Tag: Miami Marlins

Brad Ziegler to Marlins: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

The Miami Marlins and free-agent relief pitcher Brad Ziegler agreed to a two-year contract worth $16 million plus incentives, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Friday. 

MLB.com’s Joe Frisario later confirmed Rosenthal‘s reports. 

The 37-year-old has been one of baseball’s most underrated relievers over his nine professional seasons. 

With the Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks and, most recently, the Boston Red Sox for half of a season, Ziegler has posted a career 2.44 ERA with a WHIP of 1.228, per Baseball-Reference.com

He’s been close to lights-out over the past two seasons, posting a 1.85 ERA and 30 saves in 66 appearances during 2015 with the Diamondbacks. 

Ziegler racked up 13 saves and a 2.82 ERA in 36 games in 2016 before he was dealt to the Red Sox. In Boston, he allowed just five earned runs in 29.2 innings as more of a middle reliever:

A sidearm delivery, which at times can dip down to almost that of the submarine variety, has made Ziegler such a tough pitcher to read.

The various arm angles, especially from an unorthodox position, camouflage the ball in a way that makes the batter unable to pick the ball up as quickly as a pitcher with an overhand delivery. 

It’s a much-needed acquisition for the Marlins bullpen, which lost out on big-time free agents Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman this offseason but did manage to sign former Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa on Friday, via ESPN.com.

Now with Ziegler joining him in Miami, the Marlins have more options alongside A.J. Ramos for late-inning situations come 2017. 


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A.J. Ellis to Marlins: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran catcher A.J. Ellis is off to Florida as he signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.   

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball later confirmed Olney’s report. 

Ellis spent eight-plus season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, mostly as a reserve catcher and pinch hitter but also as a team leader and confidant for ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

But in August of the 2016 season, he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz, who had spent 11 seasons in the city of brotherly love. 

While Ellis only batted .194 with the Dodgers last season, his loss was tough to take, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times:

But with free agency looming this winter, his production would have made it questionable for the Dodgers to bring him back in 2017, especially if he were looking for the same kind of money while he was playing under a one-year, $4.5 million deal, per Spotrac

In 11 games with the Phillies to end the 2016 season, Ellis batted .313 with a home run and nine RBI on a team that is still in the process of rebuilding toward contending in the National League East. 

Now with his third different team in two years, Ellis is expected to come off the bench behind J.T. Realmuto. 

The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in 2016, batting .303 with 11 home runs, 12 doubles, 48 RBI and a surprising 13 stolen bases. 

His defensive stats were just as solid, as he ranked first among all catchers in assists and tied for fourth with 28 caught potential base stealers.

Realmuto, though, will be working with some new names in the pitching staff as the Marlins brought on Edinson Volquez at the end of November as well as signing starter Jeff Locke on Wednesday, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal

While Ellis won’t provide much on offense, as a veteran presence, he can help Realmuto get accustomed to a new-look rotation and provide much-needed relief when the developing star is in need of a day off. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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Edinson Volquez to Marlins: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Free-agent starting pitcher Edinson Volquez and the Miami Marlins reportedly agreed to terms on a contract on Monday.

The Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer first reported the news, while Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed the news and added the deal is for two years and $22 million pending a physical. 

In his second season with the Kansas City Royals, Volquez compiled a 10-11 record with a 5.37 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. He gave up more than a hit per inning and allowed a career-worst 23 home runs. FanGraphs‘ WAR formula measured his performance as being 1.1 wins worse than he was in 2015, when he was an integral part of the staff that led Kansas City to the World Series.

“I think I was kind of struggling all year,” Volquez said, according to the Associated Press (h/t the Washington Times). “It was one of those years. Everything doesn’t go your way.”

While far from his best year, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see the Royals take a chance on Volquez in 2017. The $11 million price tag isn’t all that exorbitant for a reliable arm. The Royals will likely wind up paying as much, if not more, to replace him with another veteran.

And even though Volquez wasn’t at his best, he wasn’t all that bad once you dig a little deeper. His ERA was nearly a full run worse than his FIP, his home run-to-fly ball ratio leaped nearly 5 percent from 2015 and opponents raised their average on balls in play by 29 points, per FanGraphs. A 1.5 WAR wasn’t what the Royals expected, but that’s still roughly in line with what an $11 million arm will produce nowadays.

If anything, Volquez got a little unlucky in 2016.

Now he heads to a Marlins rotation in desperate need of some help after staff ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident in September. The Marlins staff is shaping up to include Volquez alongside Adam Conley, Tom Koehler and Wei-Yin Chen.

The Marlins staff compiled a 4.05 ERA last season, good enough for sixth in the National League.

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Edinson Volquez Reportedly Agrees to 2-Year Contract with Marlins

Although Edinson Volquez is coming off an underwhelming 2016 campaign, that didn’t stop the Miami Marlins from reportedly signing the free-agent starting pitcher.

The Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer first reported Monday night that the Marlins agreed to terms with Volquez. According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Volquez will earn $22 million over two years, pending a physical.

The terms of the deal would justify Volquez‘s decision to turn down his $10 million mutual option with the Kansas City Royals for 2017. Given his struggles last year, the move looked risky, but the 33-year-old appears to have benefited in the long run.

A few years ago, Volquez would have been a significant upgrade for the Marlins rotation.

However, he finished 10-11 with a 5.37 ERA in 34 starts for the Royals in 2016. According to FanGraphs, he had the second-highest ERA among qualified starters. His 4.57 FIP was more flattering but still the 14th-worst mark in the majors.

Marlins Park ranked 27th in runs (0.834) and 26th in home runs (0.793) in ESPN.com’s park factor database, which is good news for Volquez. His numbers should improve in his first year with the Marlins.

Paying $11 million per year to Volquez is a gamble for Miami, but it’s a testament to how difficult finding value on the free-agent market is this offseason.

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Kenley Jansen Would Be Classic Head-Scratching Move for Adrift Marlins Franchise

Kenley Jansen is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. By definition, he’ll improve any club that signs him.

He doesn’t make sense for every team, however, financially or strategically, including the Miami Marlins.

So, naturally, they’re in deep on Jansen.

In fact, the 29-year-old right-hander is the Marlins’ “top target,” per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The Fish, Heyman noted, “are considering the idea of putting together a super pen since there aren’t the types of starters available at reasonable cost to help them upgrade their rotation in a meaningful way.”

That’s not absurd. Far from it. The super bullpen is baseball’s latest fad. It propelled the Kansas City Royals to a World Series title in 2015 and carried the Cleveland Indians to Game 7 a few short weeks ago.

If Miami lured him in, Jansen would join a pen headlined by All-Star A.J. Ramos, who posted a 2.66 ERA last season and racked up 73 strikeouts in 64 innings. 

Jansen also has ties to Marlins skipper Don Mattingly from their days with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He boasted a 1.84 ERA with 47 saves and 104 strikeouts in 68.2 innings and proved his mettle in the postseason. 

“Having a shutdown closer like Jansen changes the way teams have to plan against the Dodgers,” an unnamed talent evaluator told FanRag Sports’ Jack Magruder. The same would be true for any squad that inked him.

The dots connect.

Ask yourself, though: Is Miami really one superlative reliever away from bona fide contention?

The Marlins finished 79-82 last year, a distant third place in the National League East.

The offense is laden with potential. All-Star center fielder Marcell Ozuna and left fielder Christian Yelich are coming off breakout campaigns. Still, Miami ranked No. 27 in baseball in runs scored, “thanks” in part to the inconsistent stylings of $325 million man Giancarlo Stanton, who hit a scant .240 and paced the team with 140 strikeouts. 

The starting rotation lacks a legitimate No. 1 after the tragic death of Jose Fernandez and will rely on a muddled mishmash topped by veteran lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who posted a 4.96 ERA in his first season in South Beach. 

There are no aces to be had via free agency. Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter, meanwhile, ranked the Marlins’ farm system No. 27 in baseball, meaning a roster-remaking trade is unlikely. 

Speaking of which: Jansen would cost the Marlins their first-round draft pick since he rejected the Dodgers’ qualifying offer.

If we were talking about a team that was an elite closer away from World Series glory, that would be a worthwhile trade-off. 

For Miami? Not so much.

Then again, this is a franchise that defines dysfunction. They’re a team, as Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller put it in December, “that always is just one elephant short of going full Barnum & Bailey under the carnival-barker owner Jeffrey Loria.”

The Marlins have won two titles in their relatively brief existence and proceeded to tear each roster down posthaste. They built a gaudy new stadium on a financially unstable foundation. They hired Barry Bonds, arguably baseball’s most polarizing figure, to be their hitting coach and canned him after one season.

We could go on. Even casual observers, however, understand that the Marlins and bizarre decisions go together like stuffing and gravy.

On the grand Miami head-scratching scale, signing Jansen for the $80 million to $90 million he’s sure to command wouldn’t rate near the top. 

But it would be a classic Marlins overreach: Big-game hunting for a splashy name at the expense of a draft pick and a hunk of payroll without an apparent plan. Miami’s budget ranks in the bottom third, per Spotrac. Unless Loria is preparing to untie the purse strings, Jansen is an incongruous luxury.

Miami should hang on to its first-round pick. It should figure out which parts of its current offensive core it wants to keep and nurture.

It should methodically bolster and rebuild the starting rotation over the next few seasons and sketch a road map that goes deeper than the shiniest free agent on the shelf.

For the Marlins, though, “should” is rarely synonymous with “do.” Which means Jansen will probably soon wear an “M” on his hat.


All statistics courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Fernando Rodney’s Contract Option Declined by Marlins: Latest Details, Reaction

The Miami Marlins declined their team option on reliever Francisco Rodney, making him an unrestricted free agent. 

Craig Mish of SiriusXM relayed a report from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald which stated that Rodney was informed his option would not be picked up. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball confirmed the pitcher would not be brought back, noting that the buyout is $400,000.

Rodney, 39, could have earned up to $5 million with incentives, per Jackson. The veteran recorded 25 saves in 2016 while splitting time in Miami and San Diego, coming over in a midseason trade.

Borderline unhittable with the Padres, Rodney’s performance took a massive nosedive after coming to Miami. His ERA soared from 0.31 in San Diego to 5.89 in Miami, and he blew three of his 11 saves with the Marlins after converting his first 17. 

“I think closers are best when they’re not figured out,” Padres manager Andy Green told reporters in March. “He’s a difficult one to figure out that way. But he’s got a ton of personality, he’s got a ton of life, a ton of joy playing the game. It’s infectious.”

The Marlins traded pitching prospect Chris Paddack to San Diego in exchange for Rodney, so it was always expected they would retain him. They were initially on the hook for just $2 million in 2017, but Rodney reached performance and appearance numbers. It’s possible that extra $1.5 million in base salary tipped the scale. 

It’s the second straight season in which Rodney has had wildly disparate numbers in his two stops.

In 2015, he was consistently rocked as a member of the Seattle Mariners before finding his stuff with the Chicago Cubs. Rodney has always been a little inconsistent, so this falls in line with his career expectation. 

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Don Mattingly Reportedly Would Have Resigned If Barry Bonds Stayed with Marlins

On Monday, the Miami Marlins fired hitting coach Barry Bonds, one of the greatest home run hitters in MLB history.

Later in the day an MLB coach told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that Marlins manager Don Mattingly would have resigned if Bonds had remained with the team. 

According to SiriusXM’s Craig Mish, Bonds’ “commitment level dwindled” as the season progressed, and Mattingly called him out over the summer. 

However, the writing was on the wall early.

In April, Mattingly, who was in his first season with Miami after spending five years as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, took a swipe at Bonds’ work ethic, saying he was “a work in progress,” while lauding assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino for making most of the preparations ahead of games, per Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle:

You see Frankie still doing a lot of the prep work. Barry is still getting into the routine of the ugly side of coaching: being here at 1 and studying video, studying on the plane and you don’t get a chance to watch movies, things like that.

It just depends how good you want to be as a coach. If you want to be a really good coach, you’ve got to do the work.

Under Bonds, the Marlins offense was mediocre as the team finished with a 79-82 record, good for third place in the National League East:

Miami Marlins 2016 Offensive Stats
Stat Result MLB Rank
Average .263 4th
Hits 1,460 5th
Runs 655 27th
Runs Per Game 4.07 27th
Strikeouts 1,213 6th-Least
Home Runs 128 29th

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

However, the Marlins’ difficult ending to the season, with the tragic death of ace Jose Fernandez, made late-September and October baseball irrelevant.

For Bonds, his first job in MLB since his retirement as a player in 2007 ended early, and his reported problems with Mattingly might not make it easy for him to catch on anywhere else.

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Ichiro Suzuki’s Contract Option Picked Up by Marlins: Latest Details, Reaction

The Miami Marlins officially picked up the contract option on outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on Wednesday to keep him with the organization for the 2017 season. 

The Marlins announced the decision on their official Twitter feed. Ichiro is scheduled to make $2 million during the final year of the current deal, per Spotrac.

One year ago, it appeared the 42-year-old legend was finally starting to fade. The Japanese superstar posted a career-low .282 on-base percentage and finished with a negative WAR (-0.7) for the first time, according to FanGraphs.

Ichiro bounced back in a significant way during the 2016 campaign, though. While he didn’t make the type of daily impact he did during his prime with the Seattle Mariners, his .354 OBP was back in line with his career average while he filled various voids for the club.

The 10-time All-Star also reached a couple of milestones during the season.

In June, he passed longtime Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose with his 4,257th career hit between his time in MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The outfielder told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com through an interpreter he wasn’t interested in the debate about being the true hit king.

“I don’t think you can compare,” Ichiro said. “Obviously, it’s a combined record. So I always just say, ‘What people think about that record, if they recognize it, I’ll be happy.’ But obviously, 3,000, it’s a no-doubter. Obviously, it’s a record here. So that is a goal I want to achieve.”

He accomplished the latter task in August with a triple against the Colorado Rockies. He expressed concerns about how he had achieved the mark, but his resurgent play alleviated them, per David Waldstein of the New York Times.

“Are you at the end and can barely play and are just chasing this number and can barely get there?” Ichiro said. “Or are you part of a team trying to win ballgames, going about your business properly as you go past that number? I think that is what I want to experience, and that is what is important for me.”

Looking ahead, Ichiro figures to play the role of fourth outfielder again next season behind the triumvirate of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

He can still play all three outfield spots at age 42, which will lead to a few starts per week. Per FanGraphs, he posted a plus-six defensive runs saved figure this season, and that also allows him to serve as a defensive replacement in the late innings off the bench.


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Barry Bonds Fired by Marlins: Latest Comments and Reaction

Barry Bonds‘ tenure with the Miami Marlins is over after just one season.

The Marlins confirmed Wednesday that Bonds would not return next season after Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball cited sources on Monday who said the team elected to let the hitting coach go.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald confirmed the report and noted the team was also getting rid of third base coach Lenny Harris and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius.

Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported owner Jeffrey Loria was previously the only one blocking the dismissal of Bonds, but that was “apparently no longer an obstacle.”

Mish pointed out there was a disconnect with the franchise’s premier offensive star, noting Giancarlo Stanton “tuned out” Bonds, who was critical of the slugger within earshot of his teammates at times.

Mish added that manager Don Mattingly called out Bonds during a road trip this season, noting the hitting coach’s commitment decreased over the course of the season.

While there were reportedly some issues with Bonds that go beyond the box score, one of the concerns was likely the lack of offensive production for the team. The 79-82 Marlins finished in third place in the National League East despite ranking sixth in the National League in team ERA.

The Marlins were an abysmal 27th in the major league in total runs scored with 665 and failed to capitalize on many of their impressive pitching outings.

Heyman acknowledged that some of the statistics were solid, and the Marlins improved their overall batting average by three points and their run total by 42 under Bonds’ tutelage. However, the lack of slugging and runs proved costly in Miami’s postseason push:

Bonds came to the Marlins with a head-turning resume as a player. The seven-time National League MVP, 14-time All-Star and 12-time Silver Slugger boasts the all-time records for career (762) and single-season home runs (73).

When the team hired Bonds, USA Today recognized his career was “tarnished by steroids,” but Bonds said, “I know hitting, and I know it better than anybody.”

The 2015 season wasn’t his first time working with younger players in a teaching role. According to USA Today, he served as a guest hitting instructor for the San Francisco Giants in spring training two years ago and previously tutored players on an individual level.

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Jose Fernandez Celebrated at Funeral, Public Memorial in Miami

A public memorial service was held Wednesday for former Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez, and his family and friends held a private service Thursday.

The 24-year-old died Sunday morning in a boating accident.

WSVN 7 News shared Scott Boras‘ eulogy during Fernandez’s funeral Thursday. Boras was Fernandez’s agent:

The Sun Sentinel‘s Craig Davis posted a photo of fans honoring Fernandez on Wednesday at a memorial set up outside Marlins Park:

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reported approximately 150 fans were on hand to pay tribute early in the day:

The Miami Herald‘s David Smiley reported an automobile procession began at Marlins Park on Wednesday and ended at Ermita de la Caridad (Shrine of Our Lady of Charity), and a public viewing was scheduled at St. Brendan Catholic Church.

The Miami Herald‘s Andre Fernandez showed the procession arriving at the church in the afternoon:

Upon its arrival, Jose Fernandez’s family draped his casket with his 2016 All-Star jersey, as Andre Fernandez shared:

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald posted a photo of Jose Fernandez’s teammates surrounding his hearse at Marlins Park:

WSVN‘s Katrina Bush shared a clip of the players escorting the hearse down its route:

WPTV’s Jason Hackett showed fans lining the route outside the stadium:

Fernandez’s death sent shock waves throughout baseball. He was one of the brightest talents and best pitchers in MLB. He reached his second All-Star Game earlier in the year and was a strong contender for the National League Cy Young Award.

The Marlins canceled Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves after Fernandez’s death was confirmed. In Miami’s first game back Monday, second baseman Dee Gordon led off with a solo home run:

It was Gordon’s first homer of the season.

“I ain’t never hit a ball that far, even in [batting practice],” he said of the moment, per Walter Villa of USA Today. “I told the boys, ‘If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help.”

Team owner Jeffrey Loria announced Monday that the team will retire Fernandez’s No. 16 jersey. Jackie Robinson, whose No. 42 jersey is honored leaguewide, is the only other player to have his number retired by the Marlins.

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