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The Marlins are upset about the Red Sox’s travel roster

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According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel, the Marlins will be contacting the league office after the Red Sox declined to bring any of their established regulars to Palm Beach for Thursday’s spring training game.

While teams are supposed to bring at least four “regulars” to road spring games, the rule has always been flouted and seemingly more so than ever these last couple of years. That’s especially true during the first couple of weeks of spring games, when many regulars play just every other day anyway.

The Red Sox on Thursday started just one projected regular: rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. In fact, he was the only guy in the lineup who figures to make the team at all. 2013 backups Ryan Lavarnway and Brandon Snyder were present, but they’re unlikely to be on this year’s Opening Day roster. The starting pitcher was Allen Webster, who is probably the team’s eighth starter in reality.

It’s hard to see how the Marlins have much of a leg to stand on here, though, if they do contact the league office. They’ve thus far played four road games, but the first of those was in their home park (they share Roger Dean Stadium with the Cardinals). In their three actual road games, they’ve brought along four starters just once:

March 1: Christian Yelich, Casey McGehee
March 2: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marcell Ozuna
March 5: Rafael Furcal, Marcell Ozuna, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee

Their one draw, Giancarlo Stanton, has played in all four home games this month, but he hasn’t made any trips.

The truth is that many teams are going this route more and more frequently, and it’s not a bad thing if the Marlins and some other clubs do raise a stink about it and maybe force MLB to take some action. Spring games might be a whole lot cheaper than the regular-season contests, but they’re still expensive enough that fans should have some expectation of seeing players they’ve heard of. If the league started fining teams that didn’t bring a few regulars for its trip, the practice would likely end in a hurry.

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that the Red Sox could face a possible fine for not bringing enough regulars to the game.  However, such a punishment would not be announced.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

cuba hat
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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.

 

Indians close to signing ex-Nationals reliever Craig Stammen

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Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.

A Mexican team wins the Caribbean Series for the third time in four years

Mexican players celebrate their victory in the Caribbean Series baseball final against Aragua Tigres of Venezuela, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Designated hitter Jorge Vazquez hit a game-winning home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, lifting Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory and the championship of the Caribbean Series. (AP Photo/Roberto Guzman)
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For those who aren’t familiar, Serie del Caribe, or the Caribbean Series, is the highest club level baseball tournament in Latin America, pitting the champions of the winter leagues in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela against one another in a bacchanalia of baseball that, if there was justice in the world, we’d all be watching instead of football.

This year’s installment ended last night with Mexico’s Mazatlan Venados beating Venezuela’s Aragua Tigres 5-4 in the final game at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Jorge Vazquez — who Yankees fans may remember from a few years back — provided the winning margin when he hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.

This is the third Serie del Caribe title for a Mexican club in the past four years, with Naranjeros de Hermosillo winning in 2014 and Yaquis de Obregón winning in 2013. Pinar del Río from Cuba won it last winter. This is the first time the Venados have won it.

As we noted yesterday, this was longtime MLB starter Freddy Garcia‘s last game. He gave up four hits and allowed two earned runs over five and a third innings for the Tigres, getting a no-decision.