November 2013

Marlins announce Spring Training schedule

MIAMI — The Marlins have set their Spring Training schedule, which will get underway at Roger Dean Stadium on Feb. 26 against the University of Miami.

The Marlins will begin their 12th season at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

In all, the Marlins will play 19 games at Roger Dean Stadium, a facility they share with the St. Louis Cardinals. Miami will be the home team in 16 games at the complex, and they will be the road team three times against St. Louis.

The schedule announced on Monday does not include two exhibitions the Marlins will play against the Yankees in Panama, as a tribute to recently retired closer Mariano Rivera. Those two games, tentatively set for March 14-15, have not officially been announced.

The Marlins will have split-squad games in Florida while half the team is in Panama.

SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Feb. 26 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 27 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 28 St. Louis at Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
March 1 ST. LOUIS (ss) JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 1 New York Mets (ss) at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
March 2 Washington at Viera 1:05 p.m.
March 3 HOUSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 4 MINNESOTA JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 5 New York Mets at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
March 6 BOSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 7 St. Louis at Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
March 8 Atlanta at Orlando 1:05 p.m.
March 9 DETROIT JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 10 New York Mets at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
March 11 Boston at Fort Myers 1:05 p.m.
March 12 ATLANTA JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 13 Detroit at Lakeland 1:05 p.m.
March 14 NEW YORK METS JUPITER 7:05 p.m.
March 15 WASHINGTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 16 Minnesota at Fort Myers 1:05 p.m.
March 17 NEW YORK METS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 18 HOUSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 19 OFF DAY
March 20 ST. LOUIS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 21 Houston at Kissimmee 1:05 p.m.
March 22 NEW YORK METS (ss) JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 22 Washington (ss) at Viera 1:05 p.m.
March 23 Detroit at Lakeland 1:05 p.m.
March 24 WASHINGTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 25 ST. LOUIS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 26 Atlanta at Orlando 1:05 p.m.
March 27 St. Louis at Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
March 28 New York Yankees # at Tampa 7:05 p.m.
March 29 New York Yankees at Tampa 1:05 p.m.

Joe Frisaro

Fernandez, Eovaldi anchoring rotation

MIAMI — The Marlins are willing to part with some of their surplus pitching in hopes of landing impact hitters, but they are not considering moving their No. 2 starter.

Nathan Eovaldi is not a trade option.

The Marlins see their top of the rotation being Jose Fernandez and Eovaldi, giving them two young, controllable power arms for years to come.

Acquired from the Dodgers for Hanley Ramirez in July of 2012, Eovaldi’s fastball reached as high as 100 mph this past season.

Power pitching is essential to being a serious contender, and Fernandez coupled with Eovaldi gives Miami a formidable top two starters in the National League East, which has its share of elite arms.

At the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, teams were told Eovaldi was not available.

Miami is looking for two or possibly three impact hitters.

By not listening on potential trades for Eovaldi, it raises questions if the Marlins will be able to secure a bat the caliber of Mark Trumbo.

To deal Trumbo, a 30 homer, 100 RBI threat, the Angels will be wanting in return at least a strong No. 2 starter. Eovaldi has the potential to be that.

Rather than moving Eovaldi, a more realistic trade piece appears to be Jacob Turner.

Heading into the GM Meetings, the Marlins made it clear that slugger Giancarlo Stanton was not available. Opposing teams quickly found out that was true, and very few serious inquires were made about Stanton. In the hotel lobby, names flow more freely.

As for first baseman Logan Morrison, the Marlins are open to listen.

If something makes sense, Morrison could be dealt.

The Marlins are weighing whether David Freese is a realistic fit at third base.

Joe Frisaro

Stable environment key to retaining Stanton

ORLANDO — If the Marlins sincerely hope to retain their core players long term, the organization must do a better job of creating a more stable environment.

Along with player turnover, there also has been sweeping changes in regards to managers, coaches and this season, the front office.

Around a young core, the organization is seeking to build for a better tomorrow.

A centerpiece in their plans is Giancarlo Stanton, eligible for arbitration for the first time.

Stanton, who recently turned 24, is three seasons away from being a free agent. And there is constant speculation that he may ultimately be traded.

In recent weeks, high ranking Miami officials stated Stanton isn’t going anywhere. New general manager Dan Jennings said publicly that the slugger is “unavailable.” And first-year president of baseball operations Michael Hill says the team is looking to build around Stanton.

Still, because of their track record, there is skepticism. At the General Managers Meetings, some are saying that if the price is right, Stanton could be moved.

Now, that remains highly doubtful, because the Marlins are in need of an offensive upgrade. Stanton simply is too difficult to replace.

He may also be tough to sign long-term. But money, obviously, talks.

The Marlins have noted they are weighing whether to approach Stanton about a multi-year deal.

One way to sell Stanton on staying in Miami for the foreseeable future is to develop some stability with the coaching staff.

Since Stanton was promoted to the big leagues at age 20 on June 8, 2010, he is about to work with his fourth different hitting coach. He’s also played for five different managers — Fredi Gonzalez, Edwin Rodriguez, Jack McKeon, Ozzie Guillen and Mike Redmond.

Some may technically say it is six, because for one game, Brandon Hyde managed the day Rodriguez resigned in June of 2011. McKeon was hired on an interim basis the next day.

When it comes directly to hitting, Stanton is repeatedly getting instruction for several different voices.

In Spring Training of 2010, before he was called up from Double-A, Stanton worked with John Mallee, who also coached him in the Minors. Prior to his big league debut, Mallee was dismissed and replaced by Eduardo Perez.

In 2013, Tino Martinez was the hitting coach, before he was let go and John Pierson stepped in on an interim basis.

The hitting coach in 2014 will be Frank Menechino, who spent the past few seasons in the Yankees system.

That’s five different messages on hitting in parts of five seasons.

To get Stanton to buy into the system, the organization needs to do a better job of not so frequently changing the message.

Joe Frisaro

Payroll parameters set for Marlins

MIAMI — The Marlins are not expected to be big spenders in the offseason, but the front office is confident that there are enough dollars available to upgrade the club.

During a conference call on Wednesday, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said he has been given a payroll range for 2014. A specific number has not been given.

Miami’s payroll was around $38 million in ’13, and it is believed to be in the same neighborhood for this season. Hill didn’t reveal the exact range.

But it sounds as if something makes sense, the front office will present an argument to team owner Jeffrey Loria.

“We have a range that we’re working on,” Hill said. “We haven’t been given a definitive number at this point, but we know what we need to do. We have a range of where we may be, and we will hit the ground running in Orlando.”

The Marlins will head into the General Managers Meetings in Orlando next week in the market for offensive improvement. Third base and catcher are two areas of need. But Hill noted the club will look to be creative in hopes of improving the offense.

Asked if the payroll ranges is enough to fill needs, Hill said: “I think we’re comfortable with the range that we have, and we can do what we need to do to improve the club. I think if there is something that we feel is mandatory for this club, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to go to Jeffrey and see if it is something that we can do.”

The Marlins are looking to build around Giancarlo Stanton, who is not available on the trade market. Miami is open to approaching Stanton and his agent, Joel Wolfe, about a multi-year contract. But they have not yet had any formal discussions.

Hill added the Marlins aren’t necessarily looking for power bats. Productive hitters are what the team’s in the market for, and the team is looking to find players who can take advantage of the spacious gaps at Marlins Park.

Hill also said the Marlins have already reached out to reliever Chad Qualls, who is now a free agent after he was effective in a setup role last season.

– Joe Frisaro

Marlins rookies logged their share of innings

MIAMI — Much was made over Jose Fernandez’s predetermined innings limit, but little if any attention was given to how many innings some other Miami pitchers logged in 2013.

Tom Koehler, for instance, finished with 143 innings in 29 appearances, with 23 starts.

Telling about Koehler is his innings total was the sixth most among National League rookie starters. Just ahead of the right-hander? Fernandez, who finished fifth, with 172 2/3 innings.

Also of note, reliever A.J. Ramos threw 80 innings, the 11th most innings of any National League rookie.

Ramos also paced all NL rookie relievers, finishing ahead of Milwaukee’s Brandon Kintzler (77) and St. Louis’ Trevor Rosenthal (75 1/3).

Fernandez, a strong NL Rookie of the Year candidate, entered the year knowing he was on a strict innings count. Initially, the club set a range of 150-170. But the better Fernandez performed, and the less stressful innings he had, he was able to top the 170 plateau in his last start, which came on Sept. 11.

NL Rookies Innings Pitched

1) Hyun-jin Ryu (LAD) 192
2) Julio Teheran (ATL) 185 2/3
3) Wily Peralta (MIL) 183 1/3
4) Shelby Miller (STL) 173 1/3
5) Jose Fernandez (MIA) 172 2/3
6) Tom Koehler (MIA) 143
7) Gerrit Cole (PIT) 117 1/3
8) Tony Cingrani (CIN) 104 2/3
9) Jonathan Pettibone (PHI) 100 1/3
10) Zack Wheeler (NYM) 100
11) A.J. Ramos (MIA) 80

Joe Frisaro

Marlins not shopping Stanton

MIAMI — Giancarlo Stanton is not on the trade market.

The news is not alarming since there have long been indications that the slugger is a core piece of the Marlins’ rebuilding puzzle.

But on Sunday, Marlins general manager Dan Jennings made it public that Stanton will be in right field for Miami in 2014.

Jennings was a guest of Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on SiriusXM radio on Sunday.

Asked about Stanton, Jennings said: “not available” for a trade this offseason.

“He will be in right field at Marlins Park on Opening Day,” Jennings said. “We are building around him.”

Stanton, who turns 24 this month, is arbitration-eligible for the first time.

The Marlins also are discussing internally whether to sign Stanton to a long-term contract.

Stanton won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.

Technically, the Marlins could go year to year with Stanton for three more seasons, if he doesn’t agree to a multi-year deal.

While it has been widely reported Stanton would not accept a multi-year deal with Miami, money has a way of making players change their mind.

The Marlins are expected to approach Stanton will a hefty contract proposal.

On radio on Sunday, Jennings also was asked about potential trades. The names Mark Trumbo of the Angels and Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox each came up.

“We like both guys,” Jennings said. “We’re not there yet in terms of close to any deals.”

The General Manager’s Meetings are set for next week in Orlando, which pretty much launch the Hot Stove Season.

The Marlins are in the market for power hitters, and they plan to explore options at third base and catcher.

The organization feels Rob Brantly would benefit with more time in Triple-A.

Miami has a surplus of high-end, young pitching that it may need to part with to lure in a power bat.

Joe Frisaro

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