Michael Hill Rumors

Marlins Notes: Hill, Pitching, Extensions

Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed his team’s plans for the Winter Meetings and beyond in a conference call with the media on Friday.  Here are some of the highlights, via MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (two links) and the Associated Press

  • The Marlins have had “multiple conversations on a lot of fronts” but aren’t particularly close to any moves, Hill said.
  • With the number of talented young starters in Miami’s system, it’s not surprising that other teams have shown the most interest in the Marlins’ arms.  “We’ve gotten a ton of calls on our pitching,” Hill said.  “I think the industry recognizes we have somewhat of a surplus. I feel you can never have enough of it. But we’ve said that if we have an opportunity to help upgrade our club, we will use our inventory to make deals. We’ve gotten a ton of hits on our pitching, but the deals just haven’t been the right deals for us at this point.”  The Marlins are reportedly open to listening to offers for righty Nathan Eovaldi and southpaws Andrew Heaney and Brad Hand, possibly as part of the team’s search for first base help or for a veteran starting pitcher.
  • In regards to that 1B/SP search, Hill doesn’t “think one is more pressing than the other.  We’re working on both in lockstep.”
  • Miami is open to dealing a controllable prospect for a player who may be a year away from free agency if it helps the team, though Hill acknowledged the debate that goes into such a decision.  “I think we’re just trying to measure the value of the piece that we’re adding versus the control that we would be giving away,” Hill said.  “Our situation, we’re never going to be a high revenue, high top of the market, payroll-wise club. So we have to be mindful and protective of our inventory. But we also know that we have to win games. I think that is what we’re trying to balance and make the right decision that helps us, both in the near term and the long term.”
  • While the Marlins “continue to monitor” the second base market, “I wouldn’t say it is at the forefront of our goals,” Hill said.  “It’s not a very rich market.  That’s why I think we were very fortunate to acquire [Enrique Hernandez] at the deadline. It’s not something where there are numerous options out there ready and available that we feel are significant upgrades over what we have.”
  • The Marlins have made extension offers to such young stars as Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria and Marcell Ozuna, though Hill isn’t expecting anything to break on that front soon.  “They know they’re young in their careers, so I don’t think there’s any urgencyIt’s more of an education process as we go through it. If we can gain momentum and make something happen, we’ll all be pleased with it. At a minimum we know at this point they’re all under control for many, many years to come.”

Quick Hits: Stanton, Mariners, Rios, Payrolls

The Marlins hope to have Giancarlo Stanton signed to a long-term extension before the Winter Meetings, Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill tells Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (audio link).  Hill said that Jose Fernandez‘s rehab from Tommy John surgery is going well but the team is “not going to push anything because he is so valuable to us.”  Not included in the audio link, but available via Bowden’s Twitter feed, are Hill’s remarks about wanting to add another starting pitcher and a big bat to the Marlins’ roster this offseason.

Here’s some more from around baseball…

  • Ten hitters who the Mariners could pursue via trades or free agency are listed by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News TribuneVictor Martinez, Michael Cuddyer and Billy Butler seem to be Seattle’s likeliest targets, Dutton believes, while players like Melky Cabrera (desire to play on the East Coast), Nelson Cruz and Yasmany Tomas (salary demands) seem unlikely to join the M’s.
  • Alex Rios is likely viewed by the Mariners and other teams as “a fall-back option” if their preferred outfield choices aren’t available, Dutton writes.  “Few if any” scouts would sign Rios to a two-year contract, though a one-year deal worth no more than $10MM “could be a reasonable…risk.”  MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted Rios would find a one-year, $8.5MM deal this winter.
  • A number of trends emerged from a study of how the last 46 playoff teams allocated their payroll, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.  Spreading salaries around seemed to be a key factor — only nine of the 46 teams spent more than 17% of their Opening Day payroll on a single player, and the teams averaged 54.5% on their five most expensive players.  Of the 46 teams studied, only two had a highest-paid player who was also their most productive player (according to WAR).
  • With offense down, starting pitchers (maybe even the top arms) could see their market diminished in free agency this winter, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his latest Insider-only piece.  Conversely, this also raises the value of free agent hitters, plus some teams could receive some big returns in trades for quality bats.  Olney lists a few hitters that have already been mentioned as possible trade candidates (i.e. Yoenis Cespedes and Cubs‘ middle infielders) as well as longer-shot options as Manny Machado.
  • Mike Elias, the Astros‘ director of amateur scouting, discusses Houston’s scouting department, some prospects the difficulty in accurately grading hitting and a number of other topics as part of a wide-ranging interview with Fangraphs’ David Laurila.

NL Notes: Zimmermann, Stanton, Roenicke, Phillies, Rockies

For the second consecutive year, MLB has a no-hitter to close out the regular season. The Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann threw the first no-hitter for the franchise since their move to Washington, D.C., but needed a diving, over-the-shoulder grab by leftfielder Steven Souza, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the ninth, to preserve the 1-0 gem. “No-doubt double and [Souza] comes out of nowhere. Whatever he wants, I’ll buy him anything,” Zimmermann said (as tweeted by the Washington Post’s James Wagner). As for his defensive wizardry, Souza (as quoted by Paul White of USA Today) “knew it was over my head. I was just hoping I had a prayer of laying out. Anything can happen when you hit the ground. I came down like a football catch and that thing wasn’t getting out.Henderson Alvarez, who tossed last year’s season-ending no-hitter, was the victim today.

Elsewhere in the National League:

  • The Marlins will discuss a contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “That is our plan, to talk with him about extending him beyond his arbitration years,” said Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill. “We have to hear from them and what their goals are, and what they hope to accomplish. We have some ideas we’ll streamline and tighten up as have those meetings. And hopefully we’re on the same page and can get something done.” Stanton is represented by the Wasserman Media Group, per MLBTR’s Agency Database.
  • Earlier today, Marlins manager Mike Redmond received a contract extension. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, meanwhile, is still awaiting his fate. “Yeah, I don’t know where we stand,” Roenicke told reporters, including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “Yeah, it’s always uncomfortable when you’re not sure what’s going to happen. You do the best you can do, and you know when you’re a manager, that sometimes if it doesn’t go well, that you’re the guy that’s going to get blamed for it.” The Brewers lost to the Cubs to finish the year at 82-80 and 9-22 since August 26.
  • Ryan Howard is just as unclear about his 2015 status with the Phillies, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “Whether it’s going to be here or not, I don’t know. But I’ll be playing baseball. So my future is certain in that aspect,” said Howard, who went so far as to ask reporters if they think he has played his last game as a Phillie. 
  • Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett, who will undergo hernia surgery next week, remains undecided about exercising his $12.75MM player option, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. “It’s ultimately going to come down to me,” Burnett said. “I had the same thoughts last year. Then I woke up and I wanted to compete. So I can’t just shut that down if it’s still there. But then again, my youngins, they have a say in it.
  • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post opines losing has taken such a toll throughout the Rockies organization that players, coaches, and other staff members are wondering if there is a vision to right the franchise.
  • Wally Backman will not be added to the Mets‘ coaching staff in 2015, sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.


Hill Talks Trade Deadline, Rotation, Second Base

The Marlins were tied for first place in the NL East on June 8, but have posted an 11-20 record since and have fallen to fourth place, 7.5 games behind the Braves and Nationals. Before losing their fourth in a row, Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill held court with reporters at Citi Field:

  • The Marlins are in the market for starting pitching, but want controllable arms. “A rental, it may help you in the short term,” Hill said (as quoted by MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro). “We want something we can move forward with. I think that will definitely influence the direction we go.
  • Hill added (also quoted by Frisaro) putting a premium on team control is part of the franchise’s philosophy, “We’re never [shortsighted] with anything that we do. There is always an eye on the present. We never lose sight of the future and what we’re trying to build. We want to build sustained winning here. We do control all of our roster, for the most part.
  • Failing to swing a trade, internal rotation options include Jacob Turner and Brad Penny, who was promoted recently to Triple-A after signing a minor league deal last month, reports the Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro.
  • The search for rotation reinforcements does not signal a lack of faith in the Marlins’ young arms, including Anthony DeSclafani and Andrew Heaney. “We have the people to do the job,” Hill explained (as quoted by Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel). “We’ve had varied success. Some of our young starters have shown their youth and we’ll always try to do what’s in the best interest of our players. If DeSclafani needs more seasoning we’re going to give him that. If the decision is Heaney needs more seasoning, we’re going to give him that, but we still have all the faith in the world in our young players.
  • The Marlins are also looking to fill the void at second base created last month when Rafael Furcal landed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. “We thought he would be that speed/leadoff player for us,” said Hill (also quoted by Rodriguez). “Injuries have prevented him from doing that. That’s still a part of our team that’s missing and we feel we would like to have, whatever form or shape that comes in.
  • Hill expects to sign the two remaining holdouts among their top top ten picks (seventh-round shortstop Anfernee Seymour and 10th-round left-hander Dillon Peters) prior to Friday’s deadline, per Navarro.

East Notes: Red Sox, Marlins, De La Rosa, Ayala

The injury bug has struck the Red Sox again. Mike Carp, who replaced the injured Mike Napoli at first base, under went a CT scan today and it revealed a broken foot, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. The injury will set off a series of roster moves with Stephen Drew ready to join the club in Cleveland tomorrow. MacPherson tweets the Red Sox will place Carp on the disabled list and and recall Daniel Nava. Garin Cecchini, who made his MLB debut today when Dustin Pedroia was ejected and went 1-for-2 with a RBI double, told reporters (including Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com) he will have dinner with his parents and then report to Triple-A Pawtucket. Prior to the announcement of Carp’s injury, the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber outlined how the Red Sox could juggle playing time with the addition of Drew.

Elsewhere in baseball’s East divisions:

  • The Marlins acquired right-handed reliever Bryan Morris from the Pirates earlier in the day and the team is already being criticized for the move. Fangraph’s Dave Cameron opines Morris is a below replacement level pitcher and giving up the 39th pick in the draft for him (an asset worth several million dollars) is “beyond crazy” (Twitter links).
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio agrees with Cameron tweeting Morris is not worth past number 39 picks like Lance Lynn (Cardinals), Anthony Ranaudo (Red Sox), and Joey Gallo (Rangers).
  • Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill defended the trade to reporters, including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez. “We had a need,” Hill said. “It was in our bullpen. We were looking for the piece that was the right fit for us in terms of controlling, not just short-term, but long-term, and [Morris] had the stuff to help our club as well.
  • Hill also said the trade “is the first piece” as he attempts to strengthen the second-place Marlins. “I don’t think we’re finished in trying to improve our club. We’re still trying to make as many improvements as we think we can to help this team.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com chronicles the development of Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa from a prospect who had trouble harnessing his potential to the pitcher who tossed seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts Saturday night.
  • Right-hander Luis Ayala, who opted out of his minor league deal with the Orioles yesterday, will pitch in Mexico, tweets MASNsports.com’s Rock Kubatko.

Mets GM Rumors: Jennings, Hart, Hunsicker

The Wilpons asked the Marlins for permission to speak to Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings about their GM opening, tweets ESPN's Jerry CrasnickThe Miami Herald's Clark Spencer says the Mets asked for permission to speak to Marlins executives Larry Beinfest and Mike Hill as well, but are likely to be denied the chance to speak to any of the three.  It would be odd for the Marlins to allow a division rival the opportunity to swipe a top executive.

According to Newsday's David Lennon on Twitter, former Rangers and Indians GM John Hart would be interested in the Mets' opening but could be expensive.  Hart remains with the Rangers as a senior advisor in baseball operations.  How about a reunion with Gerry Hunsicker, who currently serves as a senior VP with the Rays?  He told Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal Saturday that he did not have a burning passion to be a GM again and that "it would have to be a very special situation."


GM Trade Histories: NL East

Brendan Bianowicz is back with a bunch of updates to the GM Trade History series.  The Excel spreadsheets linked below cover each GM's trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks via tabs along the bottom.  It's interesting to see each GM's most frequent trade partner – for example, Omar Minaya has matched up with Larry Beinfest and Mark Shapiro most often in his career.