Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna has enormous upside, assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino said in an interview today on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (audio link). Menechino noted that Ozuna’s early success came despite the fact that he was quite raw, explaining that he’s had to learn on the fly — even as expectations, contract considerations, and other pressures were converging. Ozuna, of course, has long been seen as a trade chip, although momentum seems to be shifting away from that scenario.
More from Miami and some other news from the eastern divisions:
- The Marlins ought to make a long-term deal with Dee Gordon a priority, argues Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. After all, he suggests, his agents at Beverly Hills Sports Council might well try to argue that Gordon’s marquee accomplishments — leading the league in batting average, hits, and stolen bases while picking up a Gold Glove — support an outside-the-box arbitration payday. While MLBTR projects a $5.9MM salary in his second of four turns through arbitration, Gordon and his reps could always file for more and take their chances. Of course, as MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz explained in a recent podcast appearance (at about the 20-minute mark), Gordon’s meager home run and RBI tallies limit his arb-earning upside despite his other big numbers.
- While the Marlins have been fairly quiet this winter, they are still looking to add some players. Jon Heyman tweets that the club has its eye on some right-handed bats, with Jeff Francoeur among them.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson and the rest of the organization’s leadership have managed to upset a segment of the team’s fans despite last year’s World Series run, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Of course, as Davidoff explains, appeasing a “populist” sentiment in the fanbase (as Alderson put it) with a big signing would hardly guarantee on-field success.
- Young Orioles righties Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy are participating in minicamp and appear to be in good health, Roch Kubtako of MASNsports.com reports. Both have had very tough runs of bad luck, and certainly the organization will be holding its collective breath to see how they feel as they ramp up this spring.
- Orioles skipper Buck Showalter said today that he could imagine slugger Chris Davis waiting to sign until late in camp, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports. “That’s not surprising at all the way that camp does business,” Showalter said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it went to February. It wouldn’t surprise me if it goes to March.” It’s probably not worth reading too much into those comments, since Showalter is obviously not privy to the specific strategy of Davis and his agent, Scott Boras. But his words do seem to hint at some frustration in the organization at the inability to achieve resolution one way or the other.
- If the Yankees need someone to step in at third base for Chase Headley, the club could well turn to Starlin Castro, GM Brian Cashman suggested today. As Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog writes, the newly-acquired infielder is still likely to spend most of his time at second, but his experience on the left side of the infield (almost entirely at short) could increase the team’s roster flexibility. Meanwhile, Cashman emphasized that Alex Rodriguez will not see time in the field.