Miami Marlins Rumors
Jimmy Rollins spoke with MLB.com's Todd Zolecki regarding the team's struggles last season and noted that 2013 was just one year, and he is looking forward to a new chapter. Rollins spoke about trade rumors that surrounded his name last summer, noting that he had no plans to waive his 10-and-5 rights if asked. Rollins, who is just 60 hits shy of becoming the franchise leader, said he doesn't plan on ever playing for another club: "I don't plan on putting on a different uniform," he said. More links pertaining to the Phillies and the NL East...
- Until the Phillies share their side of the Ben Wetzler controversy, the team will simply look vindictive, opines David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He adds that the Phillies clearly thought they'd be able to sign Wetzler, who instead returned to Oregon State for his senior season and is now unable to play after the Phillies notified the NCAA that they feel he violated the "no agent" rule. Murphy goes into detail on how the vast majority of draft prospects circumvent this rule.
- The only rationale that Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan can see for the Phillies' decisions regarding Wetzler and Jason Monda (who also declined to sign but has already been cleared by the NCAA) was to send a message to future draftees: "Sign or face, at the very least, an extended, attention-grabbing inconvenience." Like Murphy (and many baseball fans), Sullivan hopes to hear the Phillies' side of the story and their explanation behind making what he calls an "unambiguously bad decision" that seemingly benefited no one.
- Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post writes that Giancarlo Stanton is ok with the fact that the Marlins don't want to have extension talks until after the season. Stanton said that Freddie Freeman's recent eight-year, $135MM extension with the Braves won't be on his mind this season, though he did tip his hand a little in stating, "The contract would be similar, I guess."
- Mets ace Matt Harvey tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that he's been cleared to begin tossing a baseball in the next couple of days. Rubin writes that Harvey is not yet resigned to missing the entire 2014 season, but the Mets have stated in the past that Harvey will not pitch in 2014. "I'd always love to pitch and get back out there, but I don't make those decisions," said Harvey.
- Newsday's Marc Carig writes that despite his elite defense in center field, Juan Lagares isn't a lock to be an everyday player for the Mets in 2014. Carig talked with an official from another club whose background is in analytics, with that official noting that a key factor in defensive metrics is a need to factor in regression due to the volatile year-to-year nature of defensive numbers.
The latest on the 2013 World Series champs...
- David Ortiz told John Tomase of the Boston Herald that he's sick of the negative public response when he discusses his desire for a new contract (though he did so with far more colorful language, as Tomase notes). As far as how long he wants to continue his career, Big Papi offered the following: "When you put up numbers like I’m putting up, who’s thinking about retiring, know what I’m saying? People keep on asking me, how long do you want to play? When are you going to retire? Dude, look at my numbers. I ain’t planning on retiring right now. When I slow down, then I’ll retire."
- Ortiz told WEEI.com's Alex Speier (Twitter link) that if no deal is done prior to his next venture into free agency following this season: "...then we'll be talking about a real contract."
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe outlines many of the reasons that make it logical for the Red Sox to be interested in re-signing Stephen Drew, and then explains why, in spite of those reasons, they should let him walk. Abraham opines that Xander Bogaerts needs to be given a chance to maximize his value at shortstop, that Will Middlebrooks' 2012 and late 2013 flashes of excellence make him worthy of another chance, and that the value of an additional draft pick when Drew signs elsewhere outweigh the benefit of bringing Drew back to Boston.
- Francisco Cordero had interest from both the Orioles and Marlins, but he chose the Red Sox after admiring their 2013 World Series run while watching at home in the Dominican Republic, Speier writes. Cordero, who says he dropped 30 pounds this offseason, doesn't have an opt-out clause in his deal, but Speier writes that he and the team have an understanding where Cordero will be allowed out of his contract if he's not going to make Boston's roster and has an opportunity with another team. Cordero said he felt like a kid again when he put on his Red Sox jersey and feels that he didn't join a team, he joined a family.
6:20pm: The Red Sox are also talking with Capuano, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Boston recently learned that rotation option Ryan Dempster would take the year off, reducing the team's depth but also relieving it of the obligation to pay him.
Of course, the Red Sox are likely not in a position to promise Capuano a regular turn in the rotation. As Rosenthal tweets, the team is interested in a "swing type" pitcher that is capable of throwing both as a starter and in relief.
9:19am: MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets that the Marlins and White Sox have also been in touch with Capuano this winter.
7:40am: The Mariners are showing "decent interest" in southpaw Chris Capuano, and talks between the two sides are ongoing, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman writes that Capuano has been seeking a two-year deal, though it's not clear if that is still his goal or if his price has come down.
Capuano, 35, battled calf and lat injuries in 2013, and he also was relegated to the bullpen for a portion of the season as a result of the Dodgers' starting pitching depth. The result was a total of just 105 2/3 innings -- 92 2/3 fewer than he threw in 2012. In his two years with L.A., Capuano posted a 3.91 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 304 innings of work. His 46.4 percent ground-ball rate in 2013 was his best mark since 2003 when he threw just 33 innings, though it wasn't reflected in his ERA due to struggles in stranding baserunners (68.9 percent) and an abnormally high .334 BABIP.
Heyman writes that the Mariners also had discussions with Ubaldo Jimenez prior to his four-year, $50MM deal with the Orioles, and they've been in talks with Ervin Santana as well. However, signing Capuano to augment their rotation instead of Santana would leave additional funds to add another bat, such as Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz.
Here are today's minor moves from around baseball.
- The Giants have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with 3B/OF Mark Teahen, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. The deal does not include an invite to Major-League spring training. Teahen spent most of the 2013 season with the independent York Revolution, but he also played short stints with Triple-A Reno (Diamondbacks) and Round Rock (Rangers). He last appeared in the big leagues in 2011.
- The Marlins have outrighted pitcher Chris Hatcher to the minors, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets. MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo previously noted that Hatcher had cleared waivers. The righty spend most of last season with Triple-A New Orleans, where he posted a 3.61 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 67 1/3 innings. He also made seven appearances in the big leagues, allowing 13 runs. The Marlins designated Hatcher for assignment when they added Carlos Marmol.
Paredes played parts of the 2011 through 2013 seasons for the Astros, where he hit .234/.274/.311 in 396 total plate appearances. He also hit .287/.345/.462 in 358 plate appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma City last year, playing shortstop, third base and second base as well as outfield. The Marlins claimed him from the Astros in November.
Even though most of Alex Rodriguez's 2014 salary will be wiped out by his season-long PED suspension, the controversial slugger's contract is still ranked as the worst in baseball by Grantland's Jonah Keri. Of Keri's list of the 15 worst contracts in the sport, the Dodgers have four, the Yankees, Angels and Braves each have two and the Reds, Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays and White Sox have one each.
Here are some items from around the baseball world...
- The Reds and Homer Bailey are "still talking" about a multiyear contract, GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "There has not been a lot of progress, but good conversations anyhow," Jocketty said. Bailey's arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 20 and there is a $2.9MM gap ($11.6MM to $8.7MM) between his demands and the Reds' offer for a 2014 contract. This is Bailey's last season under contract with Cincinnati and the two sides are reportedly far apart on a long-term deal. Sheldon suggests that the Reds will be watching the Indians' case with Justin Masterson, as he and Bailey have posted comparable numbers over the last three years and Masterson is also scheduled to be a free agent next offseason.
- The Pirates offered A.J. Burnett a $12MM contract for 2014, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). This obviously fell short of the $16MM Burnett received from the Phillies earlier today.
- The Twins aren't one of the teams interested in Emilio Bonifacio, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter). Bonifacio cleared release waivers and became a free agent earlier today. The Orioles are known to be one of at least nine teams interested in the speedy utilityman.
- Also from Wolfson, a Twins official said that the club "had extensive talks" about Erisbel Arruebarruena but he was judged to be too expensive. The Cuban shortstop agreed to a deal with the Dodgers today that could be worth as much as $25MM.
- The Cubs can afford to be patient in trading Jeff Samardzija, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan argues, as teams may be more willing to meet Chicago's large asking price once the free agent pitching market thins out and teams get more desperate once the season begins.
- Right-hander Josh Roenicke is drawing interest from a "handful of teams" and could be signed soon, a source tells MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Roenicke posted a 4.35 ERA, 6.5 K/9 and 1.25 K/BB rate in 62 relief innings with the Twins in 2013 before being outrighted off Minnesota's roster in November.
- Also from Cotillo, right-hander Blake Hawksworth has retired. Hawksworth posted a 4.07 ERA and 1.85 K/BB over 124 games (eight as a starter) with the Cardinals and Dodgers from 2009-11 before elbow and shoulder injuries derailed his career. Hawksworth has taken a job with the Boras Corporation, his former agency.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed the club's recent signing of Carlos Marmol with Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Luis Ayala chose to sign a minor league deal with the Nationals since they (as the Expos) were the franchise that originally signed him and he still has many friends in the organization, the veteran reliever tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Several teams were linked to Ayala this offseason but the bidding came down to the Nats, Tigers and Phillies.
After seeing a cup of coffee with the Fish back in 2010 as a catcher, Hatcher shed his gear and took to the hill, reaching the bigs again in the very next season from the opposite end of the battery. The double-duty man has produced solid results throwing in the upper minors, but has not found success at the MLB level. Hatcher has thrown just 33 2/3 innings of 7.22 ERA ball over the last three seasons.
32-year-old righty Rich Harden is not retiring, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Though he has not played professionally since 2011, and had a comeback bid with the Twins fall apart last year due to multiple, ongoing injury issues, Harden will apparently give it another go. Harden has been brilliant at times in his career, and owns a lifetime 3.76 ERA over 928 1/3 innings (including 9.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9).
Here are a few more notes to round out the evening:
- One factor in Bronson Arroyo's decision to sign with the Diamondbacks rather than the Orioles, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, was the fact that Baltimore had scrapped deals with Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin over concerns with their physicals. The O's offer was on par with that of the D-Backs: it was for slightly less guaranteed money, but carried a greater third-year option value. While Connolly writes that other factors -- including a preference for the NL West -- certainly played a role, he says that the risk of a deal falling apart at this stage of the off-season weighed substantially in Arroyo's decision-making process.
- The Marlins have made clear that they hope to extend star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, but MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that Stanton still wants to see what the organization does moving forward. "I want some team security as well," Stanton said. "I'm very pleased with how things panned out for me. But I would like to see it grow. I have my security, somewhat now. I'd like to see a team full of that, which we are going in the right direction." The 24-year-old slugger inicated that he does not expect to engage in talks until after the coming season. "In order for the team to have security," he said. "that doesn't happen in two seconds. That happens over a season or over two seasons. You show me that, and we can get something going."
- A major factor in the rebuilding process of another NL East club -- the Mets -- is the development of young catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Though he struggled at the plate in limited action last year, the backstop comes with an excellent pedigree with the bat. Promisingly, moreover, he also showed signs of adding value in another area, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com: in his short season of work at the MLB level, d'Arnaud flashed outstanding pitch-framing ability.
The choice between the promise of millions of dollars in America and remaining in Cuba isn't a simple one for many Cuban athletes, writes Dan Le Batard in a piece for ESPN the Magazine. Using the experience of his own parents as an example, Le Batard, a Cuban-American, explains that fleeing Cuba to begin life anew in a foreign country can mean leaving behind one's friends and family forever. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez spent two months in a Cuban prison camp after one failed escape attempt, but he tells Le Batard that his first few lonely months in America were worse. Jose Contreras, another Cuban pitcher, had to attend the funeral of his father via cellphone after defecting.
Let's take a look around the AL and NL East:
- The Marlins' roster is coalescing quickly following the Jeff Baker signing, which may leave just one bench position open, notes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Frisaro says Miami's strategy this offseason was to create as much competition as possible. Jake Marisnick, a promising prospect who struggled in his 2013 debut, appears headed for the minors.
- Orioles baseball operations chief Dan Duquette maintains that he's focused on winning now despite his club's quiet offseason, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. "We've been looking for a veteran starter to bolster our staff all winter, and hopefully we'll be able to sign one," Duquette said in a radio interview this week. "Every pitcher that we are involved in, that we're trying to recruit to come to Baltimore, there's four or five teams on each of these pitchers."
- The Yankees are making upgrades to their minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla., including a cafeteria for players and field refurbishments, reports Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The Yankees have also added to their player development staff, bringing in more scouts and a statistics guru, following a season that saw struggles up and down their farm system.
The Marlins have designated outfielder Jimmy Paredes for assignment to create roster space for Jeff Baker, the club announced. The 25-year-old utilityman had been claimed in November off of waivers from the Astros.
Paredes saw limited action over the last three years in Houston. In 2013, he put up a .192/.231/.248 line in 135 trips to the plate. Seeing most of his time at Triple-A last year, Paredes was good for a .287/.345/.462 line at that level. He does have some speed as evidenced by his 166 stolen bases over seven minor league seasons, though he is just 11-for-20 in the majors. Primarily a second baseman in the minors, Paredes has seen most of his big league time in the outfield and at third.