December 03, 2015

Miami Marlins: "Difficult decision" to non-tender Henderson Alvarez

In the end with Henderson Alvarez, it came down to a basic risk-reward issue. The Marlins saw more risk by keeping the pitcher than the reward that might have resulted in doing so. Nobody knows when Alvarez will be ready to return to the mound, and therein lay the decision Wednesday to non-tender the one-time All-Star.

"A very difficult decision," said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations.

The Marlins tendered contracts to eight of their 10 arbitration-eligible players, including Jose Fernandez, Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechavarria. But Alvarez and reliever Aaron Crow were told 'no thanks,' allowing each to become a free agent. The price tag to keep Alvarez alone would have been about $4 million, and given the uncertainty surrounding the quirky right-hander as he works his way back from shoulder surgery made him a risky investment.

Best-case scenarios have Alvarez missing the first month or so of next season, and the Marlins -- on their limited budget -- are in no position to cross their fingers and wait.

"As we looked into the offseason, we are going to need depth (in the rotation), and we're going to need innings," Hill explained. "He's not going to be able to provide those for us for some time."

Alvarez only began playing catch this week.

"It was step one in a long process," Hill said. "It was playing catch. It was not even to the point where you could even envision or gauge when he would be able to return. Given our challenges, we have to have our dollars on the field, performing for us. We felt like we could better allocate the dollars in other areas."

Hill said the Marlins are open to the idea of re-signing Alvarez and Crow at reduced salaries. Crow, who missed all last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, stood to make $2 million in arbitration. But other teams will also have a shot at the two pitchers.

"We hope to keep the lines of communication open with both," Hill said. "Both are free agents. But if there is a creative way to keep them both, we'll look to do that."



December 02, 2015

It's decision day for Henderson Alvarez

Henderson Alvarez was an All-Star in 2014 and the Marlins' opening day starter last year. But he could be a goner -- flicked away like the spent ash at the end of a cigarette -- come midnight tonight.

That's the deadline for teams to either tender -- or non-tender -- contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, and the fate of Alvarez [stats] hangs in the balance. The Marlins have 10 arbitration players to consider, and nine of them are no-brainers.

Jose Fernandez, Dee Gordon, Adeiny Hechavarria, A.J. Ramos, Tom Koehler, Bryan Morris, Carter Capps and David Phelps are all keepers. Reliever Aaron Crow will almost certainly be non-tendered given that he missed all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery but still stands to make about $2 million -- precious money to the Marlins -- in the arbitration process.

Alvarez, though, is the interesting one.

According to projections provided by, Alvarez is positioned to receive about $4 million through arbitration. And therein lies the quandary for the Marlins. Alvarez is coming off shoulder surgery and -- assuming there are no setbacks along the way -- likely wouldn't be ready to pitch again until a month or two into the season.

Even if the Marlins felt convinced that Alvarez will make it back and give them 20 or so starts, there's no guarantee he'll be the same pitcher he was before. On the other hand, $4 million isn't a lot to pay for a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, not in the current free agent climate in which the J.A. Happs of the world are landing three-year deals paying them $36 million. If Alvarez returns the same pitcher he once was, he's a bargain.

The Marlins, who are looking to upgrade the rotation with one or two starters, have no intention of spending big bucks on a mid-rotation arm. So they'll either go after the low-hanging fruit that remains after the pricier free agent starters are gone, or trade (Marcell Ozuna?) to acquire a pitcher.

For now, though, the clock is ticking on Alvarez.

Should the Marlins roll the dice and hang on to Alvarez? Or should they fold by cutting him loose?

What would you do?


November 19, 2015

Bombers in Miami, Marlins in Puerto Rico

The Yankees are coming to Miami. The Marlins are going to San Juan.

The Marlins announced today that the New York Yankees would play two spring training games at Marlins Park on April 1 and 2.

In addition, the Marlins will head to Puerto Rico to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in two regular-season games on May 30-31.

The Marlins will be returning to Puerto Rico for the first time since 2010. In three previous series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, they have gone 7-2.

Regarding tickets, here's what the Marlins have announced: 

"For the second time since moving to Marlins Park, the Marlins will wrap up Spring Training with two contests against the New York Yankees at Marlins Park. All current season ticket holders that are affected by the change will have the option to replace the Pirates games with the Yankees exhibition games to their plan. Fans interested in purchasing season ticket plans that include these newly added Yankees games should go to or call 305-480-2525.

 "Single game tickets for the Yankees games and the 2016 regular season will go on sale at FanFest, which will take place on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Marlins Park."


November 17, 2015

Yankees, Red Sox on home spring training schedule for Marlins

We're not even to Thanksgiving, but spring has sprung. Well, sort of.

The Marlins released their 2016 spring schedule, which features visits to Jupiter by the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.

As usual, the Marlins will open their spring slate with an exhibition at Roger Dean Stadium against the University of Miami on March 1. Then comes the Grapefruit League.

The first workout for pitchers and catchers is Feb. 19, with position players joining the fray for the team's first full-squad workout on Feb. 22.

Here's the complete spring schedule:

March 1 -- University of Miami -- Jupiter

March 2 -- OFF DAY

March 3 -- at St. Louis -- Jupiter

March 4 -- Washington -- Jupiter

March 5 -- St. Louis -- Jupiter

March 6 -- at Detroit -- Lakeland

March 7 -- at Washington -- Viera

March 8 -- New York Yankees -- Jupiter

March 9 -- at St. Louis -- Jupiter

March 10 -- Atlanta -- Jupiter

March 11 -- at Minnesota -- Fort Myers

March 12 -- at Boston -- Fort Myers

March 13 -- New York Mets -- Jupiter

March 14 -- OFF DAY

March 15 -- New York Mets -- Jupiter

March 16 -- Washington -- Jupiter

March 18 -- at Atlanta -- Orlando

March 19 -- Detroit -- Jupiter

March 20 -- at St. Louis -- Jupiter

March 21 -- at New York Mets -- Port St. Lucie

March 22 -- Boston -- Jupiter

March 23 -- at St. Louis -- Jupiter

March 24 -- Minnesota -- Jupiter

March 25 -- Washington -- Jupiter

March 26 -- at Houston -- Kissimmee

March 27 -- St. Louis -- Jupiter

March 28 -- at Washington -- Viera

March 29 -- at New York Mets -- Port St. Lucie

March 30 -- St. Louis -- Jupiter

Ticket information can be found at the Roger Dean Stadium website -- -- as well as the Marlins' official website --


October 29, 2015

Marlins, Mattingly have reportedly reached deal, which won't be formally announced until after World Series

According to Vice Sports, the Marlins have hired former Dodgers manager and Yankees great Don
Mattingly to be their next manager.

Citing a source, the news outlet said Mattingly's deal is for four years, making him the
club's eighth manager since 2010. The announcement isn't expected to be made until after the
World Series, per baseball's policy to keep all the attention on the Fall Classic during this
time of year.

During his five seasons in Los Angeles, Mattingly guided the Dodgers to a 446-363 record (.551
winning percentage) and led the team to three consecutive division titles.

Of course, Mattingly also had the benefit of managing the highest paid team in baseball
($272.7 million in 2015) each of the last two seasons. The Marlins were dead last in payroll
($68.5 million) last season.

Reached by text, a Marlins spokesman said he could not confirm or deny the report. 

October 04, 2015

Batting race coming down to the decimal between Gordon and Harper

PHILADELPHIA -- Barring a closing-day no-hitter for a third straight year, the only drama involving the Marlins as they close out the season will be the battle between Dee Gordon and Washington's Bryce Harper for the NL batting title.

It could not be any closer: Harper leads Gordon, .3307 to .3306. That's right. It's down to 1/10,000th of a point. And decimals count -- even beyond the third number on the right side of the point -- when it comes to deciding a champion.

If Wikipedia is to be trusted, here's what it has to say about close batting title races in the past:

The closest finish in a batting race came in 1945 when Snuffy Stirnweiss batted .309, topping Tony Cuccinello's .308 average for the American League title by .00008.[21][22] George Kell beat out Williams in 1949 by .00015.[21] The closest race in the National League came in 2003 when Albert Pujols held off Todd Helton on the last day of the season by .00022.[21][23] The closest National League race before that was in 1931 with Chick Hafey edging out Bill Terry by .00028.[21]

What makes this race especially interesting is that all MLB games today are starting at the same time. So it could create for some interesting strategy. Say Gordon bangs out hits in each of his first three at bats and Harper is 0 for 3. Does Marlins manager Dan Jennings  take out Gordon to ensure the title for the second baseman? Does Nationals manager Matt Williams do the same if the scenario is reversed?

The Phillies are sending Dave Buchanan to the mound. Gordon has gone 2 for 6 against Buchanan. Harper will be facing the Mets' Jacob deGrom. Harper has gone 6 for 17 against deGrom. Advantage Harper.

So sit back and enjoy. But keep a calculator handy. 

October 03, 2015

There's major change afoot in the Marlins' front office

PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Hill is expected to remain the Marlins’ president of baseball operations. But beneath him, the front office is being restructured, with Mike Berger and Jeff McAvoy assuming greater power and Dan Jennings’ future with the team in limbo.

Jennings, who stepped down as general manager in May to take over as manager when Mike Redmond was fired, will manage his final game Sunday and has been invited back to the front office.

But he is mulling that decision, sources said, due to reservations he has concerning his new role, and whether he would retain the same decision-making power he had before moving to the dugout.

"I want to have a conversation with the powers that be and thus determine what’s going to be in the best interest of the organization," Jennings said Saturday. "From a standpoint of if I'm asked to go back upstairs, then there are conversations that are going to have to take place because I want to understand where things are, because I've been removed for 4 1/2 months. There's catch-up that I have to be involved in and conversations that need to take place so that I'm up to speed as to how things have evolved in the front office."

Jennings' relationship with owner Jeffrey Loria has become strained since becoming manager. Sources said he has already been involved in several internal meetings about the new power structure.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported Saturday that Berger would assume a “GM-like role.” And Ken Rosenthal of reported that the Marlins have spoken to Tampa Bay Rays director of player personnel Matt Arnold about a front office job.

The Marlins are expected to address the front office restructuring early next week.

They have already begun interviewing managerial candidates. Manny Acta and Bo Porter have already interviewed, and the Marlins are expected to bring in more candidates.

September 29, 2015

It's a 'nay': season over for Giancarlo Stanton

ST. PETERSBURG -- Not that the news comes as any surprise, not after months of speculation and wondering, but Giancarlo Stanton is officially done for the season. Stanton, who last played on June 26 when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand, was nowhere to be found Tuesday at Tropicana Field, and there was no locker with his name on it inside the visiting clubhouse here.

Manager Dan Jennings, who said it was "yay or nay" time for Stanton a few days ago, confirmed that the Marlins' slugger is a definite no-go for the final six games of the season after trying for three months to get back on the field.

"In fairness to Giancarlo, he gave his best effort trying to get back," Jennings said. "He wanted to be out playing. He just didn't have a comfort level in that hand. He tried, but it didn't let go."

Stanton said a couple of weeks ago that a hand specialist found "abnormal scar tissue" in his surgically repaired hand, which was a strong indication he wasn't going to make it back.

But Stanton and the Marlins held out hope the hand would be sufficiently strong enough to give it a shot. It didn't happen.

And so, for the second straight year, Stanton ended his season at home. Or wherever he happens to be at the moment. His 2014 season ended in mid-September when he was hit in the face with a pitch, and it was a given he wouldn't make it back. But this time, the initial prognosis was a four-to-six week recovery period and it was assumed he would be back for the final month, if not earlier.

Stanton was leading the league with 27 homers when he broke his hand in June and still ranks in the top 10 despite missing three months.

"He was on his way to be considered in the MVP race," Jennings said. "But he'll be back ready (in 2016)."

September 25, 2015

Carter Capps out for season; Dee Gordon is Marlins MVP

After trying to get back on the mound for the Marlins, reliever Carter Capps said he finally "ran out of time" and will not pitch again this season.

Capps, who established himself as a formidable setup reliever out of the Marlins' bullpen, last pitched on Aug. 3 before suffering a right elbow strain. He has been throwing bullpen sessions and on Thursday threw a simulation game.

But he said he was still feeling discomfort in his arm and decided the smart thing to do -- with only nine games remaining -- was just to shut down and wait for next season.

"I'll definitely be (ready to go) in spring training," he said. "I'll do my normal throwing over the offseason."


The time is drawing near when Giancarlo Stanton will also have to decide whether it's worth trying to make it back this season. Stanton has missed more than two months after breaking a bone in his hand.

"I think we're getting close to that, where he's either going to have a yea or a nay," said manager Dan Jennings. "Really, within the next couple of days -- this home stand -- he's at that point where he needs to feel like it is worth testing or it's time to shut it down and build for 2016. I know, in his mind, he's close to that."

Stanton hasn't taken batting practice in days.


Dee Gordon has been voted MVP of the Marlins for 2015 by the Miami chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Gordon is vying for the league batting and stolen base titles, and could garner the Gold Glove Award for his play at second base.

Members of the local BBWAA chapter also announced its other annual winners:

Rookie of the Year: catcher J.T. Realmuto

Charlie Hough "Good Guy" -- Tom Koehler

Jeff Conine Award (for determined play and exemplary attitude): Adeiny Hechavarria

September 24, 2015

Jose Fernandez eyes record home start to a career Friday vs. Braves

Jose Fernandez will look set a major league record and improve to 17-0 at home when he makes his final start of the season at Marlins Park Friday night against the visiting Braves.

Fernandez, 16-0 with 1.11 ERA in 25 career starts at Marlins Park, tied LaMarr Hoyt and John Allen for the most home wins without a loss to begin a career when he made his last appearance here against the Nationals Sept. 12.

"I know that it's there [the record]. I'm going to try and do my best. That doesn't mean I'm going to go out there and try any harder because I'm going to break the record," said Fernandez who in five career starts against Atlanta is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA.

"Sometimes less is more -- I have a friend that tells me that all the time."

Fernandez (5-0, 2.18 ERA in nine starts in 2015) ramped up his workload from 69 pitches to 95 pitches in his previous start at Washington Sept. 18. Finishing the season strong -- and solving the mystery as to why he's just 5-8 with 3.82 ERA in 20 career road starts -- are what he says he’s most concerned with.

“There's nothing more that I want than to be healthy like I was in 2013,” said Fernandez, who after coming back from Tommy John surgery in July spent a month on the disabled list with a right biceps strain before returning Sept. 12.

“Everybody says the first year after surgery you aren't completely back. But I feel good right now. I just want to finish strong.”


Reliever Carter Capps (right elbow strain) and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (left hamstring) both participated in simulated games Thursday at Marlins Park and are close to returning according to manager Dan Jennings.

“Capps threw the ball very well,” Jennings said. “I’ve got to say based on what he just featured out there [he's] pretty close to ready or if not ready. Hech, we had two of our young men in instructional league drive down. It was good for him to track some balls live. Both guys are very close to being ready to go and go full tilt.”

Jennings said Hechavarria could be available to pinch-hit or play defense Thursday against the Phillies. 


Rookie first baseman Justin Bour belted his 19th home run of the season Wednesday, tying him for third with the Astros’ Carlos Correa among major league rookies. Only the Cubs’ Kris Bryant (26) and Dodgers' Joc Pederson (25) have hit more. 

Bour’s homers are the most by a Marlins rookie since Giancarlo Stanton hit 22 and Gaby Sanchez hit 19 in 2010 and ranks tied for sixth all-time behind Dan Uggla’s 27 homers as a rookie in 2006.