Marlins better off flirting with Jose Reyes than signing him

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Trying to motivate Hanley Ramirez by talking to a shortstop who could supplant him in Miami… that’s a great idea.

Actually signing said injury-prone shortstop to a contract worth in excess of $20 million per year… that might not work out so well.

Jose Reyes would certainly help the Marlins, just like he’d help every team in baseball, but he doesn’t seem like the best use of resources for this winter’s nouveau riche Miami club.

A Reyes signing would force the Marlins to move their incumbent superstar to either center field or third base. Now, that could work out. I was strongly in favor of moving him to center a few years ago, and while Ramirez is a better shortstop now than when he entered the league, he’s never going to be a big asset there. Regardless of whether the Marlins land Reyes or not, Ramirez, who turns 28 in December, figures to require a move by age 31 or 32.

But Ramirez doesn’t want to move. And while the three-time All-Star could use a kick in the rear, the Marlins can’t have him sulking his way through another season. That would almost certainly lead to a trade, with the Marlins getting back only a fraction of what he’s worth.

I can certainly see the Marlins’ attraction here. A lineup with Reyes leading off, Ramirez batting third and future home run champ Mike Stanton in the cleanup spot has the potential to be among the game’s best.

But it also might not gel at any point. Hanley will complain and potentially dog it. Reyes will get hurt. The outfield could be dreadful defensively (putting Ramirez at third base and Emilio Bonifacio in center field is another alternative that might lead of a better defense in the short-term, though I think Hanley is a better fit in center for the long haul).

The upside is enticing, but the Marlins really should pass on Reyes. Now, Albert Pujols… that’s an entirely different matter.

Cardinals place Dexter Fowler on the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.

It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.

Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.