Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated this morning that he was confident about Hanley Ramirez making the apology to the team necessary to be back in the lineup for tonight’s game.
And sure enough, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com he plans to do just that. Here’s what Ramirez told Rojas this afternoon (the actual quotes are in Spanish, so below is merely what “Google Translate” spit out):
I regret that this has gotten so ugly, it was not my intention to create a distraction. I feel that things have reached these levels, the team and the fans do not deserve it. Here we are all professionals and we are pulling for the same side, I will try to close this chapter and focus on playing ball.
Ramirez also backtracked from some of the shots he took at Gonzalez’s lack of experience as a big-league player, saying he was “not trying to belittle or denigrate the manager because he did not play” in the majors. Better late than never, I suppose, but saying all of that (or just not saying some of the stuff he’s now backing away from) 24 hours ago sure would have saved Ramirez a lot of trouble.
Instead he publicly criticized and undermined his manager, threw teammates under the bus for joining him in not hustling, and generally just splashed gasoline on the fire he created in the first place by dogging it. I give him credit for swallowing his pride rather than stubbornly refusing not to apologize, because that would have kept Ramirez out of the lineup and ultimately he’s a great player the Marlins need out there every day.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.