Cuban shortstop free to sign with any team

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According to his agent Bart Hernandez, Cuban shortstop Adeiny
Hechavarria is now able to sign with any team. Jorge Arangure of
ESPN.com tweeted the news last night.

Hechavarria was temporarily blocked as the Office of Foreign Assets Committee verified his age, identity and
residency. Many scouts like the 21-year-old Hechavarria better than Jose Iglesias, who signed a four-year, $8.25 million contract with the Red Sox last
September. The pair played together on the Cuban National Junior Team.

We’re talking about a player who is still very raw, but the Yankees and Cubs are pushing hard to sign him. The Yankees are starting to consider life beyond Derek Jeter while the Cubs are already blessed with top-prospect Starlin Castro and 18-year-old Korean Hak-Ju Lee in their minor league system. But hey, you can never have enough talent.
 

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto reportedly asks to be traded

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Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.

Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.

Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.

Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.