Although Spring Training is fast approaching, the Miami Marlins—as well as the other 29 Major League Baseball clubs—have plenty of questions to answer and moves to make this offseason.
Here, we look at the biggest news and stories that stood out this week, and prepare fans for what promises to be another busy period!
J.T. Realmuto Still a Miami Marlin...For Now
Rejoice, Marlins fans, as this past week brought substantial movement on the J.T. Realmuto trade front. According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline, there is a deal being discussed between the Marlins and Reds involving Jonathan India, Tucker Barnhart and other prospects for Realmuto.
So, yes... when #Reds talk w/#Marlins, India is being talked about. Latest I've heard is a deal involving Tucker Barnhart, India and one (or more) lesser prospects in exchange for Realmuto is being discussed. https://t.co/kJzzVk15ML— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) February 2, 2019
Right-hander Nick Wittgren was designated for assignment recently, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him packaged with Realmuto. The Marlins removed Wittgren from their 40-man roster on Tuesday night and only have until this coming Tuesday to trade or pass him through waivers.
What Can We Expect In Return?
Miami’s front office isn’t going through all this trouble for nothing. Ultimately, the farm system will be greatly improved, regardless of which Realmuto finalist steps up with the best offer.
Daniel Martinez breaks it down:
Organizational Review for the Miami Marlins
Adam McInturff of 2080 Baseball unveiled his organizational review of the Miami Marlins for 2019. The review is full of the Marlins system’s strengths, weaknesses and scouting reports for many of the prospects.
The review also had a ranking of the top 15 prospects. McInturff had high praise for outfielder Monte Harrison and right-hander Zac Gallen, but otherwise, his evaluations were closely aligned with others across the industry.
Marlins Top Prospect Crack Top 100 Lists
For the time being, the franchise is still lacking in top-tier talent.
Fish Stripes’ own Michael Picardi compiled the rankings of Marlins players across several reputable outlets, including MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Prospects Live. Most of them only acknowledged outfielder Victor Victor Mesa inside their Top 100 league-wide list.
Pipeline in particular triggered some controversy. Many fans as well as the Fish Stripes staff felt disrespected by “analysis” that dishonestly recapped the value of young building blocks who arrived in last offseason’s well-publicized trades.
Pipeline is distorting THEIR OWN RANKINGS from 2018 in order to play to the popular narrative about Marlins making bad trades. Weak attempt at revisionist history that straight up deceives the casual fan: https://t.co/l3ZWvGc3fB https://t.co/PiYHmEmOJ4— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) January 27, 2019
Former Marlin Josh Johnson Turned 35
Who says you can’t celebrate the day of birth of an all-around great guy and former Marlin? Josh Johnson turned 35 on the 31st of January and Josean Santos wrote a great piece remembering his career with the Marlins and how great a player Johnson was.
He was the first major leaguer i saw throw a bullpen. It was 09 before mini camp. I turned to @srSHREK31 and said if that’s what it takes to pitch in the majors then I have no shot.— Tom Koehler (@TKREFRESH22) January 31, 2019
Here’s to many more, JJ!
Jack Labosky: New Wheels, Same Journey
Fish Stripes’ own Aram Leighton wrote about the amazing story of Jack Labosky, a minor leaguer for the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He not only turned an old school bus into a place to live, but has dealt with adversity that many minor leaguers unfortunately face all the time.
Nobody said getting to the big leagues would be easy, but Jack Labosky is enjoying the bumpy ride https://t.co/7NL4aJaEJO— Aram Leighton (@AramLeighton8) January 30, 2019
I won’t spoil the whole article for you because it is a must-read, but it illustrates the tough sacrifices that these athletes make in pursuit of their dreams.
Neil Walker Signs with the Marlins
Put this in the unexpected but intriguing folder. The Miami Marlins signed free agent Neil Walker to a one-year deal.
The Miami Marlins today announced that the club has signed infielder Neil Walker for the 2019 season.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) January 29, 2019
Welcome to the 305, Neil! pic.twitter.com/uPkOUdp4jI
Walker adds a great left-handed bat and veteran presence to a young Miami team. Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic tweeted that the deal was worth a guaranteed $2 million. The 33-year-old is their first major league signing of the winter.
The offseason may be slow and not as active as one would hope and J.T. Realmuto is still here, but no matter, you can count on Fish Stripes to keep you updated on all the happenings regarding the Miami Marlins.