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- East Notes: Papelbon, Warren, Victorino
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Ozzie Guillen Rumors
The Venezuelan Winter League's annual home run derby took place last night at City University (Ciudad Universidad) in Caracas, with longtime Mariners minor leaguer Luis Jimenez besting a host of MLB talent including Pablo Sandoval, Carlos Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, Bobby Abreu, Miguel Montero, and Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano, a surprise entry, made a decent showing, hitting his first offering out to left field and ultimately tying Gonzalez with two bambinazos, according to Oscar Alonso Delgado at Correo del Carroní. He also had the quote of the night. Links are in Spanish…
- Talking to reporters at the derby, Zambrano outlined his re-commitment to the Cubs following a disastrous 2011 season. "I'm preparing like when I was a rookie, climbing mountains, running on the beach, and exercising hard so that I can arrive at Spring Training in optimal shape," he said, as relayed by Joiner Martinez at Líder en Deportes. "I want to stay in Chicago for the two seasons I still have with the team. I'm not a coward who would take the back door out of the majors."
- Alas, Ozzie Guillen didn't participate in the derby, but he did speak to the press, contesting recent reports that Hanley Ramirez has resisted moving to third base. "It never came from Hanley that he was upset. That was from the press," Guillen said, according to Manuel Lira at Líder. "He's calm. I've talked with him through Miguel Cabrera. He knew before the signing what the Marlins were going to do, and afteward, he talked with the front office for 20 minutes and didn't express any unhappiness. I want Hanley to be happy, and I'll talk with him when things quiet down."
- Guillen also shared the mic briefly with Omar Vizquel, who complained to the Venezuelan press earlier this offseason that that the White Sox treated him like he was "in intensive care" last season. Guillen joked, "They booted me [from Chicago] because of Vizquel," but apparently feelings aren't too raw, because in a separate piece in Líder by Joiner Martinez, the new Marlins manager added, "Omar Vizquel is a possibility for our team… We don't know which players we're going to sign, but Vizquel could play two or three more years in the big leagues." Guillen clarified, however, that Zambrano isn't in his plans at the moment.
On this date in 1993, the Phillies defeated the Braves in the NLCS and advanced to the World Series, which they lost in six games to the Blue Jays. Here are today's NL East-related links…
- Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider examines the Nationals' roster and shows that it takes years for general managers to fully make their mark on a team. Mike Rizzo has acquired most of Washington's players, but previous regimes acquired many others.
- Justin Verlander sees strong similarities between himself and Stephen Strasburg, though Strasburg has shied away from the comparison in the past. “He throws 100 with a hammer and a changeup,” Verlander told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “There’s really nobody else. Comparison-wise, it’s him and I right now.”
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes discussed a number of Phillies, including Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence, with Nick Mandarano on a recent podcast.
- Ozzie Guillen will earn $10MM, not $16MM, over the next four years with the Marlins, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
THURSDAY, 1:15pm: The White Sox announced that they assigned the contract of right-hander Ricardo Andres to the Marlins to complete the deal. Andres appeared in 12 games at Rookie Ball this year in his first professional season. The 20-year-old posted a 6.32 ERA in 15 2/3 innings, striking out 11.
TUESDAY, 1:36pm: The White Sox will also acquire reliever Jhan Marinez, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Marinez, 23, posted a 3.57 ERA, 11.5 K/9, 6.5 BB/9, and 1.1 HR/9 in 58 Double-A relief innings this year. Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked Marinez fourth among Marlins prospects, citing a "combination of great stuff and immaturity." Marinez has a closer repertoire, wrote BA.
10:21am: The White Sox are expected to acquire infielder Osvaldo Martinez and a minor league pitcher from the Marlins for manager Ozzie Guillen, tweets MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. Guillen was released from his contract by the White Sox yesterday, with the Sox retaining compensation rights if he manages another team in 2012.
Martinez, a 23-year-old shortstop, hit .245/.296/.322 in 371 Triple-A plate appearances this year. Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked him fifth among Marlins prospects, saying he profiles as a "solid No. 2 hitter" with a strong arm, good instincts, and soft hands at shortstop. At that time, BA saw a future as a versatile but quality utilityman the worst-case scenario for Martinez.
The last player-manager trade in baseball took place nine years ago, when the Devil Rays traded outfielder Randy Winn to the Mariners for Antonio Perez as well as the right to negotiate with manager Lou Piniella.
New Miami Marlins managed Ozzie Guillen was introduced today, and MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says his four-year contract is worth about $10MM. His $2.5MM salary represents almost a 40% increase over the $1.8MM he was earning with the White Sox.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria says he “could not be happier” that Guillen is going to lead the team into its new stadium, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. And the skipper himself promised an energetic team that will play hard and deliver results.
"Hopefully I can bring energy flavor, enthusiasm but the most important thing – a winning team,” Guillen said. "As long as I am here I'm going to promise you, you're going to see a ballclub that will play hard. It's not about Ozzie – it's about Miami Marlins.”
Capozzi notes (Twitter links) that Guillen rejected the Marlins' first contract offer. Team President David Samson told Guillen that he loves his Twitter activity and noted that it comes with responsibility.
New Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen tweeted today that it's "weird to be in Miami," but he's very happy and ready to go. Today's Ozzie-related links…
- Guillen's contract with the Marlins is expected to run through 2015, according to ESPNChicago's Bruce Levine. In that same article, Jayson Stark explains how Ozzie's farewell blog post last night was erroneously published at MLB.com.
- Guillen didn't give it his all in 2011, explains Jim Margalus of South Side Sox, becoming disengaged with setting his lineups.
- Ozzie is worth the risk for Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
- The parting of ways "needed to be done on both sides," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Many of the Sox's number crunchers avoided the dugout during batting practice due to Guillen's dislike of sabermetrics, notes Gonzales.
- The Marlins "immediately become far more exciting" by landing Guillen, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports.