Best Marlins Player (2009)

Jorge Cantu

No, Jorge Cantu isn’t the most talented guy, and he’s not going to put up the best numbers. He’s not showy, and he’s damn sure not pretty. Cantu is just clutch. And guts. Last season, he rapped so many big hits in late innings that a lot of Marlins fans began calling him “Can-do.” Most of them probably didn’t know he’d already earned that nickname in Class A ball. You want this guy in your lineup. He’s championship-caliber. But the 27-year-old Cantu, conceived in Mexico and born in Texas, has had an up-and-down career. It went up in his 117-RBI breakout season at Tampa Bay in 2005, when he was voted MVP of the then-Devil Rays. The next year was dismal, though, and the guy was drummed all the way back to the minors. That’s where the Marlins — always brilliant at picking up great players on the cheap — found him. He’s in his prime now, hardened by the game, humbled by it, and very well might be ready to help lead a team to the promised land.


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