Lack of Marlin lefty relievers bodes well for Juneau's Bentz

Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2004

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Matt Perisho took note of the signing of Juneau's Chad Bentz. He was aware of Rule 5 acquisition Luke Hagerty, whom the Florida Marlins must keep on the major league roster all of next season.

The way Perisho figures it, the Marlins don't want to pay for left-handed relievers.

"Obviously, they feel I'm replaceable," said Perisho, the only one of six arbitration-eligible Marlins not tendered a contract before Monday's midnight deadline. "I knew it was a possibility because I had a good year and the market was good for pitchers. It came out of left field that they didn't want to keep me as much as I thought they would."

The Marlins made Perisho one take-it-or-leave-it offer, believed to be in the $400,000 range, and the promise of refusal resulting in a non-tender. Perisho, who made $325,000 last season after making the club as a non-roster invitee, wanted to return next season.

Unless the Marlins budge from their proposal, Perisho is resigned to playing elsewhere. By Tuesday morning, he had received inquires from three teams.

Unless the Marlins pursue a veteran free agent such as Gabe White, John Franco or Buddy Groom, the Marlins could open next season with Bentz and Hagerty as their left-handed relievers.

Bentz, who was a rookie with the Montreal Expos last year and posted an 0-3 record with a 5.86 ERA, signed a minor league deal that would pay him $320,000 if he makes the club. Hagerty is coming off Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch in the majors.

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