Marlins prez Larry Beinfest speaks up on LoMo demotion

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The Marlins demoted 23-year-old outfielder and outspoken tweeter Logan Morrison to Triple-A New Orleans on Saturday night, pointing to his recent offensive struggles as the reason for the move.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post later deduced that a series off-field issues also played a factor.

Morrison, a fan-favorite of a rare degree, had a mixup last week with the Florida Marlins Community Foundation involving the cancellation of a charity bowling event. The foundation didn’t buy enough bowling lanes at a local alley in advance, and LoMo was upset about having to disappoint excited fans.

Aiming to make a statement, Morrison then refused to show his face at a photo session with season ticket holders Saturday evening at Sun Life Stadium. The Marlins optioned him to the minors late Saturday night.

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Morrison told reporters he felt “freaking heart broken and disappointed” at hearing that he’d been sent down, and that he was just trying to stand up for “what’s right” with his protest of the photo opp.

Marlins president Larry Beinfest offered a sort of response Sunday afternoon to Capozzi, who shared the gist of the quotes in a block of tweets:

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Morrison has posted an ugly .200 batting average and .283 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. But he was beginning to show signs of life, flashing a .250/.341/.444 triple slash line across 41 plate appearances in the month of August. If the demotion was all about performance, the timing can be called odd.

This was about quieting the kid who has taken subtle jabs at teammates, and who fumed publicly at the firing of hitting coach John Mallee. Morrison has a likable personality. He’s given away hundreds of tickets through his Twitter account, and earned fans around the country — not just in south Florida. But he’s also a bit brash for a 23-year-old sophomore, and it sounds as though his outspokenness nicked an ego or two in Marlins’ front office. So Beinfest and Co. used his recent offensive slump as an excuse to send a message.

There’s no telling where this saga goes next. If Morrison isn’t the backing down type, it could get ugly.

He has the perfect venue, with nearly 60,000 Twitter followers, to make his thoughts known while experiencing the lesser quality of life on the Triple-A level. We’ll certainly be paying attention.

UPDATE, 5:01 PM: Morrison is considering filing a grievance against the Marlins.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.