Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has been popular in the rumor mill in recent months, in part because of his own desire to leave Miami for a contender. Nevertheless, the rebuilding club continues to regard Realmuto as a long-term piece of the puzzle, president of baseball operations Michael Hill tells Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. “J.T. is drafted by the Marlins and developed by the Marlins and got to the big leagues as a Marlin; all my conversations with him have been that he’s a part of what we’re building,” Hill said. “He’s a tremendously talented catcher, and we’re happy that he’s a part of what we have here. I think you’re still scratching the surface with his ability. The nation doesn’t know how good he is.” The Marlins don’t need to rush to deal Realmuto, who’s under control via arbitration through the 2020 season. Whether he opens the 2018 campaign with the Marlins or another team, the soon-to-be 27-year-old Realmuto will earn an easily affordable $2.9MM.
More from around the majors…
- Braves left-hander Luiz Gohara is dealing with a strained groin and is at least a week behind the team’s other pitchers as a result, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. While that won’t do the 21-year-old Gohara any favors in his effort to earn a starting job, fellow southpaw Sean Newcomb could benefit from it. He and another lefty, veteran Scott Kazmir, are the leading candidates to occupy the Braves’ last two rotation spots if Gohara’s not ready to go early in the season, per Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The Braves could get away with using a four-man rotation until April 11, however, Bowman points out. Newcomb, 24, made his major league debut last season and fared nicely, tossing 100 innings of 4.32 ERA/4.19 FIP ball and recording 9.72 K/9. Granted, Newcomb’s impressive strikeout mark came with a troubling walk rate (5.13 BB/9).
- Familiarity with the Tigers’ coaching staff and an opportunity to start helped lead lefty Francisco Liriano to sign with the club, he told Evan Woodbery of MLive.com and other reporters on Friday. The 34-year-old Liriano is now reunited with Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, whom he played under as a Twin from 2005-12. “I feel playing for Gardy makes it easier for me, and also having the opportunity to start here,” said Liriano, who, for the first time in his career, is coming off a season in which he totaled more relief appearances (20) than starts (18). After working to a 5.66 ERA/4.64 FIP across a combined 97 frames with Toronto and Houston in 2017, Liriano will attempt to revive his career on a $4MM salary in Detroit.
- The Twins’ minor league signing of Erick Aybar came thanks in part to righty Ervin Santana and third baseman Miguel Sano, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press explains. Aybar was teammates with Santana in Anaheim from 2006-12, while Aybar and Sano are longtime friends who also share an agency (Roc Nation Sports). With all of that in mind, the Twins asked Santana and Sano for their thoughts on Aybar. Both players advised the Twins to bring in the 34-year-old, and the team followed through. There’s no guarantee Aybar will earn a roster spot after enduring multiple rough years in a row, though, which he realizes. “I don’t know yet,” Aybar admitted when asked how much he has left. “I can’t say. We’ll see. It was a weird two years.”