Marlins looking to sign Johnson, trade Hermida

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Josh Johnson and Jeremy Hermida were born one day apart in January of 1984, they’re both arbitration eligible this offseason, and they’re both under team control through 2011, but Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins are taking very different approaches with the two players.
According to Frisaro the Marlins are interested in signing Johnson to a long-term contract extension at some point this offseason, but are likely to make Hermida available in trades. Both approaches make sense, because Johnson has reemerged as one of the elite starting pitchers in baseball since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery while Hermida has largely disappointed after coming up through the minors as a top prospect.
Johnson is 22-6 with a 3.34 ERA and 268/85 K/BB ratio in 296 innings spread over 47 starts since making his way back following surgery, showing increased velocity after going under the knife. Frisaro writes that the Marlins will make a push to sign him “in the upcoming weeks” and have discussed offering him a contract covering “at least four seasons.” He speculates that the Marlins would have to top the four-year, $38 million deal Zack Greinke signed with the Royals last winter.
Hermida was a 2002 first-round pick and Baseball America ranked him as the No. 4 prospect in baseball for 2006, but he’s hit just .265/.344/.425 through 1,929 plate appearances while missing time with various injuries. He’s still just 25 years old, but he’s about to get fairly expensive via arbitration and the cost-cutting Marlins seemingly aren’t willing to show any more patience. Frisaro lists the Mariners, Rays, Mets, Blue Jays, and Cubs as possibly having interest in Hermida.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.