July 24, 2017

Tom Koehler optioned to NOLA, Cervenka recalled

Following his latest tough outing, the Marlins optioned struggling starting pitcher Tom Koehler to Triple A New Orleans on Monday.

            Since July 1 when he was activated from the disabled list (right shoulder bursitis), Koehler has gone 0-3 with a 9.87 ERA in four starts. Koehler has allowed 15 home runs, including three in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Reds and given up 19 earned runs in 15 innings.

            Koehler has gone 1-5 this season with a 7.92 ERA in 12 starts (55 2/3 innings), higher than only Bartolo Colon’s 8.19 ERA among major-league starters who have thrown at least 40 innings.

            Koehler’s demotion means the Marlins will have to choose a starter to replace him for Friday’s start at Marlins Park against the Reds.

            The Marlins called up reliever Hunter Cervenka from NOLA to fill the roster spot.

When Cervenka pitches, it will be his first action of the season in a Marlins’ uniform. Cervenka has gone 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 34 innings (36 appearances) at Triple A New Orleans this season with 34 strikeouts and 21 walks.

Cervenka posted a 4.82 ERA in 9 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and five walks last season.

July 20, 2017

Marlins trade David Phelps to Mariners for four prospects

In one of the moves expected to be made before the trade deadline, the Miami Herald confirmed reports that the Marlins have reached an agreement to send reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday in exchange for four prospects.

The Marlins had not yet confirmed the trade as of early Thursday afternoon.

But according to multiple reports, the Marlins would acquire 19-year old Venezuelan center fielder Brayan Hernandez as well as right-handed pitching prospects Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez and Lukas Schiraldi.

Hernandez is the top-rated prospect, ranked sixth in the Mariners system according to MLBPipeline.com.

Hernandez hit .252 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 112 appearances in short season Single A ball for the Mariners, and is likely still a few years from the majors.

The Mariners signed him in 2014 to a $1.85 million bonus as an international prospect.

Miller, ranked No. 16 in the Mariners’ system, is a starting pitcher from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, drafted by Seattle last year in the sixth round. The 22-year old righty is 9-4 with a 3.65 ERA in Single A ball this season.

Lopez, a 21-year old Venezuelan, is ranked 22nd for Seattle, and is 5-8 with a 5.04 ERA playing the Single A advanced level this year.

Schiraldi, 23, is not ranked among the top 30 Mariners prospects. Schiraldi, a native of Austin, Texas and 15th- round pick in the 2014 draft, projects as a reliever.

Phelps, 30, has shown his value as a starter and reliever during his career, although he has pitched primarily as a set-up reliever the past two seasons for the Marlins.

This season, Phelps is 2-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 47 innings (44 appearances). The Mariners are expected to pick up the remainder of Phelps’ one-year, $4.6 million deal he signed before the season. Phelps is arbitration eligible next season and would become a free agent after the 2018 season.

The Mariners are hoping the move can bolster their bullpen and keep them in contention. Seattle entered Thursday only 1½ games out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League.

The Marlins are also discussing a potential trade for closer A.J. Ramos with several teams in advance of the July 31 deadline.

Phelps

 

September 26, 2016

To honor Jose Fernandez, Marlins will wear his No. 16 tonight

     To honor Jose Fernandez, all Marlins players will wear his No. 16 tonight when they face the New York Mets.

     Sources said other tributes to Fernandez, who died early Sunday in a boating accident, were still in the planning stages.

     Fans continued to leave flowers and candles near the main turnstiles as a tribute to the Marlins pitching star.

     Following Sunday's emotional news conference at Marlins Park, players and team officials traveled by bus to offer their condolences to Fernandez's mother and grandmother.

September 17, 2016

Johnny Bench offers Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto some interesting advice

PHILADELPHIA -- When Johnny Bench talks, you listen.

Especially if, like Bench, you’re a catcher from Oklahoma.

“Everybody back home knows who Johnny Bench is,” said Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, who also hails from the Sooner State.

BenchBut even Realmuto was surprised at the novel advice the Hall of Fame catcher gave him when the two met during spring training.

“He told me — which is probably not great advice for everybody — to make sure in batting practice you take at least one round (of swings) and try to hit home runs,” Realmuto said.

Said Bench to Realmuto: “In my opinion, if you don’t practice it, you’re never going to be able to do it. So make sure you take one round and try to go deep, every single pitch, no matter where it’s at. Try to go deep.”

Bench ranks second all-time among catchers with 389 home runs.

Realmuto doesn’t have Bench’s power. But he’s no lightweight, either, with 10 home run each of the past two seasons.

The two catchers compare in other ways, though.

According to STATS LLC, Realmuto became the fifth catcher, along with Bench, to record at least 260 hits, 50 doubles and 20 homers in their first two full seasons in the majors. The others: Benito Santiago, Kenji Johjima and Russell Martin.

“That’s awesome, to be able to categorize with a guy like that,” Realmuto said. “It’s just the first two seasons, and obviously (I have) a long ways to go. But it’s pretty special.”

As for taking Bench’s advice on batting practice, Realmuto wasn’t so sure.

“Yes and no,” Realmuto replied when asked whether he practices what Bench preaches. “ Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But I thought that was a funny piece of advice, because of the way he thinks. It’s definitely different than most people. It was pretty cool just to chat with him, though.”

-- The Marlins just missed equaling a franchise record in Friday’s 13-inning loss when they used 24 players. The team record of 25 players used in a game was set Sept. 9, 1999, in a 13-inning win over the Dodgers.
-- Over his past seven relief outings, Fernando Rodney has allowed nine earned runs on 12 hits and seven walks in 5 1/3 innings. Rodney had an 0.31 ERA when the Marlins acquired him in their trade with San Diego. With the Marlins, his ERA is 5.97.

September 16, 2016

Miami Marlins need a Hail Mary to reach playoffs

PHILADELPHIA -- The postseason picture is bleak for the Marlins, who are four back in the Wild Card race with 16 games remaining. They have about a two percent chance of pulling it off, according to ESPN calculations. One team executive I spoke with figured the Marlins would have to go 13-3 the rest of the way for there to be any chance of it happening.

The team's best 16-game stretch at any point during the season was a 12-4 run in late April and early May. So, essentially, the Marlins would have to play their best baseball of the season and hope that at least two of the three teams ahead of them in the Wild Card fray -- the Giants, Mets and Cardinals -- finish poorly. That's a lot to hope for.

But it's not impossible. It's not enough for the Marlins to win their five remaining series (two with the Nationals and one each with the Mets, Braves and Phillies). They're going to need to sweep two or three, and one of those must include their three-game set in Miami against the Mets on Sept. 26-28.

While a Wild Card berth is highly unlikely, the team's first winning record since 2009 is still within the realm. The Marlins enter their weekend series against the Phillies with a 73-73 record, and have nine games remaining against teams with winning records. But three of those will come on the final weekend of the season against the first-place Nationals, who have all but clinched the N.L. East and could be resting their stars in preparation for postseason play.

September 05, 2016

Justin Bour close to being activated from the DL

Justin Bour could be on the active roster later today.

After being listed as a reserve on the lineup card for Monday's 1:10 p.m. game against the Phillies, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Bour could be activated by game time or soon after.

Shortly before the game, Mattingly said it was a matter of making room for Bour on the active roster.

"He's looked really good out there taking ground balls and batting practice," Mattingly said. "It's getting to the point where we feel like we want to activate him, and just have him available."

Mattingly said Bour, who hasn't played since July 2 with a high ankle sprain, would be used in a pinch-hitting/reserve role.

 

Bour hurt his ankle during a game in Atlanta when he stepped on first base awkwardly. He then dealt with further setbacks including an Achilles issue in the weeks that followed.

Bour hit .268 with 15 home runs and 46 RBI in 68 games before the injury.

August 31, 2016

David Phelps lands on DL with oblique strain

NEW YORK -- David Phelps was supposed to be on the mound tonight at Citi Field. Instead, he landed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. The Marlins called up right-hander Jake Esch to take Phelps' place in what will mark his major league debut.

Phelps said he sustained the injury while taking batting practice on Tuesday.

"I actually did it in the batting cage yesterday," Phelps said. "First swing. I just felt something, shut it down. My initial reaction and our initial thought was I would maybe miss one start."

The Marlins waited to see how Phelps felt when he woke up this morning before making a decision.

"Woke up, it was still stiff," Phelps said. "So they decided to put me on the DL."

Phelps said his arm his fine and that he expects to resume throwing in about four days. If all goes well, he'll miss no more than two starts.

"The silver lining would have been if it had happened on Sept. 1 (when rosters expand) and you wouldn't have had to worry about a DL stint," Phelps said. "But it's Aug. 31, so we've got to make a roster move. My arm's perfectly healthy."

Esch is a former 11th-round pick for the Marlins and has gone 12-10 with a 4.31 ERA this season for Double A Jacksonville and Triple A New Orleans.

 

 

August 09, 2016

A.J. Ramos lands on DL with broken finger

The Marlins, who avoided the injury bug the first half of the season, haven't been as fortunate the second half. Having already lost starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and first baseman Justin Bour to injuries, the Marlins were dealt another blow on Tuesday when closer A.J. Ramos was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured finger on his pitching hand.

Suddenly, a bullpen that looked capable all not long ago appears vulnerable. Not only is Ramos out, but David Phelps has moved into a starting role to shore up the rotation. The Marlins have a ninth-inning fallback in Fernando Rodney. But the sequence of late-inning set-up relievers becomes more suspect.

It's uncertain how much time Ramos is likely to miss. His DL assignment is retroactive to Saturday, the day he last pitched. But a broken finger is obviously not a good thing. Ramos jammed his right hand during the previous home stand and tried pitching through it -- to mixed results. Though he never offered it as an excuse, it was clearly a factor in his Wrigley Field meltdown last week.

The Marlins on Tuesday made a couple of moves to a bullpen that was taxed during Monday's 14-inning marathon. Hunter Cervenka, who was acquired from the Braves over the weekend, was optioned to Triple A New Orleans after making only two relief appearances. The Marlins recalled right-handed rookie Austin Brice from Double A Jacksonville and selected the contract of veteran left-hander Chris Narveson, who was on the club at the start of the season.

August 07, 2016

Did Stanton really hit longest HR in Coors Field history? You be the judge

DENVER -- No matter how you measure it, Giancarlo Stanton's home run Saturday off Chad Bettis was a BOMB.

The ball was crushed, landing about two-thirds of the way up in the left-center field bleachers. Within minutes, MLB.com's Statcast, which uses sophisticated equipment to measure distances, pegged it at 504 feet. If that figure is accurate -- and there's no reason to believe that it isn't -- it would make it the longest home run ever hit at Coors, surpassing Mike Piazza's 496-foot shot here in 1997 and Stanton's own 494-footer in 2012.

But wait a second. Take a look at the video evidence. Was Stanton's home run REALLY longer than Piazza's? Or even his own?

Here's Stanton's from last night:

 

Now take a look at Piazza's, which landed on the concourse in center:

And here's Stanton's home run at Coors in 2012:

The equipment used to measure home run distances was not nearly as sophisticated then as it is now, so who knows whether Piazza's 496-foot shot was truly a 496-footer, or whether it was even longer.

But is sure doesn't look like Stanton hit the longest home run in Coors Field history last night.

August 06, 2016

Miami Marlins acquire lefty relief specialist Hunter Cervenka from Atlanta Braves

DENVER -- It wasn't a sleepy Saturday for the Marlins, who pulled off another deal to bolster their bullpen for a postseason push.

The Marlins acquired lefty relief specialist Hunter Cervenka from the Braves for a couple of prospects, infielder Anfernee Seymour and left-handed pitcher Michael Mader.

CervenkaCervenka's numbers have been impressive, especially against lefty hitters. In 50 appearances out of the bullpen for the Braves, the 26-year-old rookie has gone 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. Left-handed batters have hit just .145 against him. He's struck out 35 batters in 34 2/3 innings for Atlanta.

The Marlins are giving up a speedster in Seymour (36 stolen bases for Single A Greensboro) and a lefty minor-league arm in Mader (7-6, 3.50 for Single A Jupiter). Mader was the Marlins' third-round pick in 2014 while Seymour was taken in the seventh round that same year.

Cervenka gives manager Don Mattingly a much-needed lefty specialist he can employ in late-inning matchup situations. The Marlins' incumbent left-hander, Mike Dunn, has never been significantly more effective against left-handers than he was facing right-handed swingers.

No word yet on who the Marlins will take off their 25-man roster to make room for Cervenka.