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.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.
Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.
Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.
Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.
The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”
Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.
Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.
On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.