3:57 p.m. EDT update: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald is reporting that the Marlins have held on to Nunez, Infante and everyone else.
It looks like the Marlins weren’t kidding: they’re telling suitors that closer Leo Nunez won’t be traded prior to the 4 p.m. EDT deadline, FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports.
The Marlins are expected to largely take a pass on the deadline as they try to gear up for a run when their new stadium opens next year. Free-agent-to-be Omar Infante could be available, but the Marlins have resisted all inquiries on Nunez, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez.
With a career 4.25 ERA and a 3.40 mark this year, Nunez is definitely a step down from the elite closers. He also projects as one of the Marlins’ most expensive players next year, as his salary should jump from $3.65 million to at least $6 million in his final year of arbitration. Still, the Marlins have decided to hold on, in part because they don’t feel they have anyone ready to replace him in the closer’s role. Edward Mujica would likely take over for the short-term if the Marlins change their minds.
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.