Feeling that not getting enough work in the offseason led to his slow start, Ubaldo Jimenez said Thursday that he’s hoping to pitch winter ball.
Surprisingly enough, the Rockies are on board with Jimenez’s plan to pitch for the Licey Tigers this winter. Jimenez indicated that he’d likely only make a handful of starts, possibly just four.
Jimenez pitched for Licey prior to the 2010 season that he started off 15-1 for the Rockies. He was the NL’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game that year and finished 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA.
After taking the winter off, Jimenez opened this season winless in his first nine starts. His ERA remained over 6.00 into mid-May, but he has been much better since, going 6-3 with a 2.58 ERA since the beginning of June.
Of course, while Jimenez’s December stint in the Dominican Republic looks like a go for now, things could change if the Rockies decide to trade him or if he suffers an arm injury at some point within the next couple of months. Teams tend to be shy even when it comes to letting veteran position players take part in winter ball. Veteran pitchers typically have a very difficult time getting clearance, since teams don’t like them working in games unless they can monitor them themselves.
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.
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.