Miami Marlins Rumors
The Marlins have agreed to a one-year, $1.25MM deal with reliever Carlos Marmol, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Spanish language link). The 31-year-old former Cubs closer is a client of Kinzer Management Group.
Sporting a 5.86 ERA after 27 2/3 innings in the midst of his eighth season with the Cubs, Marmol was dealt to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier in a deal that seemed more about international bonus slot money than the players involved. Yet both Marmol and Guerrier flourished with the change of scenery, and each looks to have a good chance at a job for the coming season. The former threw to a 2.53 ERA in 21 1/3 innings for Los Angeles, though his 11.4 K/9 mark was still offset by a troubling 8.0 BB/9 during that time.
Indeed, the trick for Marmol has never been getting batters to miss his offerings; it has been getting his offerings not to miss the strike zone. He has posted a walk rate of under six-per-nine only three times in his career (2007, 2008, 2011). Meanwhile, he has maintained a career 11.7 K/9 and has only dipped below the 11 K/9 level over one season (last year) since converting fully to relief. Marmol saved 117 games for the Cubs over his tenure, but presumably he will slot in front of Miami 9th inning man Steve Cishek.
11:43am: MLBTR has confirmed that Roe signed a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
7:23am: The Marlins will sign right-hander Chaz Roe, reports MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter). Roe, 27, cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Rangers last week. The Sosnick/Cobbe client rejected an outright assignment from the club and elected free agency yesterday. He was said to be deciding between two clubs last night after six teams had shown interest in signing him.
Though he struggled with his command in his Major League debut last season -- he walked 13 batters in 22 1/3 innings -- Roe also posted a solid 4.03 with 24 strikeouts and an outstanding 57.1 percent ground-ball rate. He works primarily with a fastball/slider combination and averaged 91.4 mph on his heater in the Majors last year.
Roe struggled in the minors in 2010, posting a 5.98 ERA with the Rockies' Triple-A affiliated before posting an even more discouraging 6.59 ERA with the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate in 2011. The following season, Roe pitched for the independent league Laredo Lemurs and converted to the bullpen full-time after having spent most of his career as a starter. The shift worked wonders, as he posted a brilliant 1.55 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 55 innings. That led to a minor league deal with the D-Backs, with whom he made his big league debut after posting an even more impressive 1.11 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 at the Triple-A level.
Freddie Freeman's eight-year, $135MM extension with the Braves is a "foreboding barometer" for the Marlins when considering a Giancarlo Stanton extension, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. Rodriguez points out the similarity in service time for each player, noting that one more strong season would only make it more expensive for the Fish. Stanton already has a large edge in power, though his durability could be questioned in extension talks. More from baseball's Eastern divisions...
- The Orioles will scout Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, an industry source tells Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The 26-year-old has batted .319/.383/.516 over the past five seasons in Serie Nacional. The speedy Castillo comes with experience at both outfield corners as well as second and third base. The Dodgers are known to have scouted him as well, but he's yet to be cleared by OFAC to sign with a big league club.
- MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski looks at David Lough's long path to the Majors and writes that Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley has been a fan of the 28-year-old since seeing him with the Royals last year. Lough hopes to win the starting left field job in Baltimore this Spring.
- Orioles lefty Troy Patton, who is suspended for the first 25 games of the season, told Melewski that he took Adderall to improve his focus and energy at one point and called it a "stupid mistake." Patton's suspension could have an impact on Brian Matusz, Melewski continues, as the team was looking at giving him another crack as a starter. However, without Patton in the bullpen, the O's would be without their two primary lefty relievers to open the year in that case.
- The Mets are still unwilling to commit multiple years to Stephen Drew, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Agent Scott Boras continues to wait out the market, but it's fair to wonder if Boras will have to drag a few "mystery teams" into the mix for Drew.
1:35pm: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets that Baker will earn $1.6MM in 2014 and $2.1MM in 2015.
1:16pm: The Marlins and Jeff Baker have agreed to a two-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The New York Post's Joel Sherman tweets that Baker is guaranteed $3.7MM and has an additional $500K of incentives built into each year of the deal. Baker's agent, Scott Boras, said last night that he was nearing agreements for four of his clients, including Baker.
The 32-year-old Baker slashed .279/.360/.545 in 2013 thanks in large part to his Herculean numbers against left-handed pitching. Baker has never been one to handle same-handed pitching well, and he showed that last season with a .204/.250/.286 line against righties in just 52 plate appearances. However, in his 123 PAs against southpaws, Baker mashed at a .314/.407/.667 clip. In his career, he's a .298/.353/.522 hitter against lefties.
Baker's splits make him a natural platoon partner at first base for Garrett Jones, who the Marlins also signed to a two-year deal earlier this offseason. Baker also comes with experience at second base, third base and both outfield corners, making him a valuable bench piece whose versatility should serve sophomore manager Mike Remond well.
Baker also drew interest from the Giants, Nationals and Rangers at varying points this offseason. The Marlins' willingness to guarantee a second year seems likely to have pushed them to the front of the pack, though that's just my speculation.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today; so, according to legend, there will be six more weeks of winter. But, for baseball fans, spring does begin early this year when pitchers and catchers for the Diamondbacks (February 6) and Dodgers (February 8) report one week earlier than the other 28 MLB teams because of their season-opening series in Australia. Here's today's news and notes from the National League:
- Marlins President David Samson told reporters, including MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the team is still looking to add some depth. "Certainly, you're looking at some potential non-roster invites," said Samson. "We're looking to bring people in to compete, because you just don't know. What we've learned over the years is you have injuries. The more depth you can have going into a camp, the better it is." The Marlins have invited 26 non-roster players to camp and Frisaro notes another reliever or two could be added to that total.
- The Reds have had a lackluster offseason, but still have a good strong core of starting pitching and position players to be very competitive in the NL Central, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com in a readers inbox column.
- Within the same article, Sheldon shot down any notion the Reds would have interest in Ichiro Suzuki citing his age, salary, and defensive limitations.
- Suk-Min Yoon held a workout on the campus of UC-Irvine Friday attended by the Giants and Orioles, per a report from SBS (h/t Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). Earlier this week, it was reported four clubs had extended offers to the Korean right-hander with negotiations underway with two of those teams. The Twins, Red Sox, and Indians have been linked to Yoon this offseason with varying degrees of interest.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe shares a few hot stove items in his latest Sunday column...
- Bronson Arroyo has been looking for a three-year deal or at least a vesting option for a third year, which could be holding up his market. If Arroyo was willing to settle for a flat two-year contract, Cafardo opines, he could find a deal, possibly with the Diamondbacks; Cafardo reported earlier this week that Arizona was "beginning to kick the tires" on the veteran right-hander. Arroyo recently said that he has yet to receive a concrete offer from any team, despite a lot of interest from around the league.
- The Dodgers are another team who "are very interested" in Arroyo but don't want to give him a guaranteed third year.
- Nelson Cruz's market is beginning to heat up, and “there could be up to four or five teams who could take the plunge in the end," a Major League source tells Cafardo. This interest could manifest itself into a multiyear deal for Cruz, though Cafardo notes that the slugger could still have to settle for a one-year contract. We've recently seen the Mariners, Orioles, Rangers and Twins linked to Cruz in rumors, though Texas and Minnesota only seem interested at a greatly reduced price.
- Cafardo thinks the A.J. Burnett sweepstakes is down to the Pirates, Phillies and Orioles, though he wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees were also exploring a reunion with the veteran right-hander. The Rays and Blue Jays have also been connected to Burnett, though it seems more likely that Burnett will choose a team located closer to his home in Maryland.
- The Marlins have "asked a lot" about Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks but there doesn't seem to be a trade fit. Miami is one of several teams who have asked Boston about Middlebrooks' availability, but the Sox don't want to give up on Middlebrooks' power potential. Even if the Red Sox re-signed Stephen Drew to play shortstop and Xander Bogaerts took over at third, Middlebrooks would still receive playing time alternating between third and first base.
- While Jon Lester recently said he would take a hometown discount to remain with the Red Sox, Cafardo points out that it might not be a huge discount, as Lester also noted that "you never want to be the guy that takes the market backward."
- The Red Sox will experiment with Ryan Lavarnway as a first baseman during Spring Training, GM Ben Cherington confirmed. Since Boston is so deep at catcher at both the Triple-A and Major League levels, Lavarnway's only chance at continued playing time may be as a Triple-A first baseman.
- "There’s a feeling that a team like the Yankees may pluck Fernando Rodney, or someone of his ilk, to ensure they have another closer in case David Robertson breaks down or isn’t up to the task," Cafardo writes. Rodney was reportedly drawing interest from four teams, though the Yankees hadn't spoken with him since November and may not have enough remaining payroll space to add to the bullpen.
Here are the day's minor transactions:
- Middle infielder Niuman Romero and backstop Jose Gonzalez have also signed on with the Rockies on minor league pacts, per the MLB.com transactions page. Since cups of coffee in 2009 and 2010, Romero has played in the upper minors. He maintained a .367 OBP in each of the last two years, playing at the Double-A and Triple-A level for the Tigers and Orioles. Romero has spent most of his time at short in recent years. Gonzalez has spent the past eight seasons in the Rockies organization but slashed just .190/.274/.281 in 250 PAs at Triple-A in 2013.
- The MLB.com transactions page also notes that the Reds have agreed to a minor league deal with Edgar Gonzalez. The right-hander, who turns 31 in February, allowed 15 runs in 18 innings between Toronto and Houston last season but owns a 4.35 ERA in 854 1/3 Triple-A innings.
- Free agent infielder Josh Rodriguez will join the Marlins on a minor league deal, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 29-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Mets, putting up a .272/.371/.390 line last year at Double-A. Rodriguez has seen substantial time at short, second, and third.
- The Twins have re-signed righty Daniel Turpen to a minor league deal, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Turpen, 27, has yet to see MLB action but has been throwing in the high minors since 2010. Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A for the Twins last year, Turpen put up a 4.98 ERA in 65 innings.
- The Mets announced that they've signed utilityman Matt Clark to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training (Twitter link). The former Padres farmhand spent the 2013 season with NPB's Chunichi Dragons, batting .238/.328/.457 with 25 homers. The 27-year-old is primarily a first baseman but also has corner outfield experience. In 1045 Triple-A at-bats, Clark is a .291/.365/.502 hitter. He also bats left-handed, which figures to put him behind Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on New York's depth chart.
Steve Adams also contributed to this post.
The Marlins have signed outfielder Reed Johnson to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, the club announced. The 37-year-old, right-handed swinging Johnson has played in 11 big league seasons.
Last year, with the Braves, Johnson struggled to a .244/.311/.341 line in just 136 plate appearances, leading the club to decline his $1.6MM option and instead pay him a $150K buyout. He was much better over the previous two seasons, however, combining to log 554 plate appearances while slashing .299/.342/.431.
The Marlins, of course, have plenty of interesting young outfielders, the oldest and most-established of whom -- Giancarlo Stanton -- is only 24. Before today's signing, the grizzled veteran of the outfield corps was Brian Bogusevic, who is 29 and has yet to qualify for arbitration. While the club figures to give plenty of playing time to its younger group, Johnson should bring veteran presence, depth, and some healthy spring competition.
1:07pm: Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweets that Baker is close to signing with a team, and the Nationals are still in the mix.
11:39am: The Marlins and Nationals are among the teams showing interest in Jeff Baker, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter), who also notes that the Orioles are a possibly interested team.
Despite huge numbers against left-handed pitching -- Baker slashed .314/.407/.667 with 10 homers in 123 plate appearances against southpaws last season -- it's been a relatively quiet offseason for the 32-year-old. The Rangers are known to have interest in re-signing Baker, and the Giants had talks with him a couple months back, though that was shortly before they elected to sign Mike Morse. The Morse signing would seem to indicate that Baker is no longer a consideration for San Francisco.
Baker has just a .647 OPS against right-handed pitching in his career, but he has an .875 OPS against lefties to go along with experience at second base, third base, first base and both outfield corners.
In his latest column over at FOXSports.com, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks' pursuit of top free agents Masahiro Tanaka, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran stemmed from the fact they'll soon be completing a new television deal with FOX Sports that will be worth at least $90MM per season for a span of 15 to 20 years (beginning in 2016). He notes that while comparing TV deals is difficult because of differing equity stakes negotiated by each team, but the contract should still top the Rangers' recent TV deal, which pays them $80MM per season. More highlights from Rosenthal...
- The Cubs' offer to Masahiro Tanaka did not include an opt-out clause, according to Rosenthal. Knowing that they might not compete until 2016, the Cubs were wary of including a clause that would allow him to opt out shortly after their next competitive club hit the field.
- Their recent signing of Matt Garza will allow the Brewers to move trade acquisition Will Smith (received in exchange for Norichika Aoki) to the bullpen. Milwaukee could still add another reliever this offseason, but they also want to take a look at Rule 5 lefty Wei-Chung Wang.
- After missing out on a Major League deal with the Orioles due to concerns over his back, Tyler Colvin is weighing a number of minor league offers.
- The Marlins and Rockies are both interested in former Reds right-hander Nick Masset, who has missed each of the past two seasons due to shoulder injuries.