Jeff Loria speaks unscripted, doesn’t do too much better

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For the first time in months, Jeff Loria met the press. He did so at last night’s Marlins game. Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post has a detailed rundown of the interview. This was a the highlight for me. Loria was asked if he realizes fans hate him:

I have a sense of it. I’m sorry that we’ve built this amazing ballpark and fans are feeling the way they do but we did this for a reason – we weren’t going anywhere and I think anybody who is a baseball person will realize that after two years that we had, we had to do something. We had to do something quickly and swiftly and bold.

The phrase “… we’ve built this amazing ballpark and …” in between “I’m sorry” and “fans feeling the way we do” pretty much sums it up. He may have well just called everyone ingrates. Of course he left out the part where those fans (a) paid for the ballpark against their will; (b) were duped into “a whole new Marlins” thing, complete with all that new merchandise the team sold last year; and (c) were then treated to another talent liquidation.

Beyond that, Loria gives his side of the story regarding Jose Reyes’ claim that Loria told him to buy a house in Miami a couple of days before he was traded. He-said-he-said, I suppose.

He also notes that the Marlins will not be making a long term offer to Giancarlo Stanton this season. Which isn’t the most surprising thing in the world given that he’s not yet arbitration eligible. But since this is the Marlins and they’ll trade anyone at anytime, it leaves the door open for him to be traded.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.