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Fish Bites: Jose Fernandez to return next summer

President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill told ESPN over the weekend Jose Fernandez should be ready by June or July. Plus links on Giancarlo Stanton and Jeff Mathis.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

-Marlins pick up $1.5 million option on Mathis |

The Miami Marlins have picked up a $1.5 million option on reserve catcher Jeff Mathis. Mathis, a 10-year veteran, batted .200 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 64 games for Miami last year as a backup to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

-ESPN documentary 'Brothers in Exile' features ex-Marlin Livan Hernandez - Sun Sentinel

The latest installment of ESPN's 30-for-30 documentary series should bring back fond memories for Marlins fans. "Brothers in Exile," is Puerto Rican born and raised director Mario Diaz's chronicle of the story of half-brothers and ex-major league right-handers Livan Hernandez and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, both of whom left Cuba and went on to star in the majors with the Marlins and Yankees, respectively.

-Nola continues progress, improved hitting in AFL win |

Ever since the Marlins selected Austin Nola in fifth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, he has continued to get better. Nola has increased his batting average in each of his three Minor League seasons and that trend has continued in the Arizona Fall League.

-Marlins exercise club option on Mathis |

The Marlins solidified their catching situation before free agents are eligible to sign elsewhere. The team announced on Saturday afternoon it exercised the club option on catcher Jeff Mathis, who will make $1.5 million in 2015. The move did not come as a surprise, as Mathis is a valued backup to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Marlins had until midnight ET on Monday to make a decision on Mathis, who would have become a free agent if his option was declined.

Around The League

-Joe Maddon is a no-brainer for the Cubs. | : Phil Rogers Article

When Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays, it was only a matter of time before the Cubs made a run at him. If reports of him joining the team prove to be true, Chicago is one step closer to building a long-term contender.

-Agent says Cubs didn't tamper with Maddon |

CHICAGO -- Joe Maddon's agent said in no way did the Cubs tamper, and he credited Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein for doing due diligence in making certain Maddon had exercised the opt-out clause in his contract before contacting him. During an interview Sunday on MLB Network Radio, agent Alan Nero said the Cubs did not contact him about Maddon's availability until the MLB Commissioner's Office confirmed Maddon was available. Nero said he had heard from 10 different teams before the Cubs called, as well as media outlets interested in hiring Maddon for broadcast opportunities.

-For Theo, second time's the charm with Maddon |

CHICAGO -- Theo Epstein interviewed Joe Maddon, then a bench coach with the Angels, for the Red Sox's managerial opening back in 2003. Epstein instead picked Terry Francona, who the next season guided Boston to its first World Series championship since 1918. Maddon has added to his resume since then, taking over the Rays in 2006 and guiding them to six winning seasons in nine years in the tough American League East -- including the AL pennant in '08. A two-time AL Manager of the Year, Maddon will be presented on Monday as the Cubs' 54th manager. And Epstein, now Chicago's president of baseball operations, will be the one to introduce him.

-Savvy signings secret to Hot Stove |

• Hot Stove Tracker Here's something important to remember as baseball's 30 teams fly into another offseason: It has never been like this before. Never, never, never. Every single team has a chance to win. That's the bottom line.

At Fish Stripes

-2014 Marlins Season Review: Steve Cishek - Fish Stripes

The Marlins got another full season of Steve Cishek at the closer position, and he pitched about as well as he has for the last two-plus seasons for the Fish.

-Marlins expected to exercise Mathis' option - Fish Stripes

The Marlins are reportedly interested in bringing the 31-year old back as a backup to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

-2014 MLB key offseason dates - Fish Stripes

With the offseason having officially started on Thursday, here are some dates to watch out for this winter.

-Marlins Snarkbox: Cishek, Bour, Gold Gloves - Fish Stripes

The first offseason installment of the Marlins Snarkbox, where we answer questions from's Joe Frisaro's inbox articles, features Steve Cishek, Justin Bour, and Gold Glove love for the team's outfield.