Hernandez: Randolph lost the Latins last year

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Keith Hernandez says that Willie Randolph lost the Latin players in his clubhouse last year:

I don’t know. I am not in that clubhouse. You know there’s a code of
silence in the clubhouse, and things are kept in house. But I do know
that a lot of the Latin players — and the key Latin players — did not
like Willie. And that’s why they probably felt the move had to be made.
Because they weren’t performing. And all of a sudden Jerry Manuel comes
in and it’s like someone turned a light switch on. And all of a sudden
Delgado is out of his slump and Reyes is playing like heck. So you
know, it’s one of those things.

I take this to mean that the players were less enthusiastic to play for
Randolph and that general lack of enthusiasm translated into poor play
as opposed to anyone intentionally dogging it. Either way, clubhouse
dynamics are something those of us on the outside really don’t and
can’t easily understand, so it’s interesting to hear Hernandez’s
opinion on this. I’ll only add that Randolph’s apparent loss of the
Latin vote, as it were, had additional consequences among the
non-Latins on the team. You’ll recall Billy Wagner going off last year
about how Delgado and some other players weren’t hanging around after
games to meet the press? If Hernandez is right, they were probably
doing that to hang Randolph out to dry, and in turn that hung guys like
Wagner out to dry. That whole dynamic is on the manager in my view.

The funny thing is, there is evidence now that Jerry Manuel is losing his
players too, with Johan Santana ignoring his signs Tuesday night and
David Wright recently seen imploring Manuel to get out on the field and
argue a call that went against the Mets (Manuel didn’t). So maybe it’s
just a New York thing.

In other news there would be worse things for Bobby Valentine to be doing than updating his resume right now.

Blue Jays sell Triple-A MVP Matt Hague to Japanese team

Matt Hague Blue Jays
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Matt Hague got a cup of coffee in Toronto this year after winning the International League MVP, but the 30-year-old first baseman/third baseman found a better opportunity in Japan and the Blue Jays have sold him to the Hanshin Tigers.

Hague hit .338 in 136 games at Triple-A this past season and is a career .301 hitter in eight minor-league seasons overall, but his lack of power limits his opportunities in the majors and he’s received a grand total of 91 plate appearances as a big leaguer.

Ben Nicholson-Smith of Toronto Sportnet reports that the sale price for Hague is $300,000, which goes to the Blue Jays. And then Hague will no doubt sign a deal for a lot more than he could have earned at Triple-A and perhaps more than the MLB minimum salary.

Diamondbacks trade Allen Webster to the Pirates

Allen Webster
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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that have traded righty Allen Webster to the Pirates for cash considerations.

Webster, who turns 26 in February, was DFA’d by the Dbacks a few days ago. He pitched in nine games, starting five, in 2015, posting a 5.81 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 17/20 (eww) in 31 innings. Before that he pitched 89.1 innings for the Red Sox over two years with numbers not too terribly more impressive than that.

Yankees “have let teams know” Ivan Nova is available

New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova reacts during second inning where he gave up 6 runs to the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of a doubleheader baseball game at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees “have let teams know Ivan Nova is available” in trade.

Nova returned from Tommy John elbow surgery in May to throw 94 innings with a 5.07 ERA and will be a free agent after the 2016 season, so it’s tough to imagine his trade market being particularly robust.

Despite that, Sherman writes that the Yankees “are not selling low” on Nova and might try to package him with other players to bring back a young starting pitcher under team control for multiple seasons. In other words, they’d like to trade Nova for a pitcher who can step into his rotation spot in 2016 and beyond.

Nova has had some good years in New York, but he’s 29 years old with a career 4.33 ERA and just 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s more middle-of-the-rotation starter than front-line starter and even that might be in question following elbow surgery.

Mariners working on trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna

Marcell Ozuna

All offseason there have been reports that the Marlins are looking to trade 25-year-old outfielder Marcell Ozuna because he’s fallen out of favor with the organization and specifically owner Jeffrey Loria.

And now Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Mariners “are working on a trade” for Ozuna, speculating that they’re offering a starting pitcher such as Nate Karns or Roenis Elias. MLB.com Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro says “nothing is imminent” with an Ozuna trade but “everything is subject to change.”

Karns or Elias alone would seem like a light return for Ozuna, who’s hit .265 with 36 homers and a .727 OPS through 346 career games as a big leaguer and put up good numbers in the minors. He’s a plus defensive corner outfielder with 25-homer power under team control through 2019. There’s value there, whether Loria likes him or not.

But then again if the Marlins are dead set on parting ways with Ozuna perhaps new Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is taking advantage by swooping in with a mediocre offer. Or maybe that was the initial proposal and the Marlins are currently holding out for James Paxton or Taijuan Walker?