Here’s the latest from south Florida…
- “After the Marlins come to grips with the shock and grief of losing Jose Fernandez the man, they will confront the reality of something far less important but daunting: replacing Fernandez the pitcher,” the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson writes. There is no easy way to fill the spot of perhaps the best pitcher in the sport, particularly since the Marlins were already going to be looking for rotation upgrades anyway. This winter’s free agent pitching market is extremely thin, and the Marlins have generally been unwilling to pay big prices on the open market. (It probably doesn’t help that Wei-Yin Chen, last year’s big signing, struggled in his first year in Miami.) Jackson figures the “best case scenario” for the Marlins would be to sign one of Jeremy Hellickson, Rich Hill or Ivan Nova, and then make a trade for another starter. He suggests Adeiny Hechavarria or Derek Dietrich as possible trade chips, and the Fish could even revisit last winter’s attempt to deal Marcell Ozuna for a higher-tier arm.
- The Marlins have “expressed preliminary interest” in re-signing Mike Dunn, the left-hander tells Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Dunn told the club that he “would be more than willing to come back” but is excited to be testing the free agent market for the first time in his career. Dunn and his family are “going to go where the opportunity is. Where that is, we don’t know. I haven’t ruled anybody out.” The southpaw bounced back from a somewhat disappointing 2015 season to post solid numbers this year — a 3.40 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 3.45 K/BB rate over 42 1/3 innings. Dunn posted the lowest strikeout, grounder and walk rates of his eight-year career and his 93.6 mph average fastball velocity was his lowest since 2009.
- Barry Bonds’ return as the club’s hitting coach in 2017 “is uncertain,” MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. This was the all-time home run leader’s first year on a coaching staff, and under Bonds’ tutelage, Marlins such as Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto had notable jumps in production. Miami was a below-average offensive club overall, however, most notably in the power department (a likely product of their pitcher-friendly ballpark and an off year from Giancarlo Stanton). Frisaro notes that some changes are expected to Don Mattingly’s coaching staff.
- For more Miami baseball news, check out another batch of Marlins Notes from earlier today on MLBTR.