It was no secret that Christian Yelich wasn’t happy with the Marlins’ latest fire sale, and the team felt that Yelich could’ve become a clubhouse distraction had he remained on the roster, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. This is why trading Yelich was more of a priority than dealing catcher J.T. Realmuto, as “the Marlins believe Realmuto will be a good soldier if he isn’t traded.” Of course, Realmuto has reportedly asked for a trade as well, though Miami is reportedly holding out only for a big return if the catcher is to be moved. Jackson also notes that first baseman Justin Bour (a popular target for teams calling the Marlins) hasn’t asked for a trade.
More from around the NL East…
- “If I had the opportunity to pick a position, I would pick second base,” Asdrubal Cabrera tells Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. This represents a change in attitude from during the season, when Cabrera was openly unhappy about moving from shortstop to the keystone, though Cabrera explained to Kernan that his displeasure over the position change stemmed from the move seemingly being sprung upon him with little notice. “I was not happy with the communication,” Cabrera said. The veteran infielder also noted that he likes playing third base, which looks to be his primary position for 2018 as things currently stand on the Mets’ roster. New York has been primarily linked to second basemen in trade and free agent rumors, though Cabrera’s flexibility (and that of the re-signed Jose Reyes) make it possible that the Mets could still make a play for a third baseman.
- The Phillies have been unable to find a trade partner for Tommy Joseph this offseason, leaving the first baseman fighting for a roster spot as Spring Training approaches, The Athletic’s Matt Gelb writes (subscription required and recommended). Rhys Hoskins’ presence led the Phils to shop Joseph last summer, and the path to first base playing time has become even more blocked now that Carlos Santana is a Phillie. “You don’t know where you fit in,” Joseph said. “You don’t know what your role is. But those are all things that will evolve as spring training gets started and as we get deeper into March….I’ll go out there and earn my keep.” As Gelb notes, the Phillies’ trade efforts have been hampered by the presence of so many other first base options still available in free agency. Joseph still has a minor league option remaining, so he could find himself back in Triple-A after hitting 43 homers and a .247/.297/.460 slash line over his first 880 MLB plate appearances.
- The Braves plan to have a spirited Spring Training competition for rotation jobs, as manager Brian Snitker tells Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that as many as three starting spots could be up for grabs. Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz have two slots spoken for, and the newly-acquired Brandon McCarthy will be a strong favorite for the third slot if healthy. That leaves the likes of Max Fried, Luiz Gohara, Lucas Sims, Sean Newcomb, and Mike Soroka battling for the remaining rotation spots, plus Scott Kazmir could also be a factor if he can recover from the injuries that sidelined him for all of the 2017 season. Atlanta is more likely to use the starters that don’t win jobs as relievers rather than again use a six-man rotation, Snitker said.