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Our Noticias, 4/20/20: Nicolino in Taiwan; Puig free agency details

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We begin the new week by asking you to provide interview questions and helping the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp win a silly tournament.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Puig confirms Marlins’ interest

When the Marlins zeroed in on productive veteran outfielders at the 2019 MLB Winter Meetings, I did not shy away from advocating for them to sign Yasiel Puig. Beyond the marketing potential of having an accomplished Cuban player in the everyday lineup, his pre-existing relationship with Don Mattingly and willingness to accept a short-term deal suggested this as a possible organizational fit. But when Puig showed no urgency to sign, Miami pivoted to Corey Dickerson to address their corner outfield issues.

Puig remains unsigned and expresses skepticism about there even being a 2020 MLB season, according to a new interview (in Spanish) with Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. When it comes to the Cuban connection, he emphasized that it would have set unreasonable expectations for his individual performance. Even though there was mutual interest, he was not satisfied with Miami’s initial contract offer. The Marlins were no longer pursuing Puig when COVID-19 delayed the season, he says. It would be an awkward roster at this point considering the additions of Dickerson and Matt Joyce and an encouraging Spring Training from Lewis Brinson.

In unrelated news, Puig bleached all of his hair and beard over the weekend, as shown in his Instagram Story.

@yasielpuig/Instagram

Nicolino ready for overseas chapter

Once a highly regarded Marlins pitching prospect, Justin Nicolino has embraced the journeyman phase of his career. He signed with the Ratuken Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League earlier this year and is poised to make his debut with their big league club shortly, according to CPBL Stats. Nicolino was waived by the Marlins at the end of 2018 Spring Training after three seasons of mostly mediocre results (4.65 ERA, 4.84 FIP, 1.46 WHIP in 201.1 IP). He played with the Reds, Twins and White Sox organizations after that, but didn’t receive a call-up from any of them.

Nicolino recently spoke candidly to Hayden Godfrey of Blue Jays Nation about his baseball career and the pros and cons of traveling halfway around the world for this opportunity.

Walk-off links

  • Vote for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp! The Marlins Double-A affiliate has advanced to the Final Four of the Diamond Digest Best Minor League Team Name Tournament.
  • Baseball Savant’s Daren Willman, the king of sports data visualization, shared a breakdown on Sunday of pitchers who threw the most fastballs to specific locations in 2019, both in the strike zone and surrounding it. Caleb Smith (high fastballs) and José Ureña (inside fastballs to right-handed batters) appear exactly where you’d expect them to.
@darenw/Twitter