Happy Darvish Day!

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Yu Darvish makes his major league debut tonight. Not a bad opponent for it either: the Seattle Mariners. I have this feeling the first Darvish-Ichiro matchup is gonna get a little press in Japan. Just a hunch.

Darvish was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 15 innings in spring training. He’s not unhittable, certainly, as his mistakes seemed to be in the zone on offspeed things — I saw Will Venable absolutely murder a Darvish pitch in Peoria that was still going up when it hit the tall batter’s eye in center field — but anyone with that kind of strikeout mojo is outrageously fun to watch.

Good luck, Mariners.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto reportedly asks to be traded

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Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.

Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.

Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.

Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.