Miami Marlins Rumors

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

East Notes: Phillies, Marlins, Red Sox

Ryne Sandberg’s sudden resignation raises questions about who, exactly, is charge of the Phillies, David Murphy of the Daily News writes. Team president Pat Gillick said “I can’t really comment on that” yesterday in response to a question about who would be in charge of hiring the next Phillies manager. The team will reportedly hire Andy MacPhail for a front-office position, but it’s unclear whether that’s Gillick’s idea or ownership’s, and even if it’s the latter, it’s not clear who speaks for the ownership. Here’s more from the East divisions.

  • The Marlins‘ loss of Giancarlo Stanton to a broken hamate bone has led to speculation that the team could become sellers at the trade deadline, but the team is unlikely to make wholesale changes, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. In the past few months, team president David Samson has repeatedly spoken about the organization’s need for “stability,” so while it’s possible the Marlins could trade a few older players (possibly including Dan Haren or Mat Latos), they won’t make dramatic moves, as they did in 2012 when they shipped Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers.
  • The Red Sox are mistaken in their apparent belief that they’re contenders, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. They’re currently nine games below .500 and eight games out of first in the AL East. They do have plenty of interesting young players in Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Swihart and Eduardo Rodriguez, but the Red Sox’ recent choice to place Justin Masterson, rather than young lefty Brian Johnson, in their rotation suggests that they’re not yet focused on the future, as Lauber believes they should be.

Marlins Nearing Deal With First-Rounder Josh Naylor

3:34pm: Naylor has agreed to a $2.25MM bonus, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports on Twitter.

8:43am: The Marlins are close to signing first-round pick Josh Naylor, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. The left-handed-hitting first baseman out of Ontario graduated from high school yesterday, meaning that he’s now officially able to sign a contract with Miami. While the slot value for Naylor’s No. 12 overall selection is $3,051,800, Frisaro hears that Naylor will sign for a bonus between $2MM and $2.5MM.

Naylor’s selection was the first big surprise of the 2015 draft. While some had expected the powerful teenager to go perhaps in the late first round, Miami’s selection of him was unexpected at the time. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel rated Naylor as the 28th prospect in this year’s class, and he was more optimistic than many other rankings. Naylor placed 49th on Keith Law’s Top 100 at ESPN, 59th on the Top 200 of Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, and 61st on Baseball America’s Top 500.

Listed at 6’1″ and 225 pounds, Naylor’s calling card is his raw power, which receives grades of 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale from ESPN, MLB.com and Fangraphs in the linked reports, with BA labeling it plus-plus (70). ESPN feels that Naylor has a plus-plus arm that scouts would love to use in right field, but he lacks the foot speed to adequately cover the outfield. Naylor’s speed grades range from 20 to 35, which is enough for him to be labeled a first-base-only prospect. As such, he’ll likely have to tap into that huge raw power in order for him to become a regular player for the Marlins down the line.

According to Frisaro, Naylor will begin his pro career with the Marlins Gulf Coast League affiliate. An official announcement of the signing from the Marlins could come as soon as today, he adds.


Marlins Designate Vin Mazzaro For Assignment

The Marlins announced today that they have designated right-hander Vin Mazzaro for assignment. The move creates space on the roster for fellow righty Jarred Cosart to be activated from the disabled list.

Mazzaro, 28, was a key member of the Pirates’ bullpen in 2013, working to a 2.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 73 2/3 innings that season, but he still found himself as the odd man out the following Spring Training as an out-of-options reliever with a marginal strikeout rate. Many expected him to be traded or claimed off waivers after being designated for assignment, but Mazzaro cleared and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A.

Mazzaro never received a lengthy look with the Bucs in 2014, and he was outrighted again later on that season, accepting the assignment for a second time. He elected free agency at the end of the year, however, and inked a minors pact with Miami this winter. Mazzaro has again performed well between Triple-A and the Majors, so it’s conceivable that a team will have some interest in making a minor trade or picking him up on waivers.



NL East Notes: Freeman, Marlins, Hamels, Zobrist, Mets, Franco

A bone bruise in his right wrist has landed Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman on the DL, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The team is hopeful that Freeman won’t miss too much time, but Bowman adds that it would be “optimistic” to expect that he will return on July 3 when he is first eligible to be activated.

A few more items pertaining to the NL East…

  • Though they’re 11 games under .500, the Marlins are not yet thinking of selling, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The team could revisit that thinking if things don’t improve after facing the Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants on the upcoming homestand, he says. Still, the team could soon have a surplus of starting pitching on its hands, once Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart and Henderson Alvarez are all activated from the disabled list. Mat Latos could end up being the odd man out, Rosenthal speculates, adding that veteran righty Dan Haren isn’t likely to be moved.
  • While reports of scouts watching a certain team/player can sometimes be overblown, there are a pair of NL East clubs scouting possible trade pieces tonight. The Nationals have a high-level scout watching the Athletics tonight, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, noting that Washington has been linked to Ben Zobrist recently. Additionally, Jared Sandler of the Rangers Radio Network tweets that the Phillies have a scout in attendance for Chi Chi Gonzalez‘s start tonight. Gonzalez’s name has been floated in rumors connecting the Rangers to Cole Hamels.
  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News joined SNY’s Mostly Mets podcast to discuss possible upgrades for the Mets‘ offense (audio link). “They’re moving cautiously, because my understanding is that they have payroll flexibility, but essentially, Alderson has one big bullet to fire that way,” Martino said. Alderson may have the ability to either add a few lower-cost pieces or pursue one more expensive player, but Martino points to Alderson’s history of not parting with significant prospect packages to outbid other clubs in speculating that the ultimate result of the Mets’ trade efforts will be adding a few lower-profile pieces.
  • The Mets announced today that Travis d’Arnaud has hit the DL with a sprain in his left elbow (Twitter link). At this time, there’s no immediate timetable for d’Arnaud’s return, though it’s at least positive that the injury is in his non-throwing elbow.
  • In the wake of Maikel Franco‘s scorching hot streak and his third homer in two games at Yankee Stadium, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that the Phillies beat the Yankees‘ offer to Franco by a mere $5,000 back in 2010. Philadelphia offered Franco a $100K signing bonus, whereas the Yankees’ top offer was $95K. That’s probably another $5-10K that the Yankees wish they’d spent, though there’s little certainty when dealing with players of that age. (Franco was 17 at the time he signed with the Phils.)

Minor Moves: Solano, Parrino, Magill, Ka’aihue

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Marlins announced that recently designated catcher Jhonatan Solano has been outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans after clearing waivers. The 29-year-old catcher was designated on Saturday to clear room for starter Justin Nicolino. Solano has been designated and outrighted twice in 2015 alone, and as a player who’s previously been outrighted, he’ll have the option of rejecting the assignment in favor of free agency.
  • Similarly, the Athletics announced today that Andy Parrino, who was designated for assignment last week, has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A. The 29-year-old infielder has a .524 OPS in 131 games spent in very pitcher-friendly home environments (San Diego, Oakland). He has a solid .745 OPS in parts of five seasons at the Triple-A level. He, like Solano, has been previously outrighted and has the option to elect free agency.
  • In his latest Minor League Transactions roundup, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy runs down a significant amount of undrafted free agents that have signed with teams this week. He also, as usual, has several previously unreported minor league signings and releases. Among the notable names in this week’s roundup are right-hander Matt Magill and first baseman Kila Ka’aihue. Magill, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year, re-signed on a minor league deal with the Reds to continue his rehab. He’d been released to clear a 40-man spot. Ka’aihue, who was released by the Nationals, signed a minor league pact with the Marlins. The Hawaiian slugger hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2012 and struggled through 140 PAs with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate. He hit .258/.358/.443 over the past two seasons in Japan with the Hiroshima Carp and has a strong minor league track record.

NL East Notes: Gillick, Gee, Hill, Marlins

Cole Hamels gave a thumbs-up following a bullpen session this morning, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports, so the ace southpaw is on pace to pitch on Wednesday afternoon against the Yankees.  Hamels missed his last start due to a tight hamstring, and while the injury wasn’t thought to be serious, any concerns about Hamels’ health would impact his trade value.  Here’s some more from the NL East…

  • Phillies president Pat Gillick told reporters (including Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer) that the team will “probably” hire a new club president “somewhere in the not-too-distant future.”  Gillick wouldn’t immediately step aside for his replacement, as the plan is to let the new president spend the rest of the season evaluating the roster and club personnel before fully taking over in October.  The Phillies face an extensive rebuild, and Gillick admitted that it might take longer than 2017 or 2018 to return to contention, as he estimated when he stepped into the interim role.
  • The future of GM Ruben Amaro and manager Ryne Sandberg are two of the top questions facing the new Phillies president, though Gillick reiterated his support for both men, saying they’re going a “good job” despite the difficulties on the field.
  • “Teams weren’t exactly knocking on the door” to acquire Dillon Gee when the Mets designated righty for assignment, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets.  The Mets put Gee on outright waivers today and plan to send him to Triple-A if he goes unclaimed by Tuesday.
  • The Marlins have a logjam brewing in their rotation but president of baseball operations Michael Hill says he won’t be trading from the team’s strength to alleviate it.  “We are fortunate we have some players who are flexible, that we can move to the bullpen,” Hill said, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. “We have some young players who may have to go back (to the minors).”
  • Hill also shrugged off the notion that the Marlins might look to trade veterans such as Martin Prado and Michael Morse before the deadline.  “Any pieces that are under control aren’t even considerations to do anything.  We aren’t building this team for 2015. We’re building this for ’15 and ’16 and ’17. We’re trying to build a perennial contender,” Hill said.
  • In NL East news from earlier today on MLBTR, the Braves signed first-rounder Mike Soroka, and pundits overwhelmingly felt the Braves got the better of their controversial trade with the Diamondbacks that brought Touki Toussaint and Bronson Arroyo to Atlanta.

Quick Hits: International Spending, Giants, Cubans

Remember when the Padres, Red Sox, and White Sox were the most improved teams in the majors? They, along with the Marlins, are below .500 despite their busy offseasons, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Alternatively, the Blue Jays have pushed into playoff contention with a recent winning streak. Toronto added Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin over the offseason, but the core of the team has remained largely intact. Kepner notes that these quick turnaround rebuilds are no guarantee for solid performance.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • A new international signing period will begin on July 2nd, but 2016 is the time for your favorite team to break the bank, per Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Angels, and Diamondbacks are already unable to spend more than $300K on a player for the next two seasons. The Dodgers, Cubs, Royals, Phillies, and Blue Jays may blow past their bonus limit in the 2015 signing period. That will remove many of the most active teams from the market in 2016. Badler gives a complete description of the international market conditions. It’s well worth a read.
  • The Giants will soon face a roster crunch in their rotation, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. Jake Peavy is medically ready to return, and Matt Cain is nearing readiness. The easiest move would be to option Chris Heston, but he’s tied for the club lead with seven wins and recently no-hit the Mets. Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Hudson have been merely serviceable. The same can be said of Tim Lincecum in recent weeks. With the exception of Heston, the other rotation arms could be lost if they’re designated for assignment. The club could opt to move Lincecum and Vogelsong into the bullpen, but that just pushes the roster crunch elsewhere.
  • An influx of Cuban players could soon flood the majors, writes Bill Shaiken of the Los Angeles Times. Cuban players, even those who fall under international spending restrictions, are currently able to negotiate with all 30 clubs. That increases their bargaining power. It’s a big reason why infielder Roberto Baldoquin cost about four times more than the Angels’ entire 2015 amateur draft class. Cubans are currently the third most represented foreign nation in the majors. Opening day rosters included 18 Cubans, 65 Venezuelans, and 83 Dominicans. Cuba has a comparable population to the Dominican Republic. As such, we could see a surge of Cuban players as diplomatic relations continue to thaw.

East Notes: Scherzer, Red Sox, Marlins, Braves

Saturday afternoon, Nationals starter Max Scherzer no-hit the Pirates, losing a perfect game with two outs in the ninth when Jose Tabata leaned down to allow himself to get hit in the elbow — in a 6-0 game. The ending aside, it was a dominant performance by Scherzer, who is, improbably, having the best season of his career in the first year of his contract in Washington. 14 starts in, Scherzer has cut his walk rate in half compared to last season, during which he was already clearly an elite pitcher. After today’s ten-strikeout performance, he’s also whiffed 123 batters in 102 1/3 innings. Tabata’s HBP dashed Scherzer’s chances of a perfect game today, but if he keeps pitching this brilliantly, there might be more shots in his future. Here’s more from the East divisions.

  • In 2012, the Red Sox made a franchise-changing trade, dealing Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers and freeing up salary in the process. That deal ended up helping them win the 2013 World Series. Now, the 2015 Red Sox look a little bit like the 2012 version, and Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, following up on a column by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, wonders whether they ought to consider dumping players yet again to give themselves more flexibility. Britton suggests, though, that it would be difficult to find a trade partner as perfect for their current situation as the Dodgers (who willingly took on heaps of money to get a good player in Gonzalez) were in 2012. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, meanwhile, is withholding judgment on the new contracts of players like Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. “We’ve had plenty of examples of guys who five or 10 percent of the way through their contracts, there was an adjustment period and they didn’t take off quite yet and then in time they do,” said Cherington earlier this week. “I’m not going to make any judgments on any specific decision or player based on that short amount of time.” Here are more notes from the East divisions.
  • Despite his unusual background, former GM Dan Jennings is settling in as the Marlins‘ new manager, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. When Jeffrey Loria broached the subject of Jennings taking the managerial job, Jennings had the same reaction as much of the rest of the industry: “Have you lost your mind?” After beginning Jennings’ tenure with five straight losses, the Marlins are 13-12. “It’s starting to normalize. The boys are playing well, and I’m proud of the way we’ve responded,” says Jennings. “I’m having a blast.”
  • Acquiring high-upside talent in the draft can be difficult, so the Braves have tried to acquire talented, if tarnished, pitchers in trades, Ray Glier writes for Baseball America. Those include Manny Banuelos, Chris Withrow, Arodys Vizcaino, Max Fried and Tyrell Jenkins, all of whom have had significant injuries. The Braves’ top 2015 draft pick, Kolby Allard, likewise fell to them because of an injury. “Before you know it, the end of 2015 will be here and it will be 2016, and we will have a lot of fresh, healthy pitchers,” says GM John Hart. As Glier notes, sometimes injury recoveries don’t go smoothly. But Hart insists the Braves are being careful. “For every guy we have acquired I can honestly say we have another 10 to 12 we didn’t bite down on because we didn’t get good enough medical information that allowed us to pull the trigger,” Hart says.

Marlins Designate Jhonatan Solano For Assignment

The Marlins have announced that they’ve designated catcher Jhonatan Solano for assignment. The move clears space on the team’s roster for lefty Justin Nicolino, who will start today.

The 29-year-old Solano, a light hitter even by backup catcher standards, has collected just one hit in 21 plate appearances this season. He’s a career .240/.285/.345 hitter in about two seasons’ worth of plate appearances at the Triple-A level. He had already been outrighted once this year, but the Marlins selected his contract again this week as J.T. Realmuto dealt with a minor back injury.

Nicolino’s start will be his big-league debut. The 23-year-old arrived in the Marlins system as part of the Jose Reyes deal in the 2012-13 offseason and has slowly made his way through the minors since then, posting a 2.87 ERA and 2.4 BB/9 but with a low 5.2 K/9 in 78 1/3 innings at Triple-A New Orleans this season.


Marlins Could Trade Tom Koehler, Brad Hand

The Marlins could trade righty Tom Koehler and lefty Brad Hand to an unknown team, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports (Twitter links). Justin Nicolino is being promoted to make his big-league debut while starting in Koehler’s place today. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets that Koehler is dealing with neck and back pain, however, so Koehler’s scratch might not suggest a trade is imminent.

The 28-year-old Koehler, in particular, would likely be a somewhat attractive trade target for a team seeking starting pitching. He has a 3.76 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 this season, and, today’s neck and back issues aside, he’s generally proven to be a durable innings eater. He’s also cheap and team controlled — he isn’t eligible for arbitration for the first time until after this season. The Marlins’ rotation currently features Koehler along with Dan Haren, Mat Latos, David Phelps and Jose Urena, although the team is preparing for Jose Fernandez‘s return early next month, and Jarred Cosart is finishing a rehab assignment after missing a month due to vertigo.

The 24-year-old Hand has spent most of his big-league career so far bouncing back and forth between starting and relief. He’s had difficulties pitching mostly in relief this year, with a 5.97 ERA, although his peripherals are somewhat better, at 6.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. He’s out of options and was the subject of trade rumors in Spring Training.