Why did Bobby Valentine and the Marlins hit the skids?


I don’t know why Bobby Valentine and the Marlins went sideways. As I said yesterday, I’m still rather surprised we haven’t yet seen a behind-the-scenes report from one of the usual insidery writers like Heyman or Rosenthal or whoever about what happened over the past week.  In the absence of that we’re stuck with guesses and — oh yes — gossip.

I don’t even have any first hand gossip on it (which itself is kind on an oxymoron) but there’s a blog down in Miami called City of Champions that claims to have sources who know what went down with Bobby V. and the Feesh.  The whole post is here. The three main reasons cited:

  • Bobby V. asked the Marlins to commit to increased payroll. They balked, and even wouldn’t rule out keeping Hanley Ramirez for the long term;
  • Bobby V. asked for a lot of money for himself, more so than Jeff Loria even thought he might; and
  • Finally — and this is the most interesting — the Marlins are “infatuated” with Ozzie Guillen and, according to CoC’s sources, “there is no chance he’s returning [to the White Sox] next season” so the Marlins may be carrying a torch for the guy.

Again: I just met the City of Champions blog, so I can’t vouch for any of that.  All I can say is that at least the first two bullet points seem plausible, and the third, while maybe not quite as plausible — how can the Sox fire Guillen if the Sox remain respectable this year? — is not totally insane. The most I can say is that City of Champions has passed along other Marlins rumors in the past and, based on their self-reported track record, they’ve hit for a pretty decent average.

Maybe none of this is true, but I really don’t see any reason why, in a world in which we all pass along every Heyman, Olney and Rosenthal blind item, we can’t pass this one along as well.

Marlins have begun extension talks with Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.

Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:

As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.

“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”

The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.