Seventeen years ago today, Cuban defector Livan Hernandez inked a four-year, $4.5MM contract with the Marlins, which included a record $2.5MM signing bonus. Hernandez made his Major League debut just eight months later as a September call-up. Hernandez was instrumental in the Marlins' 1997 World Series title run earning NLCS MVP honors and being named the MVP of the Fall Classic after winning both of his starts against the Indians. Hernandez has found steady employment ever since donning the uniform of the Giants, Expos, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Twins, Rockies, Mets, Nationals (again), Braves, and Brewers. The 37-year-old right-hander pitched for the latter two clubs in 2012 compiling a 6.42 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 2.0 HR/9 in 67 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. The Praver/Shapiro client has said he wants to pitch in 2013. In other other news involving MLB's Florida teams:
- The Marlins have no interest in re-signing first baseman Carlos Lee despite concerns about the health of Logan Morrison, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Morrison, recovering from right knee surgery, isn't expected to begin running until a week into Spring Training.
- The Marlins are one of several teams in talks with free agent reliever Matt Capps, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
- Within the same piece, Jackson writes the Marlins are expected to sign Austin Kearns. Clark Spencer, Jackson's colleague at the Herald, adds the deal includes an invitation to Spring Training. Kearns spent 2012 in Miami posting a slash line of .245/.366/.367 in 175 plate appearances while playing both corner outfield positions, first base, and serving as DH in interleague play and as the team's primary right-handed pinch hitter.
- Jackson also writes Marlins owner Jeffery Loria has told team president David Samson he can no longer do interviews. This comes in the wake of Loria banning Samson from doing his radio show. Jackson opines this is a mistake because Samson has made himself more accountable and accessible than many team presidents, even amid unpopular decisions made solely by Loria, who, Jackson adds, has refused to speak to the media since mid-November.
The Rays will hold their annual development camp this week for 31 of their top prospects. One point of emphasis will be baseball's drug policy in the wake of the organization seeing six of their minor leaguers receive 50-game suspensions in 2012, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. "It stunk, very disappointing," Rays Director of Minor League Operations Mitch Lukevics said of the suspensions. "We spend as much time on the education of 'Do's and Don'ts' and derailers as much as we do hitting or pitching or throwing. It was very disappointing, there's no getting around it."