Tino Martinez resigned as the Marlins’ hitting coach in the middle of last season amid allegations that he was physically and verbally abusive to players, later giving his side of the story that painted him in a much more sympathetic light as an authority figure simply trying to get young players to listen.
Eight months later Martinez is still talking about the situation, saying the following today during an interview with WFAN radio in New York:
I was tough on some of the young players I thought needed to be, not disciplined, but they were walking around like they were 10-year veterans and I was trying to teach them the right way to do things. I was trying to teach these guys. These guys had a great opportunity. They didn’t belong in the big leagues. They just happened to be with the right organization that had injuries and got rid of the whole entire team the year before.
They were not taking advantage of their opportunity and it was bothering me that they weren’t working hard enough and weren’t appreciating what they had. I was just trying to get them to understand, take advantage of this and make yourself a better player. They were very soft. They were very soft and that was the disappointing part, but I thought I was doing my job as a coach to try and get the most out of them.
Of course, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel points out, Martinez’s fellow coaches also had an issue with how he behaved as hitting coach. It wasn’t just the players and, beyond that, calling them “soft” doesn’t necessarily excuse his behavior either. When you take the job as a hitting coach for an extremely young, inexperienced, rebuilding team a big part of that job is finding a way to get through to those players. Regardless of whether he was in the right or in the wrong, Martinez definitely failed at that.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.