI GONZALEZ: You're assuming -- what are you assuming?

Q. We don't know if Maybin is going to be there or not and we don't know who is going be to third base.
FREDI GONZALEZ: Exactly. So everybody else is the same.

Q. Stanley still in the lead-off spot?

Q. You can't give us a "we'll see."
FREDI GONZALEZ: I can! What is it, December? When is Opening Day, April 1? March 31? We may drop Ugga down a little bit and see what that middle lineup shapes up as. It's too early to see.

Q. Just wondering the parts how they fit and Hanley could lead off obviously with Miguel, Hanley gives you --
FREDI GONZALEZ: And he did last year a little bit for a month and his numbers were okay, comparable to his lead off numbers and you can look those up. But the only thing, really how much do you know him? They are okay, and I've always said that I think one day we were going to -- Hanley is going to be a-middle-of-the-lineup type guy. So, you know, maybe '08. But to pencil him in right now is a little earlier.

Q. As this trade goes on, your job is to go out there and try to win as many games as you can with the players you have, losing those guys is there any sense of taking the wind out of your sails?
FREDI GONZALEZ: No. You know a part of me is sad. We hate to see those guys leave for many reasons. They are character guys and the face of the organization. You know, 200 innings and a hundred RBIs, that's another reason. The other part, I'm excited. I'm excited about what I've been hearing in these meetings about our players and the players we've got from Detroit. Not only are they very talented players but they have good characters and they have got to give us a chance to win in 08 and the future.

Q. Have you spoken to the guys yet?
FREDI GONZALEZ: I have, I've spoken to Rabelo, Cameron and Andrew Miller.

Q. Is that almost a job requirement being manager of the Marlins, being excited to work with young talent like that?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Well, I think that's the nature of the beast not only in Florida, but a lot of different places that there's going to be some turnover and there's going to be some payroll contrition. In every team there's going to be some turnovers. But I'm excited. We've got six players coming back that are hopefully going to be with us for a long time.

Q. I know you managed in the minors, how does that help prepare you to help bring these young players along?
FREDI GONZALEZ: You know what, you're always -- you're always looking to teach. You could ask any of these guys, you know, the Tony La Russa s and the Jim Leylands and Bobby Coxes of the world that have been in the big leagues for a lot of years. The fun thing about our job is to teach and nurture guys.

Q. Miguel, Dontrelle, your leader; obviously other guys have to step up.
FREDI GONZALEZ: You know, that's the thing that people don't see, yeah, we use all those numbers, the innings and all the runs scored and the RBIs and you name it. But we lose two guys that are solid in the clubhouse.
But there's guys in the clubhouse that can do the job. Hanley could be a leader and I think he wants that. He wants to be the guy. So, you know, he'll get an opportunity to do that.

Q. If Maybin does succeed and is Opening Day center fielder where does he hit in the lineup? Where do you envision him?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Again, I've never laid my eyes on these guys.

Q. Hope you didn't lay your hands on them.
FREDI GONZALEZ: I never laid any eyes on these guys. But here is a guy that can fly. He's your prototypical lead-off guy that can run and steal you some bases. But again, we'll see where he fits and how he comes to Spring Training and you know, we're not afraid.

Q. But you would think lead-off spot more than anything with him probably?

Q. Any way you slice it, your rotation is going to be very young next year, just require a couple of those guys to finally step up and give you 200 innings to not have a repeat of last year?
FREDI GONZALEZ: You know what, I think there's always -- you've always got to be on guard about having a repeat that we had last year but now this year I think we may have a little more depth in our organization because you know, just throwing names out there for Spring Training, we have Olsen, Mitre, Sanchez should be healthy, then you've got Miller and then you've got Hurk, so yeah you've got a little more depth in our pitching. But again, it's going to be, you know, coming into Spring Training there's going to be some jobs opening.

Q. If the season started today or Spring Training started today, what would your rotation be knowing there could be changes?
FREDI GONZALEZ: I just gave you --

Q. In that order?
FREDI GONZALEZ: I just gave you -- what did I give you six names, seven names?

Q. At least.
FREDI GONZALEZ: Hernandez, Josh Johnson is out till '09.

Q. Who are you certain about?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Miller, Olsen are certain. Vandy and Nolasco, Sanchez -- VandenHurk, that's four. Anibal Sanchez, that's fine.

Q. Fairly confident the rotation that exists now on paper, or maybe you guys need to go outside and get somebody else?
FREDI GONZALEZ: You know what, the phones don't stop ringing, so I'm sure there's an opportunity to get somebody else. But I don't know.

Q. Third base, are you worried about the options out there?
FREDI GONZALEZ: To tell you the truth, I haven't even sat down to look at the options out there for filling in at third base. I know our scouting department is compiling a list right now.

Q. Could you see Hermida batting second?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Yeah, you know what, I don't know. I don't know he good a nice job in the three-hole, you know, that's one of the things about moving Hanley down there and where do you leave that number two. But you know, we'll see how everything works itself out.

Q. You wouldn't see Hanley necessarily at clean-up if you move him down?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Well somebody has to hit fourth, you can't go one, two, three, five, so somebody is going to have to hit fourth. It could be the Hammer; it could be Jake; it could be Hanley, you know, but somebody, there will definitely -- I could tell you this, somebody is going to hit fourth. I don't think we can skip that one.

Q. How do you see your bullpen?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Our bullpen was our strength last year and we haven't lost any of those guys. We've gotten Kensing coming back at the end last year, looked good. So that gives us more depth and a little stronger.

Q. Another pitching name, because it was mentioned, De La Cruz could go either way as a reliever, or a starter?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Yes, yes. I haven't really seen much of those guys, De La Cruz, Badenhop. But that's just hearsay, you know, until you actually see them and see what they could do, I hate to put guys in certain spots.

Q. What was does Ramirez need to do to take his game to the next level?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Boy, he had a great year in '07. I don't know if he's got another level. If he stays at that same level for ten years, he's going to be a Hall of Famer.
You know, I think there's always the thing that -- there's always improvement, and I think he can improve on his defense. I think that comes with some maturity and some experience where he didn't force the ball. But I mean, this guy, I don't need to see any more improvement offensively. If he can maintain those numbers for a lot of years, he's going to be a good one.

Q. So just more focus on improving their defense, just a little more focus on the field?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Well, I'm glad you brought that up. We're going to go into Spring Training this year and that's going to be our main focus, you know. And I'm going to address the guys about that.
You know, sitting around, playing around with the stats after the World Series, and the more I saw them, the more upset I got, the stats, the STATS Pass thing, is that what it is? They break it down and they break them down into position. Everybody knows -- we know that we led the league in errors, but now this program breaks them down positionally and ranks them and the more I got into it, the more upset that I got, you know. Because we made 138, it was dead last but 28 came out of the pitching staff. You know, that's a lot.

Q. Every position on the field was covered pretty much.
FREDI GONZALEZ: Every position was covered, that's exactly right and we were dead last in all of them. Other than Ugga and the Hammer, they were middle of the pack, but we were ranked if not last, second to last in the Major Leagues in every position. So I'm going to bring that up in Spring Training.

Q. What are you going to do? What are you going to do, bring in any special coaches or anything?
FREDI GONZALEZ: If they make an over or, they have to take a lap. We're going back to little leagues, 20 push-ups and you have to take laps.
We're going to address it. Obviously we have to do it as a team, you know. It's not going to be an individual thing, and we have to do it as a team and we have to instill the pride into, hey, let's take care of the baseball. Because, you know, we won 71 games last year. And led the league in errors. God, if we could just eliminate 30 of those errors or 40 of those errors, I'm not saying we'll win the division --

Q. You did just trade Cabrera. (Laughter.)
FREDI GONZALEZ: I'm not saying we're not going to win the division, but you know, we could -- we could have won 80 games maybe or 75 games.

Q. They have got more in them, defensively.
FREDI GONZALEZ: Yes, absolutely, and that's the thing that we're going to address in Spring Training and bring it to their attention in Spring Training. And we're not going to make a big deal out of it. We're just going to -- in-house, we're going to try to take more pride in what we're doing with that baseball.
And I think a lot of that stuff comes with experience, maturity, you know, because it goes hand-in-hand. You can't give -- we saw last year, when your pitching staff is not very good or struggles, you can't give the opposition more outs because it's tough to get through innings.

Q. Have you heard from family members, upset that you've traded them?
FREDI GONZALEZ: My son. Those were his favorites players. But what are you going to do. He understands.

Q. Big trade, bunch of prospects, you're excited about it, what message would you have to the Marlins fans to come out and see this revamped team?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Well, we've been there before. They have been there before. We have been there before. We've come out on the other end pretty good. Larry and Mike and that group, our group of scouts, they have got a pretty good track history of coming up with some good players. Ramirez, Dontrelle Willis, we could go on and on, so why not, one of these guys, you could see up with of those guys also, one of those type of players.

Q. When you spoke to Maybin did, they say anything interesting at all?
FREDI GONZALEZ: No, they are all excited to come here. I spoke to Mike and Andrew and Mike wanted to know when the Spring Training site was open. I said, well, I think after the first of the year, I think there's going to be some people there.
And the same with Cameron. I've heard some great stuff about this kid, not only one of the Detroit people told me that if his talent is here, his character is even better. And for me that's a great trade.

Q. What have you heard in terms of his ability from people on the Tigers and such?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Off the charts. A guy that could run, hit for power. Even our people have seen it, obviously, and they like him a lot. Same thing with Miller. Mike Rabelo I've heard the term, "gamer," baseball player, Redman-type guy but a little better ability, switch-hitter.

Q. Seems like the catcher, not necessarily that one guy, you might have to --
FREDI GONZALEZ: You know, last year we sat here and talked about centerfield, you know. Well, we may have this kid in centerfield. We might have that plugged for a lot of years to come.

Q. Game-calling ability?
FREDI GONZALEZ: You know, we have an advantage because he played for Carlos in the Dominican, Rabelo did, and Carlos gave him great reviews behind the plate. Before we had this deal, we called Carlos a couple times.

Q. Is that season still going or is Carlos done?
FREDI GONZALEZ: Still going. Carlos may be done. I think they go through the 23rd of December or something like that if they don't make the playoffs.

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