Gio hangs ‘em up
Sudden but not completely surprising: Gio Gonzalez is ready to enter the next phase of his life. The 35-year-old says on Instagram that he’s at peace with the decision to retire after parts of 13 major league seasons and nearly 17 years in pro ball overall.
In my estimation, Gonzalez was seventh or eighth on the Marlins starting pitching depth chart. Even though they won’t miss him during the early portion of the season, that depth will eventually be tested as they handle young arms with caution and run-of-the-mill injuries pop up. Couldn’t hurt to reach to veteran free agents like Aníbal Sánchez or Mike Leake, right?
“Fish Tank” in Jacksonville
I wonder if the timing of Gio’s decision had anything to do with the decision to make Jacksonville’s 121 Financial Ballpark the Marlins’ alternate training site. A group of 20-28 players will report there next week, clearing space for minor league spring training to take place in Jupiter. Among the individuals expected to head north: recently optioned 40-man roster prospects José Devers, Lewin Díaz, Jerar Encarnación, Braxton Garrett, Monte Harrison and Jordan Holloway, and free agent non-roster invitees Sandy León, Luis Marté, Shawn Morimando and Zach Thompson. As a reminder, the 2021 MiLB season has been pushed back to a May 4 start date.
Here is the full list of MLB alternate training sites. To give the Marlins’ ATS some character, we will be referring to it as the “Fish Tank” moving forward.
- It’s the final day to cast your vote for 2021 Fish Stripes Marlins Hall of Fame player candidates. Josh Beckett, Juan Pierre and Giancarlo Stanton are the leading vote-getters so far.
- Alex Contreras and I spent more than an hour chatting with Paul Severino, the TV play-by-play announcer who’s beginning his fourth season as voice of the Marlins.
- David Samson is unimpressed with the Marlins’ new Bally Sports Florida deal, saying Derek Jeter let his ego get in the way of securing a larger payout.
- Sixto Sánchez noticed improvement in himself during Thursday’s start (3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and hopes to join the Marlins rotation during the season-opening homestand.
- Man On Second Baseball reports that there’s a higher chance of the Marlins extending Sandy Alcantara than Brian Anderson (though according to Craig Mish, contract talks with Alcantara haven’t even begun yet). Also, Joe Capozzi has joined Joe Frisaro at MO2.
MO2 UPDATE: The great @joecapMARLINS will be contributing content to Man On Second Baseball. Joe's one of the best baseball writers, reporters and storytellers South Florida has ever had. Read how card collecting is booming during the pandemic. https://t.co/AGk2CdOl9d— Man On Second Baseball (@ManOn2nd) March 25, 2021
- Forbes previews the NL East, predicting only 70 wins for Miami.
- Sportico values the Marlins franchise at $1.12 billion, last in Major League Baseball and only about half the MLB average ($2.2 billion).
- The White Sox have lost slugger Eloy Jiménez (ruptured pectoral muscle) for the foreseeable future. I would expect them to at least kick the tires on Garrett Cooper who’s been thriving this spring yet stuck in a limited role with the Fish due to the lack of a universal DH.
- Remember Elih Villanueva’s one-game major league career? Stranded Sports remembers.
- Alejandro Areces is ready to reveal his complete brand identity recharge for the Jupiter Hammerheads. Check out his full Twitter thread.