Miami Marlins v St Louis Cardinals

Marlins demote Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen

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Miami trading for Carlos Zambrano this offseason involved little risk, as the Cubs covered all but $3 million of his $18 million salary and the Marlins only had to part with Chris Volstad in the swap.

Unfortunately that low-risk move hasn’t paid off, as Zambrano went 5-9 with a 4.54 ERA and 83/67 K/BB ratio in 115 innings spread over 20 starts. And today the Marlins demoted him to the bullpen, filling his rotation spot with Wade LeBlanc.

Zambrano actually got off to a strong start, sporting a 2.81 ERA as recently as early June, but since then he’s 1-6 with a 7.62 ERA and more walks (38) than strikeouts (27) in 41 innings while allowing opponents to hit .290.

He’s mostly been a model citizen in Miami, which is certainly a change from his Chicago days, but of course that doesn’t seem quite as important when you can’t throw the ball over the plate. And dating back to the beginning of last season Zambrano now has a 4.70 ERA and 123 walks in 261 innings while managing just 6.2 strikeouts per nine frames.

Someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey after a vigil

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.

That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”

The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.

 

What Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher would you ask to pitch today?

Mike Mussina
Associated Press
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In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?

The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.

My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.

If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.

Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.

So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?