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


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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

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.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

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.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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.