Yesterday the Marlins lost for the 14th time in 15 games to slide into sole possession of last place in the NL East and judging from Hanley Ramirez’s comments about having Edwin Rodriguez’s “back till death” the players clearly think their manager is on the hot seat.
Team president David Samson told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that firing Rodriguez “is not something that I have pondered.”
He stopped well short of saying Rodriguez’s job is safe, however, as Capozzi notes that he “chose his words carefully” and “left that door open a bit” while saying:
Obviously we are going through an unprecedented bad stretch and we are disappointed. But as quickly as things have gone bad, we are hoping they can get good again. I am confident we have the ability to get out of this. We’ll just have to see how we do it. You hear this from us every year: Everyone is always evaluated every day, always.
Roughly translated, that sure seems like “we’re not ready to fire him right now, but we’re also not ruling it out if the losing continues for much longer.”
Rodriguez, who took over as manager in the middle of last year when the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez following back-to-back winning seasons, has gone 78-83 in one game short of a full season at the helm.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.