Tag: Logan Morrison

Seattle Mariners: Signing Nelson Cruz Is a Start, but M’s Need More Hitters

The Seattle Mariners have reportedly signed Nelson Cruz. Yancen Pujols of the Dominican newspaper El Caribe reported the news, which was confirmed by ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick.

The former Rangers slugger will make his return to the American League West after a one-year hiatus in Baltimore, where he mashed 40 home runs and drove in 108 runs.

Cruz gives the Mariners a three-headed monster in the middle of the order that also features Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. For manager Lloyd McClendon, it’s a poor man’s version of the trio (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez) he coached in Detroit.

While not as fearsome as Detroit’s grouping, Seattle’s trio finally gives the M’s the complete set of sluggers they have been searching for.

The middle of the Mariners lineup is complete, but the batting order is far from it.

In terms of OPS, Seattle received below-average production from every position except second and third base—positions where Seager and Cano receive the lion’s share of at-bats. These low numbers should change in 2015.

First base and center field will be greatly improved with Logan Morrison and Austin Jackson, respectively, playing full seasons, while Cruz will solidify the designated hitter position. In addition, catcher and shortstop should see continued improvements from youngsters Mike Zunino and Chris Taylor.

That leaves the corner outfield spots as the only positions susceptible to change.

Seattle’s right fielders (namely Michael Saunders, Endy Chavez and Stefen Romero) ranked 17th in OPS in the league. Dustin Ackley received the majority of the at-bats in left field. Ackley and the Mariners’ other left fielders ranked 21st in OPS.  

It’s entirely possible that none of the previously mentioned four hitters will be in the Opening Day lineup in 2015.

According to Crasnick, the Mariners have reportedly shopped Saunders. In addition, Chavez is 36, and Romero hit .192 in 177 plate appearances.

At 26 years old, Ackley hasn’t lived up to the potential that made him the second overall pick. That, combined with Ackley’s ability to play multiple positions, makes him better suited as a utility player.

An outfielder like Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton would be an outstanding addition. But at this point, with a middle-of-the-order trio in place, Cespedes or Upton would be a costly luxury that would likely mean the loss of Taijuan Walker or James Paxton.

Seattle should be going after complementary bats in the mold of Jackson or Morrison—players who can fill out the top of the lineup card and, more importantly, the sixth through ninth spots in the order.

Cano, Cruz and Seager are fantastic, but someone has to hit between them and Zunino (who’ll likely hit toward the bottom of the lineup).

Players like Marlon Byrd, Alex Rios, Torii Hunter and Alejandro De Aza are all attainable, as is old friend Ichiro Suzuki. Melky Cabrera is another name to watch.

Cabrera finished 2014 with an .808 OPS, good for 33rd in all of baseball. His OPS was higher than potential teammate Seager, as well as established stars like Albert Pujols, Josh Donaldson, Adam Jones and Ryan Braun.

Hunter—who is looking at Seattle along with a handful of other teams, according to Mark Whicker of OCRegister.comwasn’t far behind Cabrera with a .765 OPS. Byrd posted a .757 OPS.  

The moral of the story here is that there are options out there for the M’s.

Signing Cruz is a start, but the Mariners need more hitters to fill out the lineup. Whether they accomplish the feat by trade (Byrd or potentially De Aza) or free agency (Hunter, Cabrera, et al.), the team will have plenty of attractive options.

Once this happens, the M’s offense will no longer be second fiddle to the team’s outstanding pitching. Once this happens, the M’s will finally experience October baseball.


All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Six Big Deals That Could Still Go Down at the 2013 Winter Meetings

The action was modest through the first two days of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with a couple of secondary-type signings taking place, as well as the interesting three-way trade between the Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox.

There figure to be at least a few more transactions before the Meetings disband, however, as the Orioles were reportedly on the verge of making a notable free-agent signing on Tuesday night, while the Marlins were reportedly motivated to make a trade and were getting plenty of interest from potential suitors.

Here are six moves that I could see going down before the all the sun bathing wraps up and everyone heads back to the cold-weather regions being pounded by snow and rain. Not that I’m jealous or anything.

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Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Miami Marlins Rumors

Now that the General Manager Meetings have wrapped up last week, activity has begun to pick up.

In the past week, starting pitcher Tim Hudson has a pending agreement to join the San Francisco Giants, outfielder Marlon Byrd inked a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and catcher Carlos Ruiz decided to stay put with the Phillies. That’s three of ESPN.com’s top 50 free agents off the market. 

Moreover, rumors are swirling as we are a little more than a week away from the Thanksgiving holiday. For instance, Jay-Z and the New York Mets held a secret dinner Monday night to discuss free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, according to the New York Post. Last week, the New York Post had a theory the Miami Marlins could be a stealth bidder for Cano’s services because they are further along in their accumulation of young talent, and no owner has proven more impetuous in spending and selling off than Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

Basically, at this time of the year, you can’t trust everything you read. But because of that, we’re here to help decipher what is real and what is fantasy in the Marlins world.

From the least impactful to most impactful, we’ll play fact or fiction with the latest Marlins rumors.

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Logan Morrison Reportedly Hits Longest HR of 2013 Season at Estimated 484 Feet

Miami Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison made sure that the Marlins got some love in an otherwise forgettable season with a majestic two-run blast to right-center field on Friday night.

The initial estimate of 484 feet would make it the longest home run hit by an MLB player in 2013:

With rookie ace Jose Fernandez carving up the Washington Nationals‘ lineup, the Fish jumped ahead 3-0. Morrison’s second plate appearance of the night came against Dan Haren in the bottom of the third inning following a Giancarlo Stanton walk.

The 26-year-old must have channeled all his emotions from what has to be a frustrating season into that left-handed swing. Or maybe he simply took advantage of a belt-high, 88 mile-per-hour fastball.

Whatever the case, it landed five rows deep in the second deck at Marlins Park, safely out of reach of the few fans who bothered attending.

Although Morrison began the evening with only five home runs in 64 games played this season, it’s not all that surprising to see him obliterate a baseball like this. In Bleacher Report’s new B/R MLB 500 series, Zachary Rymer noted that the vast dimensions of Miami’s home stadium naturally suppress offensive production. “Realistically, LoMo’s power is above average,” he writes.

Moreover, Haren is the perfect candidate to serve up such an epic no-doubter. Despite a midseason stint on the disabled list, he entered the start with an NL-worst 25 home runs allowed in only 26 appearances.

However, we’re certainly not done with this story. It’s still unclear how far Morrison’s round-tripper actually traveled.

As mentioned earlier, the Marlins made a generous calculation:

The league evidently trusts Miami’s mathematicians:

Meanwhile, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald points out the discrepancy between that and ESPN’s approximation:

Ultimately, the World Wide Leader is probably going to win this dispute. They collaborated with Greg Rybarczyk and his ball-tracking technology several years ago, a partnership which has since hatched the ESPN Home Run Tracker. Bleacher Report has spent all season recognizing those stats as official, and will continue doing so.

In terms of “True Distance,” here’s the list of this year’s most prolific launches:

Hitter Date HR Distance (Feet)
Hunter Pence 8/27/13 476
Mark Trumbo 4/29/13 475
Anthony Rizzo 4/18/13 475
Jay Bruce 6/22/13 472
Mike Napoli 5/1/13 472
Todd Frazier 4/24/13 470
Colby Rasmus 4/6/13 468

That means the 17 feet in question would be the difference between first and eighth place. Following the game, expect Morrison himself to tweet on the subject from his popular personal account.


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Predicting What the Miami Marlins’ Starting Lineup Will Look Like in 2014

Last week, we took a look as to what players might not be with the Miami Marlins in 2014. 

Today, based on who we think will still be here, we’re going to take a look as to what the Marlins starting lineup will be next season.

The rules are simple. The Marlins chosen to start next season must be under team control in some fashion for the 2014 season. This means guys such as Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco, who signed one-year deals  with the Marlins in the offseason, were not selected because they had little to no shot of starting next year, especially considering their current roles as bench players. Also, this means free agents such as Brian McCann, Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Garza will not be coming to South Beach anytime soon.

While you might be very familiar with the names on this list, keep in mind these players have earned the starting nod either through outstanding production or merely by default. 

Without further ado, let’s present the starting nine for the 2014 Miami Marlins in lineup card fashion.

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Miami Marlins: Logan Morrison’s Favorite Feature of New Marlins Park

Wednesday night is the regular season debut for Marlins Park, the new home of the Miami Marlins. (The Marlins and New York Yankees played exhibition games there on Sunday and Monday.)

Plenty of attention (and snark) has been given to some of the ballpark’s more notable features, such as the home run feature in left-center field and aquariums behind home plate

But the Marlins players will also enjoy several new features that are vast upgrades from what they had at Sun Life Stadium. Some of the new home benefits, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel’s Mike Berardino, include a batting cage directly behind the Marlins dugout. Previously, Marlins batters had to clomp out to a cage in right field, walking with spikes on concrete. 

Other features touted by the players were a bigger weight room and swimming pool, an underwater treadmill (man, I could use one of those) and a new video room that includes a coaching area with floor-to-ceiling mirrors that allow batters (and eventually, pitchers too) to get a look at what they’re doing from virtually every angle. 

But the simple things shouldn’t be overlooked, either. For outfielder Logan Morrison, having bathroom stalls with doors that close is the improvement he appreciates most.

“Couldn’t shut it all the way, couldn’t lock it,” Morrison told Berardino. “It’s not like you have any privacy anyway in a clubhouse, but still, it wasn’t a perk.”

The importance of this really cannot be overstated. Some athletes are able to focus on the task at hand, regardless of the environment. Others can’t perform at their best with distractions and conditions that are less than ideal. And so many of us, whether we’re professional athletes or not, just want a little privacy.

Kudos to Jeffrey Loria for providing his players a little bit of privacy for less than dignified moments. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball: Outfielders 41-80

For those who cannot survive on Top 40 rankings alone, here is a compilation of the next 40 outfielders to target in mixed- and league-specific drafts.

41. Carlos Lee, Astros
Skinny: Lee posted better numbers in hits, triples, RBI, steals, walks and batting average last year, compared to 2010. The biggest omission of the Top 40 outfielders.

42. Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Skinny: Coming off a sluggish campaign, Ethier is a good bet for modest across-the-board improvements in 2012. Targets: 17 HRs, 72 RBI, 69 runs, 1 steal and .292 average.

43. Jeff Francoeur, Royals
Skinny: This pedestrian ranking is based on the assumption Francoeur won’t collect 601 at-bats again, while vying for space in the Royals’ crowded outfield.

44. Nick Swisher, Yankees
Skinny: Fantasy owners will appreciate Swisher’s latest comfort zone in the draft’s latter rounds. Targets: 22 HRs, 86 RBIs, 77 runs, .257 average.

45. Logan Morrison, Marlins
Skinny: Better plate discipline could easily vault the 24-year-old Morrison into the Top 40, sooner than later. Targets: 24 HRs, 75 RBI, 59 runs, 4 steals, .268 average.

46. Josh Willingham, Twins
Skinny: An underrated two-category force, look for Willingham to take a slight dip in HRs and RBIs…but raise his average to approximately.265.

47. Carlos Quentin, Padres
Skinny: Quentin may never replicate his MVP-caliber season from 2008 (36/100/.288), but he’s still a reasonable play for 25 HRs, 82 RBI and .261 average.

48. Austin Jackson, Tigers
Skinny: It’s rare to find a two-category machine at this point in the countdown. Assuming he bats leadoff for most of 2012, A-Jax could tally 100 runs and 30 steals.

49. Martin Prado, Braves
Skinny: Prado is a respectable four-category contributor to those who have forgotten the 15-HR/100-runs/.300 expectations of last March.

50. Brennan Boesch, Tigers
Skinny: The planets may be aligned for Boesch to finally enjoy a season of relatively good health and fruitful fantasy numbers: Targets: 17 HRs, 70 RBI, 82 runs, 6 steals, .287 average.

51. Matt Joyce, Rays
Skinny: A productive player with some inescapable red flags from last year: two months of sub-.200 hitting…and three months of two homers or less.

52. Peter Bourjos, Angels
Skinny: Bourjos should be a four-category factor this year (excluding RBI)…assuming he logs 500 at-bats for the Angels.

53. Angel Pagan, Giants
Skinny: Like Bourjos, Pagan should be a four-category success in roto and head-to-head leagues, and bonus…30 steals is now the baseline of reasonable expectations.

54. Alex Rios, White Sox
Skinny: Rios may not register stats worthy of the 54th outfielder. But his age (31) and intriguing physical tools will nonetheless prompt fantasy GMs to take a later-round flier on the former star.

55. Brandon Belt, Giants
Skinny: Forget last year’s pedestrian stats (9 HRs, 18 RBI, 21 runs, .225 BA). Belt has the tools and superb minor-league track record to be a four-category factor in his second season.

56. Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays
Skinny: It’s time for Rasmus to take a big leap in his development, while avoiding the wild highs and lows of seasons past. Targets: 22 HRs, 67 RBI, 84 runs, 9 steals, .274 average.

57. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
Skinny: A two-category whirlwind (runs, steals) who needs to prove last year’s .296 BA wasn’t a fluke.

58. Dexter Fowler, Rockies
Skinny: A potential National League clone of Austin Jackson, Fowler might approach 90 runs and 25-30 steals for the hot-and-cold Rockies.

59. Mitch Moreland, Rangers
Skinny: Moreland’s hearty supporters might find fault with this conservative ranking. But for 2012, Moreland’s upside likely doesn’t extend past 21 HRs and 67 RBI.

60. Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks
Skinny: With 140 games and 500 at-bats, Kubel can recapture his 20-HR mojo from 2008-10. But that may be a tall order, given the Diamondbacks’ packed outfield and absence of a DH during National League play.

61. Lucas Duda, Mets
Skinny: Duda has the physical tools to be a four-category contributor in his age-26 season. Targets: 16 HRs, 58 RBI, 59 runs, .284 average.

62. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs
Skinny: Soriano makes for a productive fifth or sixth outfielder in 12-team leagues, especially for owners in need of 20-plus homers and 80 RBI.

63. J.D. Martinez, Astros
Skinny: A .342 hitter in the minors, Martinez has the skill set to be a four-category factor in his second MLB season. This leap-of-faith ranking will look even better in May.

64. Michael Brantley, Indians
Skinny: Brantley posted across-the-board gains in his second MLB season (7 HRs, 46 RBI, 63 runs, 13 steals, .266 average). Expect another season of modest improvement.

65. Vernon Wells, Angels
Skinny: With this outfield ranking, fantasy owners probably wouldn’t mind a repeat of Wells’ 2011 numbers (25 HRs, 66 RBI, 60 runs, 9 steals)—minus the deflating .218 average.

66. Delmon Young, Tigers
Skinny: Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect a homer every five games from Young—his admirable pace with the Tigers last season. But he’s still a respectable four-category contributor.

67. Ben Revere, Twins
Skinny: Revere will be a high late-round priority for owners needing cheap speed, and the fleet-footed Twin is a lock for 42-45 steals in 2012.

68. Juan Pierre, Phillies
Skinny: The 34 year old may be in the twilight of his career, but he’s still a threat for 40 steals and 80 runs when given adequate playing time. An ideal late-round flier.

69. Jason Bay, Mets
Skinny: Bay’s numbers have obviously dipped since that coup de grace season of 2009 with Boston (36 HRs, 119 RBI, 103 runs). But as a healthy Met, he’s still a good play for 16 HRs, 70 RBI and 11 steals.

70. Ryan Raburn, Tigers
Skinny: Opportunity knocks for the OF-eligible Rayburn, who has a clear shot at winning the Tigers’ job at second base and posting numbers of 15 HRs, 58 RBI, 61 runs and .282 average.

71. Jose Tabata, Pirates
Skinny: The next five players in this countdown could all make big jumps in 2012. Tabata is a reasonable candidate for 12 HRs, 34 steals and .279 average.

72. Eric Thames, Blue Jays
Skinny: Thames has down-the-road power potential of 25 HRs and 90 RBI. He could be a last-round gem for upside-loving owners.

73. Jerry Sands, Dodgers
Skinny: Sands would probably rate higher if he had a spot sewn up in the Dodgers’ outfield. Hopefully, owners will have more clarity with Sands in April or May.

74. Lorenzo Cain, Royals
Skinny: Cain was a four-category factor in the minors. Hopefully, that status will transition into big-league success for 2012. A solid late-round flier.

75. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics
Skinny: You’ve seen the video of Cespedes running, jumping and P90X-ing his way into the hearts of MLB scouts and general managers. But is he ready to play in the bigs?

76. Seth Smith, Athletics
Skinny: It’s hard to guess how Oakland’s outfield situation will shake out by season’s end, but Smith has respectable potential in all five categories. A late-round coup in any format.

77. Travis Snider, Blue Jays
Skinny: A red-hot spring start has fueled the notion that Snider will put it all together in 2012. Here’s the rub: Toronto’s outfield is stacked right now.

78. Yonder Alonso, Padres
Skinny: The Reds took a big gamble on Joey Votto (beyond 2013) when they traded Alonso, a future star at first base, to the Padres. For Alonso, anything above 14 HRs, 63 RBI and .270 BA would be welcome.

79. Mike Carp, Mariners
Skinny: Carp may finally be getting the requisite playing time to become a productive fantasy asset. Targets: 18 HRs and .282 average.

80. Denard Span, Twins
Skinny: The 80th ranking is more ceremonial than a punitive judgment against Span, who tallied 182 runs and 49 steals in 2009-10. With a productive spring, thus erasing last year’s disappointment, Span could vault 14-17 slots before Opening Day.

80a. Bryce Harper, Nationals
Skinny: It might not matter if the Nationals send Harper down for more minor-league seasoning before Opening Day. Fantasy owners won’t hesitate to take a Round 20 flier on one of the most touted hitting prospects of the last 20 years. Expect a June 1 call-up.

80b. Mike Trout, Angels
Skinny: A springtime illness has effectively curtailed Trout’s chances of making the parent club on Opening Day. Nevertheless, he’s a stealth last-round flier and a can’t-miss prospect for the long term.

80c. Alex Presley, Pirates
Skinny: With an outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Tabata and Presley, the Pirates can afford to be patient with Starling Marte. A .291 hitter in the minors, Presley could develop into a four-category factor.

80d. Allen Craig, Cardinals
Skinny: Like so many prospects at this stage of the countdown, Craig’s fantasy potential is directly proportional to the number of at-bats he’ll accrue in his first full season.

80e. Alejandro De Aza, White Sox
Skinny: A poor man’s (or undiscovered) version of Emilio Bonifacio. In the right setting, De Aza could hit .300 and notch 30-35 steals.

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Florida Marlins: 5 Reasons Management Is Finally Serious

The Florida Marlins are well-known for dealing players such as Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera, Gary Sheffield and Edgar Renteria.

In fact, tracing back to 2004, the Marlins have been talking about becoming a spender once the new ballpark is constructed.

Unfortunately, despite placing clauses in player contracts such as Mike Lowell, the deal was delayed and the Marlins continued to gut the roster of talent throughout the years.

Surprisingly, there have been five moves during 2011 that indicate that the Marlins may finally be dedicated to build a contender for years. 

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Roy Oswalt Has Back Strain: Have No Fear, Philadelphia Phillies Fans

In Friday night’s series opener against the Florida Marlins, Roy Oswalt pitched four innings of no-hit baseball and looked magnificent. After allowing a solo home run to Logan Morrison to lead off the fifth inning, he still pitched well, allowing only one more run through six innings of work.

However, at the start of the seventh inning, something was wrong.

Roy Oswalt was warming up when he called over trainer Marc Andersen and manager Charlie Manuel to tell them that something was wrong. After some brief discussion, Oswalt was taken out of the game and reliever J.C. Romero was called from the bullpen to take over.

From here, the game went downhill. Romero only pitched to one batter, Logan Morrison, and allowed a single before Danys Baez took over for him, and then the nightmare began.

To start, Baez walked Gaby Sanchez, which sent him to first and Morrison to second. Next, he allowed a single to John Buck, which loaded the bases. Although Daniel Murphy popped up in the next at-bat, a pinch hitter came up to the plate and gave the Marlins the lead.

That pinch hitter was none other than Greg Dobbs, one of the Phillies’ worst clutch hitters in recent memory. After the Phillies chose not to resign him this past offseason, the Marlins swooped in and signed him to a minor league contract.

The same Greg Dobbs, who more often than not failed to deliver when the Phillies needed him most, actually hit a two-run single to score Morrison and Sanchez.

The same Greg Dobbs gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead over the Phillies in the seventh inning.

The same Greg Dobbs won the game for the Marlins after neither team scored following his two-RBI single off Baez, who was given the loss.

There are two points to make here: one, that Greg Dobbs actually bothered to do something good for his team after he left the Phillies; and two, that Oswalt most likely would have won the game had he not left following his injury.

Oswalt’s injury was officially diagnosed as a lower back strain and he is currently day-to-day, but he hopes to make his next start. However, Oswalt himself said that it’s more a middle back injury and that he could have pitched the seventh, though he felt it was best to leave before he messed up the game himself. Ironically, it was his fill-ins who did just that.

In the past, Oswalt has spent time on the DL for lower back strains. In 2006 and 2008, Oswalt spent time on the DL due to hip and back problems, and he missed two starts in 2009 because of a lower back strain, which resulted in him being placed on the DL on September 16 of that year, causing him to miss the rest of the season.

Oswalt also said in the same interview mentioned above that he had suffered back spasms through the fifth and sixth innings and his back tightened up after he bunted a ball and ran to first in the bottom of the sixth, something he hadn’t experienced before.

This calls for an obvious question: should Phillies fans be worried about their “ace of clubs“?

Since he has been on the DL many times due to back issues, could this be an addition to an already-long list of DL stints for Oswalt?

Personally, I don’t think there is much to worry about. Since Oswalt has spent time on the DL for these back issues, I would like to think that he would know the severity of a back issue. Then again, there’s always a chance the issue could be more than meets the eye, especially since, as previously stated, Oswalt has not had back spasms nor a “middle back strain” as he claims.

However, Oswalt does expect to move past this quickly and make his next start Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Although there is a chance that this could be a long-term issue, I believe it is slim and that this is a more precautionary move than anything else. Then again, I could be wrong.

I believe, Phillies fans, that this is minor and will quickly pass. Oswalt will start on Wednesday and that is that.

Phillies fans, do not be alarmed.

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