Marlins shaking things up with promotion of Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick

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Most teams would feel embarrassed after getting shut out in an entire series the way the Marlins were by the Brewers. The Marlins, though, seem more impervious to public sentiment than most, so it wouldn’t have been shocking if they just stood pat and hoped to bounce back they way they seemed to throughout June and most of July. They didn’t, however — the Marlins demoted outfielder Marcell Ozuna and second baseman Derek Dietrich to Double-A Jacksonville, and promoted outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick. Both are in tonight’s starting lineup against the Rockies. Yelich will bat second and play left field, Marisnick will bat sixth and play center field.

Ozuna started off his Major League career on fire, posting an .834 OPS in the month of May, but as he logged more plate appearances and pitchers learned more about his weaknesses, he was quickly exploited. In June, he posted a .685 OPS, and in July, merely .484. Dietrich performed exactly at replacement level, posting a .679 OPS with subpar defense since making his Major League debut on May 8.

Yelich entered the season as one of the 15 best prospects in baseball according to both Baseball America and MLB.com. Still just 21 years old, he performed well against Double-A competition in 222 PA, leaving with an .883 OPS. Marisnick was rated as the #64 overall prospect by Baseball America and #70 by MLB.com. In 298 PA at Double-A, he had an .860 OPS.

After snapping their streak of 37 consecutive scoreless innings yesterday, the Marlins are hoping to end a skid in which they have lost nine of their previous 13 games. They own the National League’s worst offense (averaging 3.2 runs per game), and subsequently, the worst run differential (-96) as well.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.