Righty Tyler Kolek, who the Marlins selected second overall in the 2014 draft, remains an important part of the club’s long-term plans — even though Tommy John surgery and performance questions cloud his outlook. As Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports, Kolek is embarking upon the all-important ramp up back toward competitive pitching. He’s frustrated by the inevitably slow progress, but seems to be putting in all the work that has been demanded of him. Miami farm director Marco DelPiano says he still believes that Kolek has the talent to excel in the majors, though clearly there’s a long way to go to realizing that potential.
Here’s more from the game’s eastern divisions:
- The Red Sox continue to see less-than-ideal results from lefty Henry Owens, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. Once a highly regarded prospect, and still an important part of the organization’s rotation depth, Owens most recently coughed up four free passes in an inning of work. Though the 24-year-old got a head start on throwing over the offseason, in hopes of a smooth launch with his mechanics, he acknowledges that “it hasn’t carried over yet.” Manager John Farrell says it’s a continuation of a long-known issue. “It’s something we talked about before camp,” he said. “The improved command is a primary objective. Today it wasn’t there.”
- Jose Bautista spurned a much bigger contract offer to return to the Blue Jays, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The veteran outfielder could have scored a three-year deal with “well over $50MM in guaranteed money,” per the report, but chose to head back to Toronto for one year at a $18.5MM guarantee (combined with a mutual and then a vesting option). While it’s not clear from where it issued, the offer is said to have materialized in mid-January, which is particularly notable when considering the oft-discussed narrative that sluggers like Bautista weren’t able to generate much interest this winter. Bautista, 36, says he considered all relevant factors. Ultimately, he says, “this is here I’m happy and comfortable.”
- Meanwhile, John Lott of The Athletic takes an interesting look at one of Bautista’s newest teammates in the Blue Jays organization, youngster Lourdes Gurriel. Though he’s not expected to factor at the MLB level this year — it’s still not even clear where he’ll end up in the field, though he’ll start out as a shortstop — the 23-year-old had a significant role in the club’s offseason approach. Gurriel ultimately turned down an offer from the Cardinals that was similar to the $22MM he got from Toronto. Of course, he’ll have to pay the people who brought him out of Cuba out of that contract; Gurriel says the cost is “in the millions.” Lott explores the interesting path taken by Gurriel (and older brother Yulieski) in a story that’s well worth a full read.