After a shocking demotion to Triple-A New Orleans last night, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison will speak with the Players Union to see if there are grounds for filing a grievance, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.
Shortly after a game in which he batted third for the Fish, Morrison was given the news of his demotion, along with the notice that clubhouse leader Wes Helms had been released. The Marlins cited Morrison's .249 batting average as their reason for the demotion, but Morrison told reporters he thought the move was related to an off-the-field issue.
Capozzi's article shines some light on the situation, as he informs readers that Helms had advised Morrison that he didn't have to attend a meet-and-greet that day with Marlins season ticket holders. Morrison had recently finished an autograph session and was upset with the Marlins' handling of a charity bowling event that had to be canceled due to lack of interest. He spoke about the issues to Helms, the team's union representative. While Helms did attend the event, Morrison ultimately did not, and hours later neither were with the big league club.
Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Capozzi had some reactions from Morrison, who told reporters he was "heartbroken," and said that manager Jack McKeon, President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, and GM Mike Hill neglected to discuss his 17 home runs or 60 RBI on the season, but focused solely on the batting average. For what it's worth, Morrison's .791 OPS also ranks third on the team behind Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez.
In this special piece for MLB.com, Danny Villavicencio has quotes from Beinfest on the club's decision:
"I never thought we'd see Logan hitting in the .240s, ever," Beinfest said. "Obviously, he's a much better hitter than he's shown. I'm not going to pin that on it as a specific, but he needs to work on all aspects of being a Major Leaguer, and then he'll come back here."
Beinfest pointed to Jose Lopez's big Triple-A numbers and a desire to improve the bench as a reason for the release of Helms, who was batting just .191 after last night's game.
In addition to being second on the team in home runs and third in OPS, Morrison and agent Fred Wray can also point out that this move could hamper his service time, potentially costing him money in the long run and prolonging his journey to free agency. This isn't the first time this year that Morrison has clashed with the Marlins organization, either. He was asked to tone down his Twitter account earlier this season, and has been said to be too candid with the media.
Based on Beinfest's repetition that Morrison "needs to focus on all aspects of being a Major Leaguer," it certainly seems like there could be more to the situation than just his on-field performance. That will be up to the Players Union to decide, however.