Frustrated by a lack of playing time and multiple efforts to be released from his contract, Miguel Olivo walked out on the Marlins during last night’s game against the Cardinals. As a result, he was placed on the restricted list today without pay.
Olivo opened the season as a backup to Rob Brantly, but he has functioned as a third catcher and bench bat since Jeff Mathis returned from a broken collarbone last month. The 34-year-old backstop has only made one start since May 12 and has logged just 18 plate appearances during the very same timespan.
According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Olivo met with Marlins manager Mike Redmond in the clubhouse during batting practice yesterday before going back out on the field and taking some swings. However, he was spotted in street clothes in the clubhouse just prior to the game and refused to stick around to talk to a member of the front office.
“I’ve never been involved in something like that, to have somebody just leave after batting practice. I think everyone was kind of in shock,’’ Redmond said.
“I know it wasn’t an ideal situation for him not getting to play a lot, but at the same time, too, the team relies on you and we all rely on you. Had that happened after the game it probably would have been a different situation.
“But when you do it before the game and put your team in a tough spot, that’s tough. It really tough on your teammates and your coaches.
“You’d have to ask him really why he chose that time to do it.’’
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was able to catch up with Olivo, who said that he doesn’t understand “why they keep me doing nothing” and that he’s “just praying to God they release me.”
It’s hard to see why the Marlins would go through all this trouble to keep a .241/.275/.417 career hitter around. It sure sounds like a waste of a roster spot. Hopefully they aren’t just being petty here, though I’m not sure they deserve much benefit of the doubt. While walking out on his team might not create the most favorable impression for a future employer, it’s fair to say that Olivo has played his final game with the Marlins.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.