Miami Marlins Rumors
The Rangers made headlines today by selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Before going on to NFL stardom, Wilson was selected by the Rockies as a second baseman in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and Colorado retained its rights to Wilson until this morning. Wilson will report to Spring Training and talk to the Rangers' minor leaguers in a motivational capacity. "We decided if he ever wanted to play again, he'd be a guy that we'd want with us," Texas assistant GM A.J. Preller told reporters, including MLB.com's Richard Justice. ESPN's Richard Durrett writes that the Wilson selection isn't a gimmick, and that Jon Daniels is excited to have Wilson's winning qualities in the organization, though he wanted to stress that the club isn't trying to distract Wilson from his NFL goals either.
Here's more out of the AL West...
- Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz remain unsigned, which is good news for the Rangers, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes. The Rangers like both players and are hoping that their asking prices drop the longer they stay on the market. Daniels said that his team's pursuit of Choo was "unchanged" from yesterday.
- In a special piece for FOX Sports, new Mariners first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison wrote about the experience of being traded to a new team. Morrison's piece is particularly fascinating in that it was written prior to the trade that sent him to Seattle. LoMo says he doesn't have any ill feelings toward the Marlins organization, adding that contrary to public opinion, owner Jeffrey Loria was "great and generous" to Morrison and his family. Loria allowed Morrison and his family to use his personal plane to get to Kansas City for the funeral of Morrison's father.
- The Astros spoke to the Marlins about Morrison and also pursued Corey Hart and Mike Morse, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. Jose Veras rejected the Astros' initial contract offer but the two sides still share a mutual interest in a reunion.
- The Yankees, Indians, Braves, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins and Indians were all involved in trade talks for Brett Anderson before the Athletics sent the right-hander to the Rockies, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Ruggiano, who turns 32 in April, wasn't able to repeat a breakout 2012 campaign that saw him bat .313/.374/.535 with 13 homers and 14 steals in 91 games for the Marlins. The Texas A&M product slipped to a .222/.298/.396 batting line in 2013, though he did continue to show plus power and speed; Ruggiano posted career-bests in homers (18) and stolen bases (15) in a career-high 472 plate appearances.
Bogusevic, set to turn 30 in February, batted .273/.323/.462 in 155 PAs for the Cubs in 2013. He's a career .236/.313/.370 hitter in 773 trips to the plate, suggesting that he's unlikely to continue that trend. However, like Ruggiano, he can play all three outfield spots. Defensive metrics have been more kind to Bogusevic than Ruggiano, and Bogusevic is not yet arbitration eligible. Ruggiano, on the other hand, projected to earn $1.8MM this season (per MLBTR's Matt Swartz). Essentially, the Marlins improved a bit defensively and saved some money at the expense of some right-handed pop.
It sounds as if Ike Davis will remain a member of the Mets beyond the Winter Meetings, but will likely be dealt this month, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Rubin hears that the Mets are being reasonable in their demands for the first baseman, and with the Rays and Brewers both in on James Loney, the loser may wind up with Davis. Speaking of Loney, Rubin adds that Loney is still asking for three years, but is unlikely to get more than two (Twitter links).
As the Mets continue to seek out the best possible return for Davis, let's check in on a few more items from around the NL East....
- The Marlins are still weighing trade options for a third baseman, president of baseball operations Michael Hill confirmed on Wednesday, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The team hopes to add a player who is ready to contribute in 2014 and has the flexibility to switch positions when 2013 draftee Colin Moran is ready for the bigs.
- Ruben Amaro Jr. suggests the Phillies have "left no stone unturned" in their search for starting pitching. However, while the team has laid plenty of groundwork, Amaro and the Phils may leave Orlando without having added a starter, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
- The Nationals sorted through as many as four trade options before deciding to acquire Jerry Blevins, according to GM Mike Rizzo (link via James Wagner of the Washington Post). Washington liked Blevins because he represents a "younger, controllable type of guy" at an affordable rate, says Rizzo.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Morrison, 26, was a known trade candidate that was a near-lock to be traded at the Winter Meetings following the Marlins' signing of Garrett Jones to a two-year deal. The former top prospect has batted just .236/.321/.387 with 17 home runs in 178 games over the past two seasons after hitting .259/.351/.460 with 25 long balls in his first 185 big league games. Morrison's tenure with the Marlins has been rocky to this point. He's come under fire for his prolific and sometimes controversial Twitter presence and filed a grievance against the Marlins in 2011 after he was sent to the minor leagues in controversial fashion.
Morrison is under team control through the 2016 season and is projected to earn $1.7MM via arbitration by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
Capps, 23, posted a 5.49 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 40.1 percent ground-ball rate in 59 innings for the Mariners last season. Though his ERA is unsightly, Capps has averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in his brief big league career. xFIP pegs a fluky homer-to-flyball ratio (18.8 percent) and a .365 batting average on balls in play as the reason for Capps' woes, suggesting that an ERA of 3.53 would've been more representative of his work in 2013.
Capps will join a Marlins bullpen that is anchored by closer Steve Cishek, lefty setup man Mike Dunn and right-hander A.J. Ramos. He provides a cheaper alternative to the recently departed right-handers Chad Qualls (free agency) and Ryan Webb (non-tendered).
Morrison is the second bat reeled in by Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik in the past hour, as the M's have also agreed to a one-year deal with Corey Hart. Should Morrison be able to rebound, he, Hart and recently inked Robinson Cano give the Mariners some added punch to their lineup. However, Hart and Morrison profile better as first basemen than outfielders, but one will now need to roam either right or left field at Safeco Field now that they're both in the fold.
The addition of these two bats calls into question the role of either Jesus Montero or Justin Smoak with the Mariners and could ensure that Kendrys Morales will need to find a new home this winter, which would net Seattle a draft pick.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Braves have signed right-hander Yunesky Maya to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deports. The 32-year-old Cuban hurler never lived up to expectations with the Nationals, posting just a 4.17 ERA in 464 minor league innings and a 5.80 ERA in 59 frames at the big league level. Elsewhere in the NL East...
- The Nationals have discussed Jerry Blevins with the Athletics, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. However, James Wagner of the Washington Post adds that it was the Nats who reached out to the A's, and Oakland is said to be happy with its bullpen (Twitter link).
- Former manager Davey Johnson rarely utilized infield shifts, but Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com writes that defensive shifts will be a point of emphasis under new manager Matt Williams. Kolko quotes Williams as saying his club will have defensive meetings every day.
- Despite tendering John Mayberry a contract, the Phillies are seeking an upgrade over the soon-to-be 30-year-old as they look to add a right-handed bat with better defense in cente field, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Marlins have checked in on Delmon Young, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, who notes that Rosenthal has previously reported that Young has worked out at first base (Twitter link).
The Marlins told teams on Monday that they were close to trading Logan Morrison, but no deal has come to fruition. Miami could be waiting on Corey Hart to make a decision, as the Brewers' level of interest is reportedly contingent on whether or not they can retain him. As many as seven teams were in on Morrison as of yesterday. Here are your LoMo rumors for Wednesday...
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel heard yesterday that the Brewers were out on Morrison, but now has been told that they will indeed try for him if Hart signs elsewhere (Twitter link).
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Pirates, Rays and Cubs are all in on Morrison (Twitter link). The Cubs would use Morrison in the outfield due to the presence of Anthony Rizzo at first base. The Marlins are still prioritizing a third baseman in return for Morrison, Sherman adds.
The Marlins appear to be exploring trade options for players besides Logan Morrison as the third day of the Winter Meetings gets underway in Orlando. A source tells Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (Twitter link) that the Fish are listening to offers for Justin Ruggiano, while MLB.com's Mark Bowman (Twitter link) hears that the club may soon move Greg Dobbs.
Ruggiano, 31, recorded an impressive .313/.374/.535 slash line in 320 plate appearances in 2012, but slipped to a more pedestrian .222/.298/.396 in an expanded role in 2013. He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter. Dobbs' production was also on the decline this past season, as his .603 OPS was about 100 points lower than his rate over previous two seasons with the Marlins. Bowman suggests that the veteran utilityman may be a fit for the Braves.
TUESDAY: The Marlins have officially announced the signing.
MONDAY 10:22am: Jones will earn $7.75MM over the life of his contract, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. He will be paid $2.75MM in 2014 and $5MM in 2015.
8:39am: The Marlins have finalized their rumored two-year, $7.5MM deal with Garrett Jones, and an announcement is expected to be made today, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Jones is represented by Relativity Baseball (formerly SFX Baseball).
The 32-year-old Jones owns a career .254/.316/.458 slash line across six big league seasons. The first baseman/outfielder had a down year in 2013, however, hitting .233/.289/.419 in 440 plate appearances. Jones is best suited to be a platoon first baseman, as his career .193/.234/.334 line versus lefties shows a glaring weakness against same-handed pitching. His numbers against right-handed pitching -- .271/.337/.489 -- are a marked improvement.
The decision to bring in Jones on a two-year deal would seem to indicate the end of Logan Morrison's time with the Marlins. Miami is reportedly intent on shopping him at this week's Winter Meetings, apparently hoping that they can fill their third base hole by moving LoMo to a new team. Morrison has clashed with the Marlins before and currently has a grievance pending as a result of a demotion to the minors during the 2011 season that Morrison feels was not due to his on-field performance.
Yesterday it was reported that the Marlins have informed interested parties that Logan Morrison will be traded in the near future. Miami has already inked Garrett Jones to a two-year, $7.75MM contract, suggesting that Morrison's time with the Fish is coming to a close. You can catch up on all of yesterday's Morrison rumors here, and we'll run down Tuesday's crop of LoMo rumors in this post...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Pirates, Brewers and Mariners have been the most active in pursuit of Morrison (on Twitter).
- Morrison is "one of five or six" outfield options being considered by the Orioles, tweets MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.
- Regarding the Brewers' connection to Morrison, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the team wouldn't pull the trigger on a trade until they knew what Corey Hart's plans were. The Brewers hope to have an answer from Hart soon, he adds, Haudricourt believes that Milwaukee has let Hart know how far it is willing to stretch to bring him back, and at this point, it's a matter of waiting for him to accept or decline. Should Hart decline, Haudricourt sees a trade for a first baseman as the likely outcome (Twitter links).
- Seven teams are interested in Morrison, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel, who spoke to an executive that has shown interest in Morrison (Twitter link).
- The Marlins will eventually move Morrison, but a deal may not take place at the Winter Meetings, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.