Fredi Gonzalez benched Hanley Ramirez last night and the Marlins won thanks in part to two RBIs from his replacement, but the manager said during a radio interview this morning that he “would be really surprised” if Ramirez isn’t back in the lineup tonight against the Cardinals.
It’s going to get resolved one way or the other today. I would be really surprised if he’s not in the lineup today. We’ll take care of it and he’ll be in the three hole and playing shortstop.
However, he said “not yet” when asked if Ramirez has followed through on Gonzalez’s demand that he apologize to the team.
I expect him to do it. I expect him to do the right thing, but I think he needs to address his teammates a little bit. When that happens, we are good to go.
Reading between the lines, that sure sounds like Gonzalez is still sticking with his demand that Ramirez apologize before playing again and is simply assuming the All-Star shortstop will comply by tonight’s game (and applying some subtle pressure in the process). Based on Ramirez’s actions so far that seems like a leap of faith, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.