“We’re getting ready for another season, and we’re going to win more,” Marlins president David Samson assured Christina De Nicola of FOX Sports Florida late last week. “I promise you this: We’re not going to lose 100 games next year. Not even close.”
But that doesn’t mean that Marlins fans should be expecting a wheeling-and-dealing type of offseason.
From beat reporter Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
The basic plan in ’14 is to build from around the nucleus of players who endured more than their share of growing pains in a trying 2013.
Miami’s payroll parameters project to mirror the ’13 numbers — about $38 million.
In free agency, the Marlins aren’t expected to be in the market for high-priced players.
Miami tried hard last month for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, but the 26-year-old first baseman wound up scoring a record six-year, $68 million free agent contract from the White Sox. Whatever money Marlins ownership used in that Abreu pursuit will apparently be shifted toward bargain-bin free agent options.
The Marlins do have an impressive core of young players between staff ace Jose Fernandez, power-hitting right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and five-tool center fielder Christian Yelich. But Stanton is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter and will continue to get more and more expensive.
Samson and Co. claim the Marlins have a plan. But it’s hard to see it right now.
The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.
As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.
The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.
Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.
It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.
While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.