Miguel Olivo placed on restricted list after walking out on Marlins

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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.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.