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Offishial news, 1/20/21: Jared Porter ousted; new Benintendi buzz; starting rotation

While one NL East GM loses his job, another will be featured during Wednesday night’s inauguration celebration.

GM-less Mets

Barely one month after his widely acclaimed hiring as their general manager, Jared Porter was dumped by the Mets on Tuesday. ESPN broke the disturbing story of how he harassed a female reporter, an all-too-familiar example of exploiting the power dynamic between those who work in baseball and those trying to cover it.

With Porter in charge, the Mets made the splashy acquisitions of Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. He also presumably had a key role in negotiating their involvement in a three-team trade with the Padres and Pirates, which was completed later in the day on Tuesday.

According to president Sandy Alderson, the team will leave its GM position vacant for the foreseeable future. Hours after Alderson’s press conference, top free agent outfielder George Springer chose the Blue Jays over the Mets, agreeing to a six-year, $150 million deal.

Benintendi talks revisited?

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi was linked to the Marlins last week, inspiring this article of mine. But then, within hours, Boston media squashed the possibility of a deal, suggesting that several other teams had emerged as more serious suitors.

On Tuesday, Rob Bradford of WEEI clarified where things presently stand. The 26-year-old is legitimately being shopped. Craig Mish corroborates that and hears that the Marlins are still “pursuing” him.

In one of their negotiations with an unidentified team, the Red Sox have asked for “a younger corner outfielder [than Benintendi] along with a minor-league pitcher not necessarily on the 40-man roster,” Bradford writes. Just for fun, imagining that the Marlins were on the receiving end of that, I could see a pairing of Jerar Encarnación and Josh Roberson.

Ultimately, I’m skeptical of the Sox making this move now. They would have an easier time obtaining a good prospect haul once the 2021 season gets underway and Benintendi puts to bed any doubts about his skill set deteriorating.

Protect the youth

More so than any other team, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated believes the Marlins as presently constituted will face a big challenge trying to get their young pitchers valuable reps without jeopardizing their health. Although in a vacuum, you’d think a shortened 2020 schedule saved their arms from wear and tear, it’s impossible to anticipate what the consequences would be if their workload doubles or triples year over year.

General manager Kim Ng recognizes that, too:

“We have talked about their [throwing] programs and what it looks like given that last year was shortened. We just need to be really careful with them, and not just from a strict innings standpoint. We need to pay attention to the stress they are under and in a certain way we can measure and value that with proper diligence.”

“A lot of it takes place during the season—making sure we are monitoring them, and especially the stressful innings they pitch, and making sure we don’t push them any further than they can handle.”

When pressed for specifics, Ng said that fluctuations in a pitcher’s arm angle, release point and velocity would be red flags.

Spring training non-roster invitees Luís Madero and Zach Thompson profile as potential spot starters over the course of a long season. But I will continue to pester the Fish to invest even more in that department, signing or trading for an accomplished major leaguer—even if it’s somebody well past his prime—to contribute.

Walk-off links

  • And lastly, a TikTok user gave each of the MLB team logos a minor-league makeover. Here is the Marlins one: