Miami Marlins Rumors

Miami Marlins trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

NL East Notes: Phillies, Mets, Gilmartin, Johnson, Janssen

The Phillies may be preparing to add their fifth starter from outside the organization, according to a tweet from Jayson Stark of ESPN. Stark spoke with an executive who asked the Phillies who their fifth starter was expected to be and received a reply of, “He’s not here yet.” A number of rotation options have been released over the past few days, including Jhoulys Chacin, Scott Baker and Felix Doubront. More releases figure to come soon, and other rotation options will be placed on waivers as we get late into camp. I’d be surprised if the Phillies made any form of significant move, but adding someone with a bit of upside, such as Chacin, could prove beneficial if they can get him back on track. The Phillies will go with Cole Hamels, Aaron Harang, David Buchanan and Jerome Williams in their first four rotation spots.

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • The Mets are confident that they can land a left-handed reliever before Opening Day, but even if they do bring in someone from the outside, Rule 5 lefty Sean Gilmartin has a good chance of making the club, per ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. Gilmartin, 25 in May, was the Braves’ first-round pick in 2011 but was traded to the Twins for Ryan Doumit last offseason. Gilmartin posted a combined 3.71 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 145 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A for the Twins last season, but they made the at least somewhat curious decision to leave him unprotected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. With the Mets this spring, Gilmartin has allowed five runs in 8 2/3 innings with an 11-to-5 K/BB ratio. Last year in the Minors, Gilmartin held lefties to a miserable .201/.219/.235 batting line.
  • Marlins manager Mike Redmond tells Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post that he “lost a few nights of sleep” over the decision to cut Reed Johnson, who was released earlier this morning. Redmond spoke highly of Johnson’s influence on the team’s young hitters last season and voiced an opinion that while he expects Johnson to get picked up by another club, he also can see him transitioning to a coaching or even managerial role in the future. Redmond called the 38-year-old Johnson “a guy who has truly earned everything he’s been given in this game.” D’Angelo notes that Jordany Valdespin, Don Kelly, Donovan Solano and Reid Brignac are competing for the final two bench spots in Miami. The Marlins are prioritizing taking someone who can play shortstop for one of the two spots.
  • Tom Schad of the Washington Times spoke to Nationals right-hander Casey Janssen and was told that the setup man isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Janssen underwent an MRI on his right shoulder yesterday and while the results haven’t been released yet, Janssen said he doesn’t believe the test indicated a significant injury.

Marlins Release Reed Johnson

The Marlins have granted Reed Johnson his unconditional release from a Minor League contract, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

The 38-year-old Johnson was in camp as a non-roster invitee after spending the 2014 season with Miami as a backup outfielder. Last season, he batted .235/.366/.348 in 201 trips to the plate for the Marlins. Miami signed Ichiro Suzuki as their fourth outfielder behind Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, leaving Johnson to compete for the team’s fifth bench spot. The veteran Johnson batted .205/.225/.231 in 40 plate appearances this spring.

Though his bat has deteriorated with age, Johnson is a career .310/.363/.454 hitter against left-handed pitching and batted .303/.319/.409 in 69 PA against lefties last year. He can now seek an opportunity to latch on with another club.


Minor Moves: Arguelles, Rays, Lorick, Lopez, Rockies

Here are the day’s minor transactions from around the league…

  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy delivers a series of recent releases. You can check his always-useful Twitter feed for the full run, but the highlight is probably the Royals‘ release of lefty Noel Arguelles (Twitter link). A high-profile signee out of Cuba back in 2009, the 25-year-old was hit hard in Double-A last year after switching full-time to a relief role. He was brought as a minor league free agent, but Kansas City has apparently seen enough.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Rays have parted ways with two of the team’s seven supplemental first-rounders from 2011, shortstop Brandon Martin and outfielder James Harris. Both players are still just 21 years of age, but neither has mastered the lower minors or even reached the High-A level.
  • The Cubs have released left-hander Jeff Lorick, per the team’ transactions page. The 27-year-old Lorick was a 20th-round selection back in the 2009 draft and spent the 2014 campaign (his age-26 season) at Double-A Tennessee, where he worked to a 4.52 ERA in 63 2/3 innings of work. Lorick struggled as a starter in the Class-A Advanced Florida State League in 2011, but he’s always missed a good number of bats when working as a reliever. However, he’s also walked more than four hitters per nine innings and has yet to reach the Triple-A level.
  • The Marlins have released second baseman Alfredo Lopez, also via the team transaction page at MLB.com. The 25-year-old batted .216/.298/.263 at Double-A in 2014 and had spent most of the 2015 spring working in Minor League camp. Lopez has hit well in the lower minors (.300 average, .384 OBP in Class-A Advanced) but stalled in Double-A and has very limited experience at the Triple-A level.
  • The Rockies released outfielders Jared Simon and Brian Humphries as well as infielder Matt Wessinger, per the MLB transaction page. Simon, a 2010 sixth-round pick, and Humphries, a 14th-rounder in 2011, each spent last season with Double-A Tulsa and OPSed south of .700. Wessinger is perhaps the most notable, as he was a fifth-rounder as recently as 2012, but he batted just .214/.278/.295 at Class-A Advanced in 2014.


Marlins Unlikely To Trade Brad Hand

The Marlins have reportedly discussed out-of-options lefty Brad Hand with multiple clubs, including the Rangers, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro now reports that the Fish are likely to hang onto the 25-year-old. Hand will start today against the Astros, but Frisaro cautions that it’s not a showcase for interested parties.

Miami values the depth that Hand provides, particularly with Jose Fernandez recovering from Tommy John surgery and Jarred Cosart being investigated by Major League Baseball for a potential gambling-related issue. The team also believes that Hand, who is equipped with a fastball in the mid-90s, is capable of pitching in both the rotation or bullpen. He’s also the lone left-handed rotation option left in Marlins camp (though the fifth slot, as Frisaro notes, is likely going to righty Tom Koehler).

Hand has allowed just two runs in 10 innings this spring, though he’s posted an unsightly 5-to-6 K/BB ratio along the way. Last season, Hand pitched 111 innings in 32 games (16 starts, 16 relief appearances), averaging 5.4 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 with a 50.3 percent ground-ball rate. The former second-round pick has one year, 92 days of service time, meaning that he’s under control for another five seasons.


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Brad Hand | Miami Marlins

MLB Looking Into Gambling-Related Issue Involving Jarred Cosart

TODAY: Cosart briefly addressed the situation today, telling reporters that he was simply following MLB’s protocol, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter links). Cosart also said that he was not behind the creation of a new Twitter account, attributed to him, which had figured into some reports on the matter.

YESTERDAY: Major League Baseball is looking into ambiguous gambling-related claims on Twitter involving Marlins starter Jarred Cosart, Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times reports.

To be clear, all that is known at present is that the league is exploring the matter. The league is quick to pursue information regarding any gambling-related issues, and its involvement should not be read to imply any wrongdoing, or even suspicion thereof.

As Elfrink explains, a Twitter user has posted screenshots of purported Direct Messages sent from Cosart’s Twitter account regarding an unspecified betting matter. Cosart’s Twitter account has since been deleted. It is not even yet apparent whether there is any credible suggestion that Cosart has engaged in any gambling-related activities, let alone actions involving the game of baseball in any way.

Given the highly uncertain underlying issue here, and the fact that it is not even clear whether MLB intends to conduct a full investigation, it is far too soon even to speculate whether there are any possible grounds for future discipline. For sake of reference, MLB Rule 21(d) prohibits players from “bet[ting] any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game,” providing a one-year ban if such activities occur with regard to a game in which “the better has no duty to perform” and a lifetime ban in which the bettor does.


Minor Moves: Aaron Cunningham, Donnie Joseph

Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post….

  • The Diamondbacks released outfielder Aaron Cunningham, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Cunningham hit .255/.342/.346 over 281 plate appearances for Triple-A Reno last season.  The 28-year-old outfielder last appeared in the majors in 2012 and received 501 PA with the Indians, Padres and A’s from 2008-12.
  • The Marlins have released left-handed reliever Donnie Joseph from their Triple-A affiliate, according to the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page.  Originally a Reds prospect, Joseph was dealt to the Royals as part of the Jonathan Broxton trade in July 2012 and then dealt to Miami last June.  The southpaw has posted a 3.84 ERA, 11.9 K/9 and 2.44 K/BB rate over 316 career innings in the minors, plus Joseph has 6 1/3 Major League innings to his name from a couple of brief stints with the Royals in 2013-14.

NL East Notes: Beimel, Cuddyer, Cecchini

The Braves will likely be without Mike Minor and Melvin Upton for all of April, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes in an update on the club’s injuries.  Minor hasn’t thrown in almost three weeks due to inflammation in his left rotator cuff, while Upton is dealing with inflammation in his left foot and isn’t expected to be out of his protective walking boot for another couple of weeks.  Here’s some more news from around the NL East…

  • The Mets aren’t likely to pursue Joe Beimel, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets.  Though the Mets have a need for a left-handed reliever, they apparently don’t have much interest in the recently-released Beimel.
  • The relationship between Mets GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins is one to watch, as there have been a few signs of miscommunication between the front office and the dugout this spring, Newsday’s John Harper writes.  Alderson’s recent biography revealed that the GM came close to firing Collins last season, though Harper reports that the two men “had a clear-the-air meeting” to resolve their differences.
  • Michael Cuddyer told CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link) that “most interest dried up” for his services in the free agent market after the Rockies made the surprise move of issuing him a qualifying offer.  Cuddyer’s final choice came down to the one-year, $15.3MM qualifying offer or his eventual pick, the two-year/$21MM deal he got from the Mets.
  • The Phillies don’t have much interest in Red Sox third baseman Garin Cecchini, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes as part of a reader mailbag.  The Phils and Sox have been linked for much of the offseason in Cole Hamels rumors and the Phillies have reportedly scouted Cecchini already during their examinations of Boston’s farm system.  The Phillies have concerns about Cecchini’s defense, both at third and for a possible conversion to the outfield.  Cecchini was ranked as one of the 100 top prospects in the sport prior to the 2014 season and is still ranked by MLB.com as the eighth-best prospect in the Red Sox system, though his stock dipped a bit after only an okay season at Triple-A.
  • The Rangers are cited as one of “a number of teams…would be eager to acquire Andrew McKirahan in a trade,” MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes in his look at the Marlins‘ situation.  Texas and Miami have recently been connected in trade rumors, with Brad Hand and Mike Dunn cited as possible targets for the Rangers.  As Frisaro notes, however, the Marlins might want to keep Hand since he can be a spot starter and could bring a bit of balance to their all-righty rotation.  What complicates matters for the Fish is that Hand is out of options and McKirahan is a Rule 5 draft pick who would have to remain on Miami’s 25-man roster all season or else be returned to the Cubs.

Quick Hits: Breslow, Kang, Marlins

Reliever Craig Breslow, the Red Sox‘ representative to the MLBPA, is opposed to an international draft and would like for it to remain possible for international free agents to receive bonuses as big as Yoan Moncada‘s, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes. A huge deal like Moncada’s would likely be impossible with an international draft in place. “I think while, intuitively, people may look at a guy who has never played here and gets a big signing bonus and there’s potentially some envy, I think the greater membership (of players) understands that anytime we can eliminate restrictions to signing, that’s a good thing,” says Breslow. On Sunday, Breslow visited with MLBPA head Tony Clark, who has voiced skepticism about the idea of an international draft. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • Jung-ho Kang, who signed this offseason for four years and $11MM plus a posting fee of around $5MM, provides the Pirates with a low-cost insurance policy throughout their infield, Newsday’s David Lennon writes. Second baseman Neil Walker and first baseman Pedro Alvarez can become free agents after 2016, while third baseman Josh Harrison will become eligible after 2017 (and can be moved around the diamond if needed). That means the Pirates could turn to Kang at one of a number of positions, perhaps getting a starter at a cost of only a few million dollars a year. “If he turns out to be a regular player, it’s a great signing for us,” says Huntington. “If he turns out to be a role player, it’s still an OK signing for us. And if we’ve missed, well, it won’t cripple us. But it will hurt us.”
  • Marlins president David Samson says the team’s decisions to sign Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich arose out of their struggles in 2012, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. That year, the Marlins prepared for the opening of their new ballpark by acquiring Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Carlos Zambrano. Those big outside acquisitions didn’t work out, and the Marlins finished 69-93. “I truly felt that opening the ballpark and making splashes was the way to do it and it didn’t lead to sustainability,” says Samson. “That was a big moment for all of us in our history and I got it wrong, completely, almost in every way.” Instead of building their team around veterans, then, they’re focusing on keeping the right core players in Miami.

Stanton Deal Helped Pave Way For Yelich Contract

The Marlins’ signing of Christian Yelich to a deal that guarantees him just under $50MM for seven years marked the second time in the past several months that the team has awarded a young outfielder a big extension. The first, of course, was Giancarlo Stanton‘s enormous $325MM contract. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald spoke with Yelich and agent Joe Longo to see how the deal went down, and evidently the first contract had much to do with the second.

The Marlins initially spoke to Longo about a Yelich extension before signing Stanton, Spencer reports, and Stanton’s deal served as a catalyst for Yelich’s. “(Yelich) tells me it’s different now,” Longo says. “I think the Stanton signing kind of set the tone for that. It certainly set the tone for us.”

Yelich “reminds me a lot of a young Don Mattingly,” says Marlins GM Dan Jennings. “A tremendous hitter who’s only going to get better as he learns the league and the pitchers.”

One might wonder if the Marlins could continue locking up young players. The Stanton and Yelich deals might or might not encourage starter Jose Fernandez to consider an extension of his own — Spencer writes that the Scott Boras client says the possibility of a deal depends on a number of factors. But he’s encouraged by the team’s commitments to Stanton and Yelich. “I think the team is proving to fans that they want to win, and I think that’s what they want in Miami,” says Fernandez. “It’s really nice to see that happen.”


East Notes: Izturis, Marlins, Valdespin, Pineda

Prior to the start of Sunday’s game against the Rays, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told reporters, including MLBTR’s Zach Links, that second baseman Maicer Izturis is progressing slowly from his strained groin injury.  “He was told [not to take part in] any activity for ten days, I would definitely think he’ll be out [for Opening Day],” Gibbons said. Izturis was in competition for the starting second base job, which is likely now down to one or more of Devon Travis, Ryan Goins, and Steve Tolleson, as MLB.com’s Gregor Chisolm writes. This year is an important one for the veteran Izturis, who at age 34 is entering the final guaranteed season of his contract with plenty to prove. (Toronto holds a $3MM option over him for next year.)

Here’s more from the east:

  • “Numerous teams” have been inquiring about Marlins pitching, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets. We heard talk yesterday that lefties Brad Hand and Andrew McKirahan were drawing interest.
  • Infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin has come a long way since his oft-contentious stint with the Mets and has a legitimate chance to make the Marlins Opening Day roster, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 27-year-old, who says his attitude turned after being told by his mother it was time to “grow up,” split last year between the bigs and Triple-A with Miami.
  • Yankees starter Michael Pineda is drawing rave reviews this spring, as George A. King III of the New York Post writes. Of course, the big question with Pineda is shoulder health. He was effective last year despite working in the low 90s, but this spring is said to be pushing his fastball back toward the mid-90s level that he deployed as a breakout rookie.