Miami Marlins Rumors

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

Marlins Win Arbitration Hearing Against David Phelps

The Marlins have won an arbitration hearing against right-hander David Phelps, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). As MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows, Phelps had filed at $1.875MM, while the team countered with $1.4MM. Phelps will earn $1.4MM in 2014, which is still slightly higher than the $1.3MM projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

Acquired alongside Martin Prado in the trade that sent Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones to the Yankees, Phelps soaked up 113 innings for an injury-riddled Yankees pitching staff in 2014. The 28-year-old totaled a 4.38 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 41.2 percent ground-ball rate. Phelps appeared in 32 games — 17 of them starts — resulting in a career-high in terms of innings pitched. This was his first trip through the arbitration process and, as a Super Two player, he’ll be eligible three more times before hitting the open market upon completion of the 2018 season.

Phelps was the final of Miami’s seven arbitration cases to be resolved and the second to reach a hearing. The Marlins won their other hearing this winter — the case of fellow newcomer Mat Latos, who will now earn $9.4MM as opposed to $10.4MM.


Minor Moves: Coffey, Colabello, Martinez, Adams

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Continuing their trend of adding veteran arms on minor league deals, the Braves have added right-hander Todd Coffey on such a pact and invited him to Spring Training, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Coffey missed the 2013 season after undergoing his second career Tommy John surgery and spent much of the 2014 campaign with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, where he posted an excellent 1.93 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 37 1/3 innings of work. From 2009-12 with the Brewers, Nationals and Dodgers, Coffey notched a 3.76 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 225 innings. The Braves have also added Jose Veras, Matt Capps, Chien-ming Wang, Wandy Rodriguez and Donnie Veal on minor league deals this winter.
  • The Blue Jays announced that first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A (h/t: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet). The 31-year-old Colabello found himself designated for assignment to make room for waiver claim Jayson Aquino. The longtime indy ball star has been a nice story since signing with the Twins as a 28-year-old and rising through their ranks to the MLB level.
  • The Indians have signed former Phillies utility man Michael Martinez to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training, per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (on Twitter). The 32-year-old switch-hitter brings plenty of defensive versatility to the table, though he’s just a .181/.231/.251 hitter in 440 big league plate appearances.

Earlier Updates

  • The Marlins have inked infielder David Adams to a minor league deal that does not include an invitation to big league camp, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). Now 27, Adams slashed a meager .193/.252/.286 in 152 trips to the plate with the Yankees in 2013. He has performed much better in the upper minors, slashing .255/.349/.397 in 333 plate appearances at Triple-A and putting up a .290/367/.443 line in 899 Double-A turns at bat.
  • Another utility infielder, Chris Dominguez, has agreed to a minor league pact with the Reds, the club tweeted. Dominguez, who was recently designated and released by the Giants, will participate in MLB camp. The 28-year-old saw his first action in the bigs last year, a quick stop with San Francisco, but has spent most of his time over the last two seasons at Triple-A. In 1,203 total PCL plate appearances, Dominguez owns a solid .278/.312/.446 slash with 39 home runs.
  • Lefty Cesar Jimenez has cleared waivers and accepted a Triple-A assignment, the Phillies announced. Despite a strong 2014 and deal to avoid arbitration, Jimenez was designated and then outrighted recently.

Reactions To And Fallout From The James Shields Signing

The James Shields saga has finally drawn to a close, with the right-hander agreeing to a four-year deal to pitch near his southern California home as a member of the vastly reshaped Padres. Shields will reportedly take home $75MM, and his contract also contains a club option. Shields rumors have dominated the past week, with multiple teams rumored to be involved. Here are some reactions from around the baseball world as well as some details on other offers that Shields had available…

  • Shields did not take the best offer that was presented to him, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). One team made the right-hander a four-year, $80MM contract offer. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune backs that up (also on Twitter) by noting that the Padres’ offer was “one of the highest,” adding that he had heard Shields was willing to take a small discount to pitch in San Diego.
  • That team wasn’t the Cubs, who topped out at three years and a vesting option, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Chicago wasn’t willing to guarantee Shields a contract in the mid-$70MM range after spending $175MM on Jon Lester and Jason Hammel already this offseason.
  • The Marlins also offered Shields a three-year pact and a vesting option, Heyman tweets.
  • The Marlins realized they had to bow out on Saturday afternoon once the bidding exceeded $70MM, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter links). Miami was concerned not only with blowing up its future payroll but also with forfeiting the No. 12 pick in the draft — the top unprotected pick this year. The Padres, of course surrendered the very next pick in the draft, as they’d been slotted 13th overall. Frisaro adds that Shields monitored the Marlins all winter and was impressed by their direction, but the Padres simply made a stronger offer.
  • Olney gets a different sense of the Marlins’ level of involvement, as he tweets that some are of the belief that the Marlins actually made the highest offer to Shields.
  • The Cubs‘ guarantee was around $60MM, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Sherman adds that Shields’ camp pursued the Dodgers far more than the team pursued him, and the Blue Jays hadn’t spoken to Shields in about two weeks when he agreed to terms.
  • Also from Sherman’s piece, he opines that while Shields is unquestionably a financial risk — the Friars will be paying him and Kemp roughly $36MM per year beginning in 2016 (the $18MM received from the Dodgers offsets much of the 2015 cost) — he was too good of a deal to pass up. Shields was still cheaper, financially speaking, than Cole Hamels, and he also didn’t cost the prospects Hamels would have required. He also provides leadership and protects them somewhat when Ian Kennedy and Andrew Cashner hit the open market. And, with Kennedy, Carlos Quentin, Justin Upton, Will Venable, Joaquin Benoit, Cory Luebke, Shawn Kelley, Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson all potentially off the books next winter, the team has some financial flexibility.
  • Fangraphs’ Mike Petriello writes that while the addition of Shields is an unequivocal boost to the Padres’ postseason hopes, their downfall very well could be a patchwork group of infielders. The Padres’ infield projects at just 5.6 WAR, based on the Steamer projection system, and Petriello looks at the past five seasons’ worth of data to see the correlation between infield WAR and overall wins by a team. Unsurprisingly, the outlook is bleak, with only the 2012 Orioles and A’s receiving a lower WAR contribution and still reaching the playoffs. Of course, as Petriello notes, there’s reason to be optimistic for a rebound from Jedd Gyorko, and there’s still some upside in Yonder Alonso and Will Middlebrooks. The shortstop tandem of Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes is likely to be a black hole offensively, however.
  • Peter Gammons is a bit skeptical of the Padres’ win-now tactics (Twitter links). As Gammons points out, while the team has created some buzz and bolstered its 2015 hopes, by 2017 they’ll have a 32-year-old Matt Kemp and 36-year-old Shields earning significant salaries, and they’ve either traded away their recent first-round picks or watched them flame out. The Padres have just two of their first rounders from 2009-14 still in the system in Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg, and they now don’t have a first-rounder in 2015. Trea Turner and Joe Ross were in the Wil Myers trade, Max Fried was used in the Justin Upton trade, Karsten Whitson didn’t sign (Spangenberg was selected as compensation the following year) and Donavan Tate was out of baseball last season. The team does still have some supplemental first-rounders in the system, while seventh-rounder Matt Wisler and second-rounder Austin Hedges have become Top 100 prospects.
  • Shields provides the Padres with some surprisingly much-needed innings, write Mark Simon and Justin Havens of ESPN. Though the Friars are typically thought of as having a strong pitching staff, their rotation has ranked 22nd or 23rd in innings in each of the past three seasons.


Quick Hits: K-Rod, Rockies, Baker

The White Sox and Brewers have had the best and worst offseasons, respectively, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The White Sox were aggressive but conservative in spending their financial flexibility and did well by not surrendering any top prospects to acquire Jeff Samardzija. The Brewers, meanwhile, are not good enough to compete in the NL Central now or in the near future and should have either made a big play for a free agent like James Shields or turned over the roster on a grander scale than just trading Yovani Gallardo.

Elsewhere in baseball:

  • If the Marlins are unable to further upgrade their rotation, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro advocates the club signing Francisco Rodriguez, not to supplant closer Steve Cishek but to solidify the back end of their bullpen. Frisaro tweeted the Marlins could apply their arbitration savings of $1.265MM (achieved with the Mike Dunn extension and in winning the Mat Latos arbitration hearing) towards signing Rodriguez. Earlier today, Frisaro reported the Marlins have contacted K-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras.
  • GM Jeff Bridich sees the free agent signing of Kyle Kendrick and the acquisition of David Hale as updgrading the Rockies‘ rotation, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. “I certainly feel like the depth has been addressed to a certain degree,” Bridich said. “We were involved in both free agency and trades. Again, we have a good sense of what Kyle Kendrick is and what he can do. I think he has proven himself. With the acquisition of somebody like Hale … I think there is upside there.
  • MLB.com’s Terence Moore profiles Dusty Baker, who would “like to have another chance to manage, because the only thing lacking in my career is” a World Series ring, but is content if he never receives that opportunity.
  • Cuban infielder Alejandro Ortiz has petitioned for free agency and is expected to hit the market soon, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The 24-year-old, who possesses speed and a good glove, played five seasons in Serie Nacional, so he is exempt from counting against a team’s international signing bonus pool.

Marlins Sign Mike Dunn To Two-Year Deal

The Marlins have avoided arbitration with reliever Mike Dunn agreeing to a two-year, $5.8MM deal, tweets Dunn’s agency, O’Connell Sports Management. The contract buys out Dunn’s remaining arbitration years, but keeps him on track for free agency after the 2016 season.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports Dunn will receive $2.35MM in 2015 ($50K more than projected) and $3.45MM in 2016. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman tweets Dunn can earn an additional $100K in the second year of the pact by reaching the thresholds of 55 and 60 innings pitched. The Marlins are a “file and trial” team (the strategy of going to an arbitration hearing with a player once arbitration figures have been exchanged), but they make an exception for multi-year deals, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. The left-hander filed for $2.6MM while the Marlins countered with $2.355MM, per MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker. Dunn’s signing leaves David Phelps as the Marlins’ lone unresolved arbitration case.

Dunn has been a workhorse in the Marlins’ bullpen appearing in at least 60 games in each of the past four seasons, including 75 the past two years. The 29-year-old posted a line of 3.16 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and a career-best 3.5 BB/9 covering 57 innings of work in 2014.


Marlins Have Reached Out To K-Rod

The Marlins have reached out to agent Scott Boras regarding Francisco Rodriguez, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Nothing is imminent on that front, but the club could circle back to K-Rod at some point as they look to bolster their bullpen.

It has been speculated for some time that Miami could go after Rodriguez and earlier today, GM Dan Jennings hinted to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM that he is considering the veteran.  Miami isn’t alone in that pursuit, however, as the Blue JaysPhillies, and Brewers are among the clubs that have been connected to him.

The Brewers are looking at Rodriguez as a fallback if they cannot work out a trade with the Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon.  Rodriguez pitched to a 3.11 ERA with 9.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 57 saves in 193 2/3 innings for Milwaukee.  The 33-year-old arguably stands as the best closing option available on the open market, but things have yet to come together for him.  His fate seems to be tied somewhat to the outcome of the Papelbon situation – the Brewers view him as their Plan B and the Phillies seem likely to pursue K-Rod if Papelbon is moved.


Marlins Notes: Shields, Haren, Fernandez

The latest out of Miami..

  • When asked if he’s in on James Shields, Marlins GM Dan Jennings told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) “you never know if you’re still in it or not in it until someone signs him.”  At present, however, it would seem that the Marlins are on the outside looking in with the Padres viewed as the favorites and the Cubs still lurking.
  • Jennings added, “We have had internal discussions about [Shields] and all other free agents… we’ll see in the next few days where he goes,” (via MLB Network Radio on Twitter).
  • Jennings told Bowden (on Twitter) that Dan Haren is preparing for Spring Training and looking forward to being a member of the Marlins.  Haren reportedly has been hoping for a trade that would keep him closer to his family in California.  At one time, Haren seemed to be considering retirement over spending the season in Miami.
  • Jennings said that the timetable for Jose Fernandez to take the mound is between June 15th and July 15th (via Bowden on Twitter).
  • Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (on Twitter) opines that the Marlins’ next step should be to try to sign Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez on the cheap.  When asked by Bowden (link) about possible interest in the relievers, Jennings didn’t tip his hat much, saying that he’s “always looking to add.”  Jennings added that he’s exploring potentially bringing “one or two more guys to camp,” according to MLB Network Radio (on Twitter).

James Shields Rumors: Thursday

The market for James Shields is picking up steam, to say the least, with multiple reports indicating that he could decide upon a team before this weekend comes to a close. As of yesterday, the Marlins were still said to be in talks for Shields, with the Cubs “kicking the tires.” The Padres were indirectly connected to Shields, as reports had them seeking a top-end starter, though Shields was not mentioned by name.

Here are today’s Shields-related items…

  • “The Padres…have to be considered favorites for” Shields, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets.  The fact that Shields lives in San Diego could indeed give the Padres the edge, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes.
  • While the Padres are indeed “among the favorites” for Shields, Heyman reports that “a few other teams, including at least one surprise” are in contact with Shields’ camp.  A person connected to the Cubs tells Heyman that Chicago could get involved in Shields’ market if his price falls significantly; the Cubs’ interest in Shields was first reported yesterday.
  • The Blue Jays are “kicking the tires” on Shields, which is a surprise to Heyman given their payroll limitations.  This isn’t the first time Toronto has been linked to Shields, though it remains to be seen if the Jays can create the financial space to sign Shields even at a lowered price tag.

Earlier Updates

  • The Dodgers are currently focused on international stars Yoan Moncada and Hector Olivera and not Shields, tweets Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons. Many have speculated that the Dodgers could make a play based not only on their deep pockets but on the presence of former Rays GM Andrew Friedman atop the new L.A. baseball operations department.
  • Multiple sources have told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that they do not expect the Marlins to sign Shields. One source characterized the chances as “zero percent.” For what it’s worth, others have also reported the chances as “zero,” only to have rumors of talks between the two sides resurface. Ultimately, however, it seems that the Fish are long shots. Shields’ reported desire to play for a team on the West Coast and the Marlins’ limited payroll are both detrimental factors.
  • Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been told by sources in recent weeks that the Cardinals “are not a team with interest.” As Goold outlines, the Cardinals may be wary not only of forfeiting a draft pick but of forfeiting the portion of their draft bonus pool that would go along with it. Based on last year’s slot figures, signing Shields would cost St. Louis 28.3 percent of its bonus pool.

Marlins Win Arbitration Hearing Against Mat Latos

The Marlins have won their arbitration hearing against newly-acquired righty Mat Latos, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick was first to report (Twitter link). Latos had filed at $10.4MM but will instead receive the $9.4MM that Miami submitted.

Though he will not achieve his full asking price, Latos nevertheless receives a nice bump up over last year’s $7.25MM salary, which constituted the second-year of an extension signed with the Reds. He also lands a healthy margin above the MLBTR/Matt Swartz projection of $8.4MM.

All said, though the panel chose to go with the lower figure, Latos was obviously well-rewarded for a half-season of work last year. The 27-year-old missed time early and only made 16 starts, though he logged a healthy 102 1/3 frames in the process. That matched the pace he had set in the prior two seasons, when he notched better than 200 frames in over thirty outings.

Latos has produced uniformly excellent results. Over the last three seasons, he has not strayed from the 3.16 to 3.48 ERA range over a full season. While his strikeout totals dipped last year to 6.5 K/9, he held the free passes down to a career-low 2.3 per nine.


James Shields Rumors: Wednesday

We learned last night that the market for James Shields was taking shape, with multiple offers on the table and an expectation that the righty would be signed by the end of the week. Today figures to deliver plenty more reporting on the best remaining free agent, and we’ll keep tabs on it here.

  • The Cubs have entered the fray and are “kicking the tires” on Shields, reports David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. Kaplan, too, hears that Shields is expected to choose a team by the end of the week, and the Cubs are among those he is considering. Kaplan tweets that the Cubs have been waiting to see where the Shields market ended up before getting too involved. He adds that Shields has interest in Chicago, with his relationship with manager Joe Maddon being a factor.

Earlier Updates

  • Shields’s agent, Page Odle, has indicated to some clubs that his client is “getting close to resolution,” according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter).
  • While it remains unclear exactly where they stand, the Marlins “remain in talks” involving Shields, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. As he writes, the club is more interested in a three-year deal than in going to four, with its pursuit complicated by payroll projections and the undecided situation of Dan Haren.
  • If Miami is in, several other at-least-hypothetical landing spots appear to be out: The Cardinals prefer to plug Carlos Martinez in the rotation rather than signing Shields, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Rangers have not modified their intentions to avoid major free agent pitching investments, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (via Twitter). And the always-unpredictable Athletics are not involved, per a tweet from Heyman.
  • Two more west coast teams, the Giants and Angels, are also not currently in the running, Heyman reports (Twitter links). San Francisco had been in conversations in the four-year, $80MM range with Shields earlier in the offseason, per an Olney tweet, but ended up pursuing (and signing) Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong when they were rebuffed.

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