The Florida Marlins turned heads this morning when they fired Fredi Gonzalez, but upon closer inspection, maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise after all.
Buster Olney tweets that the Marlins had been planning to fire Gonzalez for a while, actually, but that the whole Hanley Ramirez thing put a kink in it. I mean, sure, Jeff Loria isn’t exactly a master of public relations, but apparently even he realized that firing your manager the second he gets tough on a player who everyone is excoriating for dogging it is not exactly the kind of thing you want to be doing.
Then you have to think back to last winter when, despite the fact that the Marlins had out-performed expectations and despite the fact that Gonzalez was under contract for two more years, Jeff Loria pushed hard for Bobby Valentine all the same. That’s just not a sign that your boss wants you around, ya know?
Above all else, though were those expectation. Last winter Loria said “I expect us to make the playoffs.” That’s either supreme delusion or the kiss of death.
Of course with Loria, it could be both.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.
The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.
He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.