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Going deep with Jeffrey Loria

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Jerry Crasnick sat down with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for a rare one-on-one interview.

Crasnick sells it as a look at another, more benevolent side of Loria than the cartoonish villain figure we often see. And I will grant that the interview does go deeper with Loria than most stories about him do. We certainly see an unprecedented humanity to Loria in this interview with respect to his reaction to the death of Jose Fernandez, with whom Loria was very close and whose death affected him greatly. Most of the interview deals with that, in fact, and it’s certainly worth reading for that alone. Loria knew Fernandez in ways most people didn’t, and it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of the late ace from a new perspective.

Still, no one has ever seriously questioned Loria’s relationship with his players. He was famously close with Hanley Ramirez and many other Marlins players over the years, often in cases where the player himself was not necessarily a fan favorite. Loria likes baseball and he likes baseball players. We’ve always known that. What he has been criticized for has been in not caring a whole hell of a lot about what fans think or feel and, instead, caring a whole hell of a lot about what will enrich Jeffrey Loria.

There is nothing in this interview to change our view about that. He drops multiple references to his own wealth and the ways in which he spends his money. He talks about wanting to win another World Series trophy so he can have matching “table lamps,” not because it’d be a great things for fans in Miami. Indeed, he doesn’t use the word “fan” once. By the time we get to a question about him possibly becoming Trump’s ambassador to France, the way in which he talks about all of that and his relationship with Trump makes him sound a lot like . . . Donald Trump. At least on a superficial level in which the world more or less seems to exist solely via his own personal experience of it and place in it.

I dunno. I don’t mean to pile on Loria, because so many people have over the years. And I genuinely feel for him in the wake of Jose Fernandez’s death, as the two seemed to have a genuine love for one another. You can tell the loss has hit him hard. I just don’t think that anything here rehabilitates Loria’s reputation or suggests that the reputation he has is unearned. In certain respects he, like almost everyone, is a good person, particularly for the people to whom he is and was close. With respect to how he affects most of us, as baseball fans, he’s still Jeffrey Loria.

 

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.