High praise for a team that lost 100 games last year. Now before you laugh at me for being a "homer", check out what NESN had to say about Miami.
Last year, Marcel Ozuna burst onto the scene when Giancarlo Stanton was injured early in the season. Ozuna played so well during that stretch that manager Mike Redmond was forced to find playing time for him upon Stanton’s return. This move shifted Ozuna into center field. Unfortunately for Ozuna, his hot start was not to continue as he regressed, presumably because pitchers began to figure out his weaknesses at the plate.
Anyone who asks Dave Van Horne about his Hall of Fame induction soon will have to be more specific. The Miami Marlins’ radio broadcaster since 2001, Van Horne on June 21 will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Mary’s, Ontario. Before joining the Marlins, Van Horne was on the Montreal Expos’ broadcast team from the franchise’s inaugural game on April 8, 1969 until the end of the 2000 season.
The Marlins and veteran utility infielder Jeff Baker have agreed on a 2-year-deal worth $3.7 million, sources have confirmed. Jon Heyman of CBSsports.com first reported the agreement.
Low-key by nature, Christian Yelich tends to take things in stride. After the Marlins drafted Yelich in the first round in 2010, he was asked to switch from first base to the outfield. Yelich did so without hesitation, and because of his offensive production, he quickly became a touted prospect. Yelich played center field in 96 games for Class A Jupiter in 2012. A year later, he gladly slid over to left field to make room for Jake Marisnick, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Blue Jays.
It didn't take long for the news to break out of Atlanta on Tuesday before I started getting e-mails along the lines of this one. Stanton's future remains a hot topic, and it will continue to do so until he is either signed to a multiyear deal or is eventually traded. With the Atlanta players, you are looking at two different scenarios. The Braves bought out Heyward's final two arbitration years for the price of $13.3 million. Barring another extension, the right fielder will still reach free agency after the 2015 season. Freeman's deal reportedly is $135 million over eight years.
The Marlins believe they have an unheralded collection of relievers. In closer Steve Cishek, the club has a proven veteran to register the final outs. The setup roles will be hotly contested when camp gets going. "We expect our bullpen to continue to be a strength of our team," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Steve Cishek has proven to be a formidable force in finishing games."
The 32-year-old Baker slashed .279/.360/.545 in 2013 thanks in large part to his Herculean numbers against left-handed pitching. Baker has never been one to handle same-handed pitching well, and he showed that last season with a .204/.250/.286 line against righties in just 52 plate appearances. However, in his 123 PAs against southpaws, Baker mashed at a .314/.407/.667 clip. In his career, he's a .298/.353/.522 hitter against lefties.
Baker has primarily played second and first base, but has also seen action at third and the outfield. Earlier this offseason, Miami signed Casey McGehee as its starting third baseman. Ed Lucas remains on the 40-man roster. Also in the mix for spots are spring training invitees Ty Wigginton and Juan Diaz. Last week, the Marlins agreed to a minor-league deal with outfielder Reed Johnson. Position players report to camp Feb. 20 in Jupiter, Fla.
As a pinch-hitter, Baker hit .286 last season. The signing of Baker would appear to hurt Ed Lucas’ chances of making the Marlins’ Opening Day roster, as Lucas and Baker have overlapping skill sets and positions. The Marlins have addressed their bench in recent weeks by signing outfielder Reed Johnson and infielder Ty Wigginton.
Around The League
We do our homework. We look at off-season moves. We dissect last season's performances. Then we make predictions about the upcoming MLB season … and those predictions are wrong. These teams are the most likely to defy expectations in 2014.
The Rockies will make longtime star Todd Helton the first player in club history to have his jersey number retired during a three-day celebration Aug. 15-17, the club announced Thursday.
The Orioles and catcher Matt Wieters have avoided arbitration, reportedly agreeing Thursday to a one-year, $7.7 million contract for 2014.
Free-agent closer Fernando Rodney agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal with the Mariners, according to multiple reports, though the club declined to confirm the news Thursday afternoon.
At Fish Stripes
The Miami Marlins signed Jeff Baker primarily to serve as a platoon partner for first baseman Garrett Jones. What does his addition do to the team's evolving lineup optimization?
Sixteen years ago, the Marlins traded Al Leiter to the New York Mets for three prospects.
The Miami Marlins may have picked up the wrong parts to a first base platoon, but the approach was the right option given what the team has available to it financially.
The Miami Marlins were dealt yet another "final blow" in their likely attempts to re-sign Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term contract extension thanks to Freddie Freeman's mammoth eight-year, $135 million pact signed yesterday.
The Miami Marlins are looking to bolster their bullpen with a reclamation project, signing free agent reliever Carlos Marmol to a one-year contract.