Marlins find new closer in Julio
JUPITER, Fla. -- A search that began since the end of last season has been addressed exactly one week before Opening Day.
The Marlins filled their biggest priority Monday afternoon by acquiring Jorge Julio from the Diamondbacks and cash for Yusmeiro Petit.
Immediately, Julio has been tabbed as the closer.
"He is our closer," Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said moments after the trade was announced. "Obviously, he has experience doing the job. We love the arm, we have for a few years."
The Marlins are hoping that Julio continues the string of good luck the club has had with veterans who excel in South Florida.
Over the previous three years, the Marlins have signed veteran free agents who came through in their lone year in Florida. Armando Benitez saved a team-record 47 games in 2004, while Todd Jones saved 40 in '05 and Joe Borowski collected 36 saves a year ago.
All three parlayed their one season into nice pay raises elsewhere. Julio, who will be a free agent next year, has 99 saves in a career that began in 2001.
The Marlins had some interest in Julio back in 2005, while the right-hander was with the Orioles. Near the July 31 trade deadline, conversations were going on regarding sending A.J. Burnett to Baltimore. Julio was believed to be part of the package, but a deal was never made.
Along with the Marlins, the Diamondbacks were considering other options for Julio. A few days ago, a league source said one possible deal involved Julio going to the Cardinals for right-hander Tyler Johnson.
Julio has 345 strikeouts in 357 2/3 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander has been on the Marlins' radar for much of Spring Training.
The club had been determined to find someone with closer experience and Julio became its primary option. Trade speculation picked up about a week ago, but there was a sticking point over how much of the $3.6 million the Marlins would pick up.
Florida sends Petit to Arizona; Mitre to be No. 5 starter
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