According to the Associated Press, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson announced today that right-hander Ian Kennedy will get the ball on Opening Day against the Cardinals on April 1.
The choice doesn’t come as a big surprise, as this will be Kennedy’s third straight Opening Day assignment. The 28-year-old right-hander went 15-12 with a 4.02 ERA and 187/55 K/BB ratio over 208 1/3 innings last season.
Gibson also announced today that Kennedy will be followed in the rotation by Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Brandon McCarthy. Randall Delgado, Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs are currently competing for the fifth spot.
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.