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Former Marlin Chris Valaika signs with "first-class organization"

It stood to reason that Chris Valaika's future with the Marlins was pretty much toast when owner Jeffrey Loria vetoed the infielder's promotion from the minors late in the season. The reason: Loria was perturbed that Valaika, along with a handful of other players, complained to management that he had been harassed verbally by former hitting coach Tino Martinez, who resigned in the wake of the allegations. Martinez was Loria's hand-picked hire.

The front office wanted to call up Valaika from Triple A New Orleans in August. But Loria said no.

And sure enough, Valaika on Sunday signed a minor-league deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

But what's most interesting is one of Rosenthal's follow-up tweets, in which he quotes Valaika's agent, Joel Wolfe.

"Chris is very excited to be with a first-class organization," Rosenthal reported Wolfe as saying.

Was it a subtle dig at the Marlins? One way or the other, it's definitely a comment worth noting.

Why? Wolfe also represents Giancarlo Stanton.

Comments

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Dionysus Thelxinoe

His hiring of Tino Martinez as a hitting coach exemplifies Loria's complete of baseball acumen and the inevitable "form over substance" decision-making that results. Tino is a good guy, he was a real pro as a player, and well respected in the baseball community, but he's never been the leader-type that coaches need to be. To be sure, Tino thrived in a winning atmosphere and Marlins' players could have learned a thing or two about that from him. But since here they are brought up to the big leagues well before they are ready, due wholly to Loria's rampant cheapness, these players are not even well-schooled on the fundamentals, never mind understanding a winning atmosphere or radical notions such as teamwork.

The crybaby complaints from Valaika and others exposed Loria's organizational culture for what it is... a total joke in the baseball community. As far as I'm concerned, the only question remaining about Loria for 2014 is who he will make a scapegoat next winter for his own failings.

FJEFF

Looking forward to Stantons agent living up to his surname,turning down any Loria arb offer and and forcing the issue to be decided by the Arbiter. Squeeze the FatBastards balls in a vice for every last dime,eventually forcing a trade or Free agency,thus saying Adios Scumbag.

a

Marlins should capitalize with trading Giancarlos Stanton; but doing better than their done with Miguel Cabrera; now they can lure Toronto Blue Jays offering this player for Lowry plus a catcher. If they get so, the Marlins will have a better balance team, because then 3rd base hole is filled, 3rd, batting order is filled too, and the outfield is good with Ozuna, Ruggiano and Yeilich.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

At my age, I have the benefit of hindsight from numerous historically prime examples of the harm that is too often wrought by bringing a player up to the big leagues before they have a chance to develop their skills and stamina.

The two most striking examples, while admittedly a bit extreme in their final consequences, nevertheless serve as examples of the danger in bringing players up to the big leagues too soon or too quickly.

Bob Horner was a 3rd baseman who was the very first pick in the 1978 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves. He was represented by a ruinous and greedy agent named Bucky Woy, a cartoon-like character who was a cross between Boss Hogg and Scott Boras. As part of the contentious and very public negotiations, Woy actually demanded that Horner be immediately assigned to the Braves' major league roster. A young and impetuous Ted Turner caved in and Horner made an immediate impression, winning Rookie of the Year and showing flashes of the talent that many projected would give him a Hall of Fame career. Long story short... Horner was pretty much finished by the age of 28.

Five years before Horner was drafted, the first pick in the 1973 amateur draft was a lefty who was being billed as the next Sandy Koufax. His name was David Clyde, and like Horner, he was put on the major league roster for the Texas Rangers without the benefit of a single minor league game, albeit at the insistence of the owner, who was motivated by finances. Clyde made his major league debut a whole 20 days after pitching a high school game. It wasn't long after that that manager Billy Martin succeeded in ruining his arm (as he did with several other young pitchers). David Clyde pitched his FINAL game at the ripe age of 24.

Whenever the Marlins bring up any of these young players before they're ready, the players are very fortunate if the only damage done is to their lack of fundamentals.

Stan M

DT, which players are you referring to? Hech, Brantly, and Dietrich came from other organizations. I will grant that Yelich, while he catches balls hit his way well, hasn't a clue as to where to throw it when there are base runners. Coghlan seemed to adapt to LF quite well and nearly always threw correctly. Even LoMo, despite terrible deficiencies as an outfielder in all but his effort, also threw the ball to where it should go. Stanton used to drop too many balls, but he seemed about as well schooled in OF fundamentals as most young players. Turner and Eovaldi learned how not to bunt properly elsewhere. Alvarez should probably hit cleanup (where in the world did this guy learn to hit?)and our young ROY conducts himself pretty darn well at the plate. Valaika came from the Red's system and I wouldn't fault his fundamentals at all. As to their maturity, didn't the players above who fingered Tino do so only after being questioned? Not sure, but think there was something about that.

Stan M

`What is all this nonsense about trading LoMo? Now, when his value is at its nadir? Other organizations must see something or why the interest. No, no, no. Give him one more year to rise or fall...when healthy.

Here is an article picking the Marlin minor league all stars at each position. Most make sense, but I would have had Avery Romero in there.

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20131115&content_id=63918646&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&sid=milb

Stan M

DT, you are right on target with your David Clyde comparison, and there were numerous "bonus babies" who did not fare well because they had to remain on the major league roster for their initial year when that dreadful bonus rule was in force. In fact, Koufax himself was probably set back by a year or two in his development because of that rule. But Bob Horner? I just looked up his stats, and while I am not as versed as you on the individual circumstances of his moving on to Japan, his stats alone don't show how he was hurt by that contract. I was not a Brave fan, so you probably know more about what happened that I. May I add a resounding "yes" to your evaluation of his agent.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan, when I speak of fundamentals, I speak of the type that goes to the core of winning baseball, which goes beyond the importance of throwing to the right base, hitting the cutoff man, bunting skills, etc. The fact that Valaika and others failed to grasp that a winner like Tino Martinez has something to offer them, to the point where they have the temerity to challenge him with "Why should I..?" speaks volumes about their maturity ON A BASEBALL LEVEL.

When winners are in a slump, they take extra batting practice or try to help the team with defense and speed or whatever. Then when these winners break out of their slump, they CONTINUE to work extra hard to stay in a zone. Otoh, guys like Valaika, who was not even a teenager yet when Tino was hitting a career high 44 HRs, somehow get the impression that hitting .219 entitles them to challenge a coach who owns 4 World Series rings.

THAT, Mr. M, is a lack of baseball IQ, if you will, as well as a pronounced level of immaturity (regardless of who was to blame for the Tino matter). Worst of all for us as Marlins fans, it speaks to the organizational culture of the Marlins.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Btw, the roster dilemma with bonus babies was very true. However, in the case of Koufax, the Dodgers roster was very deep during his first 5-6 seasons, so they had the luxury of keeping him as a 5th or 6th starter (in those days of 4-man rotations) while he matured, which essentially served as his developmental time. During this time, he was a member of three World Series teams and two World Champions.

bob

Represents Stanton, you say?

Oh, that is not good at all.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

My guess is that the interest in Morrison is more a function of his being arbitration-eligible, so they figure that he's not long for this kingdom of the robber baron carpetbagger Loria.

Beinfart

trade Elmo? for what? Elmo's worth is next to zero,zip,and zilch in a one for one deal. Maybe a throw in like Dontrelle was in the Miggy deal to an American League team.

Juanv

as much as I don't like lomo. I would hate to see him get traded unless they had a great replacement lined up. A full healthy season would be nice if anything trading Rugiano to Boston for one of there many third base prospects would be great. maybe Chechini or Almanzar who is rule five eligible. Now before you start bashing Rugiano he would be a good fit in Boston ala Cody ross. with the outfield pretty much loaded third base would be a choice to start stacking up young talent.

Easy E.

Simple. move Yelich to 1B. Next.

Stan M

Easy E that should be the move...if...LoMo fails. And it will also solve the OF problem.

DT, your points about the "Why should I" travesty are valid. However, that takes us back to a disagreement about Redmond's worth. Why did it ever get that far and why wasn't he on top of it? And before I would blame the FO, I'd also point to the series of managers from Gonzalez who was initially over his head and bewildered, to the self centered Ozzie, to the overly timid Redmond himself.
Regarding Koufax, you are dead wrong in my opinion. The Dodgers were still under the Branch Ricky way of doing things which he imparted before being forced out of the organization. Koufax was a wild man as a youngster and most certainly would have benefited from more intense instruction on a lower level by an organization that taught things the right (Dodger) way. Personally, I don't think the matter is even worthy of a contrasting view. I followed the Dodgers almost as a religion back in those days, and even the Dodger FO lamented the fact that he was wasted on the bench. Sorry to disagree this once for we are usually close in our opinions and I respect yours.

spitballer

I didn't know that Joel Wolf represented both Stanton & Valaika. That being said, probably puts the odds (90-1) of Stanton not being a long time Marlin. Look for him to be traded by July 2015 or before. Its another gut wrenching day for us Marlin fans to look forward to.

Stan M

Spitballer, if it were just parsimony on Loria's part, it would be bad enough. But that little toad manages to find several other ways to screw things up as well. This is just another example. It's difficult to understand how he can be so successful in one field, yet a total disaster in another.

russell

DT, from my previous post, you are correct I can do my own research into Moran's A Ball hitting thus far. My comment on Uribe was meant as a slight to the Marlin's FO as I see NO upgrade with Uribe in the lineup and all he would be is a higher salary "BFD" Big F'ing Deal - Roger Dorn.

And Moran as you know was a very high 1st round pick at the hot corner (like Zimmerman) from the ACC as a College POY type guy. I find it to be a fair question and expectation as I'm sure Moran wanted a lucrative signing bonus to boot, because if Moran isn't that guy then our FO failed once again and selected the wrong guy. That said as a Marlin's fan I hope Moran plays the hot corner for the fish for the next 10 years.

russell

I hope everyone on here hopes that Yelich is a true OF because the last thing this team needs is another 1B, how many have there been the last 3 years with every other player outside their natural position? Unless you want to make the argument that every guy the Fish have had was in fact a 1B, and by the way you'd probably be right.

manny

need an upgrade @1B instead of the stiff thats there now

Stan M

Russell, to my knowledge, IB was Yelich's secondary position in the minors. I know he played there a little, but have no idea as to how much. Let us, as Marlin fans, hope that LoMo comes back to show that another replacement isn't necessary. This will be his first healthy year since 2009.

Easy E

Why does anyone who is not an emotionally involved ,wishful,hopeful Marlins fan believe Lomo will be any better than his numbers state? After the AS break last season in 61games with 226PA's Lomo had a .226BA , .318OBP,.317SLG for an OPS of .635. What are the feeble excuses for that dismal performance,and how can any logical person think Lomo will do much better than that,over the course of a full season.which is questionable for Lomo to even play through? He may not even be a full time player.

Alvarez

Easy E....lomo is cheap to keep for a team that wont contend before the season even starts,and has no plan to do so in 14'. You get what you pay for,which isnt much.

juanv

Yelich is an outfielder his bat is better suited for outfield now. If he outgrows the outfield and hits twenty five to thirty five hrs. Than first is fine for him. other than that the outfield is not a problem until either ruggiano,marsinick actually beat out yelich, ozuna, and Stanton. Other than that. Marsinick should stay down ruggiano fourth outfielder, If there is trade value for lomo than gauge it but have a bona fide replacement maybe in the rule five draft they can pick up a hitter or a good third baseman but catcher f.a market is very tough right now they gave ruiz 26mil salty's price just went up and there is no good catcher's out there at the marlins price range.

Stan M

Easy E, as an "emotionally involved" Marlin fan, I'll try to answer your question. First we must remember that as a prospect, he was very well thought of. That means that multiple scouts who had viewed him saw promise far above what is average for a prospect. Second, he performed well in his initial year despite still being younger than many call ups and facing the imminent death of his father. If you lost your father at 22, you would understand how traumatic this can be. I know for I lost my dad at 21. Third, he has always demonstrated excellent ball/strike judgment, and this is critical for a player to ultimately display superior hitting skills. Subjectively speaking, and based upon over 60 years of closely following baseball, I will tell you that this man has an excellent, controlled swing and an ability to not miss too many balls; that is, he doesn't strike out too much. Stat heads will tell you that players with a superior skill set (which LoMo obviously has) and has had some success in their past, often break out into their true potential at the exact age of LoMo right now. LoMo has always shown tremendous willpower in attempting to succeed despite being seriously hurt and asked to play out of his usual position. He has demonstrated time and again that he is a decent human being and his charity work was enough for the team to nominate him for the Clemente award. And lastly, and most importantly, other organizations, who naturally have far more information and the ability to judge talent better than you or I, think highly enough of him to make him the second most sought after Marlin this Fall. Will he succeed? I really don't know, but his upside is certainly worth hanging on for one more year.

juanv

like I said Stan only if they had a better replacement would it make sense.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan M, let's you and I agree that it's ok if we disagree, variety being the spice of life. It seems to me that you and I can do so intelligently and respectfully. In fact, if the Dodgers of the early Alston era was your religion, I'd have to say that your perception is probably more accurate.

Where we may REALLY disagree is on the managers who have come through Miami in recent years. Redmond, to me, is clearly a "default" choice, meaning essentially who else was there, really? Redmond was not and is not ready for this. He needed more time in the minors and a year or two on the bench. He got neither.

I think we're close in thought on Red. But on the other guys? Ozzie's only problem (aside from his mouth, which Loria knew about when he signed him) was the talent, on a team level, simply was not up to snuff. Poor management decisions. Nothing more.

As for Fredi Gonzalez and Joe Girardi, thy seemed to have done well after leaving here. I think that says a lot. About Loria.

richie incognegro

All you idiot marlins fans waiting for weakdick Lomo to amount to anything more than the turd he is wont have to wait but another half a season,if that.Loria will flush Lomos turdazz down the drain,where it belongs.

Stan M

DT, you will never get an argument from me about Girardi. I thought then, and continue to think that he is a fine manager. In my opinion, both through personal example and policy implementation, he helped an incredibly young team to adapt to the ML.

Fredi is an entirely different matter. The man sat Budda-like on the bench looking for all the world that he was trying to understand why he was there and what to do next. In game after game when decisions went against his team, he didn't move. I will only mention his famous "double switch" in passing. He destroyed a bullpen in his first year in Atlanta. I think he has developed so that now he is acceptable. He was probably forced to continue to play two sub Mendoza hitters for nearly the entire year. Perhaps Ozzie would have been a better fit if the Castro utterance had never happened. But it did, and he seemed to pass the year in a defensive mode which was not at all like him. However, I don't remember any improvement in team performance on the "little things" that this team still has no idea about how to execute. You emphasize attitude development on a ML level and Girardi was a perfect example. The others...nah! I like your reference to Redmond as a "default" manager. Excellent. Wish I thought of it.

A few words about those old Dodger managers. Darocher(sic) was terrific and probably the model for Billy Martin. Bert Shotton, who only managed in street clothes, was a crony whose prime had passed and the team seemed to win in spite of him. Good ol' Chuck Dressen was a study in egoism. But he was a darn good manager. I never understood Alston, he too seemed Budda-like. But there is no debate about either his success or his ability to intimidate the mal-contents with his physical presence. They were great days to be a baseball fan, especially at or near NY.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Ahhh... refreshing and stimulating intellectual discourse!

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Clark, please, if you're going to delete that profanity-laced post, you have to also delete my (now non sequitur) response.

Stan M

Didn't we used to have a different Richie post here who was rational and didn't sound like he just escaped from a mental institution?

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan, with respect to Fredi... My background is in finance, so I have an affinity to both numbers and results, so this is what I look at when I evaluate Fredi's overall performance here... first season, 20 games under .500, ok let's chalk it up to learning curve (to go with a $30 Million payroll); second season, Loria actually CUTS payroll by a third, dropping it to a ridiculous $21 Million, yet Fredi led them to a respectable (some might say overachieving) 84-77 record. His third season, he led the team to an 87-75 record, finishing in second place, and the team exceeding everyone's expectations. He was fired less than halfway through the next season with the team at 34-36. This is the track record that Loria labeled "a colossal failure" in his hubris. My opinion of his performance here is, considering what he had to work with, combined with who he had to work for, I think he did a respectable job.

JeezusChrist

@Stan M..in honor of your loyalty ...may Lomo hit .280 w/ 20homers and make us all say thank you

Stan M

DT, My personal opinion will always remain that he was simply not, what is the word?, forceful enough and the team succeeded despite his lethargy or whatever it was that I can't find a name for. That being said, the numbers don't lie and your opinion is more valid than mine. And I say that while grinding my teeth in dismay.

JC, that is not at all an impossible goal. But your prayers may be needed just a little.

a

Marlins should lure Toronto blue jays to get a deal with them bringing 3rd base Lowry to Marlins roster, doesn't matter what player Toronto want except only Jose Fernandez. Also a new qualify Manager should be taken for next season

russell

A, as long as you're willing to give up any Marlin not named Jose Fernandez for Bret L..., then at least know that his name is Lawrie!

2nd it is inconceivable at this point to "trade anyone" for a 3B nary 5 months after spending a 1st round pick on a College 3B.

Sometimes we're quick to say fire this guy or get rid of that one until we realize that just a little patience is needed. Look no further than KC with Gordon and Houston with former Marlin Matt Dominguez who I believe would have led the fish in HRs last year and at a salary perhaps a 1/10th of the cost of Betancourt or Uribe.

That my friends is called Moneyball and how you operate a sustainable business.

Flav C.

russel,

Thanks for what you wrote and I share similar opinion. I had followed Dominguez in Jupiter and everyone knew he had an enormous potential. The glove was there already. I hate using the word "rushed" to the majors, but I will safely say that the Marlins' expectations for Matt when they promoted him to the major league were clearly unreal at that time. And seeing him being traded for a washed up Carlos Lee was just too much to swallow.

I see something similar happening now, when the Marlins left Mark Canha unprotected for the Rule 5 draft. Very good young 1B, with huge upside offensively and great glove. I have no doubts that there will be a couple of teams interested in picking him up.

Stan M

Flav, most now see the mega trade with Toronto as a plus for the Marlins. Ditto in not signing Fielder as is now apparent. However, it's those damn "little" trades that seem to kill us. Dominguez is the most glaring example, but there have been too many others as well.

SOS

Just goes to show you guys again that the Marlins are an unqualified,inept,joke of an organization. What else is new. Same complaints. Same old story. Same broken record. Move on,nothing new here.

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