Your pitching star of the night: Jeff Niemann

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Jeff Niemann fist pump.jpgSo enough about Strasburg. Nice and all, but he didn’t have the best pitching performance last night. The Rays’ Jeff Neimann did.  Niemann allowed just two hits in a shutout of the Blue Jays, who sport a slightly better offense than the Pirates.

Indeed, there were a number of fabulous pitching performances last night by fellows not named Stephen Strasburg. Matt Cain shut out the Reds on seven hits.  Mike Pelfrey didn’t get the win because the Mets bats didn’t break through until extra innings, but he went nine and gave up a single
run on five hits.  Chris Carpenter and Hirkoki Kuroda battled in Los Angels, each shutting out the other side for seven innings. Ted Lilly gave up a single earned run to the Brewers over eight while striking out eight, though his Cubbies did end up losing.  Colby Lewis, Kevin Slowey, and even Tim Wakefield all had strong, strong outings.

I guess something was in the water last night.

Report: Christian Yelich’s relationship with Marlins ‘irretrievably broken’

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Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.

Longo said,

They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.

The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.

He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.

This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.

Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.